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Lexington Residential Historic District


Chestnut Street, Lexington Residential Historic District

Photo: Chestnut Street, Lexington Residential Historic District, Heather Fearnbach, photographer, 2005, National Register of Historic Places, NR#07000350

The Lexington Residential Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [†] Adaptation copyright © 2011, The Gombach Group.

Description

The Lexington Residential Historic District contains the earliest (late-nineteenth century) residential sections of town; platted early-to-mid-twentieth century neighborhoods — Park Place, Robbins Heights, Courtenay, Rosemary Park, Hillcrest, Oak Crest, and Westover Heights; and the Lexington City Cemetery. The district lies one block northwest of the commercial core of Lexington (most of which is included in the Uptown Lexington Historic District — National Register, 1996), and encompasses approximately 264 acres, 751 primary and 183 secondary resources. One property, Grimes School, was previously listed in the National Register (1988).

Most of the streets and avenues in the Lexington Residential Historic District follow an irregular grid pattern, although the Courtenay and Hillcrest subdivisions north of Center Street have curvilinear streets laid out by Charlotte landscape architect Earle Sumner Draper, and Westside Drive winds along the western edge of the district. Lexington's orientation does not follow true north/south compass directions, so, for the sake of clarity, the description is written as though numbered streets and avenues run east/west and the named streets and drives north/south. The Lexington Residential Historic District is roughly bounded by State Street on the east, West Fifth Street on the north, Martin Street, Westside Drive and Southbound Street on the west, and West Ninth Avenue on the south. The eastern boundary is particularly irregular in order to exclude modern, altered, and demolished historic resources on State and West Center Streets. These streets serve as the primary north/south and east/west traffic arteries in the district, respectively, and have thus experienced the most loss of older housing stock.

The majority of the land within the Lexington Residential Historic District is devoted to single-family residential use interspersed with some recent and historic multi-family housing. Commercial and municipal development has encroached on the edges and along the main traffic corridors of the district, and some residences, particularly on West Center Street, have been converted into offices. The Winston-Salem Southbound Railroad line is just west of the Lexington Residential Historic District, and a cluster of one-story, brick, mid-twentieth century commercial buildings stands at the west end of the 500 block of West Fifth Avenue near the railroad tracks. The 1954 General Robert F. Sink Armory at 201 West Ninth Avenue is the Lexington Residential Historic District's southernmost property. First Baptist Church has occupied a prominent lot on West Third Avenue since 1954. The imposing brick Grimes School, executed in 1930 in the Colonial Revival style, is located on a large parcel at the west end of Hege Drive, adjacent to Grimes Park. Lexington City Cemetery, an approximately fourteen-acre burial ground established in the mid-eighteenth century, is roughly bounded by Salem Street, West Third Street, North State Street, and West Fifth Street, and situated in the northern quadrant of the district.

Development in the Lexington Residential Historic District is fairly dense, although all houses have front and back yards and narrow side yards. Setback from the public right-of-way and spatial arrangements vary throughout the district. Stylish two-story residences on West First, Second, and Third Avenues are situated on large lots with deep setbacks. On Vance, Park, and Williams Streets, one-story Bungalows built in the 1920s are positioned near the street and close to one another resulting in a harmonious rhythm of form, massing, and materials. The lots on the north side of Westside Drive in Rosemary Park were further subdivided only a few years after the neighborhood was first platted, creating a very dense concentration of narrow parcels, upon which modest houses, primarily Bungalows, were constructed. In some sections of the Lexington Residential Historic District, such as the western portions of West Third Avenue, where dwellings stand near the right-of-way, brick and concrete retaining walls bordering the sidewalk create a more distinct separation of space between house lots and the street. Elsewhere, expansive front lawns such as those on West Second Avenue create buffers between public spaces and private homes. The commercial and office buildings within the district replaced residences, and thus retain a similar setback from the sidewalk. Most properties are shaded by mature deciduous and evergreen trees, and foundation and ornamental plantings are prevalent. Concrete sidewalks serve the residential area and connect it to downtown.

Most of the buildings in the Lexington Residential Historic District were constructed from circa 1900 through 1956. The locally significant district contains a mix of nationally popular residential styles common in the first half of the twentieth century, ranging from modest one-story Queen Anne cottages and bungalows to two-story Colonial Revival, Tudor Revival, and Mediterranean Revival dwellings. Minimal Traditional and Ranch houses appeared in the district in the 1940s and 1950s. Most houses are frame and one or two stories in height. Weatherboard and other types of wood, brick and synthetic siding are the most typical exterior sheathing materials, although stone veneer was used on a few dwellings. Apartment buildings and duplexes stand among the single-family homes. Detached garages, sheds and apartments accompany some dwellings. Garages are usually one-story, front-gable, frame buildings, but some brick apartments and garages built to complement the dwelling are found behind or to the side of their principal resources.

Lexington City Cemetery is the Lexington Residential Historic District's earliest resource. A stone wall runs along the Salem and West Third Street sides of the cemetery, while the West Fourth and North State Street sides are lined by a wrought-iron fence. A system of asphalt driveways wind through the burial ground and around clusters of evergreen and deciduous trees. Most of the markers are granite or marble headstones and footstones, but some obelisks and vaults, characteristic of Christian burial grounds dating to the Victorian era, are located in the oldest (southeast) quadrant of the graveyard, near North State Street. A stone monument marks the approximate center of the "old cemetery begun around 1740." A tall obelisk erected in memory of Andrew Caldcleugh (1744-1821) appears to be one of the oldest extant grave markers. A newer section of the cemetery is located on the east side of West Fourth Street.

Hillside, a Greek Revival house constructed at the terminus of West First Avenue in 1854, contains the oldest building fabric in the Lexington Residential Historic District. However, the house was cut in half, moved, and substantially remodeled in 1919. The dwelling at 139 West First Avenue is one half; the other half faced West Second Avenue and is no longer extant.

The earliest intact residences in the Lexington Historic District date to the late nineteenth century. L-plan and triple-A roofed houses with little or no ornamentation, I-houses, one-story hip-roofed Queen Anne cottages, and more elaborate two-story dwellings characterized by the asymmetrical massing of the Queen Anne style are found throughout the district, but the greatest concentration of such resources is in the southern section. Mass-produced millwork brackets, friezes, porch posts, balusters, and decorative wood shingles were used to embellish some of the homes. Other forms seen in the Lexington Residential Historic District are minimally-adorned gable-front bungalows and triple-A cottages, which are one-story, single-pile, center-passage dwellings with a front-gable centered on the front roof slope of a side-gable roof. The I-house — a simple, one-room deep, two-story, side-gable form with a central passage, built throughout North Carolina from the early 1800s into the early 1900s — also occasionally displays a triple-A roof. Dwellings on West Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Avenues, which are shown on the 1913 Sanborn map and the 1916-17 city directory map and appear to have been constructed between 1890 and 1910, are good examples of these house types.

A few properties constructed during this period represent other common late nineteenth/early twentieth century styles and forms. The Brookshire House, built on South Main Street around 1900 and later moved to 204 Salem Street, is a modest, two-story, three-bay, weather-boarded dwelling with a low hip roof and bracketed eaves characteristic of the Italianate style. A small cluster of circa 1910 Wennonah Mill houses on South State Street and West Ninth Avenue — which constitute the only surviving Wennonah Mill housing on the west side of South Main Street — are classic examples of modest, frame mill houses.

Bungalows and Craftsman-influenced houses are widespread in the Lexington Residential Historic District. A cross-gable roof, recessed front porch supported by square posts on brick piers, wood shingle siding, stepped false beams, and exposed rafter ends characterize the one-story frame Craftsman Bungalow built at 316 West Third Avenue circa 1920. The N. Earl and Daphne Rose House, constructed circa 1920 at 306 West Second Avenue, is a hip-roofed Craftsman Foursquare with a shed-roofed porch supported by square paneled posts on brick piers, weatherboards on the first story, and wood shingles on the second. Even some of the plainest dwellings in the neighborhood, like the front-gable-roofed frame house at 211 Williams Street, sport Craftsman elements such as triangular eave brackets and nine-over-one window sash.

The influence of the Colonial Revival is evident in the Lexington Residential Historic District from the 1910s through the post-World War II period. Some Queen Anne and Craftsman dwellings manifest Colonial Revival features such as Tuscan porch columns. The circa 1925 J.G. and Edith P. Hege House at 501 Westside Drive is a good example of this trend, as the one-story, front-gable bungalow has weatherboards with wood shingles and false beams in the gables, exposed rafter ends, and a gabled front porch supported by Tuscan columns. Most of the Colonial Revival houses from the period are modest dwellings with symmetrical facades and classical or Georgian nuances, often executed in brick veneer. Finely detailed, expansive examples of the style occupy prominent lots in the district, particularly on West Second and West Third Avenues.

