Davidson Historic District
The Davidson Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009. 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 Davidson Historic District clearly illustrates the development of Davidson as a small college town and Piedmont railroad community between the antebellum period and mid-twentieth century. The Davidson Historic District is significant in the areas of commerce, industry, education, and architecture. The Davidson Historic District also meets eligibility for the National Register of Historic Places for its association with Davidson College. The college was founded by the Presbyterian Church and has significance as an educational institution and for its impressive collection of important architectural resources.
Davidson took shape as a college town, and Davidson College, which opened in 1837, distinguishes Davidson from the other small railroad communities in the county. The Davidson Historic District includes a portion of the college campus and associated boarding houses that provided housing and meals for students. The Davidson Historic District also contains two public schools: the 1937 Davidson Colored School (later Ada Jenkins School) and the 1946 Davidson Public School. Davidson College arose as one of the region's significant institutions of higher education, while the local public schools provided vital educational and other cultural opportunities to the residents of the town.
The Davidson Historic District's well-preserved commercial core oriented to both the railroad and the Davidson College campus contains a wide range of businesses that served surrounding landowners, businessmen, and mill workers, as well as college students and faculty. Dry goods stores, banks, drugstores (with soda fountains), jewelry and tailor shops, and hotels all occupied existing commercial buildings on Main Street. The Davidson Historic District also contains notable industrial architecture and cotton-mill housing that clearly reflect the region's textile manufacturing boom in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
In this period, railroad towns throughout the Piedmont grew not only as marshalling points for agricultural products but also as small textile-mill centers. The expansion of railroads drew cotton mills to the region at an unprecedented rate. By World War I, over 300 mills dotted rail lines within a 100-mile radius of Charlotte in Mecklenburg County. The county's railroad towns vied for cotton mills that promised prosperity, and by 1910, Davidson, Pineville, Cornelius, and Huntersville all boasted textile mills and mill villages alongside their railroad corridors.
Architecturally, the Davidson Historic District contains a well-preserved array of houses, mills, stores, churches, and civic buildings that neatly illustrate nationally popular styles as well as traditional house forms from the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries. The Davidson Historic District features especially fine examples of the Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, Tudor Revival, Craftsman, and Modernist styles. The Davidson Historic District's collection of Greek Revival and other mid-nineteenth century architecture is unique among the county's small towns and reflects Davidson's long association with the college. Many of Davidson's notable residences in the Davidson Historic District were erected for college faculty, who formed a sizable professional class for this small town. As the twentieth century progressed, the college drew professors from across the nation who often opted for the latest, progressive architectural modes. In the 1950s, a coterie of newly-hired faculty commissioned sleek, modernist residences along Hillside Drive in the historic district that contrasted sharply with the conservative, mostly Colonial Revival houses along the surrounding streets.
The period of significance begins in 1837 when Davidson College was established. Two of the eight buildings that formed the original college campus remain, and these two dormitories, Elm Row and Oak Row, are the oldest properties within the Davidson Historic District. The period of significance extends to 1959, the fifty-year guideline for National Register eligibility. The Davidson Historic District does not possess the exceptional significance needed to extend the period of significance beyond 1959.
Historical Background Essay Historic Contexts for Commerce, Industry, and Education
The history of the town of Davidson is inextricably linked to Davidson College which predated the surrounding community and influenced its development. Although Davidson's growth in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries clearly typified small railroad towns throughout the Piedmont, the presence of the college created a distinctive place. The tree-shaded campus filled with classically inspired scholastic architecture distinguished Davidson from other communities. The sway of the school also extended beyond the campus to the entire town, influencing commerce, culture, and the character of its architecture.
In 1835, the Concord (North Carolina) Presbytery established a site for a Presbyterian men's college on a high ridge in northern Mecklenburg County between the Catawba and Yadkin rivers. The rural Piedmont setting was considered to be salubrious and "at a distance from all haunts of dissipation." The presbytery acquired 469 acres from local Presbyterian planter, William Lee Davidson II, who also donated funds for the college. Because of Davidson's bequests, the college was named for his father, local Revolutionary War hero, General William Lee Davidson (Beaty 1979: 3-4; Bishir and Southern 2003: 528; Shaw 1923: 7-12).
When Davidson College opened in 1837, the campus contained eight brick buildings clustered near the junction of North Main Street (Statesville Road) and Concord Road, and a small college cemetery on North Main Street. Among the first structures erected on the campus were the dormitories, Oak Row and Elm Row, which remain well preserved in the historic district. During its early years of operation, three professors taught sixty-four students a curriculum that included moral and natural philosophy, evidences of Christianity, classical languages, logic and mathematics. Ten years after its establishment, the college began expanding the campus, contracting local builder, Lewis Dinkins, to erect Eumenean Hall and Philanthropic Hall (both listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972). The pair of imposing, matching classical temples was erected for the college debating and literary clubs, and "Eu" and "Phi" halls quickly became the centers of college social life. Davidson's choice of the temple form expressed the prevailing popularity of Greek Revival architecture for scholastic buildings as well as reflected the classical curriculum of the period. The college grew during the 1850s when Maxwell Chambers of Salisbury, North Carolina, donated over $250,000 to the college. Chambers's generous gift was the largest sum of money ever given to a Southern college in the antebellum era and allowed for significant physical improvements to the campus. By the Civil War, Chambers's money had funded the construction of the central block of the grand, neoclassical Main Building (Chambers Building, burned 1921). Designed by Alexander Jackson Davis, an architect of national repute, the Chambers Building was the focal point of the campus quadrangle plan and symbol of the school's prestige and stability in the post-Civil War years (Beaty 1979: 5-7; Raynor 1991: 69; Gillespie 2001; Bishir and Southern 2003: 25, 528; Morrill and Boyte 1977; Shaw 1923: 14-16; Blodget 2008).
Just west of the campus, the college's small cemetery on North Main Street was also created in the late 1830s. The college initially gave free plots to faculty as well as townspeople and in 1894 erected the existing iron fence around the parcel. Among those buried here is Confederate general, D.H. Hill, who taught mathematics at Davidson College and married the daughter of the school's first president, Dr. Robert Hall Morrison (Beaty 1979: 122; Beaty 1988: 218).
