MAJOR ALEXANDER L. JAMES HOUSE
September 21, 2009 the Charlotte City Council voted to revoke local historic
landmark designation of the Major Alexander L. James House.
Click here to view an
article on the repeal of local historic landmark designation for this
This report was written on May 15, 1994
1. Name and location of the property: The property known as the
Major Alexander L. James House is located at 260 Cherokee Road, in
Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.
2. Name, address, and telephone number of the present owner of the
properties. The owners of the property are:
Dr. and Mrs. Martin J. Kreshon
260 Cherokee Road
Charlotte, North Carolina 28207
Telephone: (704) 377-1550
3. Representative photographs of the property: This report
contains representative photographs of the property.
4. Maps depicting the location of the property: This report
contains maps which depict the location of the property.
Click on the map to browse
5. Current deed book references to the property: The most recent
reference to Tax Parcel Number 155-062-60 is recorded in Mecklenburg County
Deed Book 3199 at page 330.
6. A brief architectural description of the property: This report
contains brief architectural description of the property prepared by Frances
P. Alexander and Richard L. Mattson.
7. A brief historical sketch of the property: This report contains
a brief historical sketch of the property prepared by Richard L. Mattson and
Frances P. Alexander .
8. Documentation of why and in what ways the properties meet criteria
for designation set forth in NCGS 160A-400.5:
a. Special significance in terms of history, architecture, and
cultural importance: The Commission judges that the property known as
the Major Alexander L. James House does possess special significance in
terms of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. The Commission bases its
judgment on the following considerations: 1) the James House, erected in
1929, is exemplary of the Georgian Revival style built in the Eastover
neighborhood and other well-to-do neighborhoods in Charlotte between the
1920's and World War II; 2) the James House is one of the earliest houses
in Eastover, the first exclusive automobile-oriented subdivision in
Charlotte; and 3) the James House is an impressive example of the work of
important Charlotte architect Martin E. Boyer, Jr., who designed some of
the city's finest Georgian Revival and Tudor Revival residences during
b. Integrity of design, setting, workmanship, materials, feeling,
and association: The Commission contends that the architectural
description by Frances P. Alexander and Richard L. Mattson included in
this report demonstrates that the Major Alexander L. James House meets
9. 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 properties which become
designated historic landmarks. The current appraised value of the
improvements to Tax Parcel Number 155-062-60 is $413,410. The current
appraised value of the land associated with Tax Parcel 155-062-60 is
$750,000. The total appraised value of Tax Parcel 155-062-60 is $1,163,410.
Date of Preparation of this Report: May 15, 1994
Prepared by: Frances P. Alexander, M.A.
and Richard L. Mattson, Ph.D.
Mattson, Alexander and Associates
309 East Park Avenue, No. 4
Charlotte, North Carolina 28203
Telephone: (704) 376-0985
Telephone: (704) 342-3076
The Major Alexander L. James House is situated in the Eastover neighborhood
of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. Eastover is located on the
east side of Providence Road, a major artery leading southeast from the
center city. The James House occupies a 1.96 acre site on the west side of
Cherokee Road, a curvilinear street which has access to Providence Road at
either end. Altondale Avenue, a short street opening from Providence Road,
ends at the James parcel, and the James property has rear access to this
The James House is sited in the center of the large parcel, which slopes
down to Cherokee Road. The main driveway is located on the north side of the
property and extends from Cherokee Road, past a garage, to the rear at
Altondale Avenue. A brick wall and archway link the house and garage. A
portion of the driveway extends south to end in a circular drive in front of
the house. The house faces onto a lawn bisected by a brick walkway. Both the
front and rear yards contain mature plantings, including oak and magnolia
trees and formal rows of tall holly bushes in the rear. In addition to the
house, there is a five car garage and a greenhouse on the site.
The proposed designation includes the house and the 1.96 acre parcel, but
excludes the garage at owner request.
The Major Alexander L. James House is an excellent example of formal
Georgian Revival domestic architecture, and was designed by prominent, early
twentieth century Charlotte architect, Martin E. Boyer, Jr. The house is
2-1/2 stories tall with a truncated T-shaped plan, a 1-1/2 story,
weatherboarded wing on the north side, and a covered flagstone terrace on
the south side. The house has a brick veneer laid in
Flemish bond, and there is a side
gable, slate roof with a broad front gable. In the center of the gable
is an oval, multiple light window, framed in concrete. Two weatherboarded
front gable dormers are found in the front, while the rear has three front
dormers and a lunette window. There are three brick exterior end
chimneys broken by second story
The five bay facade has a slightly projecting central pavilion dominated
by a broad elliptical arch entrance. The entrance recess has delicate
pilasters and chair railing, and the double panelled doors are framed by an
fanlight and half
sidelights. The entrance has low rise, curved, double side stairs. The
first floor windows are nine-over-nine light, double hung, wooden
sash with brick jack arches. The second floor windows are six-over-nine
light, double hung, wooden sash, also with jack arches. The dormers have
round arch windows.
