Carolina Heights Historic District
The Carolina Heights Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from copies of the original nomination documents. [† ‡] Adaptation copyright © 2012, The Gombach Group.
The Carolina Heights Historic District is eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places in the area of community planning and development and for architecture. The period of significance for the Carolina Heights Historic District begins in 1908, the date development of the Carolina Heights neighborhood began and extends to 1939, the year the streetcar ceased operation in the neighborhood and the year that represents the end of the district's major period of development. The Carolina Heights Historic District is also eligible under criterion consideration for the Christian Science Church which is located in the district and which was so central to the early development of Carolina Heights. The Carolina Heights Historic District encompasses two of Wilmington, North Carolina's early suburban residential neighborhoods which developed adjacent to each other at approximately the same time: Carolina Heights whose earliest houses date to 1908 and Winoca Terrace which began construction in 1911. A third early suburb, Carolina Place [see Carolina Place Historic District], located directly east of Carolina Heights, was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1992.
At the turn of the twentieth century, Wilmington was the state's largest city and most important port. Experiencing a population boom as industrial development encouraged a massive move from the farms to the city, Wilmington needed to expand its boundaries. Consequently, the land immediately east of the city was a logical place for developers and land speculators to make an investment. The extension of the city's streetcar system attracted middle-class families to these suburbs.
The Carolina Heights Historic District is significant in the area of community planning and development as a local reflection of the growth of suburban neighborhoods in the early twentieth century. Possessing a striking collection of houses representing a variety of architectural styles popular in the early twentieth century, the Carolina Heights Historic District has significance in the area of architecture as well. The Carolina Heights Historic District retains a near totality of its historic homes with few modern intrusions, and the retention of the street system, the landscaped lawns, shaded streets, and protected alleys preserve much of the historic character of the neighborhood.
Historic Background and Community Development Context
Wilmington, located on the eastern bluffs of the Cape Fear River just north of the river's terminus, entered the twentieth century as North Carolina's most populous city and as the state's principal port. Incorporating in 1735, the city's population gradually expanded eastward from the banks of the river. By the turn of the twentieth century, however, the city's easternmost boundary was Seventeenth Street, although development remained concentrated close to the river. The city, like much of North Carolina, was entering a period of growth and urbanization, and was ripe for the development of residential suburbs (Bisher, p.3).
In 1974, an extensive Wilmington Historic District was listed in the National Register. The district contains the state's largest collection of nineteenth century buildings, including a dense fabric of commercial, governmental, religious, and domestic buildings. Indigenous coastal building forms are combined with sophisticated urban designs which reflect the ambitions and far-flung connections of its mercantile leaders. The texture of the city is further enriched by nineteenth and early twentieth century brick paving, ironwork, street furniture, and civic monuments (Bisher and Southern, p.236). As a thriving commercial and industrial center, port city, and railroad headquarters, Wilmington, in the early twentieth century, had a growing population of workers who were beginning to experience the prosperity which was creating the nation's huge middle class. The traditional lure of the central city as a place to live was waning for both the elite and middle class as the very technological innovations which signaled industrial and commercial development began detracting from the downtown as a place to live. Noise, congestion, pollution, and the expansion of commercial land uses enhanced the value of central business district property, yet devalued its residential appeal (Goldfield, p.14).
One of the first dreams to be satisfied for the evolving middle-class was that of a home in the suburbs, whose development with their tree-lined streets and attractively landscaped parks owed much to the "City Beautiful" movement of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (Goldfield, p.11). In the years between 1900 and 1930, America completed its transformation from a largely rural to a predominantly urban country, with accompanying suburbanization for all classes in all sections of the country. In this period of rapid growth and social change, the trend toward suburbanization which had started in the nineteenth century accelerated. Transportation and utility systems reached farther into undeveloped areas on the periphery of cities. Fields and farms gave way to suburban residential tracts, their straight streets, sedate planting, classical-style houses reflecting the new formal design of the City Beautiful Movement which had supplanted the nineteenth century ideal of the picturesque park. Economic and social, as well as architectural distinctions, continued to determine the character of the specific suburban neighborhoods; racial restrictions also maintained the separateness of neighborhoods (Smith, p.27-28).
Carolina Heights was one of Wilmington's first suburban residential neighborhoods. The extension of the city's trolley lines to the neighborhood ensured its success by giving residents easy access to the workplace, the commercial district, entertainment, schools, and churches. The electric cars of the Tidewater Power Company streetcar line ran from the downtown waterfront out Princess Street to Seventeenth and then out Wrightsville Avenue to the coast. Winoca Terrace residents also had access to a direct trolley line to downtown Wilmington via Princess Street. As the Carolina Heights area (bounded by North 17th Street, North 20th Street and Market Street and Bellevue Cemetery) developed, it was served by a spur up Princess Street to North 20th then to the Wilmington National Cemetery entrance on Market Street.
