Glenwood-Brooklyn Historic District
The Glenwood-Brooklyn Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002. 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 Glenwood-Brooklyn Historic District is architecturally significant for the range of early-twentieth century house types, methods of construction, and styles. On the basis of architectural significance the period of significance is 1907-1951, the approximate division point between the primarily historicist styles that characterized development during the first half of the twentieth century and the Modernist and Ranch styles that followed. The Glenwood-Brooklyn Historic District experienced some construction after 1951; these resources are not exceptionally significant.
Community Planning and Development Context
The incorporation of the Glenwood Land Company in May 1905 marks the beginning of the Glenwood and Brooklyn neighborhoods. Limited residential development had occurred in the area for many years previous, however, as documented by architectural historian and former neighborhood resident David Black. According to tradition, the Brooklyn area was originally known as Will's Forest, which is said to have taken its name from a free black named Will who lived there in the late 1700s. In the mid-nineteenth century, John Devereux Jr. (1820-93), whose wife Margaret Lane Mordecai Devereux (1824-1910) inherited land contained in the historic district, built a house in the vicinity of the south end of the Glenwood neighborhood which he named Will's Forest. After the Civil War the Mordecai-Devereux lands were subdivided into several farms. One was owned by Devereux's daughter Ellen, who with husband John Hinsdale built a house known as Glenwood on the northwest corner of the present Glenwood Avenue and West Peace Street. Another daughter and her husband, Mary and Arthur Winslow, acquired the eastern portion of the present Brooklyn neighborhood. An 1876 deed referred to the general area as the "Wills Hill settlement," and there is other evidence of limited residential development in the district and vicinity during the late nineteenth century, including a subdivision of the Winslow property in 1887.
In May 1905 James H. Pou, Albert Murray and William J. Andrews incorporated the Glenwood Land Company for the purpose of developing the Glenwood-Brooklyn area into residential neighborhoods. Pou, according to architectural historian Charlotte V. Brown, "was fitted to play a substantial role in the urbanization of Raleigh." An accomplished trial lawyer, Pou was also involved with the Raleigh Electric Company and the Carolina Power & Light Company. Pou and the others' Glenwood Land Company focused first on subdividing (or re-subdividing) land in the Brooklyn neighborhood and offering lots for sale in 1905. In June 1906 the company registered a plat of the present Glenwood neighborhood, extending from West Peace Street to Wade Avenue. About the same time a street car line was extended down Glenwood Avenue, which became the development's grand concourse. New streets were laid out and given the names of United States presidents (including one contender, the 1876 popular vote winner Samuel J. Tilden).
Charlotte V. Brown writes: "Glenwood was the product of the growing town [of Raleigh], its diversifying economy, the rise of the middle class, rural in-migration, urban out-migration and changing patterns of landholding and tenancy. Glenwood [was] also the product of the energy and ideals of men whose importance, prestige, power and wealth (or access to wealth) affected the urbanization of the city and the south." James Pou and his associates appear to have marketed their development to a specific sector of the population. Blacks were excluded by deed covenants, and poor whites were effectively excluded by the costs of purchasing a lot and building a residence (the latter could cost no less than $1,500, it was reported at the time). According to Brown, the resulting population of the Glenwood neighborhood was "blue collar and lower middle class with a smattering of the professionals from the middle and upper middle classes." City directories describe a similar population mix in the Brooklyn area, and the architecture of both areas reflects this diversity, as discussed below.
The Glenwood-Brooklyn area was the first of several suburban developments that launched Raleigh's western and northern expansion during the early twentieth century. Its development came at a time when Raleigh's city limits were enlarged — the first expansion in a half century — and the city's population increased by about forty percent during the first decade of the century. The Glenwood-Brooklyn area was shortly followed by the Cameron Park and Boylan Heights suburbs (also listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1985 [see Cameron Park Historic District and Boylan Heights Historic District]) and by a subsequent James Pou development named Bloomsbury, begun in 1911 and accompanied by an amusement park of the same name. Charlotte V. Brown, in her article, "Three Raleigh Suburbs: Glenwood, Boylan Heights, Cameron Park" (1985) cited three reasons for the development of her three topic neighborhoods. The first was a need for housing in the growing city, and, secondly, housing specifically for workers in expanding areas of government, education, and the service sector of the economy. The third factor had to do with what Brown referred to as "a heightened sense of class based on the new social and economic institutions which had begun in the years after Reconstruction." Brown pointed out that the city's population "was becoming more segregated not only along racial lines, but also along class lines." Glenwood and its sister developments met these new needs.