On the north elevation there is a one and 1/2 story, side gable wing,
sheathed in weatherboard. A flat roofed porch extends to the front. The
porch has been enclosed since 1970, but retains the original classical box
piers with stucco infill. On the front elevation, the enclosed porch has
nine-over-nine light, double hung windows to match the original. On the
north elevation, there is a single wood and glass entrance, and the enclosed
porch has a large multiple light window. A porch with flagstone terrace
projects from the southeast corner of the house. The porch is supported by
classical box piers and has a gable roof with full returns of the eaves. The
flagstone terrace extends around to the rear of the house and is bordered by
a raised, brick-edged planting bed.
The rear elevation is broken by the projecting center section. The rear
has a variety of double hung window types reflecting the formal and private
functions of the house. On the south side, the first floor has a three-sided
bay overlooking the flagstone terrace. The second floor repeats the
six-over-nine light windows found on the facade. The center section has
nine-over-nine light on the first floor and six-over-nine light on the
second floor. These windows flank the centrally placed chimney. The north
end, where the kitchen and service areas of the house are located, has a
combination of double hung windows, including three-over-six light on the
second floor. French doors on the second floor of the north wing lead to a
small wrought iron balcony. There is an exterior staircase leading to the
The entrance leads into a roughly square foyer. The foyer has hardwood
floors, plaster walls, molded baseboards and surrounds, and dentil cornice
molding. A staircase rises along the south and west walls of the foyer. The
staircase has scrolled
risers and a delicate balustrade with deeply scrolled
newel. Two narrow closets with panelled doors flank the fanlighted
entrance. The door has the original box lock.
The south end of the house is occupied by the living room which extends
the full depth of the house. The living room also has hardwood floors,
molded surrounds, and a molded cornice. The fireplace has a broad, fully
articulated Classical Revival mantel. The south wall has one multiple light
door, with transom, opening to the porch. The west wall is dominated by the
three-sided bay window. Double panelled doors separate the living room from
The north end of the house is occupied by the dining room which also has
panelled doors to the foyer as well as a panelled door in the northwest
corner, leading to the back service hall. In the southwest corner is a
built-in cupboard with a wood and glass door. The dining room replicates the
molded baseboards, cornices, and surrounds found throughout the first floor.
In addition, there is a molded chair railing. Originally, the north wall of
the dining room had a fireplace, but this feature was reversed at the time
the porch was enclosed.
The rear of the foyer opens into a service hall which runs to the north
end of the house. Directly behind the foyer is the library, separated by
double panelled doors. The library also has a door leading to the living
room as well as a wood and glass door, with transom, leading to the rear
terrace. The west wall of the library has a fireplace with a simple molded
mantel above which is a molded and scrolled frame. Windows flank the
fireplace, and floor-to-ceiling bookcases surround the fireplace and
windows. In addition to molded surrounds, cornice, and baseboards, the
library has a chair railing.
The rear service hall is narrow and L-shaped in plan. A small bathroom
and closets open from the hall, and at the turn is a narrow service
staircase. The kitchen opens from the hall across from the staircase. The
kitchen service area was originally comprised of a butler's pantry, kitchen,
and small breakfast room. Some alterations have occurred in this area of the
house. The small breakfast room is now used as a laundry although this
conversion required little modification of the plan. The butler's pantry has
been opened and is now a hallway. The kitchen, located in the north wing,
has had little alteration of plan or fixture location. New cabinets have
been installed, and the east wall was opened into the enclosed porch, used
as a dining area. The original dining room fireplace was reoriented so that
it now faces into the enclosed porch. There is an original wood and glass
door leading from the north end of the kitchen to the outside.
The second floor contains five bedrooms, a nursery, and three bathrooms.
The second floor hall extends the width of the house. At each end of the
hall are archways leading to bedrooms. The hall has a dentil cornice and
molded baseboards and surrounds. The hardwood floors are now carpeted. The
south end has two bedrooms with a connecting bathroom. Two bedrooms, with a
connecting bathroom, open from the main hall on the east side. The master
bedroom is located at the head of the staircase on the west side of the
house. The archway on the north end opens into the nursery, and a bathroom
connects the master bedroom and the nursery. All bedrooms have carpeted
floors, molded baseboards and surrounds, and panelled doors. The master
bedroom has a fireplace on the west wall with a classical mantel. The
northeast bedroom also has a fireplace with a simple molded mantel. The
bathrooms have all been altered somewhat with new fixtures, but retain
moldings, closets, and original configuration.