In April, 1907, the Wilmington Star reported that Mary Bridgers, one of Wilmington's most prominent and wealthy citizens and founder of the Christian Science faith in Wilmington, had purchased for over $1,000 an acre, twenty-two and one-half acres on the north side of Seventeenth and Market Streets. Located across Market Street from Carolina Place, the property was bordered on the east by the National Cemetery and Burnt Mill Creek and on the north by Bellevue Cemetery. The paper reported that Mary Bridgers would build a handsome residence on the property and that the proposed church would be erected across the street on the corner of the Carolina Place property. By reserving the lots in the property, Miss Bridgers would keep "the surrounding vicinity on a plan with the fine church building" (Evening Dispatch, April 13, 1907).
Designed by architects Leitner and Wilkins, construction of the First Christian Church, Scientist began on May 7, 1907, when contractor, Frank Porter, laid the cornerstone at the corner of Seventeenth and Market streets. Although plans existed for a grander church edifice, it was determined that because of the two years required for its construction, the congregation would need a temporary house of worship. Built in the Colonial Revival style, the church was finished by July 27, 1907 with a seating capacity of two-hundred (Morning Star, July 27, 1907).
Mary Bridgers increased her property holdings when she purchased an additional nine and one-half acres from the Catholic Church for $11,000.00. The newspaper reported the name of the suburb being developed for Miss Mary Bridgers would be Carolina Heights (Morning Star, May 14, 1907, p.1).
In July of 1907, Mr. Thomas W. Wood, manager of the Carolina Heights property, offered a limited number of building lots to the public on terms to suit the purchasers. By this time, the tract had been divided into lots and laid out into streets and avenues, while the work of laying granolithic sidewalks and installing the water works would soon begin. The Morning Star reported that the "Heights" promised to be one of the most attractive suburbs of the city as a place of residence (Morning Star, June 29, 1907, p.1).
No evidence exists, however, that any deeds were written or recorded for Carolina Heights property in 1907. In early 1908, Mary Bridgers struck up a business connection with Burett H. Stephens, an architect and engineer from Chicago (Gunter, p.61). Stephens, with a degree in architecture and design from the State University of Illinois and the Chicago School of Design, relocated to Wilmington after being put in charge of the design and construction of the Swift Fertilizer Works located on the Northeast Cape Fear River. In November of 1908, Stephens opened an office for the practice of architecture and general engineering in Room 406 of the Southern Building (Morning Star, November 30, 1907, p.4).
The year of 1908 proved productive for Carolina Heights: eighteen deeds were executed by Mary Bridgers for property in the development. The deeds carried the following restrictions and covenants:
1) no liquor or ardent spirits were to be sold upon the premises;
2) no dwelling was to be erected upon the premises to cost less than (between $1,500 to $4,500, this figure varied from deed to deed).
3) the property was not to be sold, rented, or any other way conveyed to persons of African descent;
4) no dwelling house was to be built with a front porch closer than thirty feet to the street;
5) Mary Bridgers retained the fee (ownership of all streets and alleys and the right to use them for street, railway, gas, water, and sewer pipes, electric lights, posts and fences) .
Under the direction of the DeRosset Development Company, the streets and sidewalks along Market and Princess were laid by the early fall of 1908 and the water and sewerage systems were in place. Burett Stephens, the managing engineer for the development, prepared a rendition of the development depicting the First Christian Church, Scientist, along with several mansions along Market Street and a row of houses along Princess Street.
In November of 1908, the Morning Star further reported that "the work now going on at Carolina Heights probably embraces the most forward step Wilmington has taken in a long time and those behind the enterprise are deserving of the highest commendation for what has been and what is being done. It is a most splendid illustration of the fact that progress is still the watchword for Wilmington and that the city is growing in spite of the cry of panic and hard times. It is to be repeated, Carolina Heights is the ideal residence locally in and around Wilmington" (Morning Star, November 8, 1908, p.5).
The streets in Carolina Heights were laid out so as to join existing city streets and were given the same names as these streets. The lots along Market Street were much larger in width and depth than those on Princess or Chestnut Streets, an indication that the Market Street lots were intended to accommodate the development's grander structures. The remainder of the development included spacious, large, fairly uniform lots. Each one ran approximately one-half the depth of the block to an alley which formed an east-west axis. It was originally intended that all of the houses were to face a named street. According to the site plan, the block which contained the Christian Science Church was to include a formal garden and a tennis court.