The enthusiasm generated by the Glenwood-Brooklyn development was expressed by Raleigh businessman Fred Olds, writing in the 1907 annual report of the Chamber of Commerce: "The northern suburb, Glenwood, has been developed remarkably. During the year 100 lots have been sold out of a total of 500, of which less than half so far have been put on the market. Contracts have been made for 26 residences...and these are built or underway." In June 1908 the Glenwood Land Company attempted to close out its development by holding a lot auction. According to the local press the auction met with considerable success; over a hundred lots priced between $175 and $600 were sold.
The Methodist church played an important part in the life of the district. In 1876 John Devereux gave land for a church and schoolhouse in the Brooklyn vicinity, and by 1881 Brooklyn Church had been constructed. The church was instrumental in the location of the Methodist Orphanage on a fifty-acre parcel adjoining the district, which was purchased in 1908 from the Glenwood Land Company. The orphans attended church and patronized stores in the Brooklyn neighborhood, and they donated memorial stained-glass windows to Jenkins Memorial United Methodist Church, the successor to Brooklyn Church. Another important institution in the Brooklyn area was the Richard H. Lewis School. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the Brooklyn School, as it was then known, moved from West Peace Street to North Boylan Avenue and ultimately to its present location at 601 Devereux Street where it took the name of school board member Dr. Richard H. Lewis. In the 1926-27 school year 730 students were enrolled, instructed by twenty teachers.
Raleigh city directories provide information on the demographics of the Glenwood-Brooklyn Historic District during its early decades. As Charlotte Brown observed, residents were drawn primarily from the middle class. Government employees, small business owners, and salesmen and saleswomen were common occupations. At least forty-eight houses were occupied by railroad employees at some point during the period 1909 to 1940. Norfolk Southern and the Seaboard Air Line were the principal railroad employers. Representative railroad occupations included conductor, car inspector, flagman, yard master, engineer, brakeman, claim adjustor, dispatcher, freight agent, car repairman, boilermaker, clerk, telegraph operator, and roundhouse foreman. A number of engineers, machinists, and boilermakers who were not listed as railroad employees may in fact have also worked for the railroads. Mixed in with their middle- and working-class neighbors were a few individuals whose occupations — and houses — suggest higher income. Two of the largest and most sophisticated early houses in the Glenwood-Brooklyn Historic District, 1218 and 1220 Glenwood Avenue, were occupied (respectively) by a dentist and an attorney in 1915.
In line with national trends, home construction in the Glenwood-Brooklyn Historic District subsided during the materials shortages of the World War I period but rebounded with the economic boom of the early-to-mid-1920s. A slackening of demand that preceded the stock market crash of 1929 and the severe depression that followed curtailed construction, although limited home building recommenced during the somewhat improved economic picture of the late 1930s. World War II brought another hiatus but also an increase in demand. The effects of 1940s housing shortages is illustrated by the little dwelling at 510-1/2 Tilden Street — a converted chicken house. Home construction in the district was limited by at least two factors after World War II. Most lots had been developed, precluding later development except as infill. Also, population growth shifted to newer suburbs located on the urban periphery.
Charlotte Brown reports that the Glenwood neighborhood was considered to have remained "fairly stable until about 1950," followed by a gradual decline. Brown cites increased automobile traffic along the arterial routes that border the district, increased rental use of dwellings and absentee landlordism, and the death of original inhabitants as negative factors affecting the neighborhood, and a similar decline occurred in the Brooklyn area. Raleigh Historic Properties Commission member Linda Harris Edmisten described the challenges and opportunities experienced by the neighborhood in her essay "Planning and Conservation in Raleigh's Glenwood Neighborhood" (1985). Edmisten credited city planning director A.C. Hall Jr. for his efforts to preserve the neighborhood's residential character in the face of commercial development pressure, and she identified a potential unintended negative consequence of the neighborhood's listing in the National Register of Historic Places, which at the time made tax credits available only for the rehabilitation of income-producing properties and which, Edmisten feared, might have encouraged the conversion of dwellings into offices or other non-residential uses.
