Longview Gardens Historic District
The Longview Gardens Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2011. Portions of the text below were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [†] Adaptation copyright © 2011, The Gombach Group.
Longview Gardens Historic District, a large residential subdivision, is located one and one-half miles east of the North Carolina State Capitol in Raleigh, on both sides of New Bern Avenue, the major street that extends east from Capitol Square and becomes U.S. Highway 64 at the east city boundary. New Bern Avenue, the primary axis of the subdivision, extends east-west through the center of the district. Its four-lane width is divided by a wide median enhanced with crepe myrtle trees and shrubbery. Residential lots line New Bern Avenue with the exception of the south side of the 2000 block, containing Longview Shopping Center, a noncontributing commercial development not included in the Longview Gardens Historic District boundary. It was constructed about 1950 in the subdivision, but has been excluded from the district boundaries because it was substantially remodeled in recent years and has lost its historic integrity. North of the avenue are six picturesquely-curved residential streets: North King Charles Road, Lord Ashley Road, Lord Berkley Road, Clarendon Crescent, Longview Lake Drive, and Albemarle Avenue.
North King Charles Road and Lord Berkley Road connect to Sycamore Circle, a traffic circle at the northwest corner of the Longview Gardens Historic District. The other spokes of the circle, Oakwood Avenue and Bertie Drive, connect the district to city streets in existence when the subdivision was developed or to other tracts of land that were developed as a later phase of the subdivision and are of a different character. South of the avenue is a smaller cluster of residential streets at the western edge: South King Charles Road, Golf Course Drive, and Peele Place. The south boundary of the Longview Gardens Historic District, Poole Road, and the east boundary, Donald Ross Drive (originally named Pear Tree Lane), enclose the 135-acre Raleigh Country Club, containing a clubhouse, swimming pool, and eighteen-hole golf course. Residential lots line Poole Road and Donald Ross Drive. These two streets predate the development of the subdivision. On the east side of the subdivision is one additional residential street, King William Road. Throughout the Longview Gardens Historic District lot sizes range from three-quarters of an acre to over four acres. Streets are paved; most have concrete curbs and gutters. There are no sidewalks except along the east side of North King Charles Road, which were added some years after the subdivision was created. In addition to the dominant residential and golf course land usage, two churches stand in the district: Longview Baptist Church, 400 Lord Berkley Road, ca.1955, and Milner Memorial Presbyterian Church, 1950 New Bern Avenue, 1946. Longview Lake, located between Longview Lake Drive and Albemarle Avenue at the northeast corner of the district, is irregular in shape with a heavily wooded shoreline and an extensive marsh at its western boundary with Longview Lake Road.
A total of 149 principal buildings in the Longview Gardens Historic District were built during the period of significance, ca.1938 to 1965, and contribute to the character of the district. The Craftsman style house at 2755 Poole Road, built about 1920, pre-dates the subdivision. There are thirty-five contributing outbuildings, consisting of sheds, garages, and workshops. Five sites contribute to the Longview Gardens Historic District: the overall subdivision design, the Raleigh Country Club Golf Course, the park on King William Road, the park on North King Charles Road, and Sycamore Circle. Thirty-four principal buildings were built after 1965 or have lost their contributing status due to alterations. Sixty-one sheds and garages were built after 1965. Five in-ground swimming pools are noncontributing structures. Out of the 294 total resources in the Longview Gardens Historic District, 194 (66 percent) contribute to the district's character.
Longview Gardens consists of three separately planned phases. The first, the original Gillette-Wooten plan of 1938 (revised 1940), contains the entire district north of New Bern Avenue (with the exception of a portion of Albemarle Avenue) along with the King William Road area south of New Bern Avenue. This phase contains New Bern Avenue; the two streets north of New Bern Avenue that radiate from Sycamore Circle: North King Charles and Lord Berkley Road; Lord Ashley Road; one block of Clarendon Crescent; Albemarle Avenue; Longview Lake Drive north of New Bern Avenue at the east end; and King William Road south of New Bern Avenue on the east end. The second phase, developed in 1948-1949, is the Raleigh Country Club and Golf Course on the south side of the avenue, bounded on the east by Donald Ross Drive (originally Pear Tree Lane) and on the south by houses on the north side of Poole Road. The third phase is the Golf Course Drive section platted in 1959, located between South King Charles Drive and the golf course in the southwest corner of the district.
The Longview Gardens Historic District's landscape is generally level, becoming gently hilly around Longview Lake in the northeast section. Several small streams wind through the eastern half of the district, creating Longview Lake on the north side of New Bern Avenue and a small pond on the Raleigh Country Club golf course. Large hardwood and pine trees form a tree cover throughout the district. Tall pine trees border the rolling greens of the golf course. The tree cover is so thick along the south side of New Bern Avenue that many of the houses cannot be viewed from the road. Large crepe myrtle trees encouraged and planted by developer Clarence Poe throughout the creation of the district, beautify the central median of New Bern Avenue as well as many private yards. Three small parks: the North King Charles Road Park, Sycamore Circle, and King William Road Park, were created as a part of the original subdivision landscape plan and add to the natural beauty of Longview Gardens.
House construction corresponded to the three phases of development. The northern streets were largely filled in with houses by 1955. The Longview Lake area north of New Bern Avenue was built up in the late 1950s. The houses on the north side of Poole Road that border the 1948-1949 Raleigh Country Club and Golf Course date from throughout the entire development period, including a 1920s Bungalow at 2755 Poole Road. The Golf Course Drive section dates from 1959-1965.
Longview Gardens Historic District contains a small collection of Colonial Revival and Tudor Revival houses built during the late 1930s and early 1940s. While a few of these are large two-story houses with brickwork or stonework and detailing inspired by Colonial or Medieval architecture, most are 1-1/2-half story houses that can be distinguished from the later Ranches and Split Level houses by their small size. When construction resumed after World War II, this house type remained popular in the late 1940s and early 1950s. These houses are generally brick-veneered, with architectural features characteristic of either colonial or medieval styles. The Colonials generally have a classical entrance, dormer windows, and a side frame wing, which may be attached by a frame hyphen. Sometimes the wing is a garage. Side porches often have latticed wood posts. Houses with medieval/Tudor features often have an arched entrance outlined by stone corbels, a front chimney with stone accents, and dormer windows.