Burett Stephens ran into some financial difficulties in 1909. Organized primarily for construction of Carolina Heights residences, his newly acquired lumber company, incorporated as the Stephens Construction Company, advertised that homes could be built for a guaranteed cost, plus a fixed sum — a building system which Burett Stephens is credited with having introduced to the area (Morning Star, November 29, 1908, p.16). By September of 1909, however, Stephens found himself over-extended and declared bankruptcy. While hospitalized in October due to a "severe nervous collapse," his office and construction equipment and supplies were sold at public auction. The same month, a suit was levied against him to foreclose the mortgage on his construction company and Mary Bridgers, a large stockholder of his company, was named as a defendant in this action (Gunter, p.65-66). While he seems to be have recovered by December, 1909, as he opened a new drafting practice on the fourth floor of the Garrell Building in Wilmington, Stephens was not known to have worked in Carolina Heights again.
The number of deeds granted by Mary Bridgers for Carolina Heights property declined substantially in 1910. While preoccupied with negotiations with the Tidewater Power Company concerning the installation of trolley lines, she was also overseeing the construction of her own residence in the Carolina Place block on Market Street where her church was located. Unfortunately, she suffered a severe fall while inspecting her property on October 5, 1910. Because of her religious beliefs, she would not allow medical professionals to attend to her. Subsequently, she developed typhoid fever and died at the home of her friend, Ella Weill, on November 10, 1910 (Morning Star, November 11, 1910, p.5).
Mary Bridgers died intestate and, her sister, Emily Bridgers, was appointed by the courts as administratrix of the estate. In order to settle debts of the estate, Emily, acting as commissioner, was required to sell portions of Mary Bridgers' property and various stocks. In March of 1912, Burke Bridgers, Mary's nephew, bought the undeveloped Carolina Heights property. By November of 1913, Burke Bridgers prepared another revised map of Carolina Heights, depicting the remaining undeveloped property laid into lots and streets, including the names of the property owners, completed structures, and the trolley lines (Gunter, p.69). Lots continued to be sold in the coming years to Wilmington's professional businessmen, doctors, lawyers, and bankers.
At approximately the same time, another fashionable suburb was taking shape immediately west of Carolina Heights. Unlike either Carolina Place or Carolina Heights, this development was within, although on the eastern edge of the existing city limits. The property, situated roughly between North Thirteenth and Fifteenth streets and Princess and Red Cross (later known as Rankin) streets, was bordered on the north by Oakdale and Pine Forest Cemeteries. Although believed to have been divided into blocks by 1906, it was a rugged, wooded area in need of a great many improvements. Macumber's Ditch, actually a creek running through parts of 14th Street, presented a major problem. A tributary of Burnt Mill Creek, the land surrounding the ditch became a muddy bog during rainy seasons and pock-marked and cratered during dry weather. Literally impassable during periods of bad weather, a trestle over the ditch was required when the trolley line was extended out Princess Street (Gunter, p.70).
In November of 1910, the City of Wilmington's Street Commission agreed to pay two-third's of the cost of work, estimated at $24,000.00, to install a conduit at Macumber's Ditch; property owners in the vicinity would pay the remainder. The agreement indicated "the Commissioners of Streets would agree to grade Fourteenth Street from Orange Street to Oakdale Cemetery provided the street is legally open, thereby diverting the water from Macumber's Ditch, where it currently runs on private property to the street and build a modern drain to Burnt Mill Creek" (Morning Star, November 12, 1910, p.5).
Development of Winoca Terrace did not begin in earnest until 1911 when the real estate and development firm of J.G. Wright and Son began work. A local newspaper reported in October of 1912 that "just over a year ago, the real estate firm of J.G. Wright and Son began work between Princess and Red Cross streets, east of Twelfth Street. Without interruption, they have kept a large force of men, carts, and scoops busily at work, grading hills and filling in valleys. Following the street work, sidewalks have been laid" (Evening Dispatch, October 26, 1912, p.3).
In July of 1912, the Wright Agency sponsored a citywide contest to name the new development. An eleven year old girl, Mollie Beach, won the contest with what the newspaper reported as an "original, attractive, novel, and patriotic name," Winoca Terrace (Morning Star, July 28, 1912, p.5). Winoca was an acronym combining the first two letters of "Wilmington" and "North Carolina,'' while "Terrace'' was probably added because of the uneven slope of the land.
In June of 1913, a local newspaper reported that "Winoca Terrace is positively the last word in suburban development...which has every prospect of becoming the home of many of the most prominent and discriminating people of the city" (Morning Star, June 11, 1913, p.18). It was touted as having paved streets, sewerage, water, gas, electricity, police, and fire protection, as well as nearby churches and schools, advantages which developments further from the city lacked. By 1915, Winoca Terrace was becoming a popular and fashionable Wilmington address.