The circa 1948 G. Arthur and Maggie Thomason House at 219 West Second Avenue is an excellent example of a post-war dwelling with a Colonial Revival appearance. The pilasters and entablature flanking the central entrance and the flat arches with keystones over the windows serve as the only ornamentation on the austere, stone, two-story, three-bay house. First Baptist Church, constructed at 201 West Third Avenue in 1954, also reflects the enduring influence of the Colonial Revival in Lexington.

As in many neighborhoods that developed during the first half of the twentieth century, the Lexington Residential Historic District includes examples of period revival styles, most notably the English cottage form, also called the Period Cottage, and the Tudor Revival style. Winston-Salem architect Joseph T. Levesque designed the circa 1926 Charles M. and Jean Wall House at 19 Williams Circle, a picturesque Tudor Revival dwelling with an asymmetrical plan, a gable-on-hip roof, casement windows, and shed and gabled dormers. Undulating brick courses with stone and stucco accents and wood shingles in the gables give the house a whimsical flair. The house at 105 Chestnut Street is another notable example of the Tudor Revival style. The circa 1927 dwelling, executed in brick with stuccoed and wood shingled gables, features a steeply-pitched, cross-gable roof, wood casement windows, and arched entries. The circa 1940 Period Cottage at 5 Hillcrest Circle is a minimalistic example of the style — its only references to its English cottage antecedents being a slightly flared, projecting front-gable bay and arched door openings.

Several Mediterranean Revival style residences are located in the Lexington Residential Historic District. The circa 1920 William W. and Sadie L. Woodruff House at 300 West Second Avenue is a classic example of the style. The two-story brick building has a green tile hip roof with a bracketed cornice, an entry framed by sidelights and a fanlight, a gabled entry porch supported by Tuscan columns, a screened side porch, and a front terrace with brick posts spanned by a wood balustrade. Cabell and Daisy Philpott built a more expansive Mediterranean Revival dwelling at 209 West Second Avenue in 1927. The red tile roof, recessed entry with sidelights and a transom, and French doors across the facade are typical of the style, but the Palladian window in the central bay below a gabled parapet is a distinctive touch.

The Minimal Traditional style began appearing just before World War II and proved very popular in the last half of the 1940s. In Lexington, Minimal Traditional houses took several forms including a side-gabled dwelling with or without a front-facing gable. The one-story brick house Howard and Betty Fite constructed at 402 West Fourth Avenue circa 1948 has a side-gable roof with a projecting front-gable bay and a flat-roofed porch supported by Tuscan columns. The circa 1951 Frank and Geraldine R. Johnson House at 406 West Fourth Avenue is a one-story, German-sided dwelling with a projecting front-gable bay, a shed-roofed entry porch with square posts and a wood railing, and a screened side porch.

A small number of apartment buildings were constructed in the Lexington Residential Historic District from the 1920s through the 1940s. The Parkview Apartments on West Third Avenue are the most distinctive. The three-story, brick buildings were named due to their location on the edge of the Ford Estate, which later became a city park and is now the parking lot for First Baptist Church. The facade of Parkview Apartments No. 1, constructed circa 1927, is ornamented with brick pilasters, an arched window and a cast-stone panel inscribed with the building name in the flat parapet. The circa 1930 Parkview Apartments No. 2 boasts a more elaborate Mission-style parapet and a cast-stone Tudor Revival entrance surround.

In the 1950s and 1960s, the Ranch house, with its low-pitched roof and open floor plan, enjoyed popularity in Lexington. Ranch houses were built on undeveloped lots throughout the neighborhood. The Joe H. and Marguerite T. Leonard House, constructed circa 1950 at 5 Grimes Circle, is a one-story, frame example with a side-gable roof and an attached carport. Rosemary Drive, a short, T-shaped street near the western end of West Third Avenue, contains a concentration of Ranches. The circa 1955 Thomas F. and Louise F. Colvin House at 301 Rosemary Drive is a one-story, brick, hip-roofed Ranch house with wide eaves, casement windows and a recessed entry.

The few industrial and commercial buildings constructed on the outer edges of the Lexington Residential Historic District are modest in scale and ornamentation. The Lexington Shirt Corporation Factory/Hulin Lumber Company at 410 Westside Drive, constructed around 1927 and expanded circa 1955, is a one-story brick building with a stepped parapet and metal sash windows. The one-story-on-basement, brick, circa 1945 Koontz Brothers Hosiery Mill at 500 Westside Drive has a front-gable roof and stepped parapets on the facade and rear elevation, metal sash windows, and a plate-glass door with glass-block sidelights recessed in slightly-projecting bay on the facade. The entrance recess features rounded corners of brick headers; a flat hood with rounded corners shelters the entrance. The circa 1951 Nicholson Supermarket at 525 West Fifth Avenue is a one-story brick building with a flat-roof, plate glass windows and single-leaf glass doors on the facade.

The Lexington Residential Historic District encompasses an intact, cohesive collection of domestic, religious, commercial, industrial, and educational buildings spanning the early to the mid-twentieth century. Most of the housing stock dates to the high point of Lexington's growth and development in the 1910s and 1920s. Although some of the historic properties have been altered with the installation of modern windows and synthetic siding and a small number of modern buildings post-dating the period of significance have been constructed, the Lexington Residential Historic District retains a high degree of integrity. Eighty-nine percent of the 751 primary resources are contributing.

Significance

The Lexington Residential Historic District in Davidson County meets National Register of Historic Places criterion for Architecture and Art, and Community Planning and Development. The area contains the earliest (late-nineteenth century) intact residential sections of town; platted early-to-mid-twentieth century neighborhoods — Park Place, Robbins Heights, Courtenay, Rosemary Park, Hillcrest, Oak Crest, and Westover Heights; and the Lexington City Cemetery. One property, Grimes School, was previously listed in the National Register (1988). The period of significance begins circa 1821, the date of one of the earliest marked graves in Lexington City Cemetery, and extends to 1957, including the majority of the properties in the district. Lexington City Cemetery meets criterion consideration as it derives its primary significance from its unique funerary art.

Most buildings in the Lexington Residential Historic District were constructed between 1900 and 1956. The locally significant district contains a mix of nationally popular residential styles common in the first half of the twentieth century, ranging from modest one-story Queen Anne cottages and bungalows to commodious two-story Colonial, Tudor, and Mediterranean Revival dwellings. Architects including William Roy Wallace and Joseph T. Levesque of Winston-Salem designed stylish houses for Lexington residents during the 1920s and 1930s. A small number of apartment buildings, including the distinctive Parkview Apartments on West Third Avenue, were erected from the 1920s through the 1940s. Property owners constructed Minimal Traditional and Ranch houses on vacant lots in the district in the 1940s and 1950s. Eighty-nine percent of the 751 primary resources are contributing. Noncontributing resources include historic residences with alterations such as large additions and synthetic siding, modest Ranch houses built after the period of significance, and recently constructed sheds, garages, and carports.

The Lexington Residential Historic District is also significant in the area of Community Planning and Development. The district encompasses residential areas that grew organically as Lexington's population increased in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries as well as small platted neighborhoods laid out between the World Wars. While the Lexington Residential Historic District was not platted as one large suburb, it serves as Lexington's best example of the suburban development experienced in towns and cities across the country in the early twentieth century. Most of the streets and avenues in the Lexington Residential Historic District follow an irregular grid pattern, although the Courtenay and Hillcrest neighborhoods north of Center Street have curvilinear streets laid out by Charlotte landscape architect Earle Sumner Draper, and Westside Drive winds along the western edge of the district.

