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Waxhaw-Weddington Roads Historic District


The Waxhaw-Weddington Road Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988. 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 Waxhaw-Weddington Roads Historic District is significant in the history of Monroe, North Carolina, as a unique cluster of distinctive late 19th and early 20th century suburban residences grouped around a Y-shaped intersection of two state highways located in a semi-rural setting some two miles from the county seat's central core. By the end of World War I, the grouping, sometimes referred to as "West Monroe," was already recognized locally as a distinctive entity. The houses are associated with several Monroe citizens who were prominent in the commercial, industrial, political and judicial life of the city and county in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In particular, the many contributions of W.C. Heath and R.B. Redwine make the district eligible for the National Register. It is also significant, both as containing locally outstanding and representative examples of the Queen Anne, Classical Revival and Prairie School architectural styles and as a significant and distinguishable grouping of resources. Two of the houses of are particular architectural merit. The 1897 Heath House, designed by C.C. Hook of Charlotte, is one of the two or three best examples of the Queen Anne style in Monroe. The. ca.1908 residence of R.B. Redwine, built by local contractor. G. Marion Tucker, is among the finer of the many Classical Revival style houses built in Monroe between 1900 and 1910 and is unusual as the only brick example of the style surviving from this period. The ca.1905 Queen Anne style house known as Crow's Nest and the 1916 Prairie School/Classical Revival style Ed Crow House are representative examples of those styles. Each house stands at the center of a complex of related contemporary and later outbuildings and subsidiary residences on a large home tract of four to six acres, sited well back from the roadways which form a principal boundary for each tract. The Waxhaw-Weddington Roads Historic District's period of significance extends from 1897 to 1938, the former being the date of construction of the earliest surviving house in the district and the latter year being that in which R.B. Redwine died, the last surviving of the original owners of the houses.

Historical Background

The location of the cluster of dwellings and outbuildings comprising the Waxhaw-Weddington Roads Historic District reflects the proximity of the rapidly developing county seat of Monroe with its increasing commercial and social opportunities in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, together with ready railroad access to other cities of the Piedmont and parts north. Against this growing urban attraction was balanced a desire to continue rural occupations in a less spatially restricting environment than the town.[1]

The Waxhaw-Weddington Roads Historic District consists of approximately 25 acres, which are clearly delineated from their surroundings by the right of way of the seaboard Coast Line Railroad and mature hedges and stands of trees. It is an area defined by the high architectural quality and shared design characteristics of the four principal houses and by the carefully landscaped, spacious grounds and deep setback of those houses.

The special and locally unique character of the area was recognized in Monroe as early 1918, within two years after the last of the four principal residences was constructed. In August of that year, the Monroe Journal published an article under the title, "Sketches: Some Farms and Farmers Just West of Monroe," which described the four men — R.B. Redwine, W.C. Heath, Ed Crow and J.J. Crow — and the farms they operated here. Also included was the farm of Jim Winchester, whose residence is no longer in existence.[2]

Early in the article, the following physical description of the houses and their surroundings appears, "First, it might not be amiss to point out the home of Mr. Redwine. A structure of brick built upon a knoll, and surrounded by a green hedge, which encloses a multitude of shady trees, this home is the target for the admiration of the thousands of eyes which gaze upon it annually. No less imposing is the home of Capt. Heath, which stands in the fork of the road. On the left can be seen the handsome homes of the two Crow boys, Messrs. J.J. and E.W. Crow..."[3]

The article goes on to discuss the various farming operations being carried out by Redwine, Heath, the Crows and Winchester, providing a humorous account of their good-natured competition. Noting that all five were men who had long been actively involved in the business and professional life of Monroe, the author stated that, "By inquiry it was ascertained that none of these farmers were city-raised, but came from the rural districts away back. Afterwards having retired in a semi-way to the farm there was natural ambition and intuitiveness to recall the old usages as practiced by their forefathers with the desire, however, to keep apace with modern agricultural methods."[4]

In playful conclusion, the article's author indicates the true nature of the farming activities of the neighbors as mainly a hobby to animate their lives beyond the doors of their offices and businesses, unlikely to provide any of them with a substantial income.