The entry of the United States into World War I slowed residential building in the Wilmington area somewhat. By 1918, however, both Carolina Place and Carolina Heights were within the city limits. Trolley lines networked the city, linking people and places throughout the city and parts of the county. During the 1920's, the eastern and southwestern areas of Wilmington continued to grow rapidly. Of the three suburban developments, only Winoca Terrace still retained abundant land available for development. Carolina Place was almost totally filled, while in Carolina Heights only a few vacant lots remained.
The Depression of the early 1930s affected Wilmington, but its impact was not severe. The city's population was so interdependent, so tightly woven, that adversity served to stimulate creative solutions to problems and to bring out the cooperative spirit as family members, neighbors, city government, and business people worked together. While many families became resourceful in order to survive the difficult years, frugality existed side by side with Wilmington's traditional joy of living (Russell, p.139). Subtle changes were in the making, however, which would have a profound influence. Widespread use of the automobile was rendering trolley cars obsolete. Wilmington retained its trolleys longer than most North Carolina cities, but in April of 1939, they made their final run. By that time, the residential suburbs of Carolina Place, Carolina Heights, and Winoca Terrace were almost fully developed.
Architecturally, residential construction in Wilmington during the early twentieth century is similar to development elsewhere in the towns of North Carolina and the South. Frame construction predominates, while detached houses of one, one-and-a-half, and two stories in height represent the norm. Older, traditional house forms had given way to nationally popularized styles including Colonial Revivals, Craftsman Bungalows, Prairie influenced, Foursquares, Tudor Revivals, Spanish or Mission styles, along with eclectic "period cottages."
Initial development in the Carolina Heights neighborhood was concentrated along the 1700 blocks of Market and Princess streets. Responsible for the design and construction of Carolina Heights' earliest houses, many of Burett Stephen's designs reveal his infatuation with the Prairie School of architecture. The Stephens' design of the c.1908 James O. Carr House located at 1901 Market Street, reflects the Prairie style with its emphasis on horizontal lines revealed in the low complex hipped roof with dormers which echo its lines.
One of the earliest buildings in Carolina Heights, the 1908 Bridgers-Van Leuven House at 1705 Princess Street, was built by Mary Bridgers for speculative purposes. The smooth finish stucco dwelling is one of the most indicative surviving examples of Stephens' strong Prairie style influence. The hipped roof with a wide overhang leads down to a upper level balcony with a molded solid stucco balustrade. Cornelius Van Leuven, a developer and President of Winter Park Garden Company purchased the property in 1911 and occupied the house for almost forty years.
Also designed by Stephens and very similar to the Bridgers-Van Leuven House, the 1909-1910 Bridgers-Dickinson House located at 1809 Princess Street features a low hipped roof with a wide overhang and an upper level balcony with a delicate crosswork wooden balustrade. Massive square posts support a one-story partial-width attached front porch. The window units are elongated vertical upper panes over one single pane. Also built by the Bridgers for speculative purposes, the property was sold to C.L. Dickinson, a Wilmington insurance agent in 1912.
Located on the same block and built for Thomas Hammer, the president of Hammer Lumber Company, the 1908 Thomas F. Hammer House (1711 Princess Street) is somewhat atypical of Stephens' favored designs. A two-and-one-half story Foursquare house with a low-hanging gambrel roof line, the house features a full-width engaged front porch and an extended recessed dormer.
Also inspired by the Prairie style, Wilmington architect, James B. Lynch, was responsible for the design of the c.1925 Bergen-Carpender House located at 1519 Princess Street. The house exhibits characteristics associated with the Prairie style, including the low hipped roof with wide overhanging eaves and the full-width front porch supported by massive columns.
The Foursquare, a subtype of the Prairie style, can be found throughout the Carolina Heights Historic District. An outstanding example includes the c.1916 Browne-Stanley House located in the 1800 block of Chestnut Street. With its low-pitched hipped roof, hipped-roof dormer, and symmetrical facade with a classical portico, the house possesses a dignified, yet elegant appearance. Several other exceptional examples of the Foursquare include the c.1912 Fetter-Wright House (1807 Chestnut Street), the c.1916 Dr. Robert B. Slocum House (1811 Chestnut Street), and the c.1921 William C. Mebane House (1806 Chestnut Street).
Many houses within the Carolina Heights Historic District are Colonial Revival in inspiration. Attributed to Burett Stephens, the c.1909-1910 Clayton Giles House at 1704 Princess Street is a classic example. A frame two-and-one-half story dwelling, the house displays a simple gabled roof with three hipped roof dormers. The symmetrical three-bay principal elevation features a portico with an entablature supported by Doric order columns and capped with an iron balustrade.