The region's gradual recovery in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century brought progress to the school and the town. The college enlarged its faculty, enrollment, and curriculum while attracting other educational facilities to the town. In the 1870s, the influence of Davidson College spread throughout the region, and the school became the official college of the Presbyterian Church, not only in North Carolina but also in South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, encompassing fifteen presbyteries. Concurrently, the school began offering a broader range of courses in literature, chemistry, physics, foreign languages, and history. In 1885, the original Davidson College Presbyterian Church (replaced by the present church in 1951) was completed on campus. In 1893, Davidson College physician Dr. John Peter Monroe opened the independent North Carolina Medical College in a new brick facility adjacent to the campus on Concord Road. This medical school relocated to Charlotte in 1907, and the three-story brick medical school is no longer extant. (Beaty 1988: 163, 141-142, 177-178).
The school grew rapidly in the early twentieth century under the leadership of college president Henry Louis Smith. Between 1900 and 1910, enrollment at Davidson College jumped from 100 to over 350 students and six additional faculty members were hired. At Smith's behest, maple and poplar trees were planted on campus, a boardwalk erected between the Chambers Building and the chapel, and a roadway was built from Concord Road to the area behind the Chambers Building. Aggressive fund-raising campaigns in this period brought in $75,000 from the General Education Board of the Presbyterian Church and a $20,000 gift from Andrew Carnegie, which led to the construction of new academic and dormitory buildings, and notably a Carnegie-funded library. Situated within the Davidson Historic District, the Carnegie Library opened on campus in 1910 and now serves as a guesthouse for visitors. Davidson College also constructed six artesian wells providing 60,000 gallons of water daily, an electric power plant, and a sewer system, all of which served the town as well as the college. Finally, in 1922, the town issued bonds for municipal improvements and purchased the college's water, electrical, and sewer systems. The college gave land to the town for a new municipal water tank near the college cemetery (Beaty 1988: 216, 282-283; Gillespie 2001).
Between 1911 and 1921, the college's endowment increased from $168,000 to over $500,000, boosting academic growth as well as new construction throughout the 1920s. At the beginning of the decade, the board of trustees created four new professorships, and by 1929 the school employed forty-six professors teaching an expanded curriculum that now included fine arts, education, and an increasing range of courses in the other disciplines. In 1921, the Rockefellers had funded the construction of the new Chambers Building, which was designed in the Neoclassical Revival style by Nashville architect, Henry C. Hibbs. As part of the building campaign in this period, the college commissioned prominent Charlotte architect, Martin Evans Boyer Jr., to design a fraternity row along Concord Road within the historic district. Known as Jackson Court, the eleven one-story, brick, Colonial Revival buildings are laid out on a semi-circular plan on the north side of Concord Road. In the 1940s, under the leadership and fund-raising efforts of college president, John Rood Cunningham, additional Neoclassical Revival scholastic buildings arose near the pillared Chambers Building on the quadrangle. The college again commissioned architect Hibbs to design the Martin Science Building and Grey Library, both of which are located in the historic district. In 1948, architect H.R. Weeks, who had fashioned Woolen Gymnasium at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, designed the Johnston Memorial Gymnasium on campus. The 1950s witnessed continued growth with the opening of the new Davidson College Presbyterian Church in 1952 and the construction of large, modern dormitories in the middle years of the decade (Beaty 1988: 239-266, 328-329, 358-359).
Davidson College has continued to grow and adapt to changing social and academic goals in recent decades. The school began admitting African American students in 1964-1965, and in 1972, the Board of Trustees voted to admit women for degrees. Today this well-endowed coeducational college has an enrollment of some 1,400 students and ranks among the premier liberal arts colleges in the country. At the request of Davidson College, the historic district excludes most of the campus, but does encompass a collection of historically and architecturally important college buildings around the periphery of the campus (Gillespie 2001).
The success and growth of the college shaped the development of the surrounding Davidson Historic District. Opposite the campus, along Main Street, a small business district arose in part to serve students and faculty before the Civil War. In 1848, Lewis Dinkins erected a brick store on Main Street in a classical style that suggested the two debating halls across the road. The store catered to students and teachers, and the lease explicitly forbade the sale of "intoxicating liquors or any other article that may be prohibited by the Regulations and Ordinances of the Trustees of Said College." In 1855, new owner, Hanson Pinckney Helper, expanded the building into the thirteen-room Helper Hotel which also operated as a weekend rooming house for visiting college girls. The first floor of the building contained stores. Now owned by Davidson College and housing the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies, the Helper Hotel building still stands on Main Street. In addition to the hotel, the 1869 Branson's business directory recorded four dry goods merchants in the town as well as a cabinetmaker, a miller, and three physicians (Morrill and Boyte 1976; Payne and Morrill 2005: 16-17; Beaty 1979: 135-140; Branson 1867).
In the antebellum years, the college owned most of the land that would become the town and sold or leased lots for faculty houses and stores. In 1836, the college erected a house for college president, Dr. Morrison, on a lot just north of the campus on North Main Street. Known as the President's House, this two-story, five-bay brick house has been remodeled and enlarged a number of times and was given a neoclassical portico in 1959. In 1858, the college sold to Professor John Leland a parcel of land "located on our Southern line adjoining the lands of Jas. Johnston." This parcel (now 127 South Main Street) may have already contained the dwelling soon owned by John Rennie Blake, professor of astronomy and philosophy and later Chairman of the Faculty. One of the oldest surviving dwellings in Davidson, the ca.1860 Chairman Blake House (National Register 2004) is a frame, one and one-half story, Greek Revival cottage with a double-pile massing and prominent classical portico. In 2000, the house was moved a short distance within the historic district from its original Main Street site to newly opened Chairman Blake Lane. The college employed a maximum of seven faculty members into the 1870s, and six houses along Main Street were locally known as the faculty houses. In addition to the Blake House, the President's House, and the Henderson-Grey House (405 North Main Street) remain. The other faculty dwellings, which were known as the Louisiana, the Oak, and the Danville, no longer survive (Beaty 1979: 26-27, 36-37, 73; Morrill and Phillips 1979).
Typical of many communities in North Carolina's western Piedmont, the college and the adjacent town remained isolated until the arrival of reliable railroad service after the Civil War. The north-south Atlantic, Tennessee and Ohio Railroad joined Charlotte in Mecklenburg County with Statesville in Iredell County in 1861, passing through the small college town just west of Main Street. Confederate troops dismantled the track during the war, but the line was finally reactivated in 1874. Although the ambitiously named railroad never extended beyond Statesville, by the 1890s the line was part of the Southern Railway system that linked Davidson and Mecklenburg County to far-flung cities and markets. In 1897, the Southern Railway erected a German-sided, hip-roofed depot that still stands along the rail corridor at Jackson and Depot streets. The railway provided the town with unprecedented economic opportunities as Davidson became a shipping point for cash crops, especially cotton, and a service center for farmers. Two thousand bales of cotton were sold at Davidson annually in the early 1900s. In common with other railroad towns in the region, Davidson also attracted textile investors who constructed cotton mills and mill villages along the rail corridor at the north end of the Davidson Historic District (Tompkins 1903: 196; Gray and Stathakis 2004).