Standing on an elevated site in the triangle created by the intersection of the two highways is the Heath House, the oldest of the four principal houses in the Waxhaw-Weddington Roads Historic District. This was the residence of Osgood Pierce Heath (1856-1916), a native of Lancaster County, South Carolina, who had moved to Union County, North Carolina several years previously and engaged in a number of business enterprises with his brothers A.W. and B.D. Heath. In 1889, he moved the majority of his business activities to Charlotte, although he maintained his association with a number of Union County institutions into the early 20th century, serving as a member of the Board of Directors and president of the People's Bank of Monroe and president of the Monroe (Manetta) Cotton Mill, which he and his brother B.D. Heath purchased in 1895.[5] Deed and census records indicate that Heath also maintained his principal residence in Union County until the early 20th century.

In early August 1897 Mrs. Annie Lee Heath, wife of O.P. Heath, purchased a 24.75-acre tract of land from M.D. Myers which adjoined the lands of, among others, R.B. Redwine and Mrs. F.C. Crow and through which the Georgia, Carolina and Northern Railway ran.[6] It was at the eastern corner of this tract, located just west of Monroe, that the Heaths built their impressive Queen Anne style residence. On 31 August of that year, the Charlotte Daily Observer reported that, "Architect Hook will...prepare plans for the new residence of Mr. O.P. Heath at Monroe..."[7] This reference is to prominent Charlotte architect Charles Christian Hook (1870-1938), who earlier that year had designed a house for R.B. Redwine and had previously designed additions and a new facade for the Charlotte residence of O.P. Heath's brother, B.D. Heath.[8]

Charles Christian Hook, who was employed by the Heaths to design their home, was a native of Wheeling, West Virginia, who moved to Charlotte around 1890, after graduating from Washington University. During his nearly fifty-year career as an architect, Hook, in conjunction with several different partners, including his son Walter W. Hook, designed a large number of important buildings in the city of Charlotte and throughout the state. Included were Charlotte's municipal building, the Richmond County Courthouse in Rockingham, several buildings at the University of North Carolina and Duke University, and wings for the state hospitals at Raleigh and Morganton.[9]

In addition, Hook was a prolific designer of houses, including many for the Charlotte Consolidated Construction Company, developers of Dilworth, an early streetcar suburb. It has been said that he "...occupied a place of pivotal importance in the evolution of the built environment of Charlotte. Indeed, he introduced the Colonial Revival style in this community and, consequently, established the aesthetic norms which dominated the architecture of the affluent suburbs of Charlotte."[10] By late 1904, O.P. Heath had moved to Charlotte, selling his house outside Monroe to a nephew and business associate, Major W.C. Heath.[11]

William Crow Heath (1866-1937) was also born in Lancaster County, South Carolina, a son of Allen W. and Nannie Crow Heath.[12] Like his uncle and father, he was active in the business life of Monroe and North Carolina. Although his principal occupation was as an owner, officer and long-time manager of the Monroe Cotton Mill, Union County's first entry in the state's textile industry, Heath was also involved in numerous other local enterprises in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These included the Monroe Oil and Fertilizer Company (organized in 1899), Heath-Lee Hardware Company (1900), the McRae Mercantile Company (1902), of which he was president, Monroe Manufacturing Company (1903), Icemorlee Cotton Mills (1905), Houston-Heath Realty Company (1909), and Jackson Mills (1913). He served two terms as Union County's representative to the North Carolina General Assembly and one term in the state senate.[13]