The third floor originally contained a ballroom which extended the full
width and depth of the house. The ballroom had a dais at one end for
musicians. However, the third floor has been partitioned into bedrooms,
bathrooms, and offices. A panelled door at the head of the staircase from
the second floor closed the ballroom off from the rest of the house. There
is one original closet at the top of the stairs. The third floor retains the
original sloping ceiling and alcoves at the dormer windows. Although the
ballroom has lost its original open floor plan, the new partitions required
little destruction of historic fabric.
Northwest of the house, but connected by a brick wall and archway, is the
garage with overhead servants' quarters. The brick veneered garage
originally had three car bays, but since 1970, two additional car bays have
been added. The extension to the west replicates the original with Flemish
bond brick walls, slate covered gable roof, and front gable dormers. The
entrance to the living quarters is located on the east elevation. The garage
is excluded from the designation at the request of the owners.
The Alexander L. James House is an excellent example of Georgian Revival
residential architecture in Mecklenburg County. Its construction during an
era in which houses for the wealthy were commonly designed to accommodate
servants make such houses vulnerable to heavy alteration. However, the
Alexander L. James House has undergone little modification. Alterations
include the enclosure of a porch, new fixtures in the kitchen and bathrooms,
and the partitioning of the ballroom. However, these modifications are
limited and have not changed the configurations of these rooms. In addition,
the setting of the house and outbuilding on a large, formally landscaped
parcel continue to illustrate wealthy suburban development in the early
This stately Georgian Revival residence at 260 Cherokee Road was completed
in 1929 for Major Alexander L. James, United States Army, and his wife,
Viola. Major James acquired the parcel from Edward C. Griffith in 1928, and
commissioned influential Charlotte architect Martin E. Boyer, Jr., to design
the house (Mecklenburg County Deed Book 696, p. 245). The James family lived
here into the post-World War II years. In 1970, the current owners, Dr. and
Mrs. Martin J. Kreshon acquired the property. The Major Alexander L. James
House, sited on a spacious lot, is exemplary of the handsome Georgian
Revival dwellings erected in the Eastover community and throughout
Charlotte's exclusive neighborhoods between the 1920's and World War II.
Eastover was established in 1927 by Charlotte developer Edward C.
Griffith. Its residential development represented the culmination of the
gradual shift among the cites wealthier residents from the center city to
the southeast environs. With the coming of the electric
streetcar to Charlotte in 1891, upper- and middle-class citizens began
relocating from downtown addresses to the new suburbs of
Myers Park, Chatham Estates along the Plaza, and Club Acres around the
Charlotte Country Club. Providence Road, which forms the west side of
Eastover, had been fashionable even before the development of posh Myers
Park in 1912, though in the early twentieth century, the road was still
considered too far from downtown for easy commuting (Hanchett 1984, 1986).
Griffith envisioned Eastover as a rival to Myers Park, both in social
status and landscape design. In fact Eastover occupied a rolling hillside
immediately across Providence Road from the earlier suburb. He contracted
with the noted landscape architect and planner, Earle Sumner Draper, to
create the Eastover plan. Draper had previously designed portions of Myers
Parks, notably Queens Road West, distinguished by its long sweeping radius
and lush landscaping. Thus the major streets of Eastover--Cherokee and
Colville are winding, embowered avenues lined with grand houses sited well
back on large parcels (Hanchett 1986; Bishir 1990).
Also like Myers Park, a key planning component was the creation of
land-use covenants to ensure that the community would take shape as Griffith
and Draper proposed. minimum house costs ranged from $4,000 on side streets
to $15,000 for the largest main avenue lots. Thus the expansive lot
purchased by Major James required a house costing at minimum $15,000. The
covenants also required that all property "shall be occupied and used only
by members of the Caucasian race, domestic servants in the employ of
occupants excepted." Garages, outbuildings, and servants' quarters had to
match the style of the main house on each lot, and no "Spanish architecture"
was permitted (E. C. Griffith Company 1938; Hanchett 1984, 1986).
In contrast to Myers Park and the other early suburbs geared to streetcar
travel, Eastover developed as the city's first automobile subdivision.
Although trolleys were still quite active in 1927, the residents of the new
suburb were expected to have automobiles. The nearest streetcar stops were
on Queens Road, many blocks from the Eastover entrance gates (Hanchett 1984,
House construction began in 1928, and by 1932, 42 residences had been
completed. The earliest section encompassed Cherokee Road, Colville Road,
Eastover Road, and Hempstead Place, and the houses along these streets set
the architectural standard for the entire community. The Georgian Revival
style was, by far, the popular choice, interspersed with a mix of
Tudor Revival examples and other revival styles (Hanchett 1984; Sanborn
Map of Charlotte 1929).
