The Beverly Hills Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [‡]
The Beverly Hills Historic District lies six blocks northeast of Burlington's commercial core (most of which is included in the Downtown Burlington Historic District — National Register 1990) and encompasses approximately 48 acres and 148 primary and 95 secondary resources. The Beverly Hills Historic District contains the Beverly Hills subdivision, platted in 1927, and adjacent residential properties on North Main and North Ireland Streets. Developers D.R. and C.C. Fonville commissioned civil engineer J.L. Thrower to draw the curvilinear neighborhood plan under the supervision of city engineer A.C. Linberg. North Main Street runs due east-west on the district's south side. Virginia Avenue, called Sellars Street until circa 1950, runs east-west in the district's center. North St. John Street runs north-south from North Main Street to North Church Street. Highland Avenue arcs in a crescent shape beginning and ending at North Main Street. Rolling Road follows the same curved path, becoming North Church Street at its eastern end.
The Beverly Hills Historic District's earliest dwellings, constructed around 1900, face North Main Street. Most were erected on property D.R. and C.C. Fonville's father, Lindsey J. Fonville, inherited from his grandfather, Dr. W.C. Tarpley, in 1885 and subdivided in 1891. The development, bounded by North Main, South Ireland, Washington, and South St. John Streets, was one of Burlington's first subdivisions. What is now the 600-700 block on the south side of North Main Street is encompassed in both plats, with the four lots that faced North Main Street in 1891 being further subdivided into eight lots in 1927.
Developers platted another tract of land on North Main Street's south side in the first decades of the twentieth century. The Piedmont Trust Company created Piedmont Estates, a subdivision east of Lindsey Fonville's property on the streetcar line, in 1913. Charlotte landscape engineers Holme Blair and Brent Drane designed the neighborhood, which included winding streets, large parks, and an opera house. Burlington Mills later acquired the subdivision and renamed it Piedmont Heights. Section One of the Piedmont Estate's plat is now the 1000 block of North Main Street.
The Beverly Hills Historic District is roughly bounded by North St. John Street and the east property lines of houses in the 1000 block of North Main Street, North Church Street and the northwest property lines of houses on the northwest side of Rolling Road, and the south property lines of houses on the south side of North Main Street. The eastern boundary is particularly irregular in order to exclude altered historic resources on Highland Avenue, North St. John Street and North Church Street. North Main and North Church streets are heavily trafficked and have thus experienced the most commercial encroachment.
The Beverly Hills Historic District contains single-family residences and a few duplexes. Several houses have been converted into apartments. Development is fairly dense, although all dwellings have front and back yards and narrow side yards. Setback from the public right-of-way and spatial arrangements is consistent throughout the neighborhood. Houses are situated near the street and close to one another resulting in a harmonious rhythm of form, massing, and materials. The rolling topography in some areas, such as the southeast side of Rolling Road, necessitated the construction of brick, stone, or concrete retaining walls at the edge of front lawns, which creates a more distinct separation of space between the house lots and the street. Mature deciduous and evergreen trees shade most properties, and foundation and ornamental plantings are prevalent. Random-coursed granite gate posts flank the subdivision's Rolling Road entrance. A matching stone post, pictured in a 1928 newspaper ad, once stood in the median that ran down the center of Rolling Road, but was demolished when the median was removed. Concrete sidewalks line North Main Street, linking the neighborhood to downtown Burlington.
By 1918, Sanborn maps illustrate that a number of I-houses and one-story side-gable-roofed dwellings lined North Main Street, but most of the buildings in the Beverly Hills Historic District date to the subdivision's development and expansion from the late 1920s through the 1950s. The locally significant district contains a mix of residences constructed in nationally popular architectural styles common in the first half of the twentieth century, ranging from modest side-gable-roofed houses and Bungalows to Colonial, Tudor, and Mediterranean Revival style dwellings. Minimal Traditional style and Ranch houses were constructed in the 1940s and 1950s. Most residences are frame and one or two stories in height.
