Trianon Historic District
The Trianon Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989. 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 Trianon Historic District is significant in the history of Kinston, North Carolina, as a representative of the residential neighborhoods which developed outside the existing limits of the town in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This was an era of tremendous growth and prosperity in Kinston as the town became an important tobacco market and trade and industrial center for eastern North Carolina, resulting in a rapidly increasing population and a broadening middle class, which in turn caused an acceleration in the housing industry. The Trianon Historic District also contains a relatively intact collection of houses reflecting the area's period of development, including large Queen Anne/Colonial Revival houses, as well as more modest traditional dwellings with accents derived from the Queen Anne, Classical Revival and Craftsman styles. The historical and physical focus of the Trianon Historic District is a rectangular open area on which stood the first regular, fully-staffed hospital in Kinston and Lenoir County. The first section of this hospital was built ca.1893 as a residence for James A. McDaniel, the developer of the Trianon neighborhood and much of East Kinston. These areas were developed with a mix of worker and middle-income housing, a phenomenon clearly reflected in the Trianon Historic District. McDaniel donated his house for use as a hospital in the early 20th century; with additions, the Parrott Memorial Hospital continued in operation here until the early 1970s. Although the hospital was demolished in the late 1970s, the tract has remained undeveloped with the majority of the district's houses facing it from north and south. McDaniel's 1904 residence survives on a prominent corner in the district (702 East Gordon Street), along with at least one of his speculative houses, and the district represents the physical entity in Kinston most closely associated with his impact in the community as a developer and civic benefactor. The Trianon Historic District reflects the historic context of Kinston's Era of Accelerating Prosperity, 1890-1941 and is a member of the Late 19th/Early 20th Century Residential Buildings and Neighborhoods property type.
The Trianon Historic District is a late 19th/early 20th century residential neighborhood containing 26 primary buildings, all houses, seven secondary buildings, and one site. The district is located about 1/2 mile east of the central business district of Kinston, North Carolina, and one block northeast of the Orion Knitting Mills and Kinston Cotton Mills. Largely developed between 1893 and 1930, the compact 9.5-acre district is historically and physically focused around a 1.9-acre tract of open land. The houses clustered along the tree-lined streets are typical of worker and middle-class housing in Kinston during the district's period of significance.
By the mid 1890s, when Kinston's population was beginning to accelerate as a result of its development as a tobacco market and a trade and industrial center, the town's original core was largely developed. Various local entrepreneurs owning substantial tracts of land outside the town limits began subdividing their acreage and selling building lots. Among these individuals was James Alexander McDaniel (1867-1928), who was born in Jones County but moved to Kinston in the 1870s with his mother, sister and step-father, R.W. King [Heritage, p.309]. King, who died in 1883, was a major landowner in Kinston who possessed a large tract of land east of the town as well as several lots within the town limits and land in Lenoir County and New Bern. Much of the "Home Plantation" east of Kinston was allotted to King's great niece, Tiffany West, who continued to cultivate the land for another ten years [Gray's Map of Kinston; Will book A, p.296; deed book 14, p.763; and "Realty Changes in Kinston"].
McDaniel, who was educated at the Kinston School operated by Dr. R.H. Lewis, Wake Forest College and the Eastman Business School in Poughkeepsie, New York, purchased 300 acres of Miss West's lands in 1893 [Heritage, p.309; and deed book 15, p.763]. McDaniel made the purchase less than one year after his marriage to Laura Evans Warters. The McDaniels soon built a handsome one-story Queen Anne frame house on their new property, at what was then the end of an extension of East Gordon Street [Heritage, pp.309 and 62; and Dreyer, Kinston's Architecture, p.128]. At the end of the century, the Kinston Free Press reported that McDaniel had "...built far out in the field a beautiful residence. It was considered that the young man had put his money to a foolish use. But he had thought before he leaped. He began cultivating and improving a portion of it and laid the balance off into lots and extended the streets from the town through the farm, set out trees and began to offer all kinds of inducements to parties wishing to build. That beautiful residence, once far out in that old field, for a while looked lonely, but now has drawn the town right up to it and around it [Kinston Free Press, 2 September 1899, p.26]."
The McDaniels also sold some of their East Kinston holdings to the Kinston Cotton Mills and Orion Knitting Mills, the town's earliest entries in the state's textile industry [deed book 23, pp.84 and 87).
One of the areas set aside for development by McDaniel was the two blocks of East Gordon Street approaching his new residence, as well as an extension of the same street running along the north McDaniel's 1.9-acre residence tract and a parallel new street to the south. The original name of the latter was apparently Warters Street (his wife's maiden name), but it later became known as Waters Street [deed book 30, p.427]. Other streets in this area were Tiffany, Trianon, Vance and Orion [Sanborn maps]. While it is not known why the name Trianon was chosen for the area, it is clear from an 1899 newspaper advertisement that McDaniel was already calling his East Kinston development by that name [Kinston Free Press, 2 September 1899].