W.C. Heath's widow died in 1944, but the house remained in family ownership and occupancy until 1975. In the latter year, the executor of the estate of Mary Heath McMullan (1897-1974), Major Heath's younger daughter, sold the property to John L. LaMarre. Mary McMullan had inherited the property from her older sister Lura Heath (1891-1971), who had continued to live in the house after her parents' deaths.[14] Since 1975, the house has had several owners, most of whom have undertaken efforts to restore it, a time-consuming and still incomplete process.[15]

The second oldest house in the Waxhaw-Weddington Roads Historic District is Crow's Nest, a handsome late example of the Queen Anne style built early in the 20th century by Fetnah Heath Crow, the widow of William Crow. Master millwright William Crow (d.1884), a native of Lincoln County, North Carolina, lived with his family in the Waxhaw area just east of the Union County border with Lancaster County, South Carolina.[16] Although Crow's second wife Fetnah Heath (1836-1909) was born in Union County, her father was one of a large family of Heaths who migrated from Lancaster to Union County in the mid to late 19th century.[17]

Crow owned several tracts of land in Union County, one of which he deeded to his wife in 1883.[18] After her husband's death the following year, Mrs. Crow is said to have moved her family (consisting of three surviving sons, John J., Robert D. and Edward W., and a widowed stepdaughter, Maggie Sturdivant) to this property, which was located west of the town of Monroe on the waters of Bearskin Creek.[19] The house which they occupied apparently burned shortly after the turn of the century, and Crow's Nest was erected to replace it.[20] Neither the builder nor an architect has been identified for the house; however, in style, form and a number of design features, it is similar to the nearby Heath House, which predates it by several years.

The oldest of Mrs. Crow's surviving sons, John J., lived with his family on Franklin Street in Monroe, while the two younger sons remained at Crow's Nest with their mother.[21] Shortly after their move from Waxhaw to the outskirts of Monroe, the three brothers formed a business under the name of Crow Brothers. The mercantile firm was multifaceted, as the brothers acted as cotton buyers and handled commercial fertilizers and farm supplies.[22] The firm was dissolved in 1920, although John and Robert Crow continued to operate a grocery business on Main Street in Monroe.[23] In addition to their mercantile operations, the three Crow brothers, both individually and through the firm, participated in a variety of local enterprises. Many of these were the same as those involving their neighbors, W.C. Heath and R.B. Redwine, including the Monroe Oil and Fertilizer Company, Monroe Manufacturing Company, the Waxhaw Telephone Company (1903), Icemorlee Cotton Mills, and Houston-Heath Realty Company.[24]

Fetnah Crow died in 1909, and the 1910 census indicates that Crow's Nest was occupied in that year by her sons R.D. and Ed Crow, the latter of whom had been married in 1908 to Mary Hanes of Mocksville, North Carolina.[25] In 1915, the brothers divided their mother's estate, with John J. Crow receiving two tracts of land, including the Crow's Nest property.[26] John J. Crow (1863-1942), mayor of Monroe several years previously, moved his family to Crow's Nest; his daughters continued to occupy the house after his death, Adeline until her death in 1976, and Mary until about two years before she died in 1984.[27]

The third major house in the Waxhaw-Weddington Roads Historic District is said to have been built between 1908 and 1910 for Judge R.B. Redwine, following a fire which had destroyed an earlier frame dwelling on the same site. Redwine had acquired property in this location in the mid 1890s, building on the site in 1897 to designs provided by C.C. Hook of Charlotte. An early 20th century photograph shows the earlier house to have been a typical late Victorian farmhouse.[28] While the new and substantial brick residence was under construction by local contractor G. Marion Tucker, the Redwines lived in a small frame house to the east of the main house site; this building survives as rental property.[29]

Robert B. Redwine (1860-1938) was a native of Union County, a son of Dr. T.W. Redwine. He was licensed as an attorney in 1889, beginning his practice in Monroe in 1891. At various times, he formed partnerships with other Union County legal luminaries, including D.A. Covington, Judge A.M. Stack, and John C. Sikes. During the gubernatorial term of Angus W. McLean (1925-29), he was appointed as a superior court judge. [30]