The Linden Cotton Factory began in 1890 on the west side of the rail corridor, and in 1891, the name of the town was changed from Davidson College to Davidson, emblematic of the community's expanding roles. A second mill, the Delburg Cotton Mills, opened near the Linden plant in 1908. The two mills eventually merged into the Delburg-Linden Company and became the Davidson Cotton Mill in 1923. The opening of the Linden and the Delburg mills reflected the textile boom of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries that shaped the industrial landscape of the region. While the Piedmont remained primarily rural and agrarian, new textile mills dotted the railroads lines in the small towns and the cities. Cotton mills were the principal symbol of the "New South" credo championed by civic leaders who equated urban industrial growth with progress and prosperity. By World War I, over 300 mills were constructed within a 100-mile radius of Charlotte. By the 1920s, the Piedmont had surpassed New England as the leading textile producer in the world. In Mecklenburg County, some two dozen mills arose in and around Charlotte, and cotton mills and adjacent mill villages were established in the small railroad towns of Pineville, Huntersville, Cornelius, and Davidson (Morrill 1979; Glass 1992: 57-58; Bishir and Southern 2003: 52-55, 502, 523-524; Gray and Stathakis 2004: 4-7).
By 1900, Davidson's Linden mill, a manufacturer of cotton yarns, included 7,000 spindles and seventy employees. Its early success necessitated the widening of streets near the mill and encouraged investors to establish Delburg Cotton Mills nearby. Delburg Cotton Mills Company was organized to buy and sell cotton and wool and to manufacture yarns for clothing and other products. The corporation was authorized to produce electric power for the mill as well as to sell power to the town and to erect pole lines for the transmission of electricity. The capital stock was $1,000,000.00 divided into 1,000 shares, and the corporation could begin business once $11,000.00 of shares had been sold. This occurred with the sale of 110 shares to several local investors, including Dr. John P. Munroe, a local druggist and businessman; and W.R. Grey, a professor at Davidson College (Gray and Stathakis 2004: 8).
In January 1908, the Charlotte Daily Observer recorded that the Delburg mill was under construction and that once completed would feature electric power, automatic fire extinguishers, water hydrants, and a 140,000-gallon water tank that it would share with the Linden mill. The Delburg operation prospered, employing fifty-nine workers in 1915, the year after a major physical expansion. The mill complex received another large addition in early 1920s. In 1923, the Delburg-Linden Company was acquired by a group of investors led by Martin L. Cannon, son of the founder of Cannon Mills in Kannapolis, North Carolina. The name was changed to the Davidson Cotton Mill with Cannon as president. The Linden mill was converted to a cotton warehouse while the Delburg mill functioned as the main manufacturing plant. Davidson Cotton Mill boasted 14,688 spindles and a capitalized stock worth $325,000.00. The mill remained in operation under several different owners until the 1960s. In 1996, the mill was converted to a restaurant and professional offices (Gray and Stathakis 2004: 8-10).
Davidson's cotton mills spurred the growth of the town, and by 1910, the population of Davidson had reached 500 residents, climbing to 1,500 by the 1920s. Between 1900 and the Great Depression, the business district evolved from a commingling of brick and frame stores, interspersed with houses, into contiguous rows of one-story and two-story, brick commercial buildings. The heart of the district developed within a compact stretch of Main Street opposite the college. This area contained a full complement of small town stores and services, including four general merchandise stores, a drug store, a laundry, tailor shop, two barber shops, a hardware store, a post office, a bank, and several restaurants. Several physicians, building contractors, and milliners also had Main Street addresses. Behind Main Street along the railroad tracks stood the depot (extant), a livery, flour mill, sawmill, cotton gins, a cotton seed oil company, a blacksmith shop, and a buggy manufacturer (Sanborn Map Company 1902, 1908, 1915, 1925; Gray and Stathakis 2004; Beaty 1979: 135-140; Branson 1896; Tompkins 1903: 196).
Population growth, commercial advancement, and college expansion all created a demand for house construction throughout Davidson. Businessmen and professors alike erected new houses around the town. Many of the largest dwellings were erected along North Main Street and Concord Road, which formed the western and southern borders of the campus. For example, professors Archibald Currie and William J. Wood built substantial, Queen Anne residences on North Main Street around the turn of the twentieth century. In the 1910s and 1920s, newly hired professors also erected dwellings on lots made available by the college along North Main. Concord Road witnessed similar activity. Around 1900, Dr. William J. Martin II, a chemistry professor and later president of Davidson College, commissioned a Queen Anne residence (Martin-Worth-Henderson House) for his mother and two sisters at 310 Concord Road. By 1915, the college had sold four vacant house lots north of the Martin-Worth-Henderson property to new faculty members (Beaty 1979: 78, 106, 111-112).
Concurrently, prosperous, local businessmen and others not directly affiliated with the college built new residences. Many shared blocks with professors' families along North Main Street and Concord Road. One of the town's principal entrepreneurs was Holt Armour, son of a wealthy local farmer. By 1915, Armour had opened Armour Brothers and Thompson Dry Goods on North Main Street (north of Brady's Alley) and owned a number of other buildings in the business district. He commissioned a handsome, Queen Anne house at 626 North Main Street and gave adjoining lots to family members. North of the college cemetery (above Armour Street) along North Main Street, businessmen Manly Cranford, Palmer Henderson, and G.L. Lilly built new houses in the early twentieth century. One of the larger residences in this section was constructed in 1912 for May Ellinwood from Connecticut, who used her Davidson home as a winter retreat. In 1905, merchant and civic leader, John F. Caldwell, erected a house on Concord Road, and in 1911, he asked the town for lights and sidewalks along "Eastern Heights" as this area was known. During the 1910s and early 1920s, other Caldwell relatives built new houses along Concord Road near Woodland Street (Beaty 1979: 92-94, 118-119; Starnes and Morrill 2005; Payne and Morrill 2005: 17).
