The Mecklenburg Chapter, NSDAR erected a marker on this site in 1904 (rededicated in 2010) to commemorate the birthplace of President James K. Polk. This site is located on land once owned by the parents of James K. Polk, the 11th U.S. president. The state historic site commemorates significant events in the Polk administration: the Mexican-American War, settlement of the Oregon boundary dispute, and the annexation of California. Reconstructions of typical homestead buildings including a log house, separate kitchen, and barn are authentically furnished. The visitor center features a film on Polk’s life and exhibits on his family and tumultuous presidency.
Program for President James K. Polk Birthplace Dedication
Built in 1908, this parcel was once part of the “J. Mc.” and Jennie Holbrook’s property along the block of then-College St. Old deeds show that Ned Beard, a general store merchant, and his wife, Ida built the house. Construction included concrete block masonry—built on site, two at a time—to build the exterior of the house, in an American Foursquare-esque style. Design blog, The Old House Guy said, “Decorative concrete blocks were the rage in house building from about 1890’s to the 1930’s.” This style was considered very modern. “They were very popular for foundations and garages,” Margaret Bond confirms, ”and in rural areas they were used for small commercial buildings, gas stations, and churches.”
Stewart Gray, Senior Preservation Planner of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission, believes it may be the only of its kind to still stand in Mecklenburg County. The house still has an exterior door to the kitchen next to the back door of the home. The original bathroom was added decades later.
Lewis McConnell and his wife Lollie Rogers McConnell lived here from at least 1940 until their deaths, in 1973 and 1969, respectively. (Lollie inherited the house from her mother, Mary Rogers). During the 1940s and 50s, Mr. McConnell was the superintendent of North Carolina Prison Camp #1 (located on the now-DMV property), which operated until the 1990s.
The McConnells’ step-great-granddaughter owns the private home.
“Beard, Ned.” 1910 US Federal Census.
Bond, M. E. “The History of Rusticated Concrete Block.” http://www.mebondbooks.com/2019/05/20/the-history-of-rusticated-concrete-blocks/
Hallman, Amy. Personal Interview. 7 July 2022.
Roginski, Ken. “Decorative Concrete Block.” The Old House Guy. https://www.oldhouseguy.com/decorative-concrete-block/. 2018.
The November 14 meeting of the Historic Landmarks Commission will be a virtual meeting. Please note there will be no accommodation for any in-person attendance. If you need special accommodations, please contact the HLC office at 980-314-7660.
For those interested in speaking at the meeting, please register by 4 pm on November 14 by emailing email@example.com.
1. Consideration of HLC Minutes
2. Chair’s Report: William Hughes
3. Public Comment Period (Up to 3 Minutes Per Person)
4. Financial Report: Jack Thomson
5. Consent Agenda for the Ashford House, 241 Hoskins Avenue Drive, Charlotte
6. HLC Closed Session to Discuss a Legal Matter
7. Survey Committee Report: Brian Clarke
A. Next Meeting: November 30 at 6pm
B. Renfrow Commercial Properties Revised Designation Report: Tommy Warlick
The Survey Committee presents a seconded motion to the Historic Landmarks Commission that it process the Renfrow Commercial Properties for historic landmark designation including the exteriors of the ca. 1900 frame building, the ca. 1920 gin operator’s house, and the ca. 1950 brick commercial building and the associated tax parcels. The Committee unanimously approved the motion.
8. HLC Staff Report
A. Historic Markers
C. Adventure Club Recap – Steele Creek Presbyterian Church Cemetery Preservation Event
9. Old Business
10. New Business
The next meeting of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission will be held virtually on Monday, November 14 at 6 pm.
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