Weatherboard and other types of wood, brick, and synthetic siding are the most typical exterior sheathing materials, although stone accents were used on a few dwellings. Detached sheds, garages, and carports accompany some homes. Garages are usually one-story, front-gable, frame buildings, but some brick garages built to complement the dwelling are found behind or to the side of their principal resources.
The Beverly Hills Historic District encompasses an intact, cohesive collection of residential buildings spanning the early to the mid-twentieth century. Although some dwellings have been altered by the installation of modern windows and synthetic siding and a small number of modern buildings post-dating the period of significance have been constructed, eighty-six percent of the primary resources retain a high degree of integrity.
The Beverly Hills Historic District in Burlington, Alamance County's largest city, meets National Register of Historic Places Criterion for community planning and development and for architecture. The Beverly Hills Historic District's street plan and resources are associated with Burlington's growth and expansion from the turn of the century through the mid-twentieth century.
Physician W.C. Tarpley, who acquired a substantial amount of land northwest of Graham, the county seat, in the mid-nineteenth century, was an early owner of the property in Burlington that became the Beverly Hills subdivision. Tarpley's grandson Lindsey J. Fonville inherited the family property in 1885 and began developing the area bounded by what was then Tarpley (now North Main), South Ireland, Washington, and South St. John Streets to create one of Burlington's first subdivisions in 1891. Developers platted other subdivisions, including Piedmont Estates, Fountain Place, Central Heights, Brookwood, and Country Club Estates, during Burlington's population and construction boom, which continued through the 1920s. It was in this environment that D.R. Fonville and his brother C.C. Fonville founded Fonville Realty Company in 1921 and developed 122 acres of Tarpley-Fonville family property to create the Beverly Hills subdivision for middle-class homeowners in 1927. Civil engineer J.L. Thrower drew the curvilinear neighborhood plan under the supervision of city engineer A.C. Linberg. The Fonvilles began selling lots in November 1927 and twenty-five houses were erected by August 1928. Many others soon followed, and, although construction slowed somewhat during the depression years and World War II, Beverly Hills was almost completely developed by the late 1950s.
The Beverly Hills Historic District's period of significance begins circa 1919, the date D.R. Fonville constructed his new residence, a distinctive Tudor Revival style house at what is now 116 North Ireland Street, and extends to 1959, encompassing all of the neighborhood's development phases in the intervening period. Small one-story dwellings and I-houses with little or no ornamentation were erected along North Main Street beginning in 1891. Many were replaced with Bungalows in the 1920s, but eight dwellings constructed between ca.1900 and 1919 remain within the Beverly Hills Historic District's boundaries, some of which exhibit significant alterations influenced by nationally popular architecture during the period of significance. The locally significant district contains a mix of nationally popular architectural styles common in the first half of the twentieth century, ranging from Bungalows and Period Cottages to Colonial, Tudor, and Mediterranean Revival style dwellings. Property owners built Minimal Traditional style and Ranch houses on vacant lots in the 1940s and 1950s.
Eighty-six percent of the Beverly Hills Historic District's 148 primary resources are contributing. The ninety-five secondary resources, predominantly garages and sheds, also encompass two granite gate posts that mark the subdivision's main entrance at North Main Street and Rolling Road. Noncontributing resources include historic residences with alterations such as large additions and synthetic siding, modest Ranch houses built after 1959, and recently constructed sheds, garages, and carports. Houses in the Beverly Hills Historic District retain a high level of integrity in comparison with these other subdivisions, all of which manifest similar changes, such as synthetic siding application and replacement window installation.
Historical Background and Community Planning and Development Context
Settlement in the area that would become Burlington was sporadic until the mid-nineteenth century, when the North Carolina Railroad Company purchased approximately 632 acres from landowners northwest of Graham, the Alamance County seat, to construct a support facility halfway between Goldsboro and Charlotte. The Tarpley, Trollinger, Gant, Garrett, Roney, Fonville, Sellars, and Scott families sold the company acreage in May 1854, and the construction of repair shops, employee housing, offices, depots, and a hotel began in 1856. The community grew steadily, and, although development slowed during the Civil War, was incorporated as the town of Company Shops in February 1866. Dr. William C. Tarpley, J.B. Moore, B.E. Seigent, E. Wilkes, and Jacob Trollinger served as the first commissioners. The railroad company owned most of the town's businesses through the 1860s, but other private entrepreneurs opened retail establishments, trade shops, and factories by the early 1870s.