By the late 1920s, the teaching staff of the college had reached forty-six, creating more demand for residential development. With most of the lots nearest the campus already filled, the east end of Concord Road drew new construction. In 1929, Dr. Frasier Hood, head of the psychology department, commissioned a red brick, Colonial Revival residence (829 Concord Road) at the eastern outskirts of the town. He named the house Restormel after an English castle, and in his backyard, Professor Hood erected a Rustic Revival log house to entertain guests. To the south, the Robert W. Shelton family auctioned off wooded lots along Lorimer Road, Woodland Street, and Thompson Street that were purchased mainly by professors. By the early 1930s, faculty houses lined these tree shaded streets (Beaty 1979: 162-171, 177-181).
On the southwest side of town, South Main Street, the principal link to the adjoining town of Cornelius, and Potts Street, originally part of South Main, saw a wave of residential construction during the 1880s and 1890s. Merchant Joseph Summers erected his residence on Potts Street facing the railroad tracks in the 1880s. The house was later owned by builder, Will Potts, who constructed a host of Davidson buildings. In 1883, entrepreneur and town councilman, John Eli Brattain, built his Gothic inspired house at the junction of South Main and Walnut streets. Also in 1883, P.P. Maxwell, whose son later taught at the short-lived medical college, commissioned a sizable, Italianate dwelling on South Main Street. By the turn of the century, new houses lined Potts Street, and the families of merchants James Lee Sloan, Earl Goodrum, and Frank Knox all resided along South Main Street (Beaty 1979: 97-105).
In the 1920s, the state improved and paved Main Street, which was part of the highway between the Mecklenburg County seat of Charlotte and Statesville, seat of neighboring Iredell County. The state highway commissioner telegraphed Davidson College president, W.J. Martin, in 1923 to proclaim that the new road (now N.C. Route 115) had been named the Davidson College Highway. As part of the improvements, the original South Main Street below Walnut Street became Potts Street, and a new South Main Street was extended to the south towards the town of Cornelius. A newly constructed railroad underpass marked the south end of the town of Davidson (Beaty 1979: 97, 155).
In addition to single family residences, boarding houses arose to provide off-campus living arrangements and became part of the college's social scene. In 1915, fourteen houses in Davidson were taking on boarders and college guests, serving Davidson students three meals a day. One of the earliest boarding houses was the Holt-Henderson House at 305 North Main Street. The central section of the house was built before the Civil War for a local tailor. The dwelling was subsequently enlarged for Dr. William Holt and his wife, Julia, who operated a boarding house here. However, by 1960, boarding houses had virtually disappeared as the college assumed the responsibility for providing meals to students (Beaty 1979: 161-162; Cottrell and Morrill 2005; Payne and Morrill 2006: 6-8).
Initially, the town's religious and social life centered around the Davidson College Presbyterian Chapel. However, in 1885, an independent Davidson Presbyterian Church was constructed at the northeast corner of Main Street and Concord Road, where the present Davidson College Presbyterian Church now stands. Davidson's Methodists attended Mt. Zion United Methodist Church in nearby Cornelius until 1908 when they formed a new church in Davidson. The Gothic Revival Davidson Methodist Church still stands on South Main Street (Beaty 1979: 52-53).
Presbyterianism has historically placed a high value on education, and from the college's beginnings, a host of private schools operated both on and around the campus. Julia Holt initially ran one of the earliest schools for white students out of her home on North Main Street. The college later allowed Mrs. Holt to conduct classes in Tammany Hall, a brick faculty residence on campus. In 1892, the trustees of the college established an academy that held classes in a six-room, brick building (now gone) and was supported by both public and private donors. For twenty-four years beginning in the early 1900s, Davidson College professor, Howard Arbuckle, sponsored a private school for black students in town (Payne and Morrill 2005: 10-11; Beaty 1979: 63-64, 113, 171-172).
In 1911, the town built a public graded school for white children funded by local taxes. Located on South Street in the historic district, Davidson Graded School was expanded during the 1920s consolidation movement, and in 1937 a separate gymnasium was added to the grounds with funds provided by the Public Works Administration (P.W.A.). Designed by Charlotte architect, Willard G. Rogers, this red brick gymnasium with neoclassical elements remains intact although the 1911 school building was destroyed by fire in 1946. In 1948, a new graded school, Davidson School, was completed on the site. The building's restrained, modernist design was the work of the noted Charlotte architect, Louis H. Asbury (Payne and Morrill 2005: 11-12; Stakel and Morrill 2005; Gray 2008).
For African American children, the Davidson Colored School opened in 1937 on Gamble Street in the historic district to serve grades one through nine. As with the 1937 gymnasium for the Davidson Graded School, this facility was designed by Willard G. Rogers and funded, in part, with P.W.A. money. The local African American community also funded a portion of its construction costs. Teacher Ada Jenkins and Logan Huston P.T.A. President spearheaded the drive to build the new school. In 1955, the school was renamed the Ada Jenkins School in honor of Ms. Jenkins. By the 1939-1940 school year, Davidson Colored School taught students through the eleventh grade. The school was expanded from six classrooms to eight in 1945, and the following year became exclusively an elementary school. A major expansion campaign in 1958 resulted in the construction of a cafeteria, auditorium, and classroom wing. The school closed in 1966 when Mecklenburg County schools were racially integrated and now serves as a community center. The building remains well-preserved (Gray 2006: 7-9; Payne and Morrill 2005: 12-13; Dameron and Morrill 2005; Beaty 1979: 113).
Davidson Colored School functioned as both an educational and social center for the town's African American community. In Davidson, as in other towns across North Carolina and the South, distinctly black neighborhoods had emerged by the early twentieth century as racially segregated places prescribed by Jim Crow laws and social customs that townsfolk rarely questioned. Davidson's African American neighborhood consisted of a small area west of the railroad near the cotton mills, lumberyard, and other local industries. By the mid-1920s, this section included a black Baptist church, a meeting hall, and a loose arrangement of one story, side gable cottages and shotgun houses. In typical fashion, African Americans were engaged in an assortment of jobs both within and outside the community. Some worked as field hands on neighboring farms or as day laborers in town. Others held steadier employment as workers in the yards around the mills, skilled artisans, ministers, Main Street barbers, or maintenance men at the college. Women often worked as domestic servants for white households or as laundresses for college students (Sanborn Map Company 1925; Beaty 1979: 53-54, 140).