Historical Background and Community Planning and Development Context

Early settlers were awarded land grants in the mid-1700s in the vicinity of what would become Lexington, but the first reference to the town of Lexington does not appear in Rowan County deeds until 1790, when Michael Beard divided approximately thirty acres of his land into four quadrants bisected by Main Street and cross streets and began to sell small parcels. According to local tradition, the settlement was named Lexington soon after the April 19, 1775, Battle of Lexington, Massachusetts. The community had a post office by 1800, and the federal census of 1810, the first to list the population of the town independently of the county, enumerated eighty-three residents.[1]

Davidson County was created from a portion of Rowan County in 1822; Lexington became the county seat in 1824 and was incorporated in 1827. The Lexington Manufacturing Company, a steam-powered cotton mill constructed in 1839, was the first large-scale industrial enterprise in town. After the mill burned in 1844, development was slow until a North Carolina Railroad line traversed Davidson County in 1855, connecting the eastern and western parts of the state and providing the impetus for commercial farming and the development of textile and furniture industries.[2]

The anticipation of the arrival of the railroad in the 1850s resulted in Lexington's first building boom, which culminated in the completion of a new courthouse in 1858. The commercial district extended from the courthouse along Main Street by 1885, when the first Sanborn maps were produced for the area. Industrial buildings were also located close to the center of town. John D. Grimes and Thomas J. Grimes constructed a four-story, frame, steam-powered flour mill one block west of Main Street in 1879, and soon expanded into a four-story brick addition. William E. Holt established Wennonah Cotton Mills in 1886, sparking development east of Main Street. M.H. Pinnix, who served as the mayor of Lexington from 1886 to 1888, reported that more streets were graded and sidewalks laid in 1888 than ever before. William A. Watson and D.K. Cecil moved their brick-making machine from Concord to Lexington in 1890, facilitating the manufacture of stronger, more durable, and smoother building brick at a most opportune time, as merchants, tradesmen, industrialists, bankers, doctors, and lawyers erected businesses, offices, and homes in the county seat.[3]

The influx of laborers for new businesses resulted in the population more than doubling — from 626 to 1,440 — between 1890 and 1900. The population increase fueled a need for additional housing, and dwellings for the both the elite and working classes were built southwest of the central commercial district. Amenities such as telephone and electric service were available to Lexington residents by 1897.[4]

As the twentieth century dawned, Lexington, like much of the state, was poised for continued growth and expansion. A special 1906 issue of The Dispatch proclaimed Davidson County "the center of Piedmont North Carolina, Section of Golden Promise, A Land Where Progress Reigns." A Commercial History of the State of North Carolina, published in 1908 by the North Carolina Division of the Travelers Protective Association, declared that: "Lexington, North Carolina, presents in a nutshell the story of the new South. In less than a decade it has developed from a straggling village to a splendid modern town, bustling with activity, throbbing with new-found energy, accomplishing each day more than the old town did in twelve months...About one and one-half millions are invested in manufacturing; the output is valued at about three millions; fifteen hundred workingmen find employment?.Industrially, educationally, socially, Lexington is an ideal town."[5]

By 1911, the Winston-Salem Southbound and the Southern Railway passed through Lexington, connecting the growing town to markets throughout the eastern United States. The Lexington Board of Trade made a concerted effort to bring farmers downtown to shop when they delivered and received goods at the freight depots on either side of town. Civic leaders placed a high value on maintaining the attractive appearance of their community, organizing a clean-up week in 1912 complete with cash prizes. City Council appropriated funds for street naming and numbering the same year, and erected signposts throughout town. A series of ordinances addressed noise and air pollution issues by restricting the length of factory whistle blasts to less than one minute and motorcycle speed in town to less than fifteen miles per hour, and requiring that hog pens be constructed at least two hundred feet away from any business or residence.[6]

Most Lexington residents worked at furniture and textile manufacturing industries or in auxiliary service enterprises. Dixie Furniture, Star Milling, Valley Tie and Lumber, Davidson County Creamery, Dacotah Cotton Mills, Nokomis Cotton Mills, Erlanger Cotton Mills, Shoaf-Sink Hosiery Mills, Lexington Coal and Ice, Peerless Mattress, Lexington Coca Cola Bottling, Lee Veneer, Lexington Chair, Industrial Manufacturing, Lexington Mirror, and Southern Upholstery are just some of the companies that began operating in Lexington between 1900 and 1920. Company owners and employees lived close to the downtown commercial and industrial area, and with the exception of a few pockets of mill housing, were scattered throughout the historic district. John H. Mattison, a Dacotah Mills superintendent, resided in a modest frame bungalow at 302 West Second Avenue. Luther Dane, a foreman at Dixie Furniture, lived in a side-gable bungalow at 315 West Third Avenue, while Jacob Wagoner, an employee of Nokomis Mills, resided just down the street at 307 West Third Avenue. Most Erlanger Mills workers lived in the Erlanger village north of town, but a few, including O. Klutz Sharpe, an assistant manager at the Erlanger Community Club who occupied a hip-roofed cottage at 500 West Second Avenue, lived in Lexington. The rapid surge in Lexington's population during the first two decades of the twentieth century — from 1,440 residents in 1900 to 5,254 in 1920 — fueled another residential and commercial building boom and a great diversification of available goods and services.[7]

Lexington was not alone in its rapid growth, nor in the fact that much of the development was occurring in newly platted neighborhoods. The populations of many North Carolina cities doubled or tripled between 1900 and 1930. People moved to Charlotte and Greensboro to work in the textile mills, to Winston-Salem and Durham for textile and tobacco manufacturing jobs, to Wilmington for shipping and railroad work, and to Raleigh to work in state government or at State College. Following these primary economic engines were banks, construction firms, restaurants, and retail outlets that created even more opportunities for a regular paycheck.[8]

Lexington's residential area continued to expand to the northwest in the 1910s. The Park Land Company's first subdivision, Park Place, consisted of an almost rectangular neighborhood arranged in triangular sections on either side of West Second Avenue. Payne, Williams, Vance, and Park Streets served as the north/south corridors in the neighborhood. The first Park Place plat is dated November 1909; a 1917 plat delineates the "Robberts Addition," a narrow section of lots on the northeast edge of the subdivision. Park Place is clearly visible on the map of Lexington in the 1916-1917 city directory, but only a few houses had been constructed in the neighborhood by that time, and most of them faced West Second Avenue.[9]

Robbins Heights, another early Lexington subdivision, was presumably developed by Foy and Shemwell, as their name appears on the 1914 plat of a "Boulevard Addition to Robbins Heights." An earlier plat bears the name of the Davidson County Development Company. The subdivision encompassed several blocks of West Eighth and Ninth Avenues and the cross streets from what is now Myrtle (originally Maple), to Robbins (originally North), Ford, and Hargrave Streets. J. Edgar Foy and Dermont Shemwell were the purveyors of real estate, insurance, livestock, cotton, buggies, wagons, and Fords in addition to serving as the cashier and president of First National Bank, respectively. B.E. Everhart managed the real estate division of Foy and Shemwell in 1917, when large company ads appeared in The Dispatch encouraging Lexington residents to purchase real estate.[10]

Foy and Shemwell developed the Courtenay subdivision that year, a crescent-shaped neighborhood bounded by West Center Street, Williams Street and West Second Street. Vance Circle arcs through the middle of the property, which was laid out by Earle Sumner Draper, a prominent Charlotte landscape architect. Courtenay was one of Draper's first projects as an independent practitioner. His firm, established in 1917, designed hundreds of subdivisions, mill villages, college campuses, estates, and parks throughout the southeastern United States before Draper left private practice in 1933. Draper specialized in upper-class residential subdivisions characterized by curvilinear, tree-lined streets in the tradition of Frederick Law Olmsted. North Carolina examples of his subdivision designs include Hayes-Barton in Raleigh, Forest Hills in Durham, Eastover in Charlotte, and Emerywood in High Point.[11]

Lexington, like most of the nation, saw little development during World War I, but the population grew from 5,254 in 1920 to 9,652 in 1930, once again creating the need for additional housing.[12] The Rosemary Park Land Company laid out the Rosemary Park subdivision in May 1920. Bounded on the west by the Winston-Salem Southbound Railroad right-of-way, the neighborhood extends down Westside Drive to just south of Burgin Avenue (now Burgin Drive), along Station Drive to West Third Avenue, and north on Westside Drive to West Center Street. The northwestern section of the subdivision also encompasses the blocks of Martin, Payne, and Williams Streets between West Second and Third Avenues, a small section of which was originally platted as part of Park Place.[13] On September 14, 1922, an article in The Dispatch reported that: L.J. Peacock recently completed a handsome residence of seven rooms, with plenteous closets, bath room, sleeping porch, etc., which is now occupied by Mr. and Mrs. C.C. Wall and Mr. and Mrs. C.F. Wall. Just south of this the foundation is already down for another residence of similar size and pattern, which Mr. Peacock is building, and he expects shortly to build a third new residence on an adjoining lot. West of these and some distance from the splendid residence of Graham Hege, which was erected last year, Mrs. J.W. Trantham is erecting a modern residence..."[14]

Burgin and Critcher (perhaps William O. Burgin and Percy V. Critcher, both attorneys) further subdivided twenty lots on the south side of Westside Drive and the east side of Station Drive in July 1923, resulting in sixty-two narrow lots.[15] Although the lots were never completely built out, that section of Westside Drive remains one of the most densely concentrated areas of the Lexington Residential Historic District.

