Hyman Heights-Mount Royal Historic District
Hyman Heights/Mount Royal Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [†] Adaptation copyright © 2011, The Gombach Group.
Located northeast of downtown Hendersonville, the Hyman Heights/Mount Royal Historic District is bounded roughly by North Main Street on the east, Oakland Street on the west, the northern property boundaries of lots on Ridgecrest Drive, Highland Avenue, and Hyman Avenue on the north, and the southern property boundaries of lots on Patton Street and N. Main Street on the south. The Hyman Heights/Mount Royal Historic District consists of 123 contributing houses and outbuildings, twenty-six non-contributing houses and outbuildings, and five vacant lots. The vast majority of the buildings are contributing, built prior to 1955 and mostly intact. Some of the non-contributing buildings fall within the period of significance, but have undergone extensive architectural changes and loss of integrity. The Hyman Heights/Mount Royal Historic District covers approximately forty acres, and consists of most of the original plat of Hyman Heights from 1908, most of the plat of Mount Royal dated July 15, 1923, and one lot from the O. Roy Keith subdivision in Hyman Heights dated October 29, 1925.
The layout of the Hyman Heights portion of the Hyman Heights/Mount Royal Historic District is a typical grid plan which was often utilized in subdividing land at the turn of the century due to its ease of layout and conformity in size of lots. Lots are generally small and level with the street, with houses and outbuildings set back from the street ten to fifteen feet. An exception to this is the Dr. Robert Sample House at 1125 Highland Avenue which has a much larger lot and a house which is sited high on a hill above the street. Mature deciduous and evergreen trees and concrete sidewalks line most streets. Particularly notable within the Hyman Heights/Mount Royal Historic District is the extensive use of stone retaining walls, visible along Oakland Street and much of the northern part of Highland Avenue. One of the most notable landscapes, with extensive rock terracing and a river rock retaining wall is located at the Phillip M. Dietz House at 1324 Oakland Street. The landscape of Killarney at 322 Killarney Street is also notable, with the house set back from the street on a lot of approximately one and one-half acres, the largest lot within the district. The semicircular front drive, boxwoods, and stone pillars at the driveway entrances are some of the original features of this landscape.
In contrast to the grid pattern of the Hyman Heights plat of the neighborhood, the Mount Royal section which developed in 1923 is closer in design to that of Druid Hills [see Druid Hills Historic District], located to the northwest of the Hyman Heights/Mount Royal Historic District. Mount Royal follows a curvilinear street layout which followed the steep terrain of this part of the neighborhood and includes a variety of lot sizes and triangular medians at intersections. All of these design elements in the Mount Royal section were part of the more "Olmstedian" approach to land planning which gained in popularity in the early part of the twentieth century. Stone retaining walls are visible throughout the subdivision of Mount Royal, apparently there from the beginning, since many appear to pre-date some of the later ca.1950s houses, as can be seen at the J.F. Dusenberry House at 1303 Highland Avenue.
Architectural styles in the neighborhood include thirty-three Bungalows, twenty-five Minimal Traditional, fifteen Colonial Revival, eight Ranch, five Foursquare, and one example each of Shingle, Neo-Classical Revival, Georgian Revival, Tudor Revival, and Gothic Revival houses.
The oldest house in the Hyman Heights/Mount Royal neighborhood is Killarney (322 Killarney Street, ca.1858), which pre-dates the development of the neighborhood (but was remodeled during the first years of Hyman Heights) and is notable for being the only example of the Gothic Revival style in the district. Much of the land for the development of Hyman Heights was originally part of the Killarney property. Another house that pre-dates the development of Hyman Heights is the Dutch Colonial Revival Cecil McCorkle House (1231 N. Main Street, ca.1900), with a cross-gambrel roof, hip roof dormers, diamond-pane windows, and two interior brick chimneys.