Thomas H. Wright, developer of Winoca Terrace, hired Wilmington architect James F. Gause to design his Colonial Revival-style house located at 110 North 15th Street. Five bays wide and two-and-one-half stories high, the shingled 1917 Thomas H. Wright House features three gabled roof dormers, each set with an arched 2/2 window. A course of modillions set off the roof. Triple, fluted Doric columns support the central, pedimented portico, while an oversized elliptical fanlight and sidelights highlight the entrance.
On the same block, the 1915 Albert S. Williams House (102 N. 15th Street) was designed by New York architect, John Russell Pope, a friend of the Williams, with Joseph F. Leitner acting as supervising architect. A study in symmetry, the two-story, five bay Colonial Revival house features a gable-end roof with a semi-elliptical window in the north gable end. A curved-roof portico protects the recessed entrance.
An understated, dignified adaptation of the Colonial Revival style, the 1922 Louis E. Hall House at 109 North Fifteenth Street, designed by James F. Gause, is a frame two-story residence. With a simple gable roof, the entrance is highlighted by a hooded arched portico with Tuscan columns, an oversized elliptical fanlight and sidelights. Mr. Hall, who built the house for his family's residence, was for many years an executive with Alexander Sprunt and Son Company, exporters of cotton.
Another example of James F. Gause's work includes the c.1921 Wood-Sprunt House (1617 Market Street), an impressive Colonial Revival situated on the northwest corner of Market at North Seventeenth Street. The original five-bay portion features a semi-circular portico supported by four Composite order columns. Two later additions to the building, include a 1950s one-story recessed wing and a 1961 chapel, designed by Wilmington architect, Leslie N. Boney, when the building was adapted for use as a mortuary.
Burke Bridgers, nephew of Mary Bridgers and developer of Carolina Heights after her death, chose the corner of Grace Street and North 18th Street to build a classic Colonial Revival-style house. The c.1916 Burke Bridgers House (1801 Grace Street) is a two-story gable-end five-bay house clad in shingles. A pedimented arched hood frames the front entrance which is enhanced by a tracery patterned fanlight.
Several home builders looked to the outside world for guidance. The "first new house on the block'' was built for J. Haughton and Isabel James. Mrs. James chose the plans for their house, to be erected at 1507 Market Street, from a house plan book. Modified by Wilmington architect, Henry Bonitz, the two-story frame J. Haughton James House (1507 Market Street) is a pure example of Colonial Revival style featuring a modillion roof line and a classical portico with the front entrance framed by multi-light sidelights and transom. Many other fine examples of the Colonial Revival style are found within the Carolina Heights Historic District.
Craftsman Bungalows are scattered throughout the Carolina Heights Historic District. The Craftsman style, inspired primarily by the work of two California brothers, Charles and Henry Green around the turn of the twentieth century, gained in popularity throughout the country by such magazines as House Beautiful, Good Housekeeping, and Ladies Home Journal. While the exterior is characterized by the rustic texture of its building materials, broad overhangs with exposed rafter tails at the eaves, and often, extensive pergolas and trellises over the porches, the interior was generally forthright, direct, and functional.
The c.1912 Edgar L. Hinton House at 1812 Princess Street, believed to be the first Craftsman Bungalow built in Carolina Heights, is an excellent example of the style. Incorporating characteristics that were popular on the West Coast such as the tapered window frames, doorway surrounds, and the transoms above the multi-paned windows, another distinguishable feature includes the two shed-roofed dormers that arise out of both sides of the double-gabled roof.
Situated on an elevated corner lot, the 1916 Charles D. Yarborough House located at 20 North Fifteenth Street, is a large imposing brick Craftsman Bungalow approached by three separate sets of brick steps. The one-and-one-half-story house features a clipped gable roof with a pronounced, wide overhang and exposed rafters. The wrap-around front porch is supported by tall wooden posts, which rest directly on a solid brick balustrade.
The c.1918-1919 Martin G. Schnibben House at 211 North 15th Street is an unusual variation of the Craftsman style with its front doubled gables. Broad, pointed-end bargeboards and projecting rafters with carved ends are exhibited on the main gable. To the north is a smaller gable similar to the main one. Detailed with a half-timbered effect set into a textured stucco field, this gable provides a roof for the one-bay porch. Another variation on the Craftsman Bungalow style is the two-story 1914 Warren S. Johnson House located at 1519 Chestnut Street. Clad with a combination of weatherboard on the first level and shingles on the second level, the hipped roof house features two hipped roof dormers. Both the main house and the dormers exhibit wide overhanging eaves with exposed rafters. Clustered columns resting on brick piers support an attached full-width front porch.