Changes in the North Carolina Railroad Company's organization profoundly impacted the growing town. The Richmond and Danville Railroad leased the Goldsboro-Charlotte line in 1871 and moved the railroad offices to Greensboro from Company Shops in 1875, transferring many workers to other locations. However, residents were not totally dependent upon railroad-related employment as the railroad provided connections to market centers, thus making the community attractive to industrial concerns. Textile pioneer Edwin M. Holt built Alamance County's first cotton mill on Little Alamance Creek in 1837, and many other mills soon followed, most located near rivers that powered their equipment. Steam-powered machinery made it possible to build mills away from water sources by the late nineteenth century, and manufacturers sought locations such as Company Shops with inexpensive land and established railroad service.
Central Manufacturing Company opened Lafayette Cotton Mills, Alamance County's first fully steam-powered textile mill, in Company Shops in 1882. The E.M. Holt Plaid Mills began production in 1883, and, although Lafayette closed in 1884, Aurora Cotton Mills purchased the mill complex and began operating in 1885. Elmira Cotton Mills opened in 1886, and the three textile mills and the Carolina Coffin Company, established in 1884, bolstered the local economy to the point that the town was able to survive when the railroad repair shops moved to Manchester, Virginia in 1886. A citizen's committee selected a new name, "Burlington," in February 1887 to celebrate the town's industrial renaissance, but it was not until February 14, 1893 that the city of Burlington was incorporated.
The influx of laborers for new businesses resulted in the population more than doubling — from 871 to 1,716 — between 1880 and 1890. The population increase fueled a need for additional housing, and dwellings for both the elite and working classes were built near the central commercial district. Merchants, tradesmen, industrialists, bankers, doctors, dentists, and lawyers were among those who erected businesses, offices, and homes. The town's mill workers occupied modest dwellings in villages near manufacturing complexes and attended church services at the non-denominational Union Chapel, which also functioned as a public school.
Development of the area north of downtown that eventually encompassed the Beverly Hills subdivision began during this boom period. The area had been sparsely settled since the mid-nineteenth century, when physician W. C. Tarpley acquired a substantial amount of land northwest of what became Company Shops and constructed a log house. His grandson Lindsey J. Fonville inherited the family property in 1885 and established a carriage factory and a blacksmith shop in town. He served as a town commissioner, and in 1890 received permission to "open Tarpley Street for the wood on the land." Fonville began developing the area bounded by what was then Tarpley (now North Main), South Ireland, Washington, and South St. John Streets to create one of Burlington's first subdivisions in 1891.
Developers further subdivided land on North Main Street's south side in the first decades of the twentieth century. The Piedmont Trust Company created Piedmont Estates, a subdivision east of L.J. Fonville's property on the streetcar line, in 1913. Charlotte landscape engineers Holme Blair and Brent Drane designed the neighborhood, which included winding streets, large parks, and an opera house. Burlington Mills later acquired the subdivision and renamed it Piedmont Heights. Section One of the Piedmont Estate's plat is now the 1000 block of North Main Street. By 1918, a number of I-houses and one-story side-gable-roofed dwellings lined North Main Street. The few houses constructed north of North Main Street during this period include the circa 1919 Tudor Revival style home of Lindsey and Sarah Fonville's son, attorney DeRoy Ransom (D. R.) Fonville Sr., at what is now 116 North Ireland Street.