One of the town's most prominent and civic-minded African Americans was Ralph Johnson. Johnson operated a Main Street barber shop (traditionally an African American occupation) between 1921 and 1971 and financed well-constructed houses in the black section of Davidson. The Ralph Johnson House, a frame bungalow, survives at 115 Mock Circle. The house was built in 1924 by Johnson's uncle, Otho "Tobe" Johnson who owned a pressing club business (a precursor to dry cleaning) on Main Street. Mr. Johnson not only elevated the living standards of blacks in Davidson through his construction projects but later in life established an endowment for African American students at Davidson College (Payne and Morrill 2005: 18; Gill and Morrill 2005).
Around Davidson's business district, prewar commercial patterns changed significantly in the decades after World War II. The demise of cotton farming and decline of other agricultural pursuits in Mecklenburg County effectively ended the town's role as a farming service center. Meanwhile, improved highways encouraged residents to frequent larger department stores in the cities, especially Charlotte, located twenty-two miles to the south. In recent years, the emergence of modern, suburban shopping centers around Davidson has accelerated the decline of the town as an all-purpose retail market (Gray and Stathakis 2004: 9-10).
However, other recent trends have advanced new commerce along Main Street and revitalized the town. The tremendous development around Charlotte and the county has stimulated Davidson's growth. Visitors and home buyers are attracted to this small, picturesque college town located within commuting distance of a big city. Local businesses, now characterized by restaurants and specialty shops, cater to this new market. Prestigious Davidson College remains the town focus and has made Davidson an intellectual and cultural center, drawing into its orbit a sizable professional class. Together with longtime residents, these newcomers have restored houses, adapted old buildings to new uses, and often encouraged innovative planning techniques that have preserved open space. Thus amidst development pressure Davidson retains much of its historic character.
The architectural development of the Davidson Historic District clearly illustrates the emergence of Davidson as a small college town and Piedmont railroad community between the antebellum period and the mid-twentieth century. The presence of prestigious Davidson College has distinguished Davidson from other railroad towns in Mecklenburg County. Throughout its history, the town's disproportionately large professional class of college faculty and businessmen often favored the latest in national architectural designs rather than the traditional domestic forms and conservative interpretations of national styles that characterized the other small towns of the region. Consequently, the Davidson Historic District boasts a particularly fine collection of houses, churches, schools, and college buildings that are often sophisticated expressions of architectural styles. The Davidson Historic District's collection of antebellum, classically inspired houses and academic buildings is unique in the county and reflects the influence of Davidson College, established in 1837.
The Davidson Historic District encompasses a portion of the Davidson College campus, the college cemetery, the 1897 Southern Railway Depot, a cotton mill, the business district, churches, schools, community centers, and an eclectic mix of houses for working class, middle class, and wealthy residents. The historic district excludes modern residential and commercial development found along the periphery of the town.
The antebellum architecture that remains in the Davidson Historic District reflects the prevailing classical trends of this period which were also well-suited for scholastic institutions steeped in classical teachings. The oldest buildings in the Davidson Historic District are Elm Row and Oak Row, which were constructed in 1837 on the western edge of the Davidson College campus. Of the eight buildings that formed the original Davidson College campus, only Elm Row and Oak Row survive. Attributed to local builder, Samuel Lemly, these simple, one-story, brick dormitories have gable roofs, fieldstone foundations, and a restrained classicism expressed in their symmetrical facades and delicate trimwork. Designed to house sixteen students apiece, each building contains four rooms, each with its own entrance.
By the mid-nineteenth century, the national Greek Revival style expressed Davidson's classical architectural tendencies. The Greek Revival was characterized by bold classical details and well-proportioned, geometric forms drawn from ancient Greek architecture. In the historic district, Davidson College buildings, Eumenean Hall and Philanthropic Hall, which are both listed on the National Register (1972), are excellent examples of the style. These Greek Revival temple forms were constructed in 1849-1850 by builders, Lewis Dinkins and Daniel Alexander, for the two debating societies on campus. The two social groups agreed to build similar structures that would face each other, and each is a two-story, Doric tetrastyle building with a brick exterior and a piano nobile plan. The two porticoed debating halls are situated in proximity to Elm and Oak Rows near North Main Street.
North Main Street began developing as a premier residential area in the mid-nineteenth century and attracted some of Davidson's stylish Greek Revival dwellings. The Henderson-Grey House at 405 North Main Street is a well-preserved example. This two-story, brick house was built in the mid-1850s as the residence and store of James P. Henderson. The college purchased the property in the 1870s, and the house became the home of W.R. Grey, a Davidson College professor of French and Latin for forty-two years. The two-story, double-pile dwelling has a hip roof, a symmetrical, red brick facade laid in Flemish bond, fieldstone foundation, denticulated cornice, and elegant, Greek Revival entrances on both the first and second stories, each framed by eight-light transoms and sidelights. The original hip-roofed front porch has been replaced.
Most residential development in Davidson occurred after the Civil War, fueled by the 1870s reconstruction of the railroad and the growth of the college. The latter nineteenth century witnessed growing opportunities for new types of domestic design fostered by innovative framing methods, the mass production of bricks, nails, and milled lumber, and the emergence of rail transportation. Frame and brick houses became easier, faster, and cheaper to construct. At the same time, architectural catalogs offered an unprecedented array of stylish and affordable sawn ornaments, moldings, and mantelpieces, fashioned at steam-powered factories and delivered to customers by rail. Builders' widespread use of the light balloon frame, which consisted entirely of small framing members nailed in place, coincided with the rise of the national picturesque movement. Picturesque architecture, including such styles as the Gothic Revival and Italianate, and culminating in the flamboyant Queen Anne, promoted a freedom of design not permitted by the strictures of classicism. But even as the appeal of the picturesque stirred up ornamentation along porches and roof lines in Davidson and across the region, traditional building practices persisted into the 1900s.
Among Davidson's well-preserved expressions of picturesque architecture is the Holt-Henderson House at 305 North Main Street. This house was originally built before the Civil War as a traditional, rectangular, two-story, single-pile dwelling. The house was later purchased by Confederate surgeon, Dr. William Holt, who enlarged and modified the house in the 1870s with popular Italianate detailing. The rectangular main block of the dwelling was given a front wing, creating an L-shaped plan. In addition, a bay window, scrolled brackets, two-over-two windows, and chamfered porch posts were added to give the house its Italianate appearance.
Another notable version of picturesque domestic design is the 1883 John Eli Brattain House at 305 South Main Street. Inspired by the Gothic Revival style, the one-and-one-half-story, frame cottage has multiple gables each of which is lavishly decorated with cut-out bargeboards in the form of icicles and turned pendills. The porch features sawnwork brackets and chamfered posts while the crosseted windows have decorative pedimented hoods.