Redwine served his community and state in many capacities, including chairman of the county commissioners, the county board of education and the county board of exemptions during World War I, in the state General Assembly and senate, and on the board of trustees of the University of North Carolina for 32 years. At the time of his death, he was president of the Union County Bar Association and was known as the "dean of the Monroe bar."(31)

In 1895, Redwine was married to Sallie McAlister of Anson County, who survived him by little more than one year.[32] When Redwine was declared bankrupt in 1927, most of the farmland that he owned at the time was sold so that he and his wife could buy back their residence, which they later deeded to two of their daughters. The latter sold the house after their parents' deaths to another Monroe attorney, Oscar L. Richardson.[33] Richardson's widow sold the house to Mr. and Mrs. James H. Belk in 1967; it was acquired in 1986 by Dr. and Mrs. Virgilio S. Ipapo, although the Belks retained ownership of the small frame rental house.[34]

In the division of the Crow estate, Ed Crow (1870-1930) received two tracts, one of which was between Crow's Nest and the right of way of the Seaboard Coastline Railway. The 23 November 1915 issue of the Monroe Journal reported that Crow was "...securing lumber now with which to begin building a nice residence...next spring."[35] After completing his large Prairie/Classical Revival style house, Ed Crow was occupied principally with farming at his suburban residence until his death.[36] His widow and children sold the property in 1933 to S.H. and Seelye Adams. During World War II, Mr. and Mrs. Adams divided the house into apartments which were rented to soldiers stationed at nearby Camp Sutton. S.H. Adams died in 1946, but his wife remained in the house for nearly twenty years after his death. In 1965, it was acquired by the current owners, Dr. and Mrs. John W. Hearn, Jr.; the Hearns returned the house to a single-family residence and continue to occupy it today [1987].[37]

A survey of Monroe's historic architecture was conducted in 1978, during which nearly 250 of the community's most significant historic architectural resources were identified. Reflecting the city's development from 1844 to 1978, the buildings recorded included more than 150 late nineteenth and early twentieth century houses, with a significant collection of large Classical Revival residences. The four houses in the Waxhaw-Weddington Roads Historic District were among about fifteen percent of the buildings selected for intensive recording, and one, the Heath House, has been accorded local designation by the Monroe/Union Historic Properties Commission (1985). Approximately 130 of the buildings shown in the publication resulting from the survey have been included in the Monroe Residential Historic District. Two other suburban Monroe houses have been nominated to the National Register — the John C. Sikes House (listed in 1978) and the M.K. Lee House (nominated in 1987). Architecturally and historically, two of the four principal houses in Waxhaw-Weddington Roads Historic District — the Heath House and the R.B. Redwine House — are comparable with the pivotal houses in the Monroe Residential Historic District and the two individually nominated houses. The other two are comparable with the best of the contributing houses in the Monroe Residential Historic District. Their significance as a group is especially outstanding.

Ownership of the properties in the Waxhaw-Weddington Roads Historic District has remained relatively stable since their construction, with two remaining in the same families until the 1970s and 1980s, with the result that the houses and the tracts of land on which they stand survive with a high degree of integrity and an unusual lack of intrusive elements. Since the mid 1970s, several different owners of the Heath House have undertaken efforts to restore it, and the current [1987] owner of Crow's Nest is working to repair damage caused by neglect. The Redwine House and the Ed Crow House remain in good condition, having been continuously occupied and maintained to the present.

Endnotes

[1]Sydney Nathans, The Quest for Progress: The Way We Lived in North Carolina, 1870-1920 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1983), p.1.

[2]"Sketches: Some Farms and Farmers Just West of Monroe," (Monroe) Journal, 6 August 1918, p.8.

[3]Ibid.

[4]Ibid.

