Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission

McCoy’s Barbershop/Pineville Post Office

SURVEY AND RESEARCH REPORT

ON

McCoy’s Barbershop/Pineville Post Office (former)

  1. Name and location of the property: The property known as the McCoy’s Barbershop/Pineville Post Office (former) is located at 319- 321 Main Street, Pineville, North Carolina.
  2. Name and address of the present owner of the property: The present owner of the property is:
  3. A. Yandell Rental and Investment Co.

PO Box 386

Pineville, NC 28134

 

  1. Representative photographs of the property: This report contains representative photographs of the property. Photographs are available at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission office.
  2. Maps depicting the location of the property: This report contains a map depicting the location of the property.
  3. Current deed book reference to the property: The most recent deed to this property is recorded in Mecklenburg County Deed Book 02036 on page 293. The tax parcel number of the property is 22106102.

 

  1. A brief historical sketch of the property: This report contains a brief historical sketch of the property.

 

  1. A brief architectural description of the property: This report contains a brief architectural description of the property.

 

  1. Documentation of why and in what ways the property meets criteria for designation set forth in N. C. G. S. 160A-400.5:
  2. Special significance in terms of its history, architecture, and/or cultural importance: The Commission judges that the property known as the McCoy’s Barbershop/Pineville Post Office (former) does possess special significance in terms of Charlotte-Mecklenburg. The Commission bases its judgment on the following considerations:

1)    Built in 1955, the buildings at 319 and 321 Main Street in Pineville have historically held an important and prominent position in the town’s commercial core.

2)  The McCoy’s Barbershop/Pineville Post Office (former) was the final home to McCoy’s Barbershop, a longtime institution central to the social and political history of the Town of Pineville.

3)  The McCoy’s Barbershop/Pineville Post Office (former) is closely  associated with C. H “Bo” McCoy, who was a prominent Pineville citizen and businessman for much of the twentieth century, and who served for decades as the town’s mayor.

  1. Integrity of design, setting, workmanship, materials, feeling and/or association: The Commission contends that the physical and architectural description which is included in this report demonstrates that the McCoy’s Barbershop/Pineville Post Office (former) meets this criterion.

 

  1. Ad Valorem tax appraisal: The Commission is aware that designation would allow the owner to apply for an automatic deferral of 50% of the Ad Valorem taxes on all or any portion of the property which becomes a designated “historic landmark.”  The current total appraised tax value of the land and improvements is $1,010,400. 319-321 Main Street occupies 3,060 square feet of the 20,105 total square feet of improvements on the tax parcel.

 

  1. Portion of property recommended for designation: The exterior of the building, the land on which it sits, and the sidewalk directly in front of the building as shown on the attached map are recommended for historic designation.

 

 

Date of preparation of this report: April 6, 2006

 

Prepared by: Stewart Gray and Hope Murphy

Historical Overview   

Pineville – Main Street

Pineville, North Carolina is located approximately eleven miles south of the city of Charlotte.  The small town had its beginnings as a train stop when the Charlotte and South Carolina Railroad opened a depot in 1852.  The town, incorporated in 1873, became a busy center for agricultural support and textiles in the next few decades.[1]  In 1890 businessmen from Charlotte opened the Dover Yarn Mill in Pineville.  By the time the Mill had added a weaving department in 1902 over two hundred people were employed at the Mill.  In 1903 the population of Pineville had reached 700, most of them involved in some way with the cotton industry.  Those not employed by the mill labored as cotton farmers.  Autumn would bring farmers to Main Street where they would form long lines in order to have their cotton ginned.  Saturdays would also bring farmers to town to shop, pay debts, or trade mules.[2]

For most of its history the south side of Main Street has been owned by the Yandell family.  W. A. “Willie” Yandell began acquiring land on the south side of Main Street beginning in 1919.  In that year he purchased one half acre from C. H. Griffin and his wife Rana[3]    During the next four years Yandell acquired additional Main Street frontage from the Wherry and Bailes families.[4]   In a 1987 interview in the Charlotte Observer, Willeen Yandell, W.A.’s daughter, recounted that when her father arrived in Pineville in 1912 Main Street was only a wagon path.  The elder Yandell, recognized that the growing town needed services like grocery stores and began to develop them. [5]