From the late 1940s to 1965, the most popular house type in Longview Gardens is the Ranch. The large lots encouraged the construction of Rambler Ranches with side and rear wings. These typically have a low, wide main block with a side-gable or a hipped roof, a combination of brick veneer and frame siding, wide overhanging eaves, and an interior chimney. About half of the Ranches have traditional details, usually of Colonial style, at the entrances. The others are "archetypal" Ranches with picture windows, high casement windows, and often a carport. The front door is generally of smooth-finished wood, with three small lights at the top. The hilly lots around Longview Lake were developed with a number of Split Level houses that resemble the Ranches in materials and detailing. Often the lower level of the house contains an open carport or a garage.
Up to 1955, houses in the Longview Gardens Historic District appear to have been custom built. Two groups of speculative houses have been identified: a row of twelve minimal Ranches with carports at 2607-2737 Poole Road, developed by Smith-Douglass Building Corporation in 1955 [Wake County Book of Maps 1955, page 53]; and a row of seven houses from 2504 to 2528 Albemarle Avenue along the shore of Longview Lake. This development, named "Lakewood," was platted in 1959 and the houses built about 1960 by developer Ed K. Richards [Book of Maps 1959, page 321]. Each of the Poole Road houses are simple five-bay-wide brick Ranches with integral one-car carports. The hilly topography of Albemarle Avenue allowed Richards to built large Split Levels, generally faced with a variegated orange-red brick known in the 1950s as "antique" brick, alternating with sections of wood siding. The houses reflect a blend of traditional and contemporary forms. Entrances are surrounded by large fixed windows and sheltered by gabled entrance porches open to the roof.
Raleigh Country Club
The 136-acre Raleigh Country Club occupies the interior of the area bounded by South King Charles Road, Poole Road, and Donald Ross Drive (originally known as Pear Tree Lane). Famed golf course designer Donald Ross designed the eighteen-hole course in 1948; a low wooden clubhouse was constructed facing Donald Ross Drive at the same time. The present clubhouse, designed by Cline Design of Raleigh, replaced it in 2002. It has rustic wood walls, hipped roofs, and stone porch posts that harmonize with the landscape. Golf course specialist Richard Mandell restored the bunkers to their original form in 2005.
Longview Gardens is a remarkably intact subdivision retaining the integrity of its layout, including street plan, open spaces, curbs, and no sidewalks. It contains only one tear-down (a new house located on the site of an earlier house) and only a handful of infill houses that have been built on lots that were not previously developed. The most common alteration is window replacements, however the signature picture window is usually retained. In some cases the original sash windows (usually horizontal 2-over-2 sash) have been replaced with 1-over-1 sash. Since houses are generally of brick, Longview Gardens has little vinyl or aluminum siding, but sometimes the brick has been painted. Carports generally remain open and unchanged. The most common alteration resulting in a change from contributing status to noncontributing status is the addition of an out-of-scale entrance porch. Houses in the district generally had small entrance porches or no porches at all. For example, a one-bay Classical-style entrance porch was added to the Reid House, 108 Lord Ashley Road, in recent years. At the same time the entrance was replaced and the entrance bay covered with stone veneer. These alterations combined with the replacement of all facade windows changed the house's status to noncontributing. Another porch addition that resulted in noncontributing status is at the Pulley House, 125 North King Charles Road, a Ranch house with a replacement Victorian-style entrance, stone veneer around the entrance, and a three-bay-wide porch addition with a prominent front gable.
Designed by Richmond landscape architect Charles Gillette in 1938, Longview Gardens is a residential subdivision developed east of Raleigh, North Carolina from 1938 to the mid-1960s by agricultural journalist and civic leader Clarence Poe, longtime editor of The Progressive Farmer. The largest and most artistically designed mid-twentieth century subdivision in Raleigh, the subdivision features curving streets along both sides of a newly-designed parkway called New Bern Avenue. In the late 1930s and early 1940s Colonial and Tudor Revival-style houses were the earliest dwellings built. Following a World War II hiatus, harmonious blocks of large custom-built Ranch and Split Level houses filled up the streets. In the late 1940s Poe added a golf course designed by famed course designer Donald Ross and a shopping center on the south side of New Bern Avenue. The congregations of Longview Baptist Church and Milner Memorial Presbyterian Church built Modernist-style sanctuaries in the subdivision in the mid-1950s.
Longview Gardens subdivision has local significance in the area of community planning and development as one of the largest mid-twentieth century developments in Raleigh, with the largest variety of styles and types of houses of the subdivisions of this era. Each phase of development, from Charles Gillette's initial 1938-1940 subdivision plan of the Sycamore Circle area north of New Bern Avenue and the King William Road area south of the avenue; Donald Ross's eighteen-hole Raleigh Country Club golf course south of the avenue in 1948-1949; the plats of the Golf Course Drive area west of the golf course in 1959; and the 1959 development of Albemarle Road along Longview Lake has a distinct landscape and architectural character that has significance. The landscape design and the harmonious and varied streetscapes of custom-built Ranch houses and other house styles establish local significance in the areas of landscape design and architecture. While there are a small group of architect-designed Modernist houses, the primary architectural significance of the subdivision is the large group of well-preserved Ranches and Split Levels, as well as the small group of Colonial Revival, Tudor Revival and French Eclectic-style houses built from the late 1930s to the mid-1960s.
Longview Gardens Historic District is the only subdivision of the era in Raleigh with significance in land use planning. The late 1930s initial phase of the subdivision contains a traffic circle and radiating streets expressive of the ideals of the early twentieth century City Beautiful Movement.
Longview Gardens Historic District retains its overall integrity of setting, feeling, association, design, and materials. The period of significance for the historic district extends from 1938 to 1965. Sixty-six percent of the Longview Gardens Historic District resources contribute to its character, with 147 well-preserved houses and two churches built during the period of significance; only thirty-four houses in the district are noncontributing, most due to alterations.