The Park Land Company acquired a thirty-two-acre parcel of land north of Park Place and Courtenay around 1920, and called it Hillcrest. Earle S. Draper designed the wide, curvilinear streets of the neighborhood. City water, electric, and telephone lines were extended to the new subdivision. A 1921 article in The Dispatch reported that lots ranged in size and cost with the intention of attracting a variety of buyers. However, the company did not offer the lots at a public auction, but rather reserved the right to carefully select buyers at private sale with the intention of "insuring the steady increase in the value of the property." Modest houses were constructed on the eastern sides of the development, closer to Salem Street, while Lexington's business leaders commissioned more elaborate residences on large lots facing Williams Circle, Hillcrest Circle, Second Street, and Chestnut Street. The eight-room home of Paul R. Raper, secretary of the Park Land Company, was completed in 1921 and served as the model home for the neighborhood.[16] The house, though altered, still stands at 312 Hillcrest Circle.

A 1921 newspaper article entitled "The Advantages Lexington Offers to the Home-Seeker" reported that "the home shortage situation in Lexington?has never reached a point that could be considered alarming, and at present there are abundant homes for rent or for sale, most of which are new structures that have gone up within the past few months." The article claimed that "during the past two years several new residential sections have been opened up and beautiful building lots within a few minutes walk from the center of town can be bought at a remarkably low figure."[17] By November 1922, the Manufacturers Record stated that real estate prices in Lexington were increasing "and new subdivisions opened with good demand from would-be home owners." Over one hundred "modest" houses with an average value of five thousand dollars were erected throughout town, in addition to a "goodly number of commodious and expensive houses." C.M. Thompson's Sons, a Lexington building supply company, reported a steady demand for building materials during the year, and A.S. Johnson of the Johnson Lumber Company claimed that they had as much business as they could handle.[18]

By 1927, Lexington residents occupied three thousand dwellings and enjoyed fifteen miles of paved streets and thirty miles of improved sidewalks. Fifty-seven manufacturing plants employed approximately 4,500 workers with an annual payroll of about three million dollars. The cost of living was relatively low in comparison to neighboring towns, and development opportunities seemed limitless.[19]

However, the stock market crash of October 1929 and the ensuing Great Depression slowed the economic growth of Lexington. Little new construction took place, particularly in the downtown area, and many small businesses did not survive. Mildred Ann Raper remembers that Emery E. Raper, her father-in-law and the president of Park Land Company, was forced to sell most of his investment property during this time.[20] Most Lexington factories and mills remained open, although wages were reduced. New Deal agencies provided jobs for some residents. Projects funded by the North Carolina Emergency Relief Administration in Lexington from 1932 to 1935 include repairing city streets; constructing sidewalks, privies, and sewer lines; mattress making; canning; repairing books; cutting wood and distributing commodities.[21] The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) housed and employed several hundred men in a Soil Conservation Service research and demonstration station.[22] Other CCC workers, like Albert R. Stephens, an engineer at the CCC camp, resided in Lexington neighborhoods.[23]

The economy started to recover by the late 1930s, but Lexington's population grew only slightly, numbering 10,550 in 1940. Nearly 7,000 Davidson County residents served in World War II, and those left behind were occupied with the war effort in a variety of ways, from filling vacant positions in local manufacturing plants to participating in bond drives and other volunteer efforts.[24] As building materials were in short supply, few dwellings were erected in the district during the early 1940s. The situation improved at the end of World War II, however, and returning veterans rapidly established families and created a critical need for housing, which was in short supply nationally after years of slow development during the Depression and war years. The GI Bill of 1944, which guaranteed low-interest home loans for veterans, promoted the construction of houses in new suburbs and on vacant lots in existing neighborhoods in Lexington and across the nation.

There was little land left to be developed in central Lexington by the 1940s. J.R. and T.J. Grimes planned a small addition to the Hillcrest subdivision at the end of Hege Drive across from Grimes School in 1940, but the first houses were not constructed on the crescent-shaped street (Grimes Circle) until around 1947. Westover Heights, a twenty-two lot addition to Park Place on West Center and Martin Streets, was platted in November 1944. A few good-sized parcels were subdivided in estate sales. The heirs of James D. Redwine, president of the Lexington Hardware Corporation and vice-president of the Industrial Building and Loan Association, and Jule C. Smith sold property bounded by Salem, West Third, North State, and West Second Streets, in 1946. The Carolina Land and Auction Company of Hickory handled the Redwine sale.[25]

A long article in the February 22, 1947 issue of The State magazine proclaimed Lexington to be "The Hub of the Piedmont...Where opportunity presents itself to the Industrialist, Agriculturalist and Homemaker," and, among other promotional materials, included photos of the bustling downtown and impeccably maintained houses on West Second Avenue. Active civic organizations, the construction of new schools and Memorial Hospital, updates to city utilities and modernized industrial plants were all touted as reasons to move to Lexington.[26] This type of boosterism, coupled with a post-war population influx, resulted in a 28.6 percent increase in Lexington's population — to 13,571 — by 1950. Existing neighborhoods, such as Oak Crest, developed by R.B. McRary and Woodrow McKay in the early 1920s between West Fourth and Fifth Avenues from Park to Hargrave Street, were expanded.[27] Previously undeveloped parcels, such as a large tract in Rosemary Park that became Rosemary Drive, were subdivided and new Ranch houses were constructed. Two buildings important to the history of the Lexington Residential District were erected in 1954. First Baptist Church at 201 West Third Avenue looked to the past with the construction of a substantial brick Colonial Revival sanctuary, while the General Robert F. Sink Armory at 201 West Ninth Avenue embraced the mid-century modern aesthetic.

In the decades since, the character of the Lexington Residential Historic District has remained remarkably stable, maintaining a mix of homeowners and renters, young professionals and retirees. The relatively few buildings that post-date the period of significance are of compatible form and scale, and the neighborhood still retains its early-to-mid-twentieth century character.

Architecture and Funerary Art Context

The dwellings, outbuildings, churches, factories, commercial buildings, school, and armory in the Lexington Residential Historic District represent the architectural styles and forms that were common in Lexington and throughout North Carolina from the early twentieth century through the post-World War II era. During this period, architecture reflected the social and economic changes occurring as Lexington transformed from a rural county seat to a bustling industrial town. As the population of Lexington grew, landowners near downtown took advantage of the opportunity to profit from the subdivision of their large parcels of land into smaller residential lots. This push outward from the center of town translated into the construction of houses on streets only one or two blocks beyond main arteries and commercial areas. During the first decades of the twentieth century, it was common for bank presidents and prosperous merchants to reside only one street away from store clerks and carpenters. While professionals and workers continued to live in relative close proximity to their work places and each other, the differences in the two groups' income and social standing were made clear by the size of their houses and the lots they occupied.

This disparity is very apparent in Lexington. For example, the circa 1920, imposing Colonial Revival home of David and Georgia Siceloff stands on a large lot screened by hedges at the corner of South State Street and West Sixth Avenue. Mr. Siceloff, who was the proprietor of Siceloff Manufacturing Company, resided only a street away from Arthur F. Honeycutt, who worked at Dacotah Mills, and his wife Rosa. The Honeycutts lived in a modest, one-story, triple-A roofed cottage situated close to the street on a small lot at 110 West Seventh Avenue in 1925. William A. Snyder, who was employed by the Hoover Chair Company, and his wife Eugenia occupied an almost identical house at 114 West Seventh Avenue that year.[28]

The approximately fourteen-acre Lexington City Cemetery is the earliest resource in the Lexington Residential Historic District. A stone wall runs along the Salem and West Third Street sides of the cemetery, while the West Fourth and North State Street sides are lined by a wrought-iron fence. A system of asphalt driveways wind through the burial ground and around clusters of evergreen and deciduous trees including oaks, maples, cedars, cypress, white pine and white fir. Most of the markers are granite or marble headstones and footstones, but some obelisks and vaults are located in the nineteenth century portion of the graveyard — the southeast quadrant near North State Street — and bear the family names of Riley, Caldcleugh, Greenfield, Nicholson, Payne, Horney, Conrad, Hargrave, Hillyard, McCrary, Earnhart, and Pinnix, among others. The monuments found in this section of Lexington City Cemetery reflect the influence of the nineteenth century romantic movement, which extolled nature and sentiment, as well as the mechanization of the industrial age. Monument makers inspired by a broad range of pattern books created a great variety of markers with figural images and geometric forms. The obelisk — a tapering shaft on a pedestal — was an extremely popular marker type due to its "association with Egyptian sepulchral monuments signifying eternal life beyond the earthly realm," thus embodying the "Christian belief in the eternity of the spirit."[29] A tall obelisk erected in memory of Andrew Caldcleugh (1744-1821) appears to be one of the oldest extant grave markers, although a stone monument demarcates the approximate center of the "old cemetery begun around 1740."[30] Another rough stone pyramid is topped with a modern granite plaque that states "in this large vacant space before the Civil War, Negro slaves were buried by their masters."

