Mortimer Place Historic District
The Mortimer Place Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [†] Adaptation copyright © 2013, The Gombach Group.
The Mortimer Place Historic District is significant for Architecture with the period of significance being 1915 to 1930. This residential area of Huntington has a unique blend of eclectic early 20th century styles.
The area known as Mortimer Place was laid out in 1905 by the Southern Improvement and Realty Company, with Richard Mortimer Bates as president. Little is known about the company, but it is believed that Bates acted as the architect for the project. Similar projects have also been located in Ashland, Kentucky and Parkersburg, West Virginia. Born in Alabama in 1887, Bates attended the University of Pennsylvania and the Ecole Des Beaux Arts in Paris. He moved to Huntington during the teen years of the 20th century and became registered as an architect in West Virginia in 1921. Bates moved to California in 1924 where he lived until his death in 1948. Bates had a reputation of designing large houses in the Neoclassical styles.
The small development is half of one city block with five lots facing 10th Street, six lots facing 11th Street, and a small cul-de-sac (Mortimer Place) off 12th Avenue with nine lots, for a total of twenty lots. Small narrow fire lanes or alleys are behind the lots on 10th and 11th streets, but are not used daily for vehicular traffic. A regular alley runs between the 10th and 11th streets and corner areas were reserved for garages with multi-bays. Some of the garages were converted to residential use for maids of the families. In the center of the cul-de-sac is a small courtyard with a grass or park setting for the use of the residents, and the curving drive is brick. Stone and brick posts at each end of the drive have a stone or concrete cap which reads "MORTIMER PLACE," although one side was damaged by an automobile and removed.
The housing designs on the streetscape reflect a wide variety of features popular in the early Colonial Revival style in the early 20th century. The use of stucco as a veneer wall covering is also unique to this residential area which adjoins Ritter Park Historic District. The homes fall into two distinct plans with either a front gable end(s) reflecting more of a Tudor Revival style, or with a shed dormer which appears stylistically as a Bungalow. But each home then has an almost "whimsical" touch with stepped parapets, some with Mission Revival curves or Flemish influences, or with exposed rafter ends and wooden brackets. No two houses appear to be of the same design.
The house at number 3 Mortimer Place was the first house completed in 1915 and was sold to the owners in 1916 for $8,000. Most of the other homes then followed between 1918 and 1921. A few of the houses were not completed and occupied until 1930.
Summary: This small block is contiguous to the Ritter Park Historic District but is unique with its stucco buildings in styles reflecting the early 20th century. The homes are all small single family residences. The cul-de-sac has a park-like setting with the centered grassed courtyard, trees and benches and the brick circular drive.
† Rachel King and Katherine Jourdan, West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office, Mortimer Place Historic District, Cabell County, WV, nomination document, 2000, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.