Clarence Poe (1881-1964), a native of Chatham County, North Carolina, achieved prominence throughout the South as the editor of the Progressive Farmer newspaper from 1899 to 1954. Poe started work at the age of sixteen at the paper, founded in 1886 by North Carolina populist politician Leonidas Polk, and bought it in 1903. During his tenure the weekly paper became the dominant farm publication in the South and one of the strongest in the United States. By his death in 1964, Clarence Poe was considered one of North Carolina's most significant leaders in agricultural and educational progress. An example of his comprehensive but practical advice dispensed to over a million farmers at its height in the 1930s was his campaign for "two-arm farming." Poe believed that agricultural wealth was based on both crops and livestock, but the South relied just on cotton and tobacco, neglecting the other "arm" of livestock.
Clarence Poe accumulated a large estate in the country east of Raleigh from 1916 to the 1930s. In 1916 he purchased a ninety-acre tract east of Raleigh, bounded on the west by Pear Tree Road (now Donald Ross Drive) [Wake County Deed Book 305, page 109]. In 1925 he and his wife Alice Aycock Poe, daughter of former governor Charles B. Aycock, constructed a substantial stone house on their estate, overlooking Crabtree Creek, which they named "Longview," a name denoting both the vista and the Poes' progressive attitudes. Architect James Salter designed the Colonial Revival-style dwelling, which was built from stone quarried on the property. A crepe myrtle-lined driveway from Pear Tree Lane led to the estate.
During the next several decades Clarence Poe acquired about a dozen small farms situated north and west of Longview; by 1938 he owned over 800 acres. For example, the approximately seventy-five acre tract containing Longview Lake north of New Bern Avenue was acquired in 1919 [Wake County Deed Book 334, page 599]. In 1925 Poe bought a seventy-seven-acre section of land in a proposed development known as Wilson Park, where King Charles, Lord Ashley, and Lord Berkley roads were later laid out. In 1937 he purchased the remainder of Wilson Park, totaling 200 acres, from the Central Investment Corporation headquartered in Baltimore [Wake County Deed Book 743, page 340]. Poe actively farmed and managed his acreage with wheat, corn, and tobacco fields, truck crops, a dairy farm with a herd of Jersey cows, and a pasture with horses. On his land he applied current best agricultural practices that he promoted in the magazine. He cut no dogwoods, redbuds or deciduous holly in his woodlands and let the largest trees continue to grow. In his autobiography, My First 80 Years, published in 1963, he recalled that by the early 1930s the Great Depression had strained his finances to the point that he was advised to declare bankruptcy. He still owed a good deal of money for the land tracts. Instead of walking away from the land and the debts, Poe persevered, even moving temporarily out of Longview and renting it in order to save money.
While the development of Longview Gardens was a sideline for Poe, the project allowed him to put into practice his lifelong crusade for the useful and beautiful cultivation of rural land that he espoused in The Progressive Farmer. His only mention in his memoir of his land development endeavors, on which he worked for nearly four decades, is the simple statement that "Eventually a considerable part of my land came into demand for residential purposes. To this end I organized Longview Gardens, Inc. with the aim of developing "Raleigh's Most Beautiful Subdivision." Poe had clearly begun to plan a subdivision by 1924, when he hired well-known landscape architect Warren H. Manning of Boston, a protoge of Frederick Law Olmsted, to create a suburb. A 1924 sketch for Poe showing the topography of some proposed dams bears the signature of the Manning office, however it exists in landscape architect Charles Gillette's papers, indicating Gillette may have done it while working with Manning. Whether these dams were built and their location is unknown. In 1925 the Manning office produced an overall subdivision design for Poe that included property bounded by Milburnie Road on the north, Pear Tree Lane on the east, Poole Road on the south, and an unnamed road on the west, even though Poe did not yet own all of this land. Manning created a picturesque plan of curving streets oriented on both sides of the highway, called "New Milburnie Highway," with a lake in the northeast section and a greenway extending along the paths of the creeks. The huge residential lots vary from one to six acres. Also included in the plan were a baseball park, an amphitheater, and two small areas of 50 x 150 foot lots. This plan bore no resemblance to the later plan produced by Charles Gillette, and was never implemented.
In 1930 Clarence Poe renewed his subdivision project with Charles Gillette rather than with Manning, who was by this time elderly and not actively consulting. Gillette (1886-1969) got his start as a landscape architect in Manning's Boston office beginning in 1907, working for Manning until he opened his own office around 1919. His supervision of Manning's plan for Richmond College (University of Richmond) in the 1910s established Gillette in Virginia for the rest of his career. Gillette's early career specialized in the landscaping of suburban estates in Virginia. In the wake of the Great Depression, he shifted his focus to large-scale educational, corporate, and government projects. Among his projects of this phase were the campus of Davidson College in North Carolina and a public housing project in Asbury Park, New Jersey. The planning of Longview Gardens apparently stalled until 1937, probably due to the Depression and Poe's financial difficulties. Gillette and Poe developed the plan for Longview Gardens primarily from 1937 to 1940, but the firm did some minor alterations to certain areas of the plan in 1941 and 1944. In 1948 Gillette created a plan for a business center on New Bern Avenue and a school and park area to the north of the 1938 subdivision, outside of the historic district. The firm apparently did some work on the golf course, probably in the late 1940s, as there is an undated drawing labeled "Western Portion of Golf Course" in the Gillette collection.
Gillette's Longview Gardens plan, dated November 1938, is also signed by civil engineer Louis E. Wooten. Wooten, a native of Edgecombe County, North Carolina, worked on topographic studies and layout plans for Longview Gardens from 1937 to 1939. By January 1939 Gillette and Wooten produced a plan with the romantic title of "Longview Gardens — A Suburban Community for Lovers of the Beautiful in Nature, Architecture, and Landscaping." This 1938-1939 Gillette-Wooten plan, revised in May 1940, is the definitive plan. The plan consists of five streets that curve off a traffic circle two blocks north of New Bern Avenue, the state highway extending through the Poe property, as well as several additional streets at the east end of the property nearest to Poe's Longview estate: Longview Lake Drive and Albemarle Avenue on the north side and King William Road on the south side. In early years the circle was named Sycamore Circle, but this name has not lasted and it now has no name. King William Road forks at its termination with Pear Tree Lane (now Donald Ross Drive), creating a triangular park studded with rock outcroppings. Gillette may have designed the fork because the rock deposits created an impediment to grading. The story told by the Poe family is that this was the site of the quarry for the stone used to build the Longview house, which still stands outside the district on a large estate one block east of the intersection of King William Road and Donald Ross Drive. Another small triangular park was created by the fork of North King Charles Road at its intersection with New Bern Avenue. Although the intersection of the curving King Charles Road with the straight course of New Bern Avenue may have been the practical impetus for this park, it adds to the picturesque charm of Longview Gardens's plan.