Glenwood-Brooklyn's downward slide reversed during the last quarter of the twentieth century. Edmisten noted a contributing factor; in the early 1980s a portion of the Methodist Home property located across Glenwood Avenue from the original district was developed as the Bishop's Park condominium complex, demonstrating that the area could be successfully marketed to Raleigh's burgeoning class of young urban professionals. The growth of the preservation ethos during the same period and renewed interest in the architectural styles of the early twentieth century fostered appreciation for the neighborhood, and the area's proximity to the downtown also contributed to its rebirth. Today the health of the Glenwood-Brooklyn area is demonstrated by its robust community life, high property values, and busy remodeling and rehabilitation activity.
The Glenwood-Brooklyn Historic District includes a broad range of house types and styles from the first half of the twentieth century. The district's architectural character reflects a variety of factors, among them stylistic and cultural influences, economic trends, and the income level of residents. When development commenced in 1907, vernacular and Victorian influences were still strong in the region's domestic architecture. The Glenwood-Brooklyn Historic District's earliest houses, those built from 1907 to the mid-1910s, usually have simple symmetrical massing with rear kitchen and dining room ells, and one-room-deep center-passage and two-room plans appear to predominate. One- and two-story versions of these houses are found; examples include the one-story William S. Ford House at 719 Gaston Street and the group of matching two-story houses on the 600 block of Devereux Street (620, 622 and 624 Devereux Street). These house forms represent the continuation of nineteenth century regional vernacular tradition. Similar houses were built in rural areas and small towns throughout North Carolina and adjoining states. And, as was typical for middle-class dwellings of the type, weatherboarded frame construction was typical.
The houses noted above also illustrate the persistence of Victorian stylistic influence. In the Glenwood-Brooklyn Historic District this influence is typically expressed by the presence of features such as decorative (nonfunctional) gables, turned and sawn millwork ornament in porches and gables, and (less frequently) decorative sheathings such as novelty or German siding and shaped wood shingles. Represented in the Glenwood-Brooklyn Historic District is a roof type known to students of North Carolina architecture as the triple-A roof, which features a decorative gable on the center of the forward-facing slope of the main gable roof (making three gables, hence triple "A"). The roof type is ultimately derived from mid-nineteenth century Gothic Revival domestic architecture, and it appears in the aforementioned houses on the 600 block of Devereux Street. Common milled ornament in the district includes turned porch posts, sawn and spindlework porch post brackets, and louvered gable vents, the latter typically diamond-shaped in form but occasionally also quatrefoil (four-lobed) and triangular. Mass-produced milled ornament became readily available in the late nineteenth century with the establishment of mechanized sash and blind factories.
Relatively speaking, most of the Glenwood-Brooklyn Historic District's Victorian houses are fairly reserved in character. Elaborately ornamented houses such as appear in Raleigh's Oakwood neighborhood [see Oakwood Historic District] are not found in the Glenwood-Brooklyn Historic District. This architectural reserve probably reflects the middle-class means of the typical neighborhood resident. There are exceptions, however. Several lot owners, especially on Glenwood Avenue, built fairly substantial houses in a Victorian genre known as the Queen Anne style. Primary elements of the style found in the Glenwood-Brooklyn Historic District include irregular massing and roof lines, turrets, and wraparound verandas. Secondary details include decorative window sash and classical allusions. Examples of Queen Anne houses include the John W. Keyes House at 800 Glenwood Avenue, which features an octagonal corner tower with a pyramidal roof; the J. Martin Fleming House at 1218 Glenwood Avenue, with its spreading gable roof, elliptical and bay windows, and a wraparound veranda supported by classical columns; and the ca.1915 James A. Bridgers House at 800 North Boylan Avenue, which has a prominent gabled dormer with a Palladian window, a false keystone, and turned pilasters. Architectural historian and former neighborhood resident David Black notes that the Glenwood-Brooklyn Historic District's Queen Anne houses typically exhibit Colonial Revival influence. At the other end of the Victorian-vernacular spectrum was a working-class house type known as the shotgun, characterized by its narrow linear form, front-gable orientation, and typically one-story height. A dwelling with shotgun characteristics is the story-and-a-half William Fain House at 709 Gaston Street, built about 1909 and occupied at the time by one of the Glenwood-Brooklyn Historic District's few African Americans.