The early- to mid-twentieth century sections of the cemetery — located in the western and northern quadrants (bounded by Salem Street and West Fourth Street) — are primarily characterized by modest granite and marble headstones and footstones arranged in neat rows, but also contain a few examples of vernacular gravemarkers. One of the most unique markers in the cemetery is the three-dimensional, caststone, rustic log cabin that stands at the head of the graves of Charles (1861-1944) and Mary (1856-1921) Sledge. The Saltz family headstone, topped by a richly detailed replica of a Norfolk & Western engine and coal car, also displays fine craftsmanship. The "Sink Addition" to the cemetery, platted in 1949, is located on the north side of West Fourth Street.[31]

Hillside, a Greek Revival house constructed at the terminus of West First Avenue in 1854, contains the oldest building fabric in the district. However, the house was cut in half, moved, and substantially remodeled in 1919. The dwelling at 139 West First Avenue is one half; the other half faced West Second Avenue and is no longer extant. The building retains a Greek Revival surround and sidelights at the entry, but an imposing, full-height, pedimented, Neoclassical portico with Doric columns and bracketed eaves; a wraparound porch with bracketed eaves and slender Doric columns; and a second floor balcony with turned balustrade give the house a decidedly twentieth-century, Neoclassical Revival appearance.

The earliest intact residences in the Lexington Historic District date to the late nineteenth century. L-plan and triple-A roofed houses with little or no ornamentation, I-houses, one-story hip-roofed Queen Anne cottages, and more elaborate two-story dwellings characterized by the asymmetrical massing of the Queen Anne style are found throughout the district, but the greatest concentration of such resources is in the southern section. Mass-produced millwork brackets, friezes, porch posts, balusters, and decorative wood shingles were used to embellish some of the homes. Houses on West Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Avenues, which are shown on the 1913 Sanborn map and the 1916-17 city directory map and appear to have been constructed between 1890 and 1910, provide good examples of these types of dwellings. A hip-roofed porch with turned, bracketed posts, and wood-shingled gables ornament the otherwise plain, circa 1890, one-story, weatherboarded, L-plan house at 307 West Sixth Avenue. The Queen Anne cottage at 211 West Sixth Avenue is about the same age but larger and more elaborate, with a gable-on-hip roof and a hip-roofed porch with a central pedimented gable. The building retains its original windows and is clad in weatherboards with wood shingles in the gables. A triple-A roof (side-gable with a central front-gable), wood-shingled gables, and a wraparound front porch supported by turned, bracketed posts distinguish the one-story, single-pile, weatherboarded, circa 1890 house at 267 West Fifth Street. The I-house, a one-room deep, two-story, side-gable form with a central passage built throughout North Carolina from the early 1800s into the early 1900s, is also sometimes embellished with a triple-A roof, as seen in the circa 1890 example at 203 West Seventh Avenue. A wraparound porch supported by square posts, weatherboards, decorative shingles, and a diamond-shaped vent in the front gable are other original features. The Charles M. and Elizabeth Wall House at 101 West Fifth Avenue, constructed circa 1910, is a two-story, hip-roofed, weatherboarded dwelling that displays asymmetrical, Queen Anne style massing in the projecting pedimented gabled bays on the south and east elevations.

A few properties constructed during this period represent other common late nineteenth/early twentieth century styles and forms. The Brookshire House, built on South Main Street around 1900 and later moved to 204 Salem Street, is a modest, two-story, three-bay, weather-boarded dwelling with a low hip roof and bracketed eaves characteristic of the Italianate style. A small cluster of circa 1910 Wennonah Mill houses on South State Street and West Ninth Avenue — which constitute the only surviving Wennonah Mill housing on the west side of South Main Street — are classic examples of modest, frame mill houses. Most of these one-story, three-bay, single-pile, weatherboarded dwellings have side-gable roofs, hip-roofed front porches, and rear gabled wings with partially enclosed shed porches.

As the twentieth century progressed, national trends in architecture began to exert a greater influence on the design of houses in the Lexington Residential Historic District. Gustav Stickley, an American stonemason, furniture makers, and metalworker, visited England in 1898, and, upon his return home, promoted the tenants of the English Arts and Crafts movement (a reaction against the loss of manual skills and traditional crafts due to the mechanization of the Industrial Revolution) through his magazine, The Craftsman (1901-1916). The publication emphasized the use of natural, handcrafted materials and low, horizontal massing to allow for harmony between a house and its surrounding environment. Henry H. Saylor's 1911 book, Bungalows, guided the consumer through the process of planning, designing, and building informal, cozy homes. Building plans for these houses, with their wide overhanging eaves, open arrangement of rooms, and inviting porches, appeared in national magazines such as House Beautiful and The Ladies Home Journal. Stickley, Radford, Sears, Montgomery Ward, Aladdin, and others sold bungalow plans by mail.[32] Such promotion resulted in the bungalow's national popularity during the late 1910s and 1920s and the construction of scaled-down versions of the style throughout North Carolina into the early 1940s. The bungalow, which was inexpensive and easy to build, also appealed to families' desires for a modern, efficient house.

Bungalows and Craftsman-influenced houses are widespread in the Lexington Residential Historic District. A cross-gable roof, recessed front porch supported by square posts on brick piers, wood shingle siding, stepped false beams, and exposed rafter ends characterize the one-story frame bungalow built at 316 West Third Avenue circa 1920. The N. Earl and Daphne Rose House, constructed circa 1920 at 306 West Second Avenue, is a hip-roofed Craftsman Foursquare with a shed-roofed porch supported by square paneled posts on brick piers, weatherboards on the first story and wood shingles on the second. Even some of the plainest dwellings in the neighborhood, like the circa 1920 front-gable-roofed frame house at 211 Williams Street, sport Craftsman elements such as triangular eave brackets and nine-over-one window sash.

Modest bungalows continued to be constructed in the district through the early 1940s. The Hall P. and Louise B. Beck House, built at 215 Westside Drive around 1940, is a one-story, German-sided, front-gable bungalow with an inset corner porch supported by square posts spanned by a wood railing. The four-over-one sash, stepped eave brackets, and exposed rafter ends are characteristic of the style. The circa 1940 James Y. and Mary J. Morris House at 304 Westside Drive is a one-story, German-sided, side-gable bungalow with a front-gabled entry porch supported by paired posts on brick piers. The house retains original six-over-one sash, exposed rafter ends, triangular eave brackets, and a triangular gable vent.

The influence of the Colonial Revival is evident in the Lexington Residential Historic District from the 1910s through the post-World War II period. Richard Guy Wilson recently defined the Colonial Revival as "the United States most popular and characteristic expression. Neither a formal style or a movement, Colonial Revival embodies an attitude that looks to the American past for inspiration and selects forms, motifs, and symbols for replication and reuse."[33] Most of the Colonial Revival houses constructed in Lexington during the first half of the twentieth century are modest dwellings with symmetrical facades and classical, Georgian, or Federal nuances, often executed in brick veneer. Finely detailed, expansive examples of the style occupy prominent lots in the district, particularly on West Second and West Third Avenues. Some Queen Anne and Craftsman dwellings manifest Colonial Revival features such as classical porch columns. The circa 1925 J.G. and Edith P. Hege House at 501 Westside Drive is a good example of this trend, as the one-story, front-gable bungalow has weatherboards with wood shingles and false beams in the gables, exposed rafter ends and a gabled front porch supported by Tuscan columns.

The circa 1925, two-story, brick house at 23 West Sixth Avenue features Colonial Revival elements such as a pyramidal hip roof, an entry framed by sidelights and a fanlight and a gabled portico supported by Tuscan columns. The two-story Ira S. and Marguerite Brinkley House, constructed around 1925 at 202 West Third Avenue, is a fine example of a frame Colonial Revival dwelling with a side-gable roof, a multi-paned transom over the front door sheltered by a gabled pediment supported by Tuscan columns, prominent entablatures crowning the lower facade windows and a brick end chimney. The red terra cotta tile roof provides a striking contrast to the white weatherboards. The circa 1920 Carroll M. and Maurine Wall House at 208 West Third Avenue represents another variation of the Colonial Revival — the Dutch Colonial Revival — with its gambrel roof, long shed dormer across the facade and slightly recessed entry sheltered by an arched hood. A matching two-bay, front-gambrel-roofed garage stands to the rear of the house.

The 1930 Grimes School (NR 1988), located at 27 Hege Drive, is a commanding two-story, T-plan, brick Colonial Revival public building with a side-gable roof and a three-part facade. Ionic pilasters and a scrolled broken pediment with a central finial surround the recessed double-leaf entry and fretwork transom. Bands of paired 9/9 sash, (surmounted by flat arches with keystones over first-floor windows), illuminate the facade. Additional embellishment includes a wide cornice featuring swags and flutes and an octagonal cupola with a Chinese Chippendale balustrade.