Nearby are two 1880s houses that share distinctive picturesque designs. The Summers-Potts House at 544 Potts Street and the James Alexander House at 252 South Main Street share an unusual form, each house consisting of two symmetrical, two-story wings with a single entrance bay and porch bridging the junction of the wings. The Alexander House features Italianate detailing with double leaf, round arched doors, bay windows in the end elevations, scrolled brackets under the eaves, decorative bargeboards, and an elaborate porch with chamfered posts, sawnwork knee brackets, and cut-out balustrades. Facing Potts Street, once the main road to the adjoining town of Cornelius, the Summers-Potts House has a peaked gable over the entrance, and the porch is supported by chamfered posts and surmounted by a cut-out balustrade. In addition to the decorative bargeboards, the exterior is delineated by wide, weatherboarded belt courses as well as decorative spandrels beneath the windows in the end bays.
By the end of the nineteenth century, the Queen Anne style had grown in popularity in Davidson, and a collection of Queen Anne dwellings from this period remain intact in the historic district. A particularly stylish example is the Vinson House at 519 North Main Street. Set back from the street and enclosed by a wrought iron fence, the substantial, two-story, frame dwelling, erected in the 1890s, features such hallmarks of the style as a gable-on-hip roof, shingled gables, a modillioned cornice, and a wraparound porch embellished by turned posts and a decorative frieze. Also dating to the 1890s is the Armour-Adams House at 626 North Main Street. The one-story cottage has a high hip roof, decorative gables and dormers, and an ornate, wraparound porch supported by turned posts with cut-out brackets. The house was built by Holt Armour, who owned a large dry goods store in Davidson.
While picturesque designs began to hold sway in Davidson by the end of the nineteenth century, traditional residential forms persisted. The two-story, rectangular Currie-Adams House at 525 North Main Street is a notable example. Built ca. 1900, the Currie-Adams House displays the symmetrical, three-bay facade, weatherboard siding, exterior brick end chimneys, side-gable roof, one-story, hip-roofed porch, and center-hall plan that characterized this popular regional house type throughout the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Confined by the college to the east and the rail corridor to the west, the well-preserved business district in the Davidson Historic District developed in a largely linear fashion along North and South Main streets. Most of the buildings are the low-scale, brick commercial buildings characteristic of small towns in the 1910s and 1920s. A striking exception is the brick Helper Hotel at 215 North Main Street. Originally constructed in 1848 for merchant and builder Lewis Dinkins, the building was designed to reflect the two classically inspired debating halls across the street that were also built by Dinkins. In 1855, the building was purchased by Hanson Pinckney Helper who greatly enlarged the store/hotel to approximately double the original size, creating a thirteen-room hotel. About 1860, Helper added a two-tiered front porch and in 1871 built a roof balustrade that formed an observatory overlooking the town and college. Incorporating classical elements of the original Dinkins building and Helper's later expansion, the Helper Hotel is a boxy, two-story, hip-roofed structure embellished with stuccoed, classical pilasters that define the bays on the main elevations. The brick on the main elevation is laid in a Flemish bond while the sides and rear have English bond. In 1946, the Helper Hotel was purchased by Davidson College and renamed the Carolina Inn. The college restored the building in 1971 and converted it to classrooms and offices. The former hotel is currently occupied by the college's Center for Interdisciplinary Studies.
The earliest commercial buildings in Davidson were of frame construction, but after a devastating fire in 1906, the extant Main Street business district emerged with its series of attached and freestanding commercial buildings. Most of the historic commercial buildings are one- and two-story, brick construction with flat roofs hidden by flat or stepped parapets, limited ornamentation, and large, storefront windows, some of which have been remodeled. A number were erected by local builder, B.C. Deal, who built his own house within the business district at 107 North Main Street in 1908 but which is now used for commercial purposes. The two-story, red-brick Deal residence includes a flat roof and parapet, a first-story porch, and a second-story gallery. Within several years, Deal had also built the Johnston Grocery Store (1912) at 101 North Main Street and the Jetton Drugstore at 103 North Main Street. Both are typical, one-story, brick stores with ornamentation limited to the corbelled, recessed panels above ground level storefronts. Built in the early 1920s but similar in design and construction, the Sloan Building was erected at 121-123 North Main Street to house two separate shops. At 131 North Main Street is the White Drug Company Building, one of the few original two-story buildings in the business district.
West of the business district is the 1897 Southern Railway Depot, a small, German-sided, hip-roofed building that stands along the rail corridor at Jackson and Depot streets. Near the depot are several low-scale, brick factories which represent the emergence of a local textile industry in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The Linden Cotton Factory, erected in 1890 on Depot Street, was the first textile plant in Davidson, and in 1908, the Delburg Cotton Mills was constructed nearby. Both cotton mills were housed in long, one-story, brick factory buildings with tall, segmental-arched windows and low gable roofs that were typical of cotton mills built in the Piedmont during this period. Inside the mills, heavy timber posts and beams supported open work spaces. Both mills later became part of the Davidson Cotton Mills complex. The Delburg mill was converted to commercial use in recent decades but remains substantially intact.
The continued growth of the college and local textile mills spurred residential development in the early twentieth century. However, the flamboyance of picturesque designs gradually gave way to historical revival styles. By the early 1900s, the favorite new style along Davidson's major streets was the Colonial Revival. Its comfortable patriotic associations and familiar classical themes appealed to the families of businessmen, faculty, and landowners, who often applied Colonial Revival symbols to irregular, picturesque forms as well as adopting simpler, white-frame, cubic boxes capped by hip roofs and dormers. By World War I, more historically correct, red brick or frame, Georgian and Federal models gained popularity nationwide and remained a favorite house design in Davidson into the mid-twentieth century.
The 1911 Archibald Currie House at 559 North Main Street is exemplary of the early Colonial Revival. The house features the irregular massing and wraparound porch common to the Queen Anne style. However, its restrained ornamentation and Colonial Revival motifs illustrate the reemerging national preference for classical styles. A well-preserved, later, academic version is the 1930 Stough House, originally built for Professor Lewis Schenck at 612 North Main Street. This handsome, two-story, red brick, Colonial Revival house has a symmetrical, five-bay facade with a central entrance comprised of a single-leaf, paneled door surmounted by a transom and framed by a broken pediment and fluted surrounds.