Burlington's population continued to increase at a rapid rate, almost doubling from 3,692 in 1900 to 5,932 in 1920, and landowners near downtown took advantage of the opportunity to profit from the subdivision of their large parcels of land into smaller lots. Residential development was widespread during the 1920s, as indicated by a February 1924 newspaper article reporting that the City issued 108 building permits valued at $575,000 during the past year for houses ranging from a $1,500 bungalow to a $30,000 mansion. Fountain Place was Burlington's first large-scale subdivision platted during the 1920s construction boom. Alamance Insurance and Real Estate Company agent Walter E. Sharpe purchased a pasture near the intersection of West Davis and Trollinger Streets from Joseph and Christian Isley in 1919 and retained a landscape engineer to plat residential lots along a newly created street named Fountain Place after the decorative fountain installed in a circular median. Other neighborhood amenities included street lighting, landscaping, and stone gate posts at the West Davis Street entrance. Restrictive covenants mandated that Fountain Place homes must cost at least $5,000; the upscale subdivision thus attracted some of Burlington's leading professionals, businessmen, and industrialists. Four model residences were erected by 1921 and more than twenty additional Bungalows and Colonial Revival style houses followed by 1929.
Central Loan and Trust Company platted Central Heights, which encompassed the area roughly bounded by Main Street, Tarleton Avenue, and West Willowbrook Drive in 1925, and, beginning in 1928, offered the services of eastern North Carolina architect Liston L. Mallard to design homes for new property owners. Alamance Insurance and Real Estate Company also developed Brookwood, a neighborhood on West Davis Street between Central and Tarleton Avenues, hiring engineer A.C. Linberg to plat the subdivision's first section in 1926. Homes were to be valued at a minimum of $3,000 and have 35-foot setbacks from the street. In keeping with the attempt to create an appealing neighborhood aesthetic, barns, stables, and outhouses were allowed, but hog lots were not. Linberg also drew the plat for Section One of Country Club Estates, four blocks bounded by South Main Street, Country Club Drive, and Tarleton Avenue for developer C.F. Finch in 1927. J.L. Kernodle, C.G. Somers, and R.K. Lasley subdivided Westerwood off Alamance Road in west Burlington in May 1929. Homes constructed in these middle-class neighborhoods ranged from modest Bungalows to Colonial, Tudor, and Mediterranean Revival style dwellings.
In the midst of this real estate boom, soon after a Burlington Daily Times-News article declared that there was a great demand for new homes in Burlington, D.R. Fonville and his brother C.C. Fonville founded Fonville Realty Company and developed 122 acres of Tarpley-Fonville family property to create the Beverly Hills subdivision. Civil engineer J.L. Thrower drew the curvilinear neighborhood plan in 1927 under the supervision of city engineer A.C. Linberg, and the Fonvilles began an advertising campaign to sell lots.
Beverly Hill was one of several similar 1920s Burlington subdivisions that offered affordable middle-class housing in close proximity to downtown. D.R. Fonville asserted in a front-page Daily Times-News article that Burlington needed a "high class home site development such as this, with restrictions to insure a colony of good citizens, yet moderate enough in price to make a home possible and comfortable for any thrifty family." The Fonville brothers hired John Robert Hill to sell lots averaging 65 feet wide and 175 feet deep for $600 to $1,500. Hanford Brothers of Burlington graded the streets and Durham contractor Jack Long installed the curb and gutter system.
Subsequent Daily Times-News advertisements described the new subdivision's development. A November 1927 ad contains a catalog illustration of the one-story Colonial Revival style bungalow at 119 Rolling Road and states that Burlington High School science teacher E.C. Leonard had purchased the materials to construct the dwelling, which was to be finished by January. A January 1928 newspaper ad depicts the granite gate posts that marked the subdivision's main entrance at North Main Street and Rolling Road, stating that "the construction of these pretty gateways is just one of many permanent improvements planned for Beverly Hills." Two High Point developers acquired ten lots to build speculative houses in February. Access to city utilities including water, sewer, electric, and gas was included in every lot's purchase price. The subdivision's streets were paved and twenty-five dwellings were erected by August 1928. By November, investors had expended approximately $100,000 in the construction of new homes in the neighborhood. The model home at what is now 102 Rolling Road drew more than twelve hundred registered visitors in the first two weeks of December. D.R. Fonville hired carpenter G.B. Barnhardt, painter W.I. Thomas, plumber Mr. Kirkman, and concrete contractor O.G. Thompson to build the Tudor Revival style house. Standard Lumber Company supplied the lumber and millwork; local furniture companies including Neese-Shoffner, Clark, and M.B. Smith provided furnishings for display; the Belk-Stevens Company and B.A. Sellars and Sons donated window treatments; and the North Carolina Public Service Company installed gas and electric light fixtures and appliances.