The circa 1948 G. Arthur and Maggie Thomason House at 219 West Second Avenue is an excellent example of a post-war dwelling with a Colonial Revival appearance. The pilasters and entablature flanking the central entrance and the flat arches with keystones over the windows serve as the only ornamentation on the austere, stone, two-story, three-bay house. First Baptist Church, constructed at 201 West Third Avenue in 1954, also reflects the enduring influence of the Colonial Revival style in Lexington. A monumental pedimented portico with Corinthian columns and a modillion and dentil cornice dominates the facade of the brick, front-gable-roofed building. A steeple ornamented with urns and arched vents tops the bell tower on the side elevation.

As in many neighborhoods that developed during the first half of the twentieth century, the Lexington Residential Historic District includes examples of period revival styles, most notably the English cottage form, also called the Period Cottage, and the Tudor Revival style. Drawing from buildings erected in Tudor England during the late fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, such houses are usually executed in brick with false half-timbering in steeply pitched gables and feature diamond-paned or casement windows, round-arched doors and facade chimneys. Winston-Salem architect Joseph T. Levesque designed the circa 1926 Charles M. and Jean Wall House at 19 Williams Circle, a picturesque Tudor Revival dwelling with an asymmetrical plan, a gable-on-hip roof, casement windows and shed and gabled dormers. Undulating brick courses with stone and stucco accents and wood shingles in the gables give the house a whimsical flair. A curvy brick wall lines the driveway. Lloyd Rainey and Lillian Kale Hunt commissioned an almost identical house from Levesque, which was constructed at 417 South State Street circa 1927. The house at 105 Chestnut Street is another notable example of the Tudor Revival style. The circa 1927 dwelling, executed in brick with stuccoed and wood shingled gables, features a steeply-pitched, cross-gable roof, wood casement windows and arched entries. J. Matthew and Letha Morgan constructed a stone Tudor Cottage with two steeply-pitched front gables, an arched front door, wood casement windows, a stone facade chimney and stuccoed side-gable ends at 307 Hillcrest Circle in 1939. The circa 1940 Period Cottage at 5 Hillcrest Circle is a minimalistic, smaller-scale example of the style — its only references to its English cottage antecedents being a slightly flared, projecting front-gable bay and arched door openings.

Several examples of the Mediterranean Revival style are located in the district. Mediterranean Revival houses evoke villas on the Mediterranean coasts of France, Spain and Italy with their low-pitched hipped roofs covered with ceramic tiles, deep bracketed eaves, arches above large windows, French doors and symmetrical facades. The circa 1920 William W. and Sadie L. Woodruff House at 300 West Second Avenue is a classic example of the style. The two-story brick building has a green tile hip roof with a bracketed cornice, an entry framed by sidelights and a fanlight, a gabled entry porch supported by Tuscan columns, and a front terrace with brick posts spanned by a wood balustrade. The circa 1920 Joseph and Sadie Walser House, located just around the corner at 146 West First Avenue, is almost identical in form and stylistic elements, but has a stuccoed exterior and hipped dormers. The main block of the Buchanan-Koontz House, constructed at 409 South State Street circa 1929, is flanked by an open porch and an enclosed sunporch, but is otherwise identical to the Woodruff House. Both the Buchanan-Koontz and Woodruff Houses feature Mediterranean Revival style garages designed to compliment the houses. Cabell and Daisy Philpott built a more expansive Mediterranean Revival dwelling at 209 West Second Avenue in 1927. The red tile roof, recessed entry with sidelights and a transom, and French doors across the facade are typical of the style, but the Palladian window in the central bay below a gabled parapet is a distinctive touch.

As construction revived after World War II, some North Carolina families sought the comfort and reassurance of building in styles of the past such as the Colonial Revival, but, more commonly, new houses took on a decidedly modern appearance. Small homes (usually one-story) with minimal detailing often reflected a stripped-down Colonial Revival influence; thus, the style, which began appearing just before the war and proved very popular in the last half of the 1940s, has been called Minimal Traditional by architectural historians. In Lexington, Minimal Traditional houses took several forms including a side-gabled dwelling with or without a front-facing gable.

The one-story brick house Howard and Betty Fite constructed at 402 West Fourth Avenue circa 1948 has a side-gable roof with a projecting front-gable bay and a flat-roofed porch supported by Tuscan columns. The circa 1951 Frank and Geraldine R. Johnson House at 406 West Fourth Avenue is a one-story, German-sided dwelling with projecting front-gable bay, a shed-roofed entry porch with square posts and a wood railing and a screened side porch.

A small number of apartment buildings were constructed in the Lexington Residential Historic District from the 1920s through the 1940s. The Parkview Apartments on West Third Avenue are the most distinctive. The three-story, brick buildings were named due to their location on the edge of the Ford Estate, which later became a city park and is now the parking lot for First Baptist Church. The facade of Parkview Apartments No. 1, constructed circa 1927, is ornamented with brick pilasters, an arched window and a cast-stone panel inscribed with the building name in the flat parapet. The circa 1930 Parkview Apartments No. 2 boasts a more elaborate Mission-style parapet and a cast-stone Tudor Revival entrance surround.

Apartments constructed in the 1940s and 1950s are much more austere. The two-story, brick, hip-roofed, circa 1945 apartment building at 401 West Fourth Avenue retains original metal casement windows and a wide brick interior chimney, but the gabled hood over the front door appears to be a later addition. The Bellamy Apartments Nos. 1, 2, and 3, constructed at 10 West Sixth Avenue around 1951, are two-story, brick, side-gable roofed Colonial Revival buildings with flat-roofed, full-height entry porch supported by decorative metal posts. Circular windows pierce the facade above the front entrances, which are flanked by pilasters and fanlights. The center bay of each building (under the porches) is sheathed in board-and-batten siding. The Bellamy Apartments retain metal casement windows.

The Ranch house, with its long, rectangular form, low-pitched roof, and open floor plan, appeared in Lexington by the 1950s. The Ranch style, loosely based on the rural homes of ranchers in the western United States, originated in California in the 1930s and by the middle of the century it had been adapted throughout the country to meet the needs of families who desired a low-cost dwelling with living area on one level and enough space for all its members to enjoy their privacy. Craftsman and Modern design also influenced the Ranch style with their emphasis on connectivity between indoor and outdoor spaces, the use of natural materials, and exposed structural elements. Ranch houses in Lexington Residential Historic District are modest in both size and design; most have brick and synthetic siding exteriors with broad chimneys and minimal detailing.

Ranch houses were built on undeveloped lots throughout the neighborhood in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. The Joe H. and Marguerite T. Leonard House, constructed circa 1950 at 5 Grimes Circle, is a one-story, frame example with a side-gable roof and an attached carport. Three side-gable-roofed, brick Ranches were constructed at 9, 11, and 13 Grimes Circle in the 1970s. Rosemary Drive, a short, T-shaped street near the western end of West Third Avenue, also contains a concentration of Ranch houses. The circa 1955 Thomas F. and Louise F. Colvin House at 301 Rosemary Drive is a one-story, brick, hip-roofed example with wide eaves, casement windows and a recessed entry. The Robert and Hazel Pickett House, constructed circa 1955 at 303 Rosemary Drive, is a one-story, brick Ranch with a side-gable roof and an attached carport.

The few industrial and commercial buildings constructed on the outer edges of the Lexington Residential Historic District are modest in scale and ornamentation. The Lexington Shirt Corporation Factory/Hulin Lumber Company at 410 Westside Drive, constructed around 1927 and expanded circa 1955, is a one-story brick building with a stepped parapet and metal sash windows. The one-story-on-basement, brick, circa 1945 Koontz Brothers Hosiery Mill at 500 Westside Drive has a front-gable roof and stepped parapets on the facade and rear elevation, metal sash windows, and a plate-glass door with glass-block sidelights recessed in slightly-projecting bay on the facade. The entrance recess features rounded corners of brick headers; a flat hood with rounded corners shelters the entrance. The circa 1951 Nicholson Supermarket at 525 West Fifth Avenue is a one-story brick building with a flat-roof, plate glass windows and single-leaf glass doors on the facade.

The 1954 General Robert F. Sink Armory at 201 West Ninth Avenue is one of eight Reversed One-Unit type armories constructed in North Carolina between 1953 and 1956.[34] The red brick, mid-century Modernist building has two distinct parts: a central, flat-roofed drill hall, and a flat-roofed, one-story, U-shaped section containing offices, arms storage rooms, a kitchen, a locker room, and restrooms that wraps around the drill hall's west, north, and east elevations. Concrete window sills and aluminum coping contribute to the building's streamlined, modern appearance. Bands of large casement windows illuminate the drill hall, while smaller casement windows line the north and west elevations of the one-story section. A recessed porch on the north elevation provides sheltered access to the building. In addition to its function as a National Guard armory, the city used the drill hall as a recreational center from the 1960s through the 1980s. The building is also used for community functions and as an emergency shelter.