Because New Bern Avenue, the central boulevard of the subdivision, is such a prominent feature in the landscape design, it is interesting to question whether Clarence Poe actually re-routed it through his property sometime prior to the 1938 development of Longview Gardens. The old road to New Bern is believed to have followed Poole Road. Research for a National Register nomination for the Curtis House, 1415 Poole Road, revealed that the 1921 city directory gave its address as "New Bern Avenue extended." A 1925 survey plat identifies the current route of New Bern Avenue as a "proposed hard-surface road." In 1940, while the state was widening New Bern Avenue, Highway 64 east, the principal road extending from the State Capitol to the east, Poe worked out a deal with the State Highway commission in which he donated land to create a wide median in the center of the road so that the highway became a parkway. The subdivision map in the ca.1960 Longview Gardens sales brochure labels it the "New Bern Parkway."
A large advertisement in the Raleigh News and Observer on May 7, 1939 announced the opening of Longview Gardens. An enticing description of the subdivision in the paid advertisement proclaims: "Raleigh's newest, most magnificent residential section...following the modern Trend, the homesites in Longview Gardens are spacious, allowing full architectural freedom and the unstinted enjoyment of trees, lawns, and flowers. There will be no crowding together of homes in Longview Gardens!"
In a separate news article in the same issue of the newspaper, Poe reassured customers that "While Longview Gardens has a rigid code of restrictions for the protection of home builders, neither the price of the homesites nor the building restrictions are such to prevent any family of normal income from enjoying the exceptional environment." To entice buyers, the article mentioned that "several prominent citizens, including a former governor, have purchased sites�." Streets were unpaved, but water hookups were in place. Poe promised paved streets, bus transportation, dependable garbage service, and ample recreational facilities.
Longview Gardens's restrictive covenants included the customary minimum house cost and racial restrictions. As revised in 1940, covenants set up a three-member Longview Council, consisting of one homeowner, one representative from the development company, and a third person elected by the first two to review all new house designs and landscaping. Houses were to cost at least $6,000 on the smaller lots and at least $7,000 on the larger lots. No land was ever to be owned or leased or occupied by non-Caucasians. No animals were allowed except dogs, cats, poultry in secure enclosures, and horses on certain approved homesites. The covenants contained unusual environmental conservation rules. In order to safeguard the natural beauty of the land, homeowners pledged to preserve the springs, streams, lakes, and their banks, with any changes to be approved by the council. Beetle-infested pines were to be promptly removed. The restrictions would expire in 1965.
Raleigh professionals, businessmen, state government employees, ministers, and others bought lots and built handsome houses. The first city directory to include the new subdivision, in 1942, lists the Reverend Forrest C. Feezor, Reverend Allyn P. Robinson, Dr. Robert D. Wright, Horace H. Hilton and Killian Barwick living on King Charles Road, with no addresses given. The only other person in the subdivision in the 1942 directory was Richard H. Mason, who worked for WPTF Radio, living on King William Road. Mason's finely detailed brick Colonial Revival style house at 110 King William Road was designed by William H. Deitrick, one of Raleigh's finest architects. Well-known architect James A. Salter designed a large brick French Eclectic-style house with a corner tower for himself at the prominent corner of New Bern Avenue and N. King Charles Road. Sadly he was run over and killed in downtown Raleigh during its construction. J.M. Gregory purchased it and lived there until 1955. Salter designed an imposing two-story frame Colonial Revival style house at 2345 New Bern Avenue for Horace Cooley before 1942. The Cooleys sold it in 1945 to Thad Eure, North Carolina Secretary of State, and his family. On its four-acre tract the Eures enjoyed the beauty and privacy of the country until 1983, during which time Eure was one of the longest serving and most beloved members of the state cabinet. They named the place Hertford Hall in honor of Mrs. Eure's Hertford County heritage.
Clarence Poe gave each of his three children a lot of their choice in Longview Gardens. William D. Poe, vice-president and treasurer of Longview Gardens Inc., built a Colonial Revival style house about 1946 at 115 Lord Ashley Road. Attorney Charles A. Poe built a two-story Colonial Revival style house next door at 119 Lord Ashley Road. Their sister Jean Poe and her husband Gordon Smith Jr. built a wide frame Ranch house about 1954 at 217 Lord Berkley Road.
Clarence Poe had planned from its opening in 1939 to include recreational facilities in Longview Gardens. It is likely that he reserved the large 136-acre tract of land south of New Bern Avenue for this purpose. In 1948 the Raleigh Country Club was incorporated and purchased this property from Clarence Poe and his wife [Wake County Deed Book 994, 644]. Original shareholders included subdivision residents Richard Mason and Clarence Poe's son William D. Poe, as well as attorney James M. Poyner and Carolina Power and Light Company executive D. E. Stewart. Construction of the Raleigh Country Club and its Donald Ross-designed eighteen-hole golf course in Longview Gardens in 1948-1949 greatly encouraged the sale of lots in the subdivision.
Many families built houses during the early 1950s boom in Longview Gardens. Graham Poyner, assistant manager for WPTF Radio built a Colonial Rambler Ranch about 1950 at 123 Longview Lake Drive. Jim Reid, a banker, and his wife Elizabeth were attracted by the rural beauty of Longview Gardens. When they purchased their lot at 108 Lord Ashley Road in 1951 from a private owner who had never built on it, field furrows remaining from its earlier use as farmland were still visible. Builder Joe Chambers constructed a wide brick Ranch house for them. First Citizens Bank vice-president Harris Ogburn built a two-story Colonial Revival style house at 120 Lord Ashley Road about 1952. Ray Reeve, sports director at WRAL television, built a Period Cottage at 132 Lord Ashley Road about 1952.