The Major Alexander L. James House was one of the first dwellings
constructed. It was featured in the earliest advertisements for Eastover, in
which the house was described as a "Georgian type, this beautifier residence
now under construction in Eastover has the charm and atmosphere of an ideal
home." Numerous brick and weatherboarded versions of the Georgian style
followed. Among them were the 1930 A. Lloyd Goode House (165 Cherokee Road)
and the 1931 John Paul Lucas, Jr. House (265 Cherokee Road). In 1933,
architect Martin Boyer designed his own residence (246 Fenton Place) in the
fashionable red-brick Georgian Revival mode (E. C. Griffith Company 1927;
Today, Eastover is among the city's most desirable neighborhoods and
contains approximately 600 houses facing rolling, tree-shaded streets. The
great majority of residences are substantial red-brick Georgian Revival
Martin E. Boyer, Jr., Architect
Martin E. Boyer, Jr.,(1893-1970) ranks among the most prominent
architects in Charlotte during the first half of the twentieth century. Born
in Glen Wilton, Virginia, Boyer was raised in Charlotte and attended
Carnegie Tech (now Carnegie-Mellon University) in Pittsburgh, where he was
trained in the Beaux Arts tradition. During World War I, he served as a
naval architect, and in World War II was a lieutenant colonel with the U. S.
Army Corps of Engineers. A nephew of noted Charlotte architect J. M.
McMichael, Boyer practiced architecture in the city for more than 50 years (Charlotte
News, February 18, 1970).
Boyer's work ranged from public housing, to S & W Cafeterias, to
supervising the rebuilding of the Mint Museum of Art, which was relocated
from downtown to Eastover in 1936. But primarily, Boyer gained his
professional reputation by designing some of the finest domestic
architecture in suburban Charlotte. Boyer is singled out in the National
Register nomination for the Myers Park Historic District as "the city's
finest revivalist architect." In 1977, a home tour in honor of Boyer,
sponsored by the Charlotte Garden Club, identified 25 Boyer-designed houses
in Myers Park and Eastover (Claiborne 1977; Hanchett 1984, 1986).
In Myers Park, Boyer's work included such handsome red-brick Georgian
Revival designs as the 1920 J. Luther Snyder House (1901 Queens Road), and
the 1928 Dr. J. Rush Shull House (1242 Queens Road West). In 1921, D. Heath
Nesbit commissioned Boyer to design his Tudor Revival residence (522
Hermitage Court). The Nesbit House was featured in Architecture
magazine. In Eastover, Boyer is known to have designed not only the James
House and his own residence, but also the large Georgian Revival house at
424 Eastover Road. Also in Eastover, Boyer designed the massive stone Tudor
Revival dwelling of
Hamilton C. Jones (201 Cherokee Road). Jones was an important lawyer and
political leader, and his wife, Bessie Erwin Jones, was a member of Durham's
prominent Erwin textile family (Claiborne 1977; Hanchett 1984, 1986).
The Major Alexander L. James House has significance as one of the first
residences built in exclusive Eastover, the first automobile subdivision in
Charlotte. The house is also a notable example of the work of architect
Martin E. Boyer, Jr. It exemplifies the Georgian Revival residences designed
by this important Charlotte architect in Eastover and Myers Park.
Bishir, Catherine W. North Carolina Architecture. Chapel Hill, NC:
University of North Carolina Press, 1990.
Charlotte News. February 18, 1970.
Claiborne, Jack. "This Year's Home Tour Honors Martin Boyer, Jr."
Charlotte Observer. April 4, 1977.
E. C. Griffith Company. Eastover, A restricted residential district
developed for the discriminating home builder. Charlotte, NC: E. C.
Griffith Company, 1927. See Hanchett 1984.
--. Eastover Restriction Agreement (1938, unpublished). On file at the
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission, Charlotte.
Hanchett, Thomas W. "Charlotte and Its Neighborhoods: The Growth of a New
South City, 1850-1930." Charlotte, NC, 1984. (Typewritten.)
-. "Charlotte: Suburban Development in the Textile and Trade Center of
the Carolinas. " In Early Twentieth-Century Suburbs in North Carolina.
Eds., Catherine W. Bishir and Lawrence S. Early. Raleigh, NC: Division of
Archives and History, North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, 1985,
------. National Register Nomination for the Myers Park Historic
District. 1986. Nomination is on file at the North Carolina Division of
Archives and History, Raleigh.
Mecklenburg County. Mecklenburg County Courthouse, Register of Deeds,
Book A, p. 258.
Miller's Official Charlotte, North Carolina City Directory. Asheville,
NC: E. H. Miller, 1929.
Sanborn Map Company. Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. 1929.