Many more modest versions of the bungalow are scattered throughout the Carolina Heights Historic District, predominantly in the Winoca Terrace neighborhood. Suited for the smaller lots, the narrow hall-less, two-room wide and three-room deep bungalows present a remarkably uniform streetscape. A significant proportion of these houses exhibit an engaged porch spanning an asymmetrical three-bay facade. Porch supports are varied — simple square-section posts, some resting on brick piers singly or in groups; brick corner pillars, classically-inspired columns and tapered posts on brick piers being the dominant types. Most of the houses have relatively limited ornamentation usually derived from the Craftsman style and often limited to triangular knee braces and exposed rafter ends.
Although not as popular in the Carolina Heights Historic District as some of the other early twentieth century architectural styles, several examples of the Tudor Revival style can be found in the neighborhood. Based loosely on a variety of early English building traditions, the Tudor Revival style emphasizes high-pitched gabled roofs, elaborated chimneys of a Medieval character, and decorative half-timbering, also mimicking Medieval infilled timber framing. Exemplifying the Tudor Revival style are the mirror image Harry Stein House (314 N. 15th Street) and the Harry Jaffe House (316 N. 15th Street) located adjacent to each other. The lots were acquired by Harry J. Stein in 1932 and by 1934 Stein and his father-in-law, George Jaffe, were residing in the houses. The one-and-one-half-story brick houses exhibit a variety of Tudor details, including steeply-pitched roofs and front gables finished with half-timbering set into a stucco field. Projecting gabled vestibules with concentric brick arches frame the front entrances, while impressive brickwork reveals a number of patterns.
Several house designs within the Carolina Heights Historic District are reminiscent of the English cottage style. Based on plans published in House and Garden magazine, the 1928 Glasgow Hicks House at 410 North Fifteenth Street is known as the "Anne Hathaway Home." Glasgow Hicks, founder of Glasgow Hicks Insurance Company, and his wife, Helen, purchased the lot in September of 1927 and the house was completed the following year. Of special appeal is the structure's roof and its interesting details. The gable descends on the front in a definite, steep incline. On the north side, the roofline curves upward to form a hooded eyebrow dormer for the casement window; to the south, the roof is cut into at right angles which allow space for another casement window.
The c.1913 James D. Nutt House at 1802 Chestnut Street resembles an English Cotswold Cottage. On the west, the steep gable roof sweeps down on each side, ending in flared eaves. The front entrance is approached from a one-bay engaged portico supported by a solitary wooden post. A large stucco chimney, reminiscent of the English Cottage style occupies the front facade.
Inspired by a picture in a national magazine, Mrs. Emmett Bellamy wrote to architect Clarence Sheperd of Kansas City for a copy of the plans. Adapted by her builder, the c.1929-30 Emmett Bellamy House at 1419 Rankin Street is Wilmington's finest example of the Spanish eclectic style. A unique feature of the two-story textured stucco dwelling is the variety of treatments on windows and doors, which blend together in such a manner as not to detract from the home's overall appearance. The tile hipped roof exhibits a graceful sweep. The front entrance, set into a projecting square bay, features a pent tile cornice and a molded stone surround.
Situated on the northwest corner of Market and North 20th streets is the Carolina Heights Historic District's sole representation of the Mission Revival style. Built for Joseph H. Hinton (1919 Market Street), a businessman and proprietor of Wilmington's famed Orton Hotel, Hinton chose Wilmington architect, Joseph F. Leitner to design the two-and-one-half-story brick mansion. The house features a hipped roof with ornately curved parapets with molded stone insets and windows. Beneath each parapet are triple-hung windows that balance the shed roof covered porch.
The Carolina Heights Historic District includes many other examples of popular early twentieth century architectural styles, as well as regional interpretations and variations of the academic examples. Dutch Colonial Revival houses may be found in abundance, as can every variation of the bungalow. Slightly later styles, including Cape Cods and Minimal Traditional houses, filled in a few remaining undeveloped lots during the 1940s and 1950s. However, because extensive development ended with the cessation of streetcar service in 1939, only a handful of post-1939 houses stand in the district. The Carolina Heights Historic District as a whole is an excellent assemblage of house forms that found wide popularity in the early years of the twentieth century.
The original layout of the neighborhoods included service alleys bisecting the center of the blocks. For the most part, these alleys remain and provide access to outbuildings and garages built near the rear property line. The one- and two-car garages tend to be simple frame buildings, clad in either weatherboard or corrugated metal, with gable roofs and exposed rafters. Many of the garages have been enlarged with second stories, providing rental units.
In and adjacent to the district are a number of churches. Designed by Leslie N. Boney for W.J. Wilkins & Co., architect, the 1920-21 Trinity Methodist Church at 1403 Market Street, was built in the Neoclassical Revival style. The monumental portico of the temple-form building, reached by two flights of steps, employs pressed metal, wood, and tile. Fluted tile columns with Corinthian capitals support the closed pediment of tile, wood, and pressed metal. The columns are linked by a wooden balustrade, and the pediment contains a tile wreath with a cross in a foliage bed. The heavily molded metal cornice is supported by acanthus modillions and a dentil course. Wilmington architects, Lynch and Foard, designed the 1945-48 two-story education building added to the back of the church.