The Beverly Hills subdivision drew a wide variety of home owners, from some of Burlington's leading businessmen to blue-collar employees. Most Burlington residents worked at textile, furniture, and other industries or in auxiliary service enterprises. Hosiery manufacturers were an important part of the local economy beginning in 1896 with Daisy Hosiery Mill and soon followed by Burlington Knitting Company and the Whitehead, Sellars, May, and McEwen Hosiery Mills. Other companies produced building materials, insecticides, cleaners and disinfectants, caskets, soft drinks, ice, mixed feeds, dairy products, medicine, cosmetics, gas, paper boxes, and machinery. Following these primary economic engines were banks, construction firms, restaurants, and shops that created even more opportunities for a regular paycheck. Many company owners and employees lived close to the downtown commercial and industrial area.
Early neighborhood residents, such as Walter E. and Pearl G. Smith, who occupied the house at what is now 902 North Main Street in 1927, exhibit this trend. Mr. Smith and his partner T.J. Hargrove owned Smith and Hargrove, a wholesale flour and feed store located downtown on North Worth Street. Mrs. Smith also worked in the store. Ernest A. and Leuna Shoffner lived next to the Smiths at what is now 904 North Main Street in 1927. Mr. Shoffner was a clerk at Neese-Shoffner furniture company. Other residents of that block in the 1920s included Singer Sewing Machine Company manager Isaac P. Pickerel and his wife Hester and Chessie H. and Mabel O. Dickey. Mr. Dickey was a driver for Champion Grocery Company.
The stock market crash of October 1929 and the ensuing depression slowed Burlington's economic growth. Little new construction took place, particularly in the downtown area, and many small businesses did not survive. However, most factories and mills remained open, and in many cases increased production, as the national market for textile products and manufactured goods remained strong. New Deal agencies provided jobs for some residents. Projects funded by the North Carolina Emergency Relief Administration (NCERA) in Burlington from 1932 to 1935 include reconditioning city streets, constructing sewer lines, renovating City Hall, improving Pine Hall cemetery, repairing schools, planting a community garden, conducting a census and a geological survey, and updating city water, tax, and meter records. NCERA reduced food preservation costs by erecting facilities such as a community cannery, where residents could brings their own food and tins and collaborate on the canning process.
The economy started to recover by the late 1930s, and Burlington's population grew slightly, to 12,198, in 1940. Many county residents served in World War II, and those left behind were occupied with the war effort in a variety of ways, from filling vacant positions in local manufacturing plants to participating in bond drives and other volunteer efforts. Fairchild Aircraft Corporation opened a Burlington plant in 1942 to fabricate military planes and converted to civilian aircraft production after the war.
As building materials were in short supply, few dwellings were erected in the district during the early 1940s. However, the situation improved at the end of World War II and returning veterans rapidly established families and created a critical need for housing, which was in short supply nationally after years of slow development during the Depression and war years. The GI Bill of 1944, which guaranteed low interest home loans for veterans, promoted the construction of houses in new suburbs and on vacant lots in existing neighborhoods in Burlington and across the nation. Burlington's population increased one hundred percent by the decade's end, numbering 24,560 in 1950.