[5]Cyclopedia of Eminent and Representative Men of the Carolinas of the Nineteen Century, vol.II (Madison, Wis.: Brant & Fuller, 1892), p.485; Marjorie W. Young, ed., Textile Leaders of the South (Anderson, S.C.: James R. Young, 1963), p.93; Stack & Beasley, Sketches of Monroe and Union County (Charlotte: News and Times Print, 1902), pp.81, 87-88; 91; and United States Census, Lancaster County, South Carolina, 1850, population schedule.

[6]Union County Register of Deeds (hereinafter cited as UCRD), deed book 27, p.66.

[7]"New Buildings," Charlotte Daily Observer, 31 August 1897, p.6.

[8]"Queen City Improvements," Charlotte Daily Observer, 8 September 1894, p.4; and "Architect Hook Busy," Charlotte Daily Observer, 6 May 1897, p.6.

[9]"C.C. Hook Is Killed in 120-Foot Fall Here," Charlotte News, 17 September 1938, p.1.

[10]Charlotte/Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission, Survey and Research Report on the Charlotte City Hall, 1982.

[11]UCRD, deed book 37, p. 487.

[12]"Death Takes Major Heath." Monroe Enquirer, 8 February 1937, p.1; and UCRD, Record of Corporations, vol.A, pp.21, 40, 49, 66. 84, 127, 134, 225, and vol.II, p.48.

[13]"Death Takes Major Heath."

[14]UCRD, Death Certificates, book 57, p.201; and UCRD, deed book 250, p.274 and deed book 273, p.806.

[15]UCRD, deed book 312, p.241, deed book 349, pp.131 and 134, and deed book 411, p.448; and Fred H. Beck, 1910 Waxhaw Highway, Monroe, North Carolina, Allison and David Black interview, 9 January 1987.

[16]United States Census, Union County, North Carolina, 1850, 1860 and 1870, population schedules; North Carolina Division of Archives and History, WPA Graves Index; and "Last Rites Held For Three Prominent Men," Monroe Enquirer, 10 August 1942, p.1.

[17]United States Census, Union County, North Carolina, 1850, population schedule; and "The Death Record," Charlotte Daily Observer, 2 September 1909, p.7.

[18]UCRD, deed book 17, p.410.

[19]"The Death Record;" United States Census, Union County, North Carolina, 1880, population schedule; and UCRD, deed book 17, p.410.

[20]Albert Esposito, 1710 Waxhaw Road, Monroe, North Carolina, Allison and David Black interview, 9 January 1987.

[21]UCRD, Marriage Register; United States Census, Union County, North Carolina, 1900 and 1910, population schedules.

[22]Stack & Beasley, Sketches, p.93; "Last Rites Held;" and "Final Rites Tuesday for Robert D. Crow," Monroe Enquirer, 31 May 1954, p.1.

[23]UCRD, deed book 56, p.585; and Monroe City Directory, 1922-23.

[24]UCRD, Record of Corporations, vol. A, pp. 40, 84, 87, 134, 225 and 234.

[25]"Edward W. Crow Dies At Mocksville Home," Monroe Enquirer, 26 May 1930; United States Census, Union County, North Carolina, 1910, population schedule; and Davie County Register of Deeds, Marriage Register.

[26]UCRD, deed book 55, p. 299.

[27]Monroe Cemetery, Crow Family tombstones; and Esposito interview.

[28]"Architect Hook Busy;" and James H. and Marianne Belk, Monroe, North Carolina, Allison and David Black interview, 9 January 1987.

[29]Mary Ann Lee, An Inventory of Historic Architecture (Monroe: City of Monroe, 1978), p.83; and Belk interview.

[30]"Judge Redwine Dies at Home," Monroe Enquirer, 15 September 1938, p.1.

[31]Ibid.; Stack & Beasley, Sketches, pp.68-69; and UCRD, Death Certificates book 23, p.236.

[32]Stack & Beasley, Sketches, p.69; and UCRD, Death Certificates, book 24, p.314.

[33]UCRD, deed book 65, pp. 444, 449 and 454; deed book 72, p.24; deed book 93, p.86; deed book 82, pp.511 and 512; and Belk interview.