By 1955 Longview Gardens had sufficient population that the entire subdivision north of New Bern Avenue was annexed into the city limits. Yet sales lagged, presumably because Raleigh's suburban growth occurred primarily to the north, along Glenwood Avenue, St. Mary's Street, and Six Forks Road rather than to the east where Longview Gardens was situated. Longview Gardens, Inc., the Poe family company, hired Peter Williams, a young real estate agent, to be become the exclusive sales agent. Two elaborate marketing brochures were printed by the development company. The first brochure, ca.1955, claimed that the subdivision "has been expertly laid out by four of America's eminent community planners. The original plan by Warren H. Manning of Massachusetts (Pinehurst planner) has been extended by Charles F. Gillette, Richmond, Virginia, R.J. Pearse, Raleigh, and most recently by Seward H. Mott, Washington D.C., planner of Cameron Village." Pearse, a landscape architect, had a Raleigh firm that is still in business. Longview Gardens Inc. belonged to the Urban Land Institute, an independent nonprofit research organization founded in 1936. Seward H. Mott, head of the Federal Housing Agency's Land Planning Division and an editor of the technical bulletins of the institute, advised the Poes on later phases of their Longview development. The sales brochure touts the homes already built in the subdivision, the Raleigh Country Club with its Donald Ross-designed golf course, and the planned Longview Gardens Elementary School. A promotional quote by Charles Gillette asserts, "Its natural terrain affords lot owners the environment of famous mountain resorts, yet it lies in walking distance of Raleigh's center." Photos of sixteen houses adorn the brochure, including two houses designed by architect James Salter: his own towered French Eclectic-style 1942 house at 102 North King Charles Road and Secretary of State Thad Eure's large Colonial Revival-style house at 2345 New Bern Avenue; and William H. Deitrick's two-story brick Colonial Revival-style house for the Masons at 110 King William Road. The 1948 colonial Ranch of Cliff Benson (owner of Carolina Builders, Raleigh's largest building supply) at 109 Lord Ashley Road and the Modernist Split Level house designed by architect Thomas Cooper for himself at 107 King William Road about 1951 are also included.
The second brochure printed about 1960 resembles the first one but with completely different photographs showing the new facilities in and around the subdivision. Rather than showing individual houses, the brochure presents scenic street views, a vista of Longview Lake, Longview Shopping Center at the corner of New Bern Avenue and South King Charles Road, the completed elementary school, a model of the new Enloe Senior High School, a view of the new Wake County Memorial Hospital located on New Bern Avenue just beyond the subdivision, and three churches: Longview Baptist Church, Longview Methodist Church, and Milner Memorial Presbyterian Church. The brochure claims that Longview Gardens is "Raleigh's Best Planned Suburb" and "Raleigh's most beautiful subdivision." The new hospital, built on a portion of Poe's land, was the culmination of a long effort by Wake citizens for a modern medical facility.
Longview Baptist Church and Milner Memorial Presbyterian Church are intimately tied to the history of Longview Gardens. Clarence Poe, a Baptist, reserved the spacious lot on Lord Berkley Road for a new Baptist congregation, as well as donating a block of stock shares to the congregation, who sold the stock to build the new church about 1955. Presbyterian church leader Henry Milner owned a chain of grocery stores and eventually worked for the Winn-Dixie Grocery chain. When Longview Shopping Center opened on New Bern Avenue about 1950, the grocery store was the Winn-Dixie. Milner donated the prominent corner lot at 1950 New Bern Avenue to his downtown Presbyterian congregation. Architect F. Carter Williams designed a new church, built on the site from 1956 to 1958 and named in Milner's honor.
The Gillette-Wooten plan is essentially the first phase of a larger development, because it contains stubbed-out streets along the edges in all directions that allow for future expansion. On the north side of Sycamore Circle, the streets of Bertie Drive, King Charles Road, and Lord Berkley Road extend as short stubs. A second circle, shown at the junction of New Bern Avenue with Bertie Drive, was never built. From 1947 to 1952 Longview Gardens Inc. platted Longview Park east, west, and north of Sycamore Circle as a tract subdivision with a different name and character. The smaller one-quarter to one-third acre lots were intended for smaller tract houses. Builders, in particular Wright Construction Company, bought up the blocks and constructed speculative houses. All of the streets extend south across New Bern Avenue as stubs. The only stubbed-in street south of New Bern Avenue that was actually laid out was South King Charles Road, extending down to Poole Road. Longview Gardens Inc. developed a shopping center about 1950 along the New Bern Avenue south frontage between North King Charles Road east to the south stub of Clarendon Crescent. [Gillette did a plan for this business center in 1948.]
The 1948 plan also included a school — park area. Longview Gardens Elementary School was built on Bertie Drive north of the Sycamore Circle roundabout in the early 1950s; it was replaced with a new school in recent years. A high school and junior high school were constructed on the east side of Clarendon Crescent in the 1950s; these have been combined into Enloe High School. The Raleigh Country Club was constructed in 1948-1949 in the center of the entire southern half of the property. Behind the shopping center the Golf Course Drive housing area was developed in 1959. As early as 1938 Gillette was also drawing a plan for a "New Hospital Development," presumably the Wake County Memorial Hospital. This may have been intended to be built in Longview Gardens south of New Bern Avenue, but it was constructed on the New Bern Avenue property in front of Poe's estate, Longview, east of the Longview Gardens subdivision, from 1959-1960.
In architectural appearance and landscape design, Longview Gardens has remained remarkably unchanged during the nearly half-century since its completion in the early 1960s. Clarence Poe worked for the rest of his life not only to shepherd the development of Longview Gardens but also to beautify the common areas. He planted hundreds of crepe myrtles, hibiscus and other flowering plants, shrubs and trees in the median and along the edges of New Bern Avenue, in cooperation with city authorities and with numerous garden clubs. By Poe death's in 1964 nearly every lot in the subdivision had been developed. His family dissolved Longview Gardens Inc., in 1986. Because real estate values in the neighborhood did not rise as high as in other sections of Raleigh, the "tear-down" phenomenon of the 1990s and first decade of the twenty-first century did not affect Longview Gardens. The substantial size of the houses has suited new owners as ownership has changed, and only a single tear-down was identified in the district, at 201 Lord Berkley Road. The proximity of Enloe High School, one of Raleigh's most prestigious public schools, built in the late 1950s, and of Wake Memorial Hospital (now Wake Medical Center), the largest hospital in the county, built ca.1960, assures a steady market for neighborhood houses.