At the east end of Concord Road stands the 1929 Dr. Fraser Hood House (Restormel), the grandest of Davidson's Colonial Revival-style residences. The two and one-half-story, side-gable, brick residence features a deep, modillioned cornice and a center entrance capped by a broken pediment and flanked by fluted pilasters. The dwelling is a commanding presence on its large lot with mature hardwoods and a fieldstone retaining wall facing Concord Road. Nearby at 765 Concord Road, the Chalmers Davidson House (1938) is a more informal expression of the Colonial Revival with its one and one-half-story, irregular massing, frame construction, bay windows, and asymmetrical wings that were designed to read as accretions.
Among the many Colonial Revival residences in the historic district is the ca.1937 Thompson Boarding House at 434 Concord Road. Boarding houses were once an integral part of Davidson, providing living quarters and meals for students and unmarried faculty members. However, in recent decades, the advent of on-campus meal plans and the construction of apartment complexes have made these properties unnecessary. Operated as a boarding house until the late 1950s, the Thompson Boarding House is a two-story, frame dwelling with a U-shaped plan, six-over-six windows, and a flat roofed, classically-inspired porch connecting the two front wings.
One of the more sophisticated examples of Colonial Revival residential architecture in the Davidson Historic District is Jackson Row, a row of detached fraternity houses, constructed by Davidson College on the north side of Concord Road in 1928. The fraternities were originally housed in the Chambers Building, the main administration building on campus, but in 1921 Chambers burned. With its loss, the college decided to erect separate meeting places for campus fraternities and awarded the commission to prominent Charlotte architect, Martin E. Boyer Jr., who was known for his Colonial and Georgian Revival designs. Boyer's design consisted of eleven, brick, Colonial Revival houses sited in a semi-circular plan; ten of the houses survive. The one-story, freestanding houses all have brick exteriors laid in Flemish bond, slate roofs, and six-over-nine windows, but the individual buildings vary with gable or hip roofs, symmetrical or asymmetrical plans, and the use of pedimented porticos or more delicately executed porches. Boyer's design is noteworthy in that the individual houses are mirror images of each other, designed to create an overall, symmetrical plan for the row.
While less popular than the Colonial Revival style, a variety of Tudor Revival houses were built in the historic district between the 1920s and 1940s. The 1930 Arbuckle House is a notable Tudor Revival cottage at 838 Concord Road. The one-and-one-half story, brick dwelling features such hallmarks of the style as decorative half-timbering in the projecting center gable and the Tudor arches along the side porch.
By the 1910s and especially after World War I, new house designs appeared that emphasized an artful simplicity derived from rational planning and adept craftsmanship. Builders readily adapted the Colonial Revival box to the new movement, employing low-cost prefabricated materials to construct simple, rectilinear, American Foursquare shapes. The open plan of the American Foursquare maximized space and suited the informality of form. A clear example of the American Foursquare house in the Davidson Historic District is the Arbuckle-Jackson House at 404 Concord Road. Constructed in 1915, the house has a boxy, two-story massing, low pyramidal roof, deep eaves, and a symmetrical, two-bay facade. Constructed by local builder, Will Potts, the frame house also has a wraparound porch and both single and paired, six-over-six windows.
The most popular national expression of the trend towards architectural simplicity was the Craftsman style Bungalow. Featured in new pattern books and architectural magazines that targeted the American middle and working classes, the ideal Craftsman Bungalow was promoted as affordable, efficient, modern, and tasteful. Countless variations appeared, but the principal elements of the style included its low-slung form, wide porch with battered piers, broad, overhanging eaves with exposed rafters, and an abundance of windows. The finer examples often contained rustic materials, such as cobblestones for porches, chimneys, and foundations, and rough split shakes for sidings.
One of the Davidson Historic District's more substantial Craftsman Bungalows is the 1920s G.L. Lilly House at 565 North Main Street. The brick house neatly represents the informality of the style in its low-pitched, cross-gable roof, large front porch with heavy, battered piers mounted on brick pedestals, numerous windows, and deep, bracketed eaves. Smaller, but illustrative examples of 1920s, frame and brick bungalows also stand along the 500 block of Concord Road, exhibiting a variety of low-slung forms with gable or hip roofs, deep eaves, and broad porches with the battered piers and brick pedestals characteristic of the Bungalow style.
Residential construction was not limited to the main thoroughfares, and in the early 1920s, the rolling, wooded area south of Concord Road was opened for residential development. The continued growth of the college created a demand for new housing, and spacious, tree-shaded house lots and an eclectic mix of Georgian Revival, Dutch Colonial, Bungalow, American Foursquare, and Colonial Revival domestic designs appeared on Thompson Street, Lorimer Road, and Woodland Street. The first dwelling in the new neighborhood was the 1925 Porter House, home to William Lorimer Porter, a professor of biology at Davidson College. (Lorimer Road was named for the professor.) The two-story, frame dwelling at 518 Lorimer Road combines the low, clipped-gable roof, broad eaves, and knee brackets of the Craftsman style with the symmetry and restrained classical detailing of the Colonial Revival, reflecting the popularity of eclectic combinations. Nearby, the Watts House, built in 1935 at 526 Lorimer Road, illustrates the Dutch Colonial style with its hallmark gambrel roof. Built in 1931, the house at 502 South Street combines the American Foursquare form with Colonial Revival decorative motifs. This two-story, brick dwelling has the tiled, hip roof, boxy massing, and symmetrical facade common to American Foursquare houses, but the elliptical fanlight and side lights framing the door and the Tuscan porch columns show the influence of the Colonial Revival. Nearby at 203 South Street is the 1926 Dr. J. Wilson McConnell House, a two-story, brick-veneered and wood-shingled, Dutch Colonial Revival house located next door to the small, brick office building that housed Dr. McConnell's office. The combination of house and office is unusual in the historic district. Another distinctive resource is the log, front-gable, 1920s bungalow at 312 Thompson Street. This Rustic Revival house has a hip-roofed porch supported by rough hewn log posts and balustrade. Another 1930s Rustic Revival dwelling in the Davidson Historic District is the Lingle Hut, a log community center built by the Davidson Calvary Presbyterian Church as a gathering place for local mill workers.