There are an abundance of Bungalows and a number of Colonial Revival style houses located throughout the neighborhood. Some of these include the Phillip M. Dietz House (1324 Oakland Street, 1930) with brick veneer walls, hip roof and a Craftsman front door; the Melvin Hatch House (1316 Oakland Street, by 1926), built by Phillip Dietz; the William M. Shepherd House (1228 Oakland Extension, by 1926) with a cross-gable roof and a front exterior chimney; and the rows of houses which line both sides of Patton Street (Lillie Hall House, 1025 Patton Street, by 1922; David H. Black House, 1021 Patton Street, by 1926; C.L. McNaughton House, 1017 Patton Street, by 1922; Lawrence A. Blair House, 118 Patton Street, by 1922; Alf A. McCall House, 1112 Patton Street, by 1922; Lee O. Allen House, 1104 Patton Street, by 1922; Leland R. Geiger House, 1046 Patton Street, by 1922; Warren L. Katzenmover House, 1040 Patton Street, by 1922; Harry E. Katzenmover House, 1032 Patton Street, by 1922; Jessie Jenkins House, 1026 Patton Street, by 1926; Clyde A. Fetner House, 1020 Patton Street, by 1922). One of the best examples of a Colonial Revival house in the Hyman Heights/Mount Royal Historic District is the Dr. Robert Sample House (1125 Highland Avenue, by 1926), with a central entry portico, front door with sidelights and elliptical fanlight, and an attached one-story garage.
While most houses were built during the first phase of development in the neighborhood, from ca.1905 to the late 1920s, numerous houses from after this time period contribute to the neighborhood's historic character. One particularly notable member of this later group is the Lampley House (1134 Highland Avenue, 1939), an excellent example of the use of the Minimal Traditional style within the neighborhood, with a steeply pitched cross gable roof and painted brick veneer walls. There was a clear secondary trend in development in the neighborhood which took place from the late 1940s to the mid-1950s, and there are several good examples of these houses, most of which were built in the Minimal Traditional style or early Ranch style. Some of these include the Albert B. Myers House (1411 Ridgecrest Drive, ca.1949); the Matthew Mickelborough House (1027 Patton Street, ca.1949); the Anchell I. Gold House (1116 Highland Avenue, ca.1949); the A. Farrington Barber House (1242 Hyman Avenue, ca.1952); the Lane Preston House (1130 Hyman Avenue, ca.1949); the Samuel Gunter House (1116 Hyman Avenue, by 1954); the Michael Howath House (1233 N. Main Street, ca.1949); and the Walter F. Drake House (1115 N. Main Street, ca.1952).
The Hyman Heights/Mount Royal Historic District's thirteen houses built after 1954 appear to date primarily from the 1960s. While most of these also may be described as Minimal Traditional or Ranch style, they are distinct from the neighborhood's pre-1955 examples of these styles, exhibiting a shallower pitch to their roofs and very pared down detailing limited to narrow, unadorned surrounds and raking and eave boards.
The Hendersonville neighborhood known for many years as Hyman Heights actually combines two historic subdivisions. William A. Garland developed the Hyman Heights subdivision on land purchased from Annie E. Patton in 1905. C.W. Donaldson of Washington, D. C. developed Mount Royal, a subdivision adjacent to Hyman Heights, to the northwest. Laid out in 1923, Mount Royal also was developed from land sold by Annie E. Patton. While the Hyman Heights and Mount Royal sections of the neighborhood were platted at different times, these areas are contiguous geographically, with the later Mount Royal section to the north continuing the same building trends as the Hyman Heights section. The Hyman Heights/Mount Royal Historic District is significant for community planning and development as a neighborhood representative of two major development trends in the community, the first from ca.1905 to the late 1920s, and the second primarily from the late 1940s to the mid-1950s. The Hyman Heights/Mount Royal Historic District is also significant in the area of architecture for its intact collection of buildings representing popular styles of the first half of the twentieth century, including Craftsman Bungalow, Colonial Revival, and Foursquare, along with many fine examples of mid-twentieth-century architecture in the Minimal Traditional and Ranch styles. The period of significance starts in 1905, when development of Hyman Heights commenced, and continues through 1954 to encompass both major periods of development as well as the relatively few buildings constructed in the neighborhood during the 1930s and early 1940s. Houses built in the neighborhood after 1954 date primarily from the 1960s and are distinctly different from their Post-World War II predecessors in their shallow roof pitch and extremely pared down detailing.
Historic Background and Community Planning and Development
The Hyman Heights neighborhood was platted in 1905. According to Henderson County deed records, William A. Garland, Sr. developed it on approximately twenty-five acres of land he purchased from Annie Eliza Patton on April 12, 1905. Annie Patton, widow of Preston F. Patton, owned much of the land on the east and west sides of the Dixie Highway (now U.S. Highway 25 N.) that had been sold to her husband by his sister Ellen Patton Hyman in 1883. This entire land area was approximately 1,100 acres. Ellen Patton Hyman was the wife of John Durante Hyman and the mother of V.L. Hyman, who served as mayor of Hendersonville in 1889.