Racially, the neighborhood has undergone a slow metamorphosis. The original covenants prohibiting occupancy by blacks expired in 1965. By this time tract subdivisions on the south side of Poole Road, such as Worthdale, built for whites, had largely converted to black occupancy. In Longview Gardens, blacks gradually acquired houses when the original owners died and their heirs sold, but this did not cause white flight. Unlike some neighborhoods of both the northeast United States and southern cities such as Atlanta where "block-busting," a term for panic selling, occurred in the 1960s, whites in Longview Gardens were tolerant of their new black neighbors. In the assessment of one of Clarence Poe's grandsons, "The neighborhood was ahead of the rest of the town in accepting integration." Over the past forty years, the number of black families living in Longview Gardens has gradually increased so that the neighborhood is one of the most integrated in Raleigh.
Community Development and Planning and Landscape Design Context: Mid-Twentieth Century Subdivisions in Raleigh
Longview Gardens, Raleigh's largest mid-twentieth century custom residential subdivision, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for local significance in community planning and development as one of Raleigh's best-planned suburbs. Gillette and Wooten's design for Longview Gardens consists of a pattern of graceful curved streets on both sides of a designed parkway. Longview Gardens is the only one of these Raleigh projects designed by a landscape architect who was trained in the progressive tradition of the City Beautiful Movement of the early twentieth century. Charles Gillette, Virginia's foremost landscape architect, planned the district from 1937 to 1940, and continued to be involved with adjustments to the large development until at least 1944. The subdivision is the largest residential plan that he is known to have created and represents an aspect of his career not generally known. Agricultural reformer Clarence Poe, a strong proponent of horticultural beauty and land conservation, worked closely with Gillette to enhance the natural beauty of his land while creating a modern suburb. The most important design element of the suburb is the large lot size, from three quarters of an acre to over four acres, which permit spacious front yards and deep house setbacks. This rural openness is enhanced by curvilinear roads, the traffic circle, and two triangular parks set at major intersections.
Raleigh suburban design during the pre-World War II era, when Longview Gardens was initially laid out, was usually executed by local engineers who followed the City Beautiful Movement popular throughout the nation to varying degrees. The two upper middle-class subdivisions of Cameron Park and Hayes Barton are characterized by curvilinear streets, naturalistic settings, and a garden atmosphere that sets these housing developments apart from the dense grid-patterned neighborhoods of earlier Raleigh. Local engineers Riddick and Mann designed the garden suburb of Cameron Park in 1910 with curving streets and three long narrow parks located in the ravines of the rolling land. Well-known Southern landscape architect Earle Sumner Draper designed the curvilinear Hayes Barton subdivision in the late 1910s. The 1910s-1920s middle-class streetcar suburbs of Roanoke Park, Vanguard Park, Georgetown, and Bloomsbury contain curvilinear streets and naturalistic settings, with some land set aside as parks.
Longview Gardens came on the market during the late Thirties as the nation recovered from the Depression but did not achieve full development until the years following World War II. A few other Raleigh subdivisions were planned and platted before World War II but not extensively developed until after the war. Budleigh (1928) and Sunset Hills (1940) were both planned by civil engineers. Budleigh developed in a piecemeal way with meandering but generally grid-patterned streets; Sunset Hills has a conventional grid pattern.
The Raleigh development most comparable to Longview Gardens, both in size and recreational amenities, is Country Club Hills, platted in 1947 by engineer Carroll Mann adjacent to the Carolina Country Club golf course. The large subdivision consists of spacious lots along curving streets extending off Glenwood Avenue along high ground, leaving open space along the low-lying gullies and streams. Lots along the east side of Granville Drive overlook the golf course, which developed independently of the subdivision. While the subdivision possesses the natural beauty of heavily wooded lots and spacious vistas, the street layout has a meandering rural character very different from the City Beautiful aesthetic of the first phase of Longview Gardens. Many of Longview Gardens's homesites on Poole Road and Donald Ross Road enjoy vistas overlooking the Raleigh Country Club's golf course.
Architecture Context: Late 1930s to mid-1960s Period Revival, Ranch, Split Level, and Contemporary Houses and Modern Church Design
The curving vistas of King Charles Road, Lord Ashley Road, Lord Berkley Road, Longview Lake Road, Albemarle Avenue, and King William Road are lined with low, wide Ranch houses and Split Levels, punctuated by a few 2-1/2-story houses with Colonial and Tudor Revival-style features. These custom houses are handsome, dignified architectural designs, likely taken from plan books or mail-order plans. Some are traditional residences designed by Raleigh's eclectic earlier twentieth century architects James Salter and William H. Deitrick, and some of them are Contemporary houses designed by local Modernist architects such as Tom Cooper, Lewis Polier, and Leif Valand. The majority are custom builder houses of Colonial Revival, Ranch, or Split Level style.
Pre-1945 Houses — Period Revival styles
By about 1943 a group of Colonial Revival style houses had been erected along North King Charles Road, New Bern Avenue, Poole Road, and King William Road. The brick, stone, or weatherboarded houses have Colonial or Medieval-inspired details such as pilastered entrances, modillion cornices, and large windows with paneled aprons. The finest of these are two-story dwellings of high style that would have been at home in Raleigh's upper middle-class early twentieth century Hayes Barton neighborhood. Traditional architect James Salter designed at least two: his own French Eclectic style towered brick residence at 102 North King Charles Road, 1942 and the weatherboard Colonial Revival style Eure House, 2345 New Bern Avenue, ca.1943, with its full portico. Architect William H. Deitrick designed the two-story Colonial Revival brick Mason House, 110 King William Road, ca.1941. The two-story Winfree House, 106 North King Charles Rd., ca.1940, is a substantial stone Georgian Revival style house. The Honeycutt House, 2501 Poole Road, ca.1938, once a fine frame Colonial Revival, has been remodeled and has lost its character. The other six early houses are 1-1/2-story Colonial Revival dwellings with dormer windows and colonial decorative features built from 1940 to 1943. The finest of these, the O'Neill House, 2019 New Bern Avenue, is a rambling Colonial Revival with rich period details such as stone quoins around the entrance, a bay window with a concave roof illuminating the living room, and heavy scalloped wood lintels over the facade windows.