The Lexington Residential Historic District contains the most cohesive group of late-nineteenth to mid-twentieth century dwellings in town. The Lexington Residential Historic District's wide range of architectural styles, from Queen Anne cottages to Ranch houses, is unmatched anywhere in Lexington. Other pockets of early twentieth century residences are located outside of the district on West Fifth and Sixth Streets and West Fifth Avenue, and there are intact collections of mill houses in mill villages including Erlanger and Wennonah, but Lexington's periods of economic growth are clearly manifested in the types and styles of homes constructed north and west of the downtown commercial district.

No comparable residential historic districts have been surveyed in Davidson County — in terms of degree of integrity, size, and stylistic variety, the Lexington Residential Historic District stands alone. Thomasville is the only city in Davidson County that is of similar size to Lexington; actually, from 1920 to 1940 Thomasville's population was slightly larger. An architectural survey of Thomasville, completed in 2004, delineated several potential residential historic districts, but they are very small in comparison to the Lexington Residential Historic District. Intact groupings of early-twentieth dwellings stand on Lexington Avenue, Randolph Street, and around Colonial Drive School.[35] The Salem Street Historic District (NR 2006) contains twenty-five architecturally significant resources — twenty-three houses and two churches — erected between 1861 and 1957 in a variety of styles from Queen Anne to Colonial Revival and Craftsman. The district also includes distinctive examples of houses executed in styles not found in the Lexington Residential Historic District, including Second Empire, Richardsonian Romanesque, and Late Gothic Revival.[36]

Endnotes

  1. M. Jewell Sink and Mary Green Matthews, Pathfinders Past and Present: A History of Davidson County, North Carolina (High Point: Hall Printing Company, 1972), 71-75; Laura A.W. Phillips, "Uptown Lexington Historic District," National Register of Historic Places Nomination, 1996, Section 8, page 35.
  2. Sink and Matthews, 78; Catherine W. Bishir and Michael T. Southern, A Guide to the Historic Architecture of Piedmont North Carolina (Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 2003), 406.
  3. Sink and Matthews, 83-84, 90-93; Paul Baker Touart, Building the Backcountry: An Architectural History of Davidson County, North Carolina (Lexington: The Davidson County Historical Association, 1987), 31.
  4. Sink and Matthews, 90-93.
  5. Ibid., 93. The Winston-Salem Southbound Railroad line and the railroad right-of-way is just west of the district.
  6. Ibid., 96-97.
  7. M. Jewell Sink, Davidson County: Economic and Social (Chapel Hill: Department of Rural Socio-Economics, 1925), 36-42; Ernest H. Miller, 1925-26 Lexington City Directory (Asheville: Commercial Service Co., 1926); Howard M. Brunsman, Chief, Population and Housing Division, United States Census of Population: 1950, Number of Inhabitants, North Carolina (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1951), 33-9.
  8. Catherine W. Bishir, "Introduction," In Early Twentieth-Century Suburbs in North Carolina, edited by Catherine W. Bishir and Lawrence S. Earley, (Raleigh: North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, 1985), 3.
  9. N.R. Kinney, "Map of Lexington, N.C.," 1916-1917 Lexington City Directory (Florence, SC: Charles S. Gardiner Directory Publishers, 1917); C.M. Miller, "Map of Park Place, Lexington, N.C.," November 1909, Plat Book 1, page 67; N. R. Kinney, Map of Robberts Addition to Park Land Co., Lexington, N.C.," April 24, 1917, Plat Book 1, page 20, Davidson County Courthouse, Lexington.
  10. Jerry Respers, "Robbins Addition to Lexington, North Carolina," no date, Plat Book 1, page 68; "Map of Robbins Heights," no date, Plat Book 1, page 74; "Map of Robbins Heights, Lexington, N.C., Property of the Davidson County Development Company," illegible date, Plat Book 1, pages 82-83; A.F. Dean and J.C. Hicks, "Boulevard Addition to Robbins Heights, Belonging to Foy & Shemwell, Lexington, N.C.," October 1914, Plat Book 2, page 13; 1916-1917 Lexington City Directory; "Stop, Look, Listen! Real Estate Is Now On!," The Dispatch, April 11, 1917.
  11. E.S. Draper and N. R. Kinney, "Plan for the Subdivision of Courtenay, Lexington, N.C., Property of Foy & Shemwell," September 1917, Plat Book 2, page 24, Davidson County Courthouse, Lexington; Thomas W. Hanchett, "Earle Sumner Draper: City Planner of the New South," In Early Twentieth-Century Suburbs in North Carolina, 79; Frank R. Burgraff and Charles E. Aguar, "Earle Sumner Draper," In Pioneers of American Landscape Design, edited by Charles A. Birnbaum and Robin Carson (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2000), 100-103.
  12. Sink and Mathews, 103.
  13. N.R. Kinney, "Final Plan for the Development of Rosemary Park, Rosemary Land Company, Inc., Lexington, North Carolina," May 1920, Plat Book 2, page 52.
  14. "New Residential Section Is Being Rapidly Improved," The Dispatch, September 14, 1922.
  15. N. R. Kinney, "Map of Property of Messrs Burgin & Critcher, Known as Rosemary Park, Lexington, Davidson County, North Carolina," July 1923, Plat Book 2, page 91, Davidson County Courthouse, Lexington.
  16. E.S. Draper and N. R. Kinney, "Map of Hillcrest, Hege Addition to the Park Land Company, Inc.," September 1925, Plat Book 2, page 57, Davidson County Courthouse, Lexington; "Park Land Company Opens New Subdivision," The Dispatch, May 3, 1921; Sanborn Fire Insurance Company Maps, Lexington, Davidson County, 1923 and 1929.
  17. O.B. Carr, "The Advantages Lexington Offers to the Home-Seeker," The Dispatch, May 3, 1921.
  18. Carroll E. Williams, "A Remarkable Story of Improved Conditions in Industry and Agriculture in a North Carolina Community," Manufacturers Record, November 30, 1922.
  19. Jacob Calvin Leonard, Centennial History of Davidson County, North Carolina (Raleigh: Edwards & Broughton Company, 1927), 304-307.
  20. Mildred Ann Raper, interview with the author, August 31, 2005.
  21. Sink and Mathews, 102-103; J.S. Kirk, Walter A. Cutter and Thomas W. Morse, eds., Emergency Relief in North Carolina: A Record of the Development and Activities of the North Carolina Emergency Relief Administration, 1932-1935 (Raleigh: North Carolina Emergency Relief Administration, 1936), 472.
  22. E.E. Witherspoon, "Lexington: City of Real Diversification," The State, June 5, 1937.
  23. Mr. Stephens lived at 409 South Ford Street in 1937, Miller, Lexington City Directory.
  24. Howard M. Brunsman, United States Census of Population: 1950, Number of Inhabitants, North Carolina, 33-9; Jim Daniel, "A Band of Families: Learning about Davidsonians on the Home Front in WW II," Davidson County Focus, Fall 2005, 7-11.
  25. N.R. Kinney,"Hillcrest Addition," , April 1940, Plat Book 4, page 68; N.R. Kinney, "Map of Property of Westover Heights, Addition to Park Place, Lexington, N.C.," November 1944, Plat Book 5, page 48; N.R. Kinney, "Map of the Jule C. Smith Estate Property, Lexington, N.C.," April 1946, Plat Book 5, page 61; Carolina Land and Auction Company, "Map No. 1, J.D. Redwine Estate, Lexington, N.C., Davidson County," July 1946, Plat Book 5, page 73, Davidson County Courthouse, Lexington; Miller, Lexington City Directory, 1941-42.
  26. "A Real up-and-Coming City," The State, February 22, 1947, 19-35.
  27. N.R. Kinney, "Map of Oak Crest, Lexington, N.C., Property of R.B. McRary," June 1920, Plat Book 2, Page 59; N.R. Kinney, "Property of Woodrow McKay Known as Oak Crest, Lexington, North Carolina," no date (circa 1923), Plat Book 2, page 102; N.R. Kinney & Son, "Revised Map of Oak Crest, Section 3, Lexington, N.C., June 1947, Plat Book 6, page 30, Davidson County Courthouse, Lexington.
  28. Miller, 1925-26 Lexington City Directory
  29. Elizabeth Walton Potter and Beth M. Boland, National Register Bulletin 41: Guidelines for Evaluating and Registering Cemeteries and Burial Places (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, 1992), 12.
  30. Attempts to verify the 1740 date for the establishment of the cemetery through primary source documents was unsuccessful.
  31. N. R. Kinney, "Section Two, Sink Addition to Lexington Cemetery," September 1949, Plat Book 7, page 11, Davidson County Courthouse, Lexington.
  32. Paul Duchscherer and Douglas Keister, The Bungalow: America's Arts and Crafts Home (New York: The Penguin Group, 1995), 2, 7-8, 14-15.
  33. Richard Guy Wilson, The Colonial Revival House (New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2004), 6.
  34. Other Reversed One-Unit armories were constructed during this period in Red Springs, Oxford, Williamston, Zebulon, Ahoskie, Hickory, and Warsaw. The Louis Berger Group, Inc., "Historic Building Survey of North Carolina Army National Guard Armories, Motor Vehicle Storage Buildings, and Organizational Maintenance Shops," January 2005, report on file at the NC SHPO.
  35. Edwards-Pitman Environmental, Inc., "Thomasville, North Carolina 2004 Comprehensive Architectural Survey," Report on file at the NC SHPO.
  36. Laura A. W. Phillips, "Salem Street Historic District," National Register of Historic Places Nomination, 2006.