The Hyman Heights subdivision extended from the intersection of the Dixie Highway and N. Main Street on the south to the north end of Highland and Hyman Avenues on the north, just north of Elizabeth Street. It did not include the Killarney property (home of Annie Patton at the time), the land which would be donated for Patton Memorial Hospital in 1913, the area to the northeast which would later be developed into the Mount Royal subdivision, or the area to the west of Oakland Street which would become the O. Roy Keith subdivision. Annie E. Patton later donated the land for Patton Memorial Hospital, which was built in 1913, and sold additional land for the development of Mount Royal.
Hyman Heights, developed in 1905, was one of the earliest large subdivisions to be located to the north of downtown. Just to the southwest was the Oakland Park area, developed by V.L. Hyman, in 1890. Further to the south side of downtown Hendersonville, Columbia Park was laid out in 1907-1908. Another subdivision which was laid out at approximately the same time as Hyman Heights was Sunset Heights, platted in 1908. Many other neighborhoods were being developed into the early 1900s, but Hyman Heights was one of the largest. Like many other subdivisions in Hendersonville, Hyman Heights deeds had restrictive covenants placed on them. These included that the property could not be "...sold, rented, or otherwise disposed of to persons of African descent...," and that "...no liquor or ardent spirits are to be sold on the property..., no house shall be built on the property to cost less than $1,000..., no building shall be erected nearer the street than the building line shown on said plat, which is ten feet from all streets..., no use shall be made of lot sold or any part thereof, which would constitute a nuisance or injure the value of any of the neighboring lots..., layout of the lots as shown...shall be adhered to and no scheme of facing lots in any other direction than that shown...shall be permitted ..." In addition, it was understood by the purchaser that William A. Garland, as the developer, would be responsible for laying electric or other street car tracks, sewer, gas and water pipes, and any other public utilities.
Lots in Hyman Heights began selling as early as 1906 and most of the earliest houses in Hyman Heights were built along Hyman Avenue. Many of the early purchasers of lots in the area were from Henderson County, but lots were also sold to residents of Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, and Maryland. The area continued to develop through the 1920s, but ceased growing in the 1930s when the Depression hit the area. By 1937, there were twenty-three houses and a hospital on Highland Avenue; sixteen houses on Hyman Avenue; one house on Killarney Street; eleven houses on N. Main Street; six houses on Oakland Street; and fifteen houses on Patton Street. A second wave of development occurred after World War II, as evidenced by the many late 1940s to mid-1950s houses which were built in the neighborhood.
As Hendersonville continued its major growth period through the 1920s, additional subdivisions were platted. One of these, Mount Royal, was laid out on July 15, 1923 and covered approximately sixteen acres. In contrast to the grid street plan of Hyman Heights, this neighborhood, which was located just to the northwest of Hyman Heights and adjacent to it, was planned with a curvilinear street design which closely followed the steeper topography and included seventy-eight buildable sites. An August 1923 newspaper article noted that the "...division of the property and the location of streets and lanes have been arranged with remarkably good judgment, the skill of the designer being greatly aided by the contour of the land..." C.W. Donaldson of Washington, D.C. developed Mount Royal on land he purchased from Annie E. Patton on May 1, 1922. It was noted in the deed as being a tract of land on the east side of the Asheville Highway, on the west side of Highland Avenue. Mount Royal, like many other subdivisions at the time, had several deed restrictions associated with the sale of lots. It was intended to be "...sold to persons as a high class residential property..." Some of the restrictions indicated that "...no person shall be allowed to erect unsightly and inartistic dwellings or other buildings..." No house could be built at a cost less than $3,500, no more than one dwelling could be built on any lot, houses could not be built closer than twenty-five feet from an adjacent street, and no temporary buildings could be constructed. All buildings were to be built in such a way as to be "...constituting the entire subdivision into an attractive residential section ... " Mount Royal lots began selling in 1923 and continued to 1927. An August 1923 ad in the Hendersonville Times-News noted that Mount Royal, formerly Patton Hill, had all city improvements including water, sewer, lights, telephones, gravel surface streets, and flowers. Large "villa" sites were for sale from $585 to $985. Properties were being offered by the J.M. Cosgrove Real Estate Company, based in Florida, with local inquiries to be directed to the Jackson Morris Company. Like in Hyman Heights, sales ceased in the 1930s, but picked up again in the late 1940s. Lots were sold primarily to Henderson County residents, but some purchasers were from Virginia, South Carolina, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, Alabama , West Virginia, and Washington, D.C. By 1937, six houses stood on Regal Street; three on Ridgecrest Drive; one on the upper part of Highland Avenue which was part of Mount Royal; and four on the upper part of Oakland Street which was also part of Mount Royal. By 1939 there were two houses on Crescent Avenue.