Colonial Revival Houses — 1947-1952
After World War II the Colonial Revival style house, generally 1-1/2 stories, remained popular, with about a dozen built from 1947 to 1952. These exhibit more modest Colonial features than the early 1940s Colonial Revival houses, with brick or frame walls, dormer windows, side-gabled roofs that are often fairly steep, and sometimes a small gabled entrance porch. Other common features are a side porch, a side frame hyphened wing, or a front wing. The Goodwin House, 124 North King Charles Road, with an arched pedimented entrance, adjacent diamond-paned window, multi-pane picture window, and an original two-car brick carport, serves a transitional role between the Colonial Revival house and the Ranch house.
Ranches — ca.1948-1965
The Longview Gardens Historic District's primary construction period is 1948 to 1955, during which two-thirds of the contributing houses, mostly Ranches, were built. The large lots encouraged the Ranch style with its large one-story footprint. Rambler Ranches with extending wings, like most of those in the Longview Gardens Historic District, occupy even more square footage. The Longview Gardens Historic District contains a rich collection of custom Ranch houses consisting of a low, wide main block, often with secondary wings, generally brick walls, side-gabled or hipped roofs, widely overhanging eaves, and interior chimneys. Stone veneer frequently accents walls around the entrance, and forms chimneys and planters beside the entrance or below the picture window. Traditional decorative details such as Colonial or Tudor entrances contribute to an overall style for about one-half of the Ranches. The other half have stripped-down forms that characterize the "archetypal" Ranch, as having a living room picture window, small horizontal bedroom windows placed high in the wall, a mixture of brick and wood siding, and sometimes a carport. The picture window, consisting of a large center fixed pane of glass flanked by sash windows, is the most characteristic feature of the Ranch house in this Longview Gardens Historic District.
From the Ranch house's beginnings in the district in 1948, both the colonial and archetypal styles were equally popular. Shown in an early 1950s sales brochure, the Benson House, 109 Lord Ashley Road, ca.1948, six bays wide, has a Colonial Revival style entrance porch sheltering the front door and large windows with louvered shutters. A secondary front entrance is sheltered by a pergola. The Smith House, 116 North King Charles Road, 1951, is a side-gabled brick four-bay-wide main block with a recessed porch sheltering the entrance and a large fixed picture window with small panes. The porch extends as a breezeway to the original brick garage.
Good examples of the archetypal Rambler Ranch are the Lynn House, 1919 New Bern Avenue, 1949 and the Clark House, 116 Lord Ashley Road, 1951. The hip-roofed brick Lynn House has granite veneer accents on the facade and a large fixed pane living room picture window flanked by metal casements. A more modest archetypal Ranch, the streamlined rectangular red brick side-gabled Clark House, seven bays wide, has four sets of casement windows across the facade. To the left, a frame hyphen connects a small brick wing. The ultimate low, wide archetypal Ranches in the Longview Gardens Historic District are the Patterson House, 125 King William, 1949; Archer House, 112 Lord Ashley Road, 1955; and Mills House, 608 Donald Ross Drive, 1955. These Ranches of "clinker" brick (a rustic brick of handmade appearance) with metal casement windows are so similar that they probably had the same builder. At eight or nine bays in width, these qualify as the widest Ranches in the Longview Gardens Historic District. Particularly pleasing is the Archer House, with board-and-batten wood siding above a brick wainscot in the center of its facade.
A distinctive group of archetypal Ranches, built between 1948 and 1955, feature right-angle or diagonal wings extending from the main block, a generous amount of flagstone veneer, and prominent corner windows. Examples are the Williams House, 215 South King Charles Road; Reverend Appleton House, 138 Lord Ashley Road; Swain House, 104 Clarendon Crescent; Upton House, 2219 New Bern Avenue; Garland Jones House, 2527 Poole Road; and 2809 Poole Road (now St. Joseph's Catholic Church parsonage). The Williams House has front hipped wings with grouped casement windows at the corners of the right wing. The Appleton House has a diagonal wing at the left rear and a liberal use of corner windows. The entrance is located in the side of the main block, with a stone-veneered hyphen linking a brick wing at the right. The Upton House, is covered entirely with stone veneer, with a center front wing and corner rear wings with prominent corner windows. Although marred by a small front frame addition, this house illustrates the pleasing combination of parts that distinguishes this group of corner-windowed Ranches.
Two of the best examples of the archetypal Ranch, set apart by their rich materials and elegant details, are the Ingram House and the Wall House. The Ralph Ingram House, 140 N. King Charles Road, built in 1955 for the vice-president of Carolina Builders, the largest building supply in Raleigh at that time, is a wide brick Ranch house integrating Modernist forms and period revival materials. The brick that creates the five-bay-wide dwelling is rustic clinker brick. The huge picture window illuminating the living room is softened by wooden muntins dividing it into small panes. The Garry Wall House, 1931 New Bern Avenue, 1957, integrates rich materials into the Ranch envelope. The low hip-roofed house has brick walls, metal casement windows, and a shallow recessed decorative metal porch across the front sheltering a brick wainscot with random granite veneer above.
The hilly lots around Longview Lake were developed in the mid-to-late 1950s with Raised Ranches and Ranch houses that allowed a lower living level on the low side of the lot. Modernist architect Louis Polier designed a Raised Ranch for his family at 111 Longview Lake Drive in 1956, with an "antique" brick lower level and board-and-batten upper level. A contemporary brick and frame Ranch with an exposed lower level built for Norwood Smith and his family about 1960 at 335 Golf Course Drive is similar in character to the Polier House and may have been designed by Polier. Set on a lot at the end of the cul-de-sac overlooking the golf course fairways on three sides, the Smith House is one of the few post-and-beam framed houses in the Longview Gardens Historic District, allowing the interior to be open to the ceiling. The main level has board-and-batten siding, with the low gabled roof extending wide eaves over the walls. Large areas of fixed glass open the house to the vista on the rear and sides. Polier may also have designed the Adams House, a Modernist brick Ranch at 2336 New Bern Avenue, 1954, that juxtaposes Roman brick with stained vertical boards surrounding large contemporary windows across the facade.