Among those purchasing building lots in the Trianon area were attorney T.C. Wooten, whose two-story frame Queen Anne residence (razed) on the northeast corner of Gordon and Tiffany streets appeared in the 1897 Industrial Issue of the Kinston Free Press; school teacher M.H. Wooten, whose house (607 East Gordon Street) was later owned and occupied by Maine native James W. Black, vice-president and general manager of Caswell Cotton Mills; George W. Sumrell (701 E. Gordon Street), a co-founder of the substantial wholesale grocery firm Sumrell & McCoy; and prominent local merchant J.A. Pridgen, who built a one-story Queen Anne/Colonial Revival residence (705 E. Gordon Street) occupied for many years by Carl W. Pridgen, a merchant, broker and Lenoir County Registrar of Deeds [Kinston Free Press, 18 August 1897; deed book 19, p.65; deed book 22, p.727; deed book 23, p.301; Kinston city directories; 1900 U.S. Census; and Historical and Descriptive Review, p.102].
Many of the houses built along East Gordon and Waters facing the McDaniel residence tract appear to have been speculative or rental houses built by the McDaniels and others. J.C. Heath, assistant chief of police, purchased a frame Queen Anne cottage (801 Waters Street) from McDaniel in 1912 [deed book 40, p.447]. Prominent insurance agent J.C. Rasberry owned a rental house (810 E. Gordon Street) on the north side of the park for many years [deed book 55, p.694]. Well-known insurance agent and one-time Kinston City Clerk W.D. LaRoque, Jr., purchased a tract of land on Waters Street from McDaniel in 1915 and divided it into eight lots, most of which he sold within the next three years [Heritage, p.299]. Jesse G. Brown, a prosperous dealer in wholesale produce, purchased three of the LaRoque lots and apparently built rental houses on two of them (815 Waters Street and 817 Waters Street) [deed book 60, p.259].
Most of these rental and speculative houses are smaller than those in the western section of the district and architecturally less sophisticated. The earlier ones follow traditional forms — L-plans or three-bay, single-pile plans with rear wings — but are embellished with a variety of decorative devices, including turned porch posts and balusters, sawn brackets, spindle friezes, and ornamental wood shingling and sunbursts or classical columns and entrances with transoms and sidelights. Later houses, dating after about 1910, exhibit Bungalow forms and Craftsman details such as triangular knee braces and exposed rafter ends. The occupants of these houses were typical of Kinston's and North Carolina's broadening middle class, including barbers, postal carriers, watchmakers, salesmen, members of the building trades, insurance agents, and police officers [Kinston city directories].
McDaniel had other business interests in addition to his farming and real estate development activities. In the early 20th century he erected a three-story brick building in the central business district on Queen Street in which he operated the Caswell Hotel [Industrial Issue, 1906, p.35]. Additionally, he was a dealer in bicycles, sewing machines, organs and a variety of other items (Grainger papers]. He was also a director of the Kinston Cotton Mills and a city councilman and represented Lenoir County in the state legislature in 1907 [Heritage, p.310].
In 1905, the McDaniels deeded their house at the end of East Gordon Street to James M. and W.T. Parrott, brothers and physicians [deed book 30, p.427; and Heritage, p.339]. The deed agreement stipulated that the Parrotts would "equip and maintain a hospital [in the house] for the treatment of medical and surgical cases" [deed book 30, p.427]. The hospital was to be called the Robert Bruce McDaniel Memorial Hospital in memory of a McDaniel son who had died in infancy. In addition to admitting private patients, the Parrotts were to set up wards to provide care for indigent white medical and surgical patients and "indigent colored patients such as are known in the medical profession as emergency accident cases" [deed book 30, p.427]. Other covenants in the deed provided for the house to be moved from the western to the eastern end of the 1.9-acre tract with the remaining area "...to be kept open for a public park..." [deed book 30, p.427]. This is said to have been the "first regular and fully staffed hospital in Kinston," and a great boon to the community [Heritage, p.61].
Needing a new house and choosing to remain in East Kinston, the McDaniels had a large residence built on the northeast corner of East Gordon and Vance streets. The frame house (702 E. Gordon Street) is a handsome example of the transitional Queen Anne/Colonial Revival style popular during the early 20th century. It has a number of distinctive features, including a square hip-roofed dormer over the southeast corner and pebbledash in the pedimented gable ends with curved braces and Palladian-influenced attic window-and-vents.