While Main Street, Concord Road, and nearby side streets remained fashionable addresses for college professors and the town's middle class, the construction of the Linden and Delburg mills introduced worker housing to the west side of the historic district. Typical of mill villages throughout the region in the early twentieth century, Delburg, Watson, Depot, and Eden streets are lined with small, one-story, frame dwellings that conform to a few standardized types. These mill houses represent common, regional forms that were promoted by the noted Charlotte mill engineer, Daniel Augustus Tompkins, in his influential, 1899 publication, Cotton Mill: Commercial Features. The ca.1908 house at 323 Delburg Street is a particularly well-preserved example. The one-story, single-pile dwelling has a side-gable roof, two-room plan, a symmetrical, three bay facade, and a hip-roofed porch. Although the porch now has replacement posts, the house retains its weatherboard siding and two-over-two windows. Representing another popular mill house type is the hip-roofed, double-pile cottage with an inset corner porch at 361 Delburg Street.
Also located on the west side of the historic district were the homes of Davidson's African American residents who occupied a variety of one-story, frame, hip-roofed, side-gable, and front-gable bungalows and cottages that were built on the streets near the factories. Of particular note is the Mock Circle home of Ralph Johnson, a successful African American businessman and college benefactor, who operated a barber shop in Davidson for fifty years and owned much real estate in the African American neighborhood. Built in 1924 by his uncle, the Ralph Johnson House is a side-gable, brick bungalow with an engaged porch and shed-roofed dormer.
The Davidson Historic District also includes two public school buildings. The 1937 Davidson Colored School (renamed Ada Jenkins School in 1955) was designed by Charlotte architect, Willard G. Rogers, and constructed under the aegis of the Public Works Administration (P.W.A.). The one-story, brick building has a long, T-shaped form with a hip roof, paired, six-over-six windows, and neoclassical elements. The projecting entrance bay is capped by a pediment, and the double leaf doors are mounted by a round arched fanlight. A two-story, brick addition with modernist detailing was constructed in 1958 to give the facility a gymnasium and additional classrooms.
The original graded school for the white children of Davidson burned in 1946, and the Davidson School (now the Davidson Middle School) was completed in 1948 on the site of the earlier facility. Designed by the Charlotte architectural firm of Louis H. Asbury and Son, the three-story, red-brick school building shows the influence of modernism in its metal sash, ribbon windows, flat roof, and doorways with porthole windows. The 1937 gymnasium survived the 1946 fire. Funded through the P.W.A. and also designed by Willard G. Rogers, this red brick gym with neoclassical elements stands adjacent to the school building at 251 South Street (Gray 2008).
Because of the presence of Davidson College, religious life in Davidson was defined largely by the Presbyterians. On the Davidson College campus within the historic district, the imposing Davidson College Presbyterian Church opened in 1952 on the site of the original 1885 church. Designed in the familiar neoclassical language, the church has a brick exterior laid in Flemish bond, denticulated cornice, pilasters, Palladian windows, and a monumental portico that faces the college quadrangle.
Other Protestant denominations also built churches in the town. At 304 South Main Street is the 1908 Davidson United Methodist Church, a fine example of Gothic Revival church architecture. Now used as a chapel for the modern church built across the street, the brick church retains its T-shaped configuration with a crenellated tower at the junction of the two steeply pitched, gable-roofed wings, and pointed arch windows.
After World War II, the town's growing professional class introduced modernism to Davidson. Student enrollment doubled during the postwar decade to reach 1,000 by the 1950s, and the size of the faculty increased which, in turn, created a new demand for housing. The newly hired teachers arrived in Davidson from around the nation, and many were familiar with the innovative, modernist architectural trends transforming larger cities and universities after the war. Although the majority of houses for professors continued to follow conservative, revival style designs, residents along Hillside Drive in particular commissioned a collection of modernist dwellings. One such example is the 1956 James and Elizabeth Purcell House at 206 Lorimer Road. James Purcell was an English professor at Davidson College who moved to Davidson from south Florida, where he and his wife, Elizabeth, are known to have favored the region's contemporary, flat-roofed domestic architecture. The Purcells hired Charlotte architects, Harold Cooler and Marshall McDowell, to design their split level, flat-roofed residence. By the mid-1950s, neighboring faculty houses at 102 and 103 Hillside Drive also expressed clean-lined, modernist designs that stood in sharp contrast to nearby Colonial Revival houses (Payne and Morrill 2005: 20-22; Nichols 2005).
Far more numerous in this eastern section of the historic district are Ranch-style houses. Their simple, linear forms, and efficient floor plans quickly became ubiquitous on a national scale during the 1950s and 1960s. The 100 blocks of Dogwood Lane and Hillside Drive, for example, are marked by a variety of brick and frame Ranch houses, many with engaged carports and horizontal-sash windows. Of note is the ca.1957 Ranch house at 104 Hillside Drive. This long, one-story, dwelling has a low, side-gable roof; an exterior of red brick and vertical board siding, and a recessed entry. A large, three-part picture window fills the facade.
The Davidson Historic District also encompasses the Davidson College Cemetery on the west side of North Main Street. The cemetery occupies a town lot roughly two acres in size and contains headstones that represent traditional rectangular and arched tablets as well as nationally popular designs of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries including classically pedimented markers and obelisks. Established soon after the founding of the college, the cemetery holds graves of prominent Davidson College faculty and their families with gravestones dating from 1838 through the mid-twentieth century. A focal point of the small graveyard is the 1889 obelisk that marks the grave of Confederate General, D.H. Hill, who was later a mathematics professor at Davidson College.
The Davidson Historic District also includes a number of outbuildings most of which are garages or storage sheds. The garages are primarily front-gable, frame structures although a few of the more imposing residences include brick garages that match the design of the house. Of the outbuildings found in the Davidson Historic District, two frame, gable-roofed barns (544 Potts Street and 743 Concord Road) are vestiges of the area's agrarian roots.
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Eumenean Hall. National Register of Historic Places Nomination. 1971. On file at the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office, Raleigh, North Carolina.
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Payne, Jennifer, and Dan L. Morrill. "The Evolution of the Built Environment of Davidson, North Carolina." On file at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission Charlotte, North Carolina. 2006.
Philanthropic Hall. National Register of Historic Places Nomination. 1971. On file at the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office, Raleigh, North Carolina.
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Shaw, Cornelia Rebekah. Davidson College. New York: Fleming H. Revell Press, 1923.
Stakel, Kristen and Dan L. Morrill. "Davidson IB Middle School. Survey and Research Report." On file at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission Charlotte, North Carolina, 2005.
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Tompkins, Daniel Augustus. A History of Mecklenburg County and the City of Charlotte, 1740-1903. vol. II. Charlotte, North Carolina: Charlotte Observer Printing House, 1903.
† Robert L. Mattson, Mattson, Alexander & Associates, Davidson Historic District, Mecklenburg County, NC, nomination document, 2008, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.