Industrial expansion drew many new residents and entrepreneurs. Burlington Mills reported twenty-three million dollars in plant acquisitions and equipment improvements in 1950. Prominent industrialists reinvested some of their profits locally, hiring architect William Henry Dietrick of Raleigh to design a Modernist community building at City Park in 1954. The Chamber of Commerce documented Burlington's dramatic overall growth, reporting that the city's industries employed eighty percent more workers, citywide annual payroll expenditures soared 220 percent, and building permit issuance increased 215 percent between 1946 and 1956. The increase in building construction is quite evident in the Beverly Hills subdivision, where thirty new houses were erected on previously undeveloped lots during that decade.
In the years since, the character of the Beverly Hills Historic District has remained remarkably stable, maintaining a mix of homeowners and renters, young professionals and retirees. The nine buildings that post-date the period of significance are of compatible form and scale, and the neighborhood still retains its early-to-mid twentieth-century character.
The dwellings and outbuildings in the Beverly Hills Historic District are designed in the architectural styles and forms that were common in Burlington and throughout North Carolina from the early twentieth century through the post-World War II era. During this period, architecture reflected the social and economic changes occurring as industry transformed rural communities into bustling towns. As Burlington's population grew, landowners near downtown took advantage of the opportunity to profit from the subdivision of their large parcels of land into smaller residential lots. This push outward from the town's center translated into the construction of houses on streets only one or two blocks beyond main arteries and commercial areas. During the first decades of the twentieth century, it was common for bank presidents and prosperous merchants to reside next to clerks and carpenters. While professionals and blue-collar workers continued to live in relative close proximity to their work places and each other, the differences in the two groups' income and social standing were made clear by the size of their houses and the lots they occupied.
This disparity is apparent in the Beverly Hills Historic District. Two of the district's most imposing houses — occupied by the families of local businessman and attorney DeRoy Ransom Fonville Sr. and Alamance County judge Daniel J. Walker — stand on large lots on North Ireland Street only a few hundred feet from much more modest dwellings such as the front-gable Bungalow at 426 North Main Street where James M. and Nina E. Vestal lived in 1927. Mr. Vestal was a linotype operator at A. D. Pate and Company.
The earliest residences in the Beverly Hills Historic District date to the turn of the twentieth century. Small one-story dwellings and I-houses with little or no ornamentation were constructed along North Main Street beginning in 1891 on lots Lindsey J. Fonville subdivided from the Tarpley-Fonville family property. Sanborn maps illustrate that a number of similar dwellings lined North Main Street by 1918, but most were replaced with newer dwellings by the 1950s. Four of the Beverly Hills Historic District's eight houses constructed prior to 1919 have been heavily altered, but four retain integrity from the period of significance, as they were remodeled in the 1920s, and thus contribute to the neighborhood's architectural character.
The one-story houses often consisted of a side-gable front block with a rear gabled ell and hip-roofed front and rear porches. Two of the Beverly Hills Historic District's three surviving I-houses — simple two-story, side-gable-roofed, one-room deep dwellings with central passages — display triple-A roofs created by small front-gables centered on the front roof slopes. Mass-produced millwork brackets, friezes, porch posts, balusters, and wood shingles were often used to embellish homes built during this period, but these decorative elements have been removed, replaced, or covered with synthetic siding in the surviving Beverly Hills Historic District examples.
The triple-A-roofed I-house at 417 North Main Street, constructed around 1900, retains original two-over-two double-hung sash but has a circa 1920s shed-roofed front porch with Craftsman style tapered wood posts on brick piers and a concrete floor. A second circa 1900 triple-A-roofed I-house at 1007 North Main Street has replacement sash and an identical circa 1920s replacement porch. The one-story side-gable roofed dwelling at 902 North Main Street is the Beverly Hills Historic District's sole survivor of this early house form, but was altered in the 1950s by the replacement of the original full-width front-porch by a gabled entrance porch supported by metal posts, the installation of replacement two-over-two horizontal sash, and the application of aluminum siding.