In 1914, the McDaniels began construction of a third residence, Maxwood, on their farm in Lenoir County's Falling Creek Township [Heritage, p.310]. Early that year, they sold the remainder of the 1.9-acre tract at the end of East Gordon Street to the Parrott brothers, who changed the name of the hospital to Parrott Memorial Hospital. The Kinston city government had refused to take any responsibility for maintaining the site for use as a public park [deed book 49, p.205]. The Kinston Free Press reported the transaction as follows: "Doctors Parrott have purchased the ground of the hospital park and will soon erect a brick and stone addition to the hospital. The rumor has it that the building will be 2 stories and a basement and contain between 30 and 40 additional rooms (Kinston Free Press, 3 January 1914, p.8]."
Construction of the addition was said to have been "made necessary by increasing patronage of this institution" [Kinston Free Press, 3 January 1914, p.8]. Photographs of the addition show a two-story hip-roofed brick building with Renaissance Revival influences in its broad bracketed eaves and arched second-floor windows [Kohler, p.122]. A two-story brick-veneered Nurses Home was built at the southeast corner of the tract between 1925 and 1930 (Sanborn maps]. The hospital continued in operation until 1973 when the new Lenoir Memorial Hospital was constructed, and the Parrott Hospital buildings were demolished later in the 1970s (Heritage, p.62].
Even though James McDaniel's first house and the buildings later erected when it had been converted to a hospital are no longer standing, the site on which they stood remains undeveloped and their presence remains strong in the memories of neighborhood residents. McDaniel's 1904 house survives as do the rental and speculative houses he and other prominent men built along the streets which flank the hospital tract. Several other large houses remain which were occupied by individuals who played significant roles in the city's early 20th century development. Although other buildings erected by McDaniel and other neighborhoods developed by him survive in Kinston, the Trianon Historic District is the one most clearly associated with this noted developer and civic benefactor and the only one with the special focus of the hospital site and McDaniel's early 20th century residence.
The majority of houses along both sections of East Gordon Street were constructed prior to 1910, while most of the eleven houses on Waters Street were apparently built after that date. Development in the district was largely complete prior to 1930. Only one house, a gable-front frame Bungalow with Craftsman influence (811 Waters Street), was built after that date; it was likely built early in the 1930s and is similar to houses on Waters Street dating from the 1920s. A few changes within the district since 1930 involve construction of additions. They include the addition of a one-story brick commercial building to the house at J.C. Rasberry Rental House (810 E. Gordon Street) and the replacement of an attached frame garage with a small brick attached office building at the Wooten-Black House (607 E. Gordon Street). Several of the larger houses have been converted to multifamily use, but the majority remain single-family, both rental and owner-occupied.
With the demolition of the hospital complex, the central open tract has been allowed to become overgrown with weeds. But many of the trees planted by J.A. McDaniel survive, having grown to mature heights to provide shaded streets. The general character of the area also remains intact, reflecting late 19th and early 20th century efforts to provide good quality housing for the growing population of Kinston, in popular or familiar styles and amid a pleasant setting.
The Trianon Historic District is distinguished from its surroundings by commercial development, by the different character of much of the residential construction in East Kinston, by its historical and physical associations with James A. McDaniel, and through its focus around the site of the Parrott Memorial Hospital. A great many houses were built in this area during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but the majority were relatively modest, unadorned frame dwellings designed for workers in the town's industries, particularly the textile mills. In contrast, several of the houses in the Trianon Historic District are generally larger and more architecturally sophisticated than their neighbors.
Dawson, Joe. "Realty Changes in Kinston Are very Important." Kinston Daily News, 24 September 1921, p.1.
Dreyer, Martha A. Kinston's Architecture, 1762-1930: An Inventory and History. Kinston: City of Kinston and North Carolina Division of Archives and History, 1981.
Grainger, Jesse W., Papers, 1891-1918. Manuscript Collection, Joyner Library. East Carolina University, Greenville, N.C. Examined by Martha Dreyer.
Heritage of Lenoir County, 1981, The. Kinston: Lenoir County Historical Association, 1981.
Historical and Descriptive Review of the State of North Carolina. Charleston, S.C.: Empire Publishing Company, 1885.
Industrial Issue, Kinston Free Press. Kinston: Free Press, 1906.
Kinston city directories: 1902, 1908, 1916, 1920, 1928, 1936, and 1946.
Kinston Free Press, 18 August 1897, 2 September 1899, and 3 January 1914.
Kohler, Mike. 200 Years of Progress. Kinston: Kinston-Lenoir County Bicentennial commission, 1976.
Lenoir County, Clerk of Superior Court. Wills and estates records.
Lenoir County Register of Deeds. Deed records.
Sanborn Insurance Company maps. Kinston, N.C., series, 1908, 1914, 1919, 1925, 1930.
United States Census. Lenoir County, North Carolina, 1900 and 1910.
† Allison H. Black, Architectural Historian, Black & Black Preservation Consultants, Trianon Historic District, Lenoir County, North Carolina, nomination document, 1989, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.