References

Bishir, Catherine W. "Introduction." In Early Twentieth-Century Suburbs in North Carolina, edited by Catherine W. Bishir and Lawrence S. Earley. Raleigh: North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, 1985.

Bishir, Catherine W. and Michael T. Southern. A Guide to the Historic Architecture of Piedmont North Carolina. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 2003.

Brunsman, Howard M. Chief, Population and Housing Division. United States Census of Population: 1950, Number of Inhabitants, North Carolina. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1951.

Burgraff, Frank R. and Charles E. Aguar. "Earle Sumner Draper." In Pioneers of American Landscape Design, edited by Charles A. Birnbaum and Robin Carson. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2000.

Carolina Land and Auction Company. "Map No. 1, J.D. Redwine Estate, Lexington, N.C., Davidson County." July 1946. Plat Book 5, page 73, Davidson County Courthouse, Lexington.

Carr, O.B. "The Advantages Lexington Offers to the Home-Seeker." The Dispatch. May 3, 1921.

Daniel, Jim. "A Band of Families: Learning about Davidsonians on the Home Front in WW II." Davidson County Focus, Fall 2005.

Dean, A.F. and J.C. Hicks. "Boulevard Addition to Robbins Heights, Belonging to Foy & Shemwell, Lexington, N.C." October 1914. Plat Book 2, page 13; Davidson County Courthouse, Lexington.

Draper, E.S. and N.R. Kinney. "Map of Hillcrest, Hege Addition to the Park Land Company, Inc." September 21, 1925. Plat Book 2, page 57, Davidson County Courthouse, Lexington.

________. "Plan for the Subdivision of Courtenay, Lexington, N.C., Property of Foy & Shemwell." September 1917. Plat Book 2, page 24, Davidson County Courthouse, Lexington.

Duchscherer, Paul, and Douglas Keister. The Bungalow: America's Arts and Crafts Home. New York: The Penguin Group, 1995.

Edwards-Pitman Environmental, Inc. "Thomasville, North Carolina 2004 Comprehensive Architectural Survey." Report on file at the NC SHPO.

Hanchett, Thomas W. "Earle Sumner Draper: City Planner of the New South." In Early Twentieth-Century Suburbs in North Carolina, edited by Catherine W. Bishir and Lawrence S. Earley. Raleigh: North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, 1985.

Kinney, N.R. "Final Plan for the Development of Rosemary Park, Rosemary Land Company, Inc., Lexington, North Carolina." May 1920. Plat Book 2, page 52, Davidson County Courthouse, Lexington.

________. "Hillcrest Addition." April 1940. Plat Book 4, page 68, Davidson County Courthouse, Lexington.

________. "Map of the Jule C. Smith Estate Property, Lexington, N.C." April 1946. Plat Book 5, page 61, Davidson County Courthouse, Lexington.

________. "Map of Lexington, N.C." 1916-1917 Lexington City Directory. Florence, SC: Charles S. Gardiner Directory Publishers, 1917.

________. "Map of Oak Crest, Lexington, N.C., Property of R.B. McRary." June 1920. Plat Book 2, Page 59. Davidson County Courthouse, Lexington.

________. "Map of Property of Westover Heights, Addition to Park Place, Lexington, N.C." November 1944. Plat Book 5, page 48, Davidson County Courthouse, Lexington.

________. "Property of Woodrow McKay Known as Oak Crest, Lexington, North Carolina." No date (circa 1923). Plat Book 2, page 102, Davidson County Courthouse, Lexington.

________. "Section Two, Sink Addition to Lexington Cemetery." September 1949, Plat Book 7, page 11. Davidson County Courthouse, Lexington.

Kinney, N. R. & Son, "Revised Map of Oak Crest, Section 3, Lexington, N.C." June 1947. Plat Book 6, page 30. Davidson County Courthouse, Lexington.

Kirk, J. S., Walter A. Cutter and Thomas W. Morse, eds. Emergency Relief in North Carolina: A Record of the Development and Activities of the North Carolina Emergency Relief Administration, 1932-1935. Raleigh: North Carolina Emergency Relief Administration, 1936.

Leonard, Jacob Calvin. Centennial History of Davidson County, North Carolina. Raleigh: Edwards & Broughton Company, 1927.

The Louis Berger Group, Inc. "Historic Building Survey of North Carolina Army National Guard Armories, Motor Vehicle Storage Buildings, and Organizational Maintenance Shops." January 2005. Report on file at the NC SHPO.

"Map of Robbins Heights." No date. Plat Book 1, page 74, Davidson County Courthouse, Lexington.

"Map of Robbins Heights, Lexington, N.C., Property of the Davidson County Development Company." Illegible date. Plat Book 1, pages 82-83, Davidson County Courthouse, Lexington. Miller, C. M. "Map of Park Place, Lexington, N. C." November 1909, Plat Book 1, page 67, Davidson County Courthouse, Lexington.

Miller, Ernest H. Lexington City Directories. Asheville: Commercial Service Co., 1924-1980.

"New Residential Section Is Being Rapidly Improved." The Dispatch. September 14, 1922.

"Park Land Company Opens New Subdivision." The Dispatch. May 3, 1921

Phillips, Laura A.W. "Salem Street Historic District." National Register of Historic Places Nomination, 2006.

________. "Uptown Lexington Historic District." National Register of Historic Places Nomination, 1996.

Raper, Mildred Ann. Interview with the author, August 31, 2005.

"A Real up-and-Coming City." The State. February 22, 1947.

Respers, Jerry. "Robbins Addition to Lexington, North Carolina." No date. Plat Book 1, page 68, Davidson County Courthouse, Lexington.

Sanborn Fire Insurance Company Maps, Lexington, Davidson County, 1885, 1890, 1896, 1902, 1907, 1913, 1923, 1929 and 1948.

Sink, M. Jewell. Davidson County: Economic and Social. Chapel Hill: Department of Rural Socio-Economics, 1925.

Sink, M. Jewell and Mary Green Matthews. Pathfinders Past and Present: A History of Davidson County, North Carolina. High Point: Hall Printing Company, 1972.

"Stop, Look, Listen! Real Estate Is Now On!" The Dispatch. April 11, 1917.

Touart, Paul Baker. Building the Backcountry: An Architectural History of Davidson County, North Carolina. Lexington: The Davidson County Historical Association, 1987.

Williams, Carroll E. "A Remarkable Story of Improved Conditions in Industry and Agriculture in a North Carolina Community." Manufacturers Record. November 30, 1922.

Wilson, Richard Guy. The Colonial Revival House. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2004.

Witherspoon, E.E. "Lexington: City of Real Diversification." The State. June 5, 1937.

† Heather Fearnbach, Edwards-Pitman Environmental, Inc., Lexington Residential Historic District, nomination document, 2006, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.

Lexington Residential Historic District Map

Street Names
1st Avenue West • 2nd Avenue West • 2nd Street West • 3rd Avenue West • 4th Avenue West • 5th Avenue West • 5th Street West • 6th Avenue West • 7th Avenue West • 8th Avenue West • 9th Avenue West • Burgin Drive • Center Street West • Chestnut Street • Childers Court • Ford Street South • Grimes Circle • Hargrave Street South • Hege Drive • Hillcrest Circle • Martin Street • Myrtle Avenue • Park Street • Payne Street South • Redwine Street • Robbins Street • Rosemary Drive • Route 8 • Salem Street • Southbound Street • State Street North • State Street South • Station Drive • Vance Circle • Westside Drive • Williams Circle

**Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. You should independently verify any information you use for decision making.
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