Into the 1930’s Main Street in Pineville remained only one of  the two paved streets in Pineville, the other being Polk Street.  In June of 1929 the business owners along the street petitioned the Mayor of the town and Board of Alderman to “grade and pave” the street.  The property owners, Mr. Yandell being the largest with 250 feet of frontage, agreed to pay one-quarter of the cost of the project.[6]  By the 1930’s Pineville housed along its two block business district:  five general stores, a dime store, a drug store, a doctor’s office, hardware store, pool room, livery stable, blacksmith, post office, icehouse, movie theatre, and funeral home.[7]

Main Street had been extended beginning in 1927. When a bridge was built over the nearby Big Sugar Creek, Main Street became part of the main route between Charlotte to Pineville’s north and Columbia, South Carolina to the south.  Yandell, realized a boom in his burgeoning business when work crews arrived in Pineville to begin work on the project.  Yandell recounted to newspaper reporter Joe Flanders in the 1960’s that he remembers the day shortly before Christmas of 1927 when the road contractor arrived in Pineville.  He had with him 50 teams of mules and enough men to run them.  Faced with no place to house his men, never mind the mules, the contractor turned to Yandell. For the year that it took to build the bridge and attached road Yandell housed men at his hotel on the corner of Main and Culp Street, and found space to feed and keep the mules.[8]

Joe Griffin recounts that as a young boy in Pineville, during the 1930’s, most people who lived in or near Pineville shopped on Main Street.[9]  Trips to uptown Charlotte, rare in the 1930’s, became more rare during World War II when gas became rationed.[10]  Griffin recounts that the sidewalk on either side of Main Street was about four feet wide.  Trees and grass were planted between the sidewalk and the road.  This grassy strip served as a place for the stores to display items on nice days.[11]

During the 1930’s the south side of Main Street, had a barbershop, a theater, and a post office.  There was also a grocery store run by Yandell, over which there were hotel rooms.  Yandell’s business office was next door.  Griffin recounts local residents “could get a loan, cash a check, pay rent, or seek legal advice” there[12]  Such services would have been vital in the community that lost its only bank, Pineville Loan & Savings Company, in 1929 at the outset of the banking crisis that preceded the Depression.[13]

Main Street Pineville 1915

Tom Eubanks, who grew up in the residential section of Main Street, recounts that the character of the business district remained intact until the 1960s, and changed most radically in the 1980s.  Eubanks recalls that cotton-laden mule-drawn carts still often lined Main Street after he returned from the Korean War in 1954. 15]  As Charlotte grew, some of Pineville’s small town character began to wane. In 1972 Pineville was home to 2000 people within its one square mile corporate limits. The erection of apartment complexes, malls, and the Carowinds amusement park three miles west of the city brought traffic congestion to the sleepy business center.[14]

A 1987 Charlotte Observer article posits that the shift in the type of retail stores located along Main Street began in 1983.  In that year the W.A. Yandell  Rental and Investment Co. rented 329 Main Street to Betty Hiltz.  She opened the China Connection, an antique shop.  Within five years every address on the South side of Main Street, except two, would be occupied by antique stores.

In an act that signaled the end of Pineville’s rural character, Tom Eubanks helped a local farmer remove his cows from the land on which the Carolina Mall would be erected.  The massive commercial development that followed along Highway 51 between Pineville and Matthews, the expansion of the City of Charlotte up to and around the boundaries of Pineville, and the  completion of the nearby I-485 beltway connecting to Interstate 77, have transformed  much of  the area around Pineville into a largely suburban landscape.[16]   Retaining a high degree of physical integrity, the buildings along Main Street are now rare and significant artifacts that can tell us much about the town of Pineville’s history.

319-321 Main Street

McCoy’s Barbershop

319 Main Street has housed a barbershop since it was built in 1955.  The first business in the building was McCoy’s Barbershop, which had existed as a business on main street in a previous location for as long as locals remember.  Tom Eubanks recalls making a trip to C. H “Bo” McCoy’s barbershop almost every two weeks as a young boy in the 1930’s.  He would climb up on a board that Mr. McCoy placed across the arms of the chair, and receive a haircut for which he paid twenty-five cents.