On August 7, 1923, a small land area, the "Duff and Justice subdivision in Hyman Heights," located at the intersection of N. Main Street and Haywood Road (U.S. Highway 25) apparently was sold and re-platted from a portion of the original Hyman Heights plat. Newspaper ads from July 1923 encouraged residents to buy a lot in "Beautiful Hyman Heights" in this area to soon be subdivided. According to this ad, these lots were platted for residential development but apparently did not sell and were later turned into commercial lots. This area is not included in the historic district.
In 1925, additional lands adjacent to the 1905 Hyman Heights neighborhood were also developed. O. Roy Keith, a real estate developer in Hendersonville, had begun developing land as early as 1912. He laid out the "O. Roy Keith Subdivision of Hyman Heights" on October 29, 1925. It was developed from lands to the west of Oakland and Killarney streets on land that was originally part of the Schepper estate. One lot was apparently set aside for Keith's own house, located at the corner of Oakland and Schepper streets. Keith lived in this house until the mid-1930s, at which time he apparently moved to Druid Hills. While lots were laid out, this area did not develop until the late 1950s and 1960s. The single house built before 1925 at the corner of Oakland and Schepper Streets is included in the Hyman Heights/Mount Royal Historic District.
Early Suburban Residential Development
The late nineteenth to early twentieth centuries in Hendersonville proved a tremendous boom time for speculative residential real estate development. Once the railroad arrived, nationally popular building styles and the materials to construct them became more readily available. Local brick and sawmills became important commercial enterprises. As the population of both year-round and summer residents began to grow, the need for housing became a top priority and an opportunity for many entrepreneurial developers. As the automobile gained in popularity in the early twentieth century, additional opportunities arose for building homes further away from the core downtown area, creating true "suburbs." The west side of downtown Hendersonville developed early, with many farms being subdivided to meet the growing need. O.E. Hedge developed the west side of town including Ehringhaus Street with many English Arts and Crafts style houses.
The platting and development of Hyman Heights and Mount Royal was no exception to this frenzy of speculative development. Hundreds of land areas were subdivided in the city and immediately to the north of town. Often, the initial purchasers of the lots from the developers were not the builders of the houses, but smaller investors who bought lots for purposes of a quick re-sale. The goal for many was to "...sell at a profit before the next payment was due..." A few of these subdivisions developed as platted, but others, especially those that began in the late 1920s after the economic bust, often had only roads laid out, but no houses built until after World War II or later.
One of the earliest of these planned subdivisions was Oakland Park (1890) developed by Mayor V.L. Hyman, son of John D. and Ellen Patton Hyman. The Columbia Park Land and Development Company, incorporated by H.S. Anderson, S.F. Wren, J.W. Streetman, and R.F. Burton, developed Columbia Park (1907-1908) which was planned as a large resort community. Some of it developed, but a large portion of the undeveloped land was later turned into Lenox Park in 1942. (Columbia Park was contemporary with the development of Hyman Heights (1905), but was located to the southwest of the downtown area). Some of the other major subdivisions platted included Sunset Heights (1908); Hillside Park (1910); Wheeler Park (1910); Annex Park (1913); Kanuga Lake (1913); the M.C. Toms Subdivision (1914); Lenox Park (1918); Dade-Olina Park (1923), attesting to the fact that Hendersonville was developed in large part by many Florida investors; Pine View Terrace (1923); Druid Hills (1923); Mount Royal (1923); Toms-Hill Park (1924); Laurel Park (1924-1927), one of the largest land developments to the west of downtown; Floralina (1925); Hollywoods (1925); Osceola Lake Park (1925); Forest Hills (1925); Chestnut Hill (1926); Laurel View (1926); Royal View Park (1926); Sunset Hills 1926); Laurel Heights (1926); Central Park (1926); and Greater Druid Hills (1926). By 1924, Hendersonville had eighty-nine real estate offices and 800 brokers. The 1926 population of the town was 10,000 with over 40,000 annual visitors. Many Florida investors owned property in Hendersonville and as Florida began to see a major economic decline beginning in 1925, the speculative development and economy in Hendersonville also began a rapid decline beginning in 1926. Land development stopped through most of the 1930s. In 1933, the Hendersonville Country Club and golf course was developed on land that had originally been part of the Laurel Park subdivision, which never fully developed. Subdivisions were again platted after World War II, when the town experienced a small building boom. Subdivisions were developed into the 1950s and 1960s, but never again did the number of subdivisions exceed what was happening in Hendersonville in the first two decades of the twentieth century.