St. Paul's Episcopal Church (1601 Market Street), located on the northeast corner of Market and North 15th streets, began construction of its parish house in 1927. The rectory was enlarged and remodeled in 1936, while the church itself was built in 1956. The rough stucco, brick, and stone exteriors of all three parts of the complex followed the 1925 master plan. Gothic forms predominate in the nave and chancel, especially in the wood and stain trusses and furnishings and in the stone floors. The baptismal font and the stained-glass windows over the alter and main entrance are from an 1888 building on South Fourth Street.
Occupying a central location within the district is the First Church of Christ, Scientist (1620 Chestnut Street), situated on the southwest corner of Chestnut and North 17th streets. Built in 1928, after the congregation sold their first church to the Temple Baptist Church, the Neoclassical-style chapel is almost identical to the original church. Large Corinthian columns dominate the entrance to its 165-seat auditorium.
At about the same time the Carolina Heights and Winoca Terrace developments were getting underway, the County Board of Education began acquiring land in the 1300 blocks of Market and Princess streets for construction of New Hanover County High School (1307 Market Street). Land acquisition was completed in 1919 and the cornerstone for the new school was laid in 1920. The first classes were held in the completed center block in 1922, and the wings were completed in 1925 (Wrenn, p.275). Designed by Leslie N. Boney of W.J. Wilkins & Company, the two-story sand-colored brick building sits over a full basement. A horizontal emphasis is achieved by broad bands of glazed tile. The projecting central entrance pavilion is echoed by blind wings that also project. The windows and entrance in the center pavilion and the two-story banks of double windows in the recessed area are set in monumental glazed-tile panels. The central doorway, approached by flanking triple-unit stairs to a platform and a central stair leading to the entrance has a heavily molded lintel surmounted by cherubs holding a globe. To the rear of the building on Princess Street is the 1930-40 New Hanover High School gymnasium, also designed by Leslie N. Boney. Brogden Hall, the physical education and classroom building located west of the school and connected by a walkway, was constructed in 1954 and designed by the firm Boney established, Leslie N. Boney, Architect.
The neighborhoods of Carolina Heights and Winoca Terrace, combined to form the Carolina Heights Historic District, are typical early twentieth century streetcar suburbs. Many of the individual homes provide a casebook sampling of styles popular from the early decades of the twentieth century. While some buildings follow national stylistic trends closely; others are more whimsical and innovative. The dwellings range from the mansions of the wealthy to the simple homes built for the small businessman or factory worker. The architectural diversity, along with the tree-lined shady streets, walkways, and mature landscaping, assist in retaining the historic ambiance of the neighborhood.
Carolina Heights Historic District Boundary Increase
The Carolina Heights Historic District Boundary Increase is a small residential area containing twelve houses and two outbuildings located on the west side of the 100 and 200 blocks of North 13th Street and two commercial buildings on the north side of the 1200 block of Market Street. The boundary increase completes the boundaries of the Carolina Heights Historic District (National Register, 1999) by adding the stylish houses on North Thirteenth Street which formed the western boundary of the Winoca Terrace subdivision. The boundary increase reinforces the significance of the Carolina Heights Historic District in the areas of community planning and development and architecture in that the two-block area contains a collection of styles popular in the early twentieth century, including the late Queen Anne, the Colonial Revival, as well as the popular Craftsman Bungalow. As with the remainder of Winoca Terrace, the houses were built for Wilmington's white collar workers desiring a residential location which was removed from the dirt, noise, and crowded conditions of the city, yet within an easy commute by street car. All but one of the twelve houses retain architectural integrity and contribute to the overall significance of the original Winoca Terrace neighborhood which was made up of middle-class early-twentieth-century houses and their many outbuildings situated on nicely landscaped lots. The service station and funeral home, located on Market Street, were an integral part of the neighborhood from the 1930s to the 1980s and mark the western limits of intact property historically considered as part of the neighborhood.
Historical Background and Community Planning/Development Context
The Carolina Heights Historic District (NR 1999) encompasses two of Wilmington's early residential neighborhoods which developed adjacent to each other at approximately the same time: Carolina Heights, whose earliest houses date to 1908, and Winoca Terrace which began construction in 1911. The extension of the city's trolley lines to the neighborhood ensured its success by giving residents easy access to the workplace, the commercial downtown, entertainment, schools, and churches. The Carolina Heights Historic District is significant in the area of community planning and development as a local reflection of the growth of suburban neighborhoods in the early twentieth century. The Carolina Heights Historic District also holds significance in the area of architecture for the intact collection of early twentieth century domestic styles.