Joe Griffin, also a boy in the 1930’s, recounts that McCoy’s shop offered a wide array of services when he was growing up.  A man could receive a shave, haircut, shampoo, shoeshine, even a shower.  The shop also served as a community gathering place for men.  Griffin recounts that men came to catch up on local news, gossip, and talk politics.  “You never heard such arguments on politics,” Griffin recounts.[17]  In the 1970’s as rapid change began to come to Pineville, these changes were often the topic of conversation among the “old-timers” who gathered in the shop.  Some came almost every day to “resurrect other days and chuckle with slap-kneed glee at one another and their antics of years ago.”[18]

The history of Main Street Pineville demonstrates how men of business, in the small rural towns, also served as political, civic, and religious leaders.  McCoy served as Pineville Mayor from the late 1930’s until 1955.  At that time he was defeated by druggist R. C. Hair, who owned a popular soda shop and drug store on the opposite side of Main St.   McCoy was appointed mayor again in 1966 to finish a term vacated by then Mayor, Hoyt Wigonton.  In spite of McCoy’s very public life, Tom Eubanks describes the former mayor as a kind, religious, and very quiet man.  McCoy’s barbershop remained open until the early 1980’s.  In 1989 Summers Barbershop opened at the same location.

Pineville Post Office (former)

The adjoining store front, 321 Main Street, housed the Post Office beginning in the 1960’s.  A real estate office was briefly at this location in the late 1970’s.  The storefront appears to have been vacant until 1999 when the present tenant, Time After Time, a clock dealer and repair shop moved in.[19]

Architectural Description

McCoy’s Barbershop/Pineville Post Office (former) is a solid masonry building consisting of two one-story storefronts that face north and sit adjacent to a wide sidewalk.  The façade features wire-cut brick laid principally in running bond, with a common bond section of wall above the storefront openings.  The common bond section features ten rows of stretches between two rows of headers.  The top of the façade features a simple parapet topped with overlapping tile cap.  The two storefront openings are separated by a narrow section of wall that runs from the grade to the parapet without embellishment.  The storefront openings are not equal, with the western opening slightly larger.  On the eastern corner of the façade the profile of the tile cap gives a subtle raised termination point for the parapet.

The storefronts feature low partial- height wire-cut brick curtain walls laid in running bond, set back slightly from the façade. These walls are topped with angled brick sills and support the plate glass storefront windows.  The windows appear original and are secured with original aluminum trim.   The east storefront, # 319, contains an original single-light wooden door in a wooden frame.  A transom over the door has been covered with a plywood panel.  To the west of the door is a single plate glass window.  The west storefront, # 321, features a replacement door centered in the opening.  A transom is located over the door and is held in place by the original aluminum trim.  The slope of the site allows the floor in 321 to step down slightly, and the curtain walls under the storefront’s two plate glass windows are set lower than the storefront window in 319.

 

While the façade was laid in brick, the exposed east side and rear walls were constructed with 8”x16” concrete block.  The east wall is blank and feature a single step in the tile-topped parapet.  Where the façade and the east wall intersect the wire-cut brick and the concrete block are woven together.  The rear elevation is utilitarian and features roughly finished corners and openings.  Fenestration is limited to rear doors from each store space, and three windows.  The westernmost window is a eight-light metal casement window with the top lights fixed in place.  The other windows are simple one-over-one sash window.  The roof is a flat, built-up composite, and is bounded by the parapet walls on the front and the sides.  The roof  slopes to the rear  and drains into a gutter.

 

[1] Paul Archambault and Dan Morrill, “Pineville Survey, Final Report,” The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission, November  2004.

[2] Joe Howard Griffin, Sr. “My Hometown Pineville, History, Hearsay, Memories and Scrapbook of Pineville,” Unpublished manuscript.

[3]  Mecklenburg County Deed Book 412, p. 377.

[4] Mecklenburg County Deed Book 458, p. 445 and Deed Book 488, p.332.

[5] Pat Borden Gubbins, “The Changing Face of Downtown Pineville,” The Charlotte Observer, February 15, 1987, Mecklenburg Neighbors Section, p. 10.

[6] Town of Pineville, Board of Alderman Minutes, June 26, 1929.

[7] Joe Howard Griffin, Sr. “My Hometown,” p. 28.

[8] Joe Flanders, “Mr. Will Remembers that Bridge,” excerpted in “My Hometown, p. 19.

[9] Ibid., p. 28.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid., p. 29.

[12] Ibid., p. 28.

[13] Ibid,  pp. 23,28.

[14] Tommy Denton, “Pineville Braces for an Era of Rapid Growth,” Charlotte News, October 12, 1972.

[15] Interview with Tom Eubanks, April 5, 2006.

[16] Paul Archambault and Dan L. Morrill, “Pineville Survey, Final Report.”

[17] Griffin, p. 71.

[18] “Pineville Braces.”

[19] Cross Reference Directory, Greater Charlotte, 1964-2002 (Independence, Kansas: City Publishing Company).