Of the plats examined in courthouse records, it appears that only Mount Royal and Hyman Heights, along with Druid Hills, located to the northwest and across Highway 25 north, appear to have fully developed as suburban neighborhoods, with the majority of homes built in the 1920s. Other neighborhoods from the same time period, including Dade-Olina Park (1923); Pine View Terrace (1923); Floralina (1925); Hollywoods (1925); Forest Hills (1925); Chestnut Hill (1926); Laurel View (1926); Royal View. (Park (1926); Central Park (1926); and Sunset Hills (1926) apparently never developed. Toms-Hill Park Development (1924), located southwest of downtown Hendersonville; Osceola Lake Park (1925), southwest of Druid Hills off Kanuga Road; and Laurel Park (1924), all had many of the roads constructed as shown on their plats, but only a handful of houses built from the 1920s. Most of the building of homes in these neighborhoods did not occur until the 1960s or later. Only Laurel Heights (1926), south of downtown, off the east side of Highway 25 south, experienced some development of simple bungalows dating from the 1920s to the 1930s.
The styles of the earliest buildings constructed within the Hyman Heights/Mount Royal Historic District from 1906 to the late 1920s mirrored the development trends of other neighborhoods in the city of Hendersonville, including Druid Hills and those communities located to the west and south of downtown. Most building in these early in-town and suburban neighborhoods took place before the late 1920s, with only a scattering of late 1930s and post World War II houses built within their boundaries. Hyman Heights/Mount Royal is the exception to this trend, however, because it experienced a distinct second wave of development beginning primarily in the late 1940s and continuing to the mid-1950s. There are heavy concentrations of post World War II housing throughout the neighborhood, especially along the southern parts of Highland and Hyman Avenues, and the west side of N. Main Street. Many new subdivisions were platted in Hendersonville after World War II, but those lots in Hyman Heights and Mount Royal which had never been built upon were readily available to meet the new housing needs of the population after World War II.
The earlier styles in the Hyman Heights/Mount Royal neighborhood, including examples of the Gothic Revival, Colonial Revival, Foursquare, Shingle, Tudor Revival, and a myriad of Bungalows were comparable to what was being built in other early twentieth century neighborhoods in Hendersonville, including the west side of downtown and the Druid Hills neighborhood to the northwest. The later houses in the neighborhood were built primarily in the Minimal Traditional style, with a few examples of the early Ranch style. These Minimal Traditional buildings serve clearly as a transitional style between the early twentieth century houses and the later more clearly modern styles which developed in the 1960s and 1970s. They are comparable in scale, setback, materials, and construction techniques to the earlier houses and are compatible within the overall landscape of the neighborhood.
Bailey, Louise. Local historian. Interview by Sybil A. Bowers 18 September 1999.
Barber, Jody. Lifetime resident of Hendersonville, who grew up in Hyman Heights in the 1920s and 1930s. Interview by Sybil A. Bowers, 2 September 1999.
Fain, James T., Jr. A Partial History of Henderson County. New York: Anno Press, 1980.
Henderson County Deed Books.
Henderson County Deed of Trust Books.
Henderson County Plat Books.
Hendersonville city directories 1926, 1937 - 1954.
Hendersonville Times-News. Various advertisements for Hyman Heights and Mount Royal. July and August 1923:
Mattson, Alexander and Associates, Inc., "History and Architecture of Hendersonville, North Carolina," December 16, 1996.
Patton, Sadie Smathers. The Story of Henderson County. Spartanburg, S.C.: Reprint Company, 1982.
Sanborn Fire Insurance Company maps 1926 and 1954.
† Sybil Argintar Bowers, Bowers Southeastern Preservation, Hyman Heights/Mount Royal Historic District, Henderson County, North Carolina, nomination document, 2000, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.