The Carolina Heights District Boundary Increase includes twelve houses and two outbuildings which are located along the western boundary of the original Winoca Terrace neighborhood. The original deeds included the same restrictions as those outlined on deeds for the remainder of the neighborhood. These deeds prohibited the sale of liquors or ardent spirits upon the properties for twenty-one years; established $2,000 as the minimum cost of any house erected on any of the lots; required that the lay-out of the lots shown on the plan of Winoca Terrace be adhered to; and restricted the orientation of dwellings and required that houses not be built less than twenty feet from the street line (Winoca Terrace deeds).
Development of Winoca Terrace did not begin in earnest until 1911 when the real estate and development firm of J.G. Wright and Son began grading the land and laying sidewalks. By June of 1913, the Morning Star reported that Winoca Terrace contained paved streets, sewerage, water, gas, electricity, police and fire protection, and was accessible to churches and schools. By 1915, Winoca Terrace was becoming a popular and fashionable Wilmington address (Evening Dispatch, October 26, 1912, p.3).
Historic Architecture Context
Initial development of Winoca Terrace was concentrated along North Thirteenth Street. The twelve houses along the west side of North Thirteenth are similar to other houses within the Carolina Heights district. The two-block area contains dwellings designed in nationally popular styles including the Colonial Revival, Foursquare, Bungalow, as well as the late-Queen Anne-influenced.
Probably the earliest house in the Winoca Terrace neighborhood, the c.1914 H. Houston Merritt House (101 N. 13th Street), located on the corner of Princess and North 13th streets, is a two-story frame Queen Anne-influenced house. The multi-gabled house retains a steep slate roof, multiple bays and a wide wrap-around porch. Like many other residents of Winoca Terrace, Merritt was employed by the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad (ACLRR). Another early house, the c.1914 Loudolf C. Muegge House (201 N. 13th Street), located on the corner of Chestnut and North Thirteenth Streets, is a Dutch Colonial Revival. Muegge was also employed by the ACLRR. James B. Lynch, a well-known Wilmington architect active in the construction of Winoca Terrace and Carolina Heights houses, also resided for several years at this address (Wilmington City Directories, 1914-1917).
The c.1916 Dennis H. Lee House (209 N. 13th Street) is another Queen Anne-influenced house. Along with a steeply-pitched hipped roof and multiple gables, the house retains a triple window with honeycomb panes and a wide wrap-around porch with a picket balustrade. Lee was the chief clerk auditor for receipts with the ACLRR (Wilmington City Directory, 1916).
Foursquares on the street include the c.1916 Edwin T. Burton House (109 N. 13th Street) and the c.1925 Robert W. Farmer House (119 N. 13th Street). They both exhibit steeply pitched hipped roofs with overhanging eaves, are two bays wide, and include full-width porches and south side sunroofs. Edwin Burton was an attorney and county solicitor for New Hanover County; Robert Farmer was employed as a train master with the ACLRR (Wilmington City Directory, 1916, 1925).
The c.1930 Samuel Berger House, located at 203 North Thirteenth Street, is a classic brick Colonial Revival dwelling with a gable-end slate roof and a modillion cornice. The gable-front portico is supported by slender Corinthian columns, as is the south-side piazza.
Bungalows are well represented in the two blocks contained in Carolina Heights Historic District boundary amendment. The c.1916 Mrs. Carrie VanBuren House at 105 North 13th is a good example of a typical bungalow. Characterized by broad overhangs with exposed rafter tails at the eaves and wide front porches, bungalows make up a significant portion of the Winoca Terrace neighborhood.
The c.1936 Sinclair Service Station (1207 Market Street) is typical of many early-twentieth century service stations. It includes a two-bay service area surmounted by a pent tile roof, while a peaked parapeted porte-cochere protects the entrance to the office section. Adjacent to the service station is a c.1936 Colonial Revival style funeral home (1209 Market Street). Built by the Yopp family, the funeral home remained in business until 1982.
This group of stylish early-twentieth century houses contribute to the significance to the Carolina Heights Historic District and were included in the original Winoca Terrace development. The two-block area continues the rhythm of architectural style, layout, and setback established in the Carolina Heights Historic District. The addition of the two commercial buildings on Market Street, adjacent to the New Hanover County High School, completes the 1200/1300 block of Market Street.
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† Beth Keane, Restrospecitve, Carolina Heights Historic District, New Hanover County, NC, nomination document, 1998, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
‡ Beth Keane, Restrospecitve, Carolina Heights Historic District Boundary Extension, New Hanover County, NC, nomination document, 1999, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.