Victorian influence appears in a few houses built as late as the early 1920s (the ca.1922 W. Rufus Blackley House at 1300 Filmore Street is an example), but generally speaking the style was eclipsed by the Craftsman style beginning in the mid-l910s. The characteristic Craftsman house type, nationwide as well as in the Glenwood-Brooklyn Historic District, was the Bungalow, a snugly proportioned house of one or one and a half stories. Almost all Craftsman Bungalows have front porches, and most of these are engaged (incorporated) under the house roof. Other common Craftsman Bungalow features include large dormers that expanded upstairs living space, porch supports with wood posts (usually tapered and sometimes clustered) on brick pedestals, wood-shingle sheathing in gables and on dormers, gable brackets (usually triangular in form, sometimes appearing like purlin ends), and double-hung windows with upper sash composed of three or more vertical panes. Unlike the vernacular Victorian houses that preceded them, the Glenwood-Brooklyn Historic District's Craftsman Bungalows were not strongly influenced by regional architectural traditions. Because the type was disseminated nationwide through plan books, magazine articles, and even as kits distributed by Sears Roebuck, Alladin Homes and other mail-order firms, the same Bungalow could appear anywhere. Also unlike earlier houses in the district, Craftsman Bungalows usually dispensed with rear wings by incorporating the kitchen and dining room into the house envelope. Most of the Glenwood-Brooklyn Historic District's Craftsman Bungalows were built during the late 1910s and early-to-mid-1920s, although some were built during the late 1930s after the worst effects of the Depression subsided.
Slightly over eighty Craftsman Bungalows stand in the Glenwood-Brooklyn Historic District, most clustered along the back streets of the Glenwood area. Two basic gable roof forms are represented: side-gable and front gable. Side-gable roofs are typical of the earlier and more finely appointed Bungalows whereas front-gable roofs appear on later and more modest examples. Although they were relatively modest in scale and proportion, several Bungalows exhibit a high level of quality in their construction. One is the ca.1917 Askew-Daugherty House at 1000 Glenwood Avenue, which is distinguished by wood-shingle siding, stone porch pillars, and window surrounds that show the influence of Japanese design. Representative of the more modest later Bungalows is the ca.1938 Euclid H. McWhorter House at 507 Tilden Street, a front-gabled one-story dwelling similar in form and scale to the shotgun houses of earlier decades.
Not all Craftsman houses were Bungalows; a few two-story Craftsman houses such as the ca.1923 Arthur B. Morgan House at 509 Cleveland Street and the ca.1922 Louise E. Gerow House at 1120 Filmore Street were constructed. Nor were all Craftsman houses purely Craftsman in style — some were blended with another popular style of the period, the Colonial Revival. Most of the Glenwood-Brooklyn Historic District's hybrid Craftsman/Colonial Revival houses stand on prestigious lots along Glenwood Avenue. The ca.1923 house at 1200 Glenwood Avenue, which has a colonial brick first story capped by a shed-dormered Craftsman second story, and the conservatively detailed two-story brick Thomas E. Dowdy House at 1416 Glenwood Avenue (ca. 1924) are examples.