[34]UCRD, deed book 211, p. 265 and deed book 408, p. 233.

[35]UCRD, deed book 53, p. 406; and "Sketches: Some Farms;" "Edward W. Crow Dies;" and "Local and Personal," Monroe Journal, 23 November 1915, p.5.

[36]Ibid.

[37]John W. and Betty S. Hearn, 1906 Weddington Road, Monroe, North Carolina, Allison and David Black interview, 9 January 1987; and UCRD, deed book 199, p.337.

References

Beck, Fred H. 1910 Waxhaw Highway, Monroe, North Carolina. Allison and David Black interview, 9 January 1987.

Belk, James H. and Marianne. Monroe, North Carolina. Allison and David Black interview, 9 January 1987.

"C.C. Hook Is Killed in 120-Foot Fall Here." Charlotte News, 17 September 1938, p.1.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission. Designation Report, Charlotte City Hall, Charlotte, North Carolina, 1982. Copy in Survey Files, Survey and Planning Branch, N.C. Division of Archives and History, Raleigh, N.C.

Cyclopedia of Eminent and Representative Men of the Carolinas of the Nineteenth Century, vol.II. Madison, Wis.: Brant & Fuller,1892.

Davie County Register of Deeds Office. Marriage Register.

"Death Takes Major Heath." Monroe Enquirer, 8 February 1937, p.1.

"Edward W. Crow Dies At Mocksville Home." Monroe Enquirer, 26 May 1930, p.1.

Esposito, Albert. 1710 Waxhaw Road, Monroe, North Carolina. Allison and David Black interview, 9 January 1987.

"Final Rites Tuesday for Robert D. Crow." Monroe (N.C.) Enquirer, 31 May 1954, p.1.

Hearn, John W., Jr., and Betty S. 1906 Weddington Road, Monroe, North Carolina. Allison and David Black interview, 9 January 1987.

"Judge Redwine Dies at Home." Monroe Enquirer, 15 September 1938, p.1.

"Last Rites Held For Three Prominent Men." Monroe Enquirer, 10 August 1942, p.1.

Lee, Mary Ann. An Inventory of Historic Architecture. (Monroe: City of Monroe, 1978.

Monroe Cemetery. Crow and Heath families tombstones.

Monroe-Union Historic Properties Commission. Designation Report for O.P. Heath House, Monroe, North Carolina, 1985. Copy in Survey Files, Survey and Planning Branch, N.C. Division of Archives and History, Raleigh, N.C.

Nathans, Sydney. The Quest for Progress: The Way We Lived in North Carolina, 1870-20. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1983.

National Cyclopedia of American Biography, The vol. XLIX> New York: James T. White & Company, 1966.

North Carolina Division of Archives and History. WPA Graves Index.

"O.P. Heath Killed Himself Yesterday." Monroe (N.C.) Journal, 29, February, 1916, p.1.

"Sketches: Some Farms and Farmers Just West of Monroe." Monroe Journal, 6 August 1918, p.8.

Stack, Amos and Beasley, George. Sketches of Monroe and Union County. Charlotte: News and Times Print, 1902.

"The Death Record." Charlotte Daily Observer, 2 September 1906, p.7.

Union County Register of Deeds Office. Deed Records, Vital Statistics — Births and Deaths, Death Certificates and Marriage Register.

United States Census. Population Schedules. Union County, N.C., 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910. Lancaster County, S.C., 1850, 1860, 1870.

Young, Marjorie W., ed. Textile Leaders of the South. Anderson, S.C.: James R. Young, 1963.

† Allison H. and David R. Black, Black and Black Preservation Consultants, Waxhaw-Weddington Roads Historic District, Union County, N.C., nomination document, 1987, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.

Waxhaw-Weddington Roads Historic District Map

Street Names
Franklin Street West • Route 75 • Route 84 • Waddington Road • Waxhaw Highway

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