Split Levels — ca. 1951-1965
The earliest identified Split Levels in the Longview Gardens Historic District are two Modernist houses on King William Road. Architect Tom Cooper designed 107 King William Road for his family about 1951; the Dixon House next door at 105 King William Road, built in 1953, has a similar design and was probably designed by him as well. The rambling stone and frame houses have large fixed windows and ribbons of casement windows used in a manner similar to the Usonian houses of Frank Lloyd Wright. The floor plans arrange the living, dining, and kitchen rooms in a one-story wing, with bedrooms and dens in a two-story side wing.
Modernist architect Leif Valand designed a brick and frame Split Level at 122 Longview Lake Drive for Marion Fike in 1957. In the upper level, the living room overlooks Longview Lake at the rear through large windows. The kitchen, near the front entrance, overlooks the front yard through a picture window and planter. The lower level contains two rooms and a carport. Engineer John Castleberry designed a small brick and frame Modernist Split Level for his family in 1959 at 205 Peele Place. The two-story wing is partially below ground level so that it appears to be a one-story house. The upper level cantilevers over the lower in front, a feature known as a "jetty" that is common on Split Levels. Placement of the carport in front of the one-story living room, dining and kitchen section allows privacy from the front. The front-gabled brick carport wall forms a dramatic solid contrast to the void of the open spaces between the roof rafters.
Only two groups of speculative houses are known to have been built in Longview Gardens — a dozen archetypal Ranches with carports in the 2600 and 2700 block of Poole Road built in 1955 — and seven larger Ranches and Split Levels in the 2500 block of Albemarle Avenue, along the north shore of Longview Lake about 1960. The Poole Road ranches are nearly identical in design and were probably all built from the same mail-order plan. The Albemarle Avenue houses have a variety of forms and designs that adapt to the steep lakefront lots. For example, 2520 Albemarle Avenue is a contemporary Split Level with a prominent front wing and stone veneer wall sections. The interior includes a centrally located den with an "antique" brick fireplace that soars to a cathedral ceiling.
The Longview Gardens Historic District's two churches, Longview Baptist Church (1955) and Milner Memorial Presbyterian Church (1958), are Modernist buildings of striking character. Longview Baptist Church occupies a large site adjacent to Sycamore Circle. The bold, simple red brick T-shaped building has a two-story chapel set at right angles to a two-story educational wing. Stark, narrow full-height windows illuminate the chapel. Ribbon windows along the educational wing have flat concrete awnings that stretch between extensions of the walls. Modernist architect F. Carter Williams designed the contemporary front-gabled brick sanctuary of Milner Memorial Presbyterian Church on New Bern Avenue. The marble-sheathed facade is filled with full-height narrow windows, flanked by a low glazed foyer and a low solid brick wing. Along the east side the walls have a sawtooth form with slender tinted windows set into the front face of each angle.
The significance of the architectural resources in Longview Gardens becomes evident when comparing it to the large Raleigh suburb of Country Club Hills, in north Raleigh, which is comparable in size, in its location around a golf course, and in its middle class, custom-designed houses. Country Club Hills lacks the cohesive character of Longview Gardens in both overall landscape design and in architectural harmony. It built up more slowly and has suffered many demolitions and replacements in the past two decades, therefore the streetscapes have a wide variety of house types and construction dates. Because Longview Gardens developed densely from about 1948 to 1965 and has remained intact, the wide, low Ranch and Split Level houses throughout the subdivision create a consistent, harmonious character.
City of Raleigh Annexation Map, Elizabeth Reid Murray Collection, Olivia Raney Library, Raleigh.
"Dr. Clarence Poe Is Taken by Death," The News and Observer, Raleigh, Oct. 9, 1964, pages 1- 2.
Gillette Collection, Drawings for Dr. Clarence Poe in Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia. www.lva.virginia.gov/findaid/gillette/clientresults.asp?client=639. Accessed Nov. 20, 2009.
Herget, J. Barlow, "Taking the Longview," The News and Observer, Raleigh, Aug. 9, 2003.
Interviews by M. Ruth Little:
Longest, George C., Genius in the Garden: Charles F. Gillette and Landscape Architecture in Virginia (Virginia State Library and Archives, Richmond, 1992).
Longview Gardens Newspaper Advertisement, The News and Observer, Raleigh, May 7, 1939.
Longview Gardens Sales Brochure No. 1, ca.1955; copy in nomination file.
Longview Gardens sales brochure No. 2, ca.1958, copy in nomination file.
McMillan, Mary Lee, "Raleigh is Beautiful Because of Citizens Like Dr. Clarence Poe," article in the Raleigh Times, undated. Elizabeth Reid Murray Collection, Box 346, People, Olivia Raney Library, Raleigh.
"Plans Underway to Widen U.S. 64 at Raleigh Limits," The News and Observer, Nov. 14, 1940. Clipping in Elizabeth Reid Murray Collection, Longview Gardens, Box 254, Olivia Raney Local History Library, Raleigh.
Poe, Charles Aycock, biography of Clarence Hamilton Poe, Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, V.5, 105-106.
Poe, Clarence, My First 80 Years (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1963).
"Poe Development Now on Market," The News and Observer, Raleigh, May 7, 1939, O-4.
Wake County Deeds
Wake County Property Tax Data at www.services.wakegov.com/realestate/
Wake County Map Books
Warren H. Manning Offices, Inc., Drawing of "A Subdivision Development for Clarence Poe," Cambridge, Mass., Nov. 25, 1925. Special Collections Department, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. Copy in nomination file.
Wooten, Louis E. Brief biography. The Wooten Company website. www.thewootencompany.com. Accessed Dec. 2, 2009.
†M. Ruth Little and Anna Quinn, Longleaf Historic Resoruces for th Raleigh Historic Districts Commission, Longview Gardens Historic District, Wake County, NC, nomination document, 2010, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
Street Names: Albemarle Avenue, Chatham Lane, Clarendon Crescent, Donald Ross Drive, Golf Course Drive, King Charles Road North, King Charles Road South, King William Road, Longview Lake Drive, Lord Ashley Road, Lord Berkley Road, New Bern Avenue, Oakwood Avenue, Peele Place, Poole Road, Route 64, Sycamore Circle