Next to the Craftsman style the Colonial Revival was the most popular idiom during the period between the world wars. Approximately twenty houses and one apartment house, most dating to the 1920s, show the predominant influence of the style, which is usually expressed by brick construction with contrasting white trim, symmetrical compositions, and classically-derived detail. Two particularly well-developed examples stand on Glenwood Avenue. The story-and-a-half Roy T. Parker House, built about 1927 at 810 Glenwood Avenue, has a symmetrical three-bay facade with a gabled entry stoop echoed by gabled dormers on the roof. Somewhat more grandiose is the ca.1925 house of lawyer Alfred J. Fletcher at 909 Glenwood Avenue, which features a Doric entry porch overlooking Fletcher Park, a Palladian gable window, and louvered wood shutters with decorative piercings in upper panels. The Glenwood-Brooklyn Historic District's Colonial Revival houses often have Craftsman interior features such as Craftsman mantels. A sub-set of Colonial Revival houses have gambrel roofs which evoke, directly or indirectly, the Dutch architecture of the Mid-Atlantic region. The ca.1926 James R. Kee House at 611 Wills Forest Street is a handsome gambreled Colonial Revival residence with a first-story facing of richly colored sandstone and flanking sunrooms with paneled walls. The Colonial Revival style was resurrected in the 1970s and 1980s by developer Seth Gaskill, who employed it in the remodeling of eight Victorian and Craftsman houses in the Brooklyn neighborhood.
Other period styles make cameo appearances in the Glenwood-Brooklyn Historic District. The ca.1923 home of lawyer James S. Fulghum at 615 Wills Forest Street represents the Tudor Revival style. Its defining features include false half-timbering in the clipped gable of a front wing, and pairs of plain wood porch posts yoked together at their tops by small arches. Simplified Tudor influence reemerged in the late 1930s with the construction of small picturesque houses known to students of North Carolina architecture as Period Cottages, illustrated by examples at 1213 Filmore Street and 519 Washington Street. The two-story stuccoed house at 1414 Glenwood Avenue, built about 1925, shows the influence of the Arts and Crafts movement.
Of interest in the context of the architectural development of the neighborhood were building contractors and carpenters who resided in the district. At least four building contractors are listed in city directories: Eugene W. Lloyd at 509 Cole Street; Julius H. Kenyon at 1201 Filmore Street; Addison M. Thompson at 706 Glenwood Avenue, and Percy D. McLean at 510 Jefferson Street. There appears to be a connection between some of the more expressive Victorian cottages and original occupation by carpenters; for example, carpenter George H. Ruth lived at 808 Brooklyn Street, notable for its clever use of decoratively sawn weatherboards to mimic fish-scale wood shingles, and carpenter William S. Ford lived at 719 Gaston Street with its fanciful quatrefoil gable vents. In other respects both the Ruth and Ford houses are fairly conventional dwellings with triple-A gable roofs. The ca.1915 house at 504 Adams Street, home of granite cutter Howard W. Brown, has granite porch pillars carved by Brown. No architects are known to have lived in the district before 1940.
The few houses that were built in the Glenwood-Brooklyn Historic District between the end of World War II and the close of the period of significance (1945-51) tended to perpetuate pre-war styles. In the 1950s taste shifted to the Ranch house type, of which a few examples were built in the district. (The Glenwood and Brooklyn neighborhoods had essentially filled up by the late 1920s, precluding substantial later construction.) The early 1950s therefore marks a divide in the Glenwood-Brooklyn Historic District's architectural development. The late twentieth century has seen a growing interest in the rehabilitation of historic houses, and the most recent infill construction generally respects the architectural traditions of the district.
Brown, "Glenwood," section 8 cover page. A number of individuals and organizations assisted in the preparation of this report. Foremost among these was the Raleigh Historic District Commission, the nomination's sponsor, represented by Executive Director Dan Becker, and the Historic Glenwood Residents' Association, Inc., represented by President Phil Poe. Members of the Residents' Association gathered historical data from city directories for inclusion in the inventory entries. David and Allison Black, architectural historians and former district residents, also provided considerable assistance.
Black, "Short History of Brooklyn and Glenwood;" David Black personal communication; Waugh, North Carolina's Capital, 67; and Wake County Deed Book 46, p.437, p. 158, and p.281. The names Wills Forest, Devereux, Hinsdale, Glenwood and Brooklyn are perpetuated in the names of streets in the historic district. The houses described in this paragraph no longer stand.
Black, "Short History of Brooklyn and Glenwood;" Brown, "Glenwood," 8.1-8.3; Smith, "American Idyll," 25.
Ibid., 8.2; Brown, "Three Raleigh Suburbs," 33, 35.
, 8-1; Black, "Short History of Brooklyn and Glenwood." Raleigh city directories list neighborhood addresses beginning in the year 1909, but some of these houses (dated "ca.1909" in the inventory) were likely built in 1907 and 1908.
