East Broad Street-Davie Avenue Historic District
The East Broad Street-Davie Avenue Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [†] Adaptation copyright © 2012, The Gombach Group.
The East Broad Street-Davie Avenue Historic District is a neighborhood located just east of the commercial center of Statesville which contains one of the highest concentrations of architecturally significant residential structures in the town. With a majority of the houses dating from ca.1880-ca.1918, the tree-lined streets of this well-preserved district display many fine local interpretations of nationally popular styles during this period.
The East Broad Street-Davie Avenue Historic District did not develop around one or more focal points central to its history as did the Academy Hill [see Academy Hill Historic District], Mitchell College [see Mitchell College Historic District] and Statesville Commercial districts. Instead, it developed as progressive residential growth along main roads leading into Statesville from the east — primarily Davie Avenue, but followed shortly thereafter by East Broad Street and Elm Street which connected the two. Therefore, the pivotal buildings in the East Broad Street-Davie Avenue Historic District are pivotal not in an historic sense but rather in an architectural sense. The oldest houses appear to date from ca.1880, with fifteen to twenty more apparently having been built by 1900. Although Sanborn Insurance Company Maps were not made for this area of Statesville during the earliest developmental years of the district, the 1918 maps show that by that time approximately 65 per cent of the existing houses in the district had already been built. Development continued at a fairly rapid pace, so that by 1930, 85 per cent of the present buildings had been constructed. At that point building activity in the district was virtually complete, for during the last half century only eleven new structures have appeared. The resulting visual impression of these streets is very definitely one of concentrated late nineteenth and early twentieth century development, in contrast to the surrounding streets which visually reflect a somewhat later period of primary development.
A strong indication that the development of the East Broad Street-Davie Avenue Historic District area, and especially Davie Avenue, was indeed closely tied to prosperity brought about by growth of local industry at the turn of the century is the fact that a number of industrialists built their homes here. Especially well-represented was the burgeoning furniture industry. For example: Major W.L. Allison (318 Davie Avenue) organized the Statesville Manufacturing Company which was concerned with the furniture trade; the Kincaid brothers — William T. Kincaid (329 Davie Avenue) and Henry Lee Kincaid (335 Davie Avenue) — had a sawmill enterprise and later were involved with the Kincaid Furniture Company which merged with the Statesville Furniture Company in 1912; J.S. Ramsey (609 Davie Avenue) manufactured veneers and showcases as well as being a tobacco manufacturer, merchant, cotton buyer, and publisher of the Statesville Landmark; Eugene R. Simons (619 Davie Avenue) manufactured veneers as part owner of North State Veneer Company; and E.M. Purdy (131 Elm Street) was superintendent of the Imperial Furniture Company.
As a whole, the East Broad Street-Davie Avenue Historic District has been well preserved and the comfortable atmosphere of its earlier years has largely been retained. Few intrusions mar this appearance, though relatively heavy traffic on both Davie Avenue and E. Broad Street interferes with the quiet, refined presence which must have once been prevalent. The adaptive re-use of some of the houses on E. Broad Street for offices and small businesses suggests that many of the houses may continue to be used and maintained, even if not for residential purposes.
† Laura A. W. Phillips, Consultant for North Carolina Department of Archives and History, Survey and Planning Branch, East Broad Street-Davie Avenue Historic District, Iredell County, NC, nomination document, 1980, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.