David Black personal communication; Wake County Deed Book 46, p.437; Grill, Early Methodist Meeting Houses in Wake County, 127; Hicks, "Lewis School 1941-42."
Brown, "Glenwood," 8.3. Occupancy data from city directories for the period 1909 to 1940 was gathered by neighborhood residents under the supervision of the Historic Glenwood Residents' Association, Inc. in 2000.
Burner, Herbert Hoover, 249.
Brown, "Glenwood," 8.4; Edmisten, "Planning and Conservation in Raleigh's Glenwood Neighborhood," 87-88. Fortunately the change-over from residential to other uses feared by Edmisten did not occur.
Edmisten, "Planning and Conservation in Raleigh's Glenwood Neighborhood," 87-88.
Architectural historians Virginia and Lee McAlester use the term Folk Victorian to describe similar houses in their Field Guide to American Houses (pp.308-317).
David Black personal communication. According to James Thomas Irving (b. ca.1896), Raleigh's first African American mail carrier, Brooklyn Street formerly had numerous shotgun houses, although this is hard to reconcile with the 1914 Sanborn map for the area, which shows few if any shotgun houses (interview in Kinney, "728 Gaston Street").
David Black personal communication.
Becker, Dan. Personal communication with the author (email), July 25, 2001.
Black, David. Personal communication with the author, 2000-01.
________. "A Short History of Brooklyn and Glenwood." Report, 1997.
Brown, Charlotte V. "Glenwood." National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination Form, 1981.
________"Three Raleigh Suburbs: Glenwood, Boylan Heights, Cameron Park." In Early Twentieth-Century Suburbs in North Carolina, pp.31-37. Edited by Catherine W. Bishir and Lawrence S. Earley. Raleigh, N.C.: North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, 1985.
Burner, David. Herbert Hoover, A Public Life. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1979.
Edmisten, Linda Harris. "Planning and Conservation in Raleigh's Glenwood Neighborhood." In Early Twentieth-Century Suburbs in North Carolina, pp.87-89. Edited by Catherine W. Bishir and Lawrence S. Earley. Raleigh, N.C.: North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, 1985.
"Glenwood Neighborhood, Urban Character Conservation Study-National Register Nomination." 1980 series of maps produced by the Raleigh Environmental Planning Staff, City of Raleigh, on file with the state Historic Preservation Office, Raleigh.
Grill, C. Franklin. Early Methodist Meeting Houses in Wake County, North Carolina. Raleigh: North Carolina Conference Committee on Archives and History, 1979.
Harris, Thomas C. "Plan of Raleigh, N.C." 1891. Microfilm at the State Archives, Raleigh.
Hicks, Mrs. William S. "Lewis School 1941-42." In Barbee, Mrs. J.M. Historical Sketches of the Raleigh Public Schools, 1876-1941-1942. Raleigh: Barbee Pupil Association, 1943.
Holland, Charles William. Correspondence regarding history of 705 and 707 Glenwood Ave. and 601 Hinsdale St. in Raleigh, March 15, 1984. On file with the state Historic Preservation Office, Raleigh.
Kinney, Andrea P. "728 Gaston Street, Wake County, Raleigh, North Carolina." 1994 report on file with the state Historic Preservation Office, Raleigh.
McAlester, Virginia, and Lee McAlester. A Field Guide to American Houses. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1988.
Riddick & Mann. "Plat of the Glenwood Land Company." 1906. Microfilm at the State Archives, Raleigh.
Sanborn Map Company. Maps of Raleigh, N.C., 1909 and 1914. Microfilm at the N.C. State Archives, Raleigh.
"Shaffer's Outline Map of the City of Raleigh, N.C." 1888. Microfilm at the State Archives, Raleigh.
Wake County deed records. Raleigh.
Waugh, Elizabeth Culbertson, ed. North Carolina's Capital, Raleigh. Raleigh: Raleigh Junior League and Raleigh Historic Sites Commission, Inc., 1967.
† J, Daniel Pezzoni, Landmark Preservation Associates, Glenwood-Brooklyn Historic District, Wake County, North Carolina, nomination document, 2001, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.