As the twentieth century progressed, national architectural trends began to exert a greater influence on the design of houses in the Beverly Hills Historic District. Gustav Stickley, an American stonemason, furniture maker, and metalworker, visited England in 1898, and, upon his return home, promoted the tenants of the English Arts and Crafts movement — a reaction against the loss of manual skills and traditional crafts due to the mechanization of the Industrial Revolution — through his magazine, The Craftsman (1901-1916). The publication emphasized the use of natural, handcrafted materials and low, horizontal massing to allow for harmony between a house and its surrounding environment. Henry H. Saylor's 1911 book, Bungalows, guided the consumer through the process of planning, designing, and building informal, cozy homes. Building plans for these houses, with their wide overhanging eaves, open arrangement of rooms, and inviting porches, appeared in national magazines such as House Beautiful and The Ladies Home Journal. Stickley, Radford, Sears, Montgomery Ward, Aladdin, and others sold Bungalow plans by mail. Such promotion resulted in the Bungalow's national popularity during the late 1910s and 1920s and the construction of scaled-down versions of the form throughout North Carolina into the early 1940s. The Bungalow, which was inexpensive and easy to build, also appealed to families' desires for a modern, efficient house.
Craftsman-influenced houses and bungalows are widespread in the Beverly Hills Historic District. Minimally-adorned front-gable Bungalows are a common form, but developers also constructed more elaborate bungalows in both brick and frame. A variety of roof and porch configurations, siding materials, porch post styles, and window sash allow for diverse interpretations of the Craftsman style. Each of the Beverly Hills Historic District's forty-six Craftsman-influenced houses and bungalows is different, although similar forms are repeated. Early examples include the one-story, wood-shingled, front-gable-roofed Bungalow at 430 North Main Street, which retains original 1920 features such as a wraparound porch supported by tapered wood posts on brick piers, Craftsman sash, and complex eave brackets. Large square granite porch posts, piers, and railings, and false beams in the gables distinguish the two-story, weatherboarded, front-gable-roofed Craftsman Bungalow Jerry D. and Jessie F. Strader erected at 505 North Main Street in 1923. The one-and-one-half-story, side-gable roofed, frame Bungalow built at 709 North Main Street in 1928 has a large shed dormer with three windows on the front roof slope, an engaged front porch with square paneled posts on brick piers, and six-over-one sash. The brick Foursquare Roy L. Fonville constructed at 106 Rolling Road in 1928 also reflects a Craftsman influence. The house has a hip-roofed front porch with square brick posts on brick piers spanned by a brick railing that extends to a porte cochere on the south elevation.
Modest Bungalows continued to be constructed through the late 1930s. The later Bungalows reflect an austere depression-era style devoid of any embellishment. The one-story brick Bungalow built at 703 N. Main Street around 1935 has a clipped front-gable roof and an offset clipped-front-gable porch with square brick posts on brick piers. The one-story, front-gable-roofed, brick Bungalow at 155 Highland Avenue, erected around 1937, has a hip-roofed front porch supported by tapered wood posts on brick piers and four-over-one Craftsman sash.
The influence of the Colonial Revival style is evident in the Beverly Hills Historic District from the 1920s through the 1950s. Architectural historian Richard Guy Wilson has defined the Colonial Revival style as "the United States' most popular and characteristic expression. Neither a formal style or a movement, Colonial Revival embodies an attitude that looks to the American past for inspiration and selects forms, motifs, and symbols for replication and reuse." Most of the Colonial Revival-influenced houses constructed in Burlington during the first half of the twentieth century are modest dwellings with symmetrical facades and classical, Georgian, or Federal nuances, often executed in brick veneer. Finely detailed, expansive examples occupy prominent lots throughout town. The six examples within the Beverly Hills Historic District are simple interpretations of the style.
Some Bungalows include Colonial Revival features such as classical porch columns. The side-gable Bungalow constructed at 119 Rolling Road in 1928 has Colonial Revival stylistic elements such as an arched entrance porch supported by Tuscan columns and a central entrance with ten-pane sidelights and a fanlight. Eyebrow dormers pierce the front roof slope. The 1933 Elmer V. Blalock House at 1008 North Main Street is a much simpler example. The one-story clipped-side gable-roofed Bungalow has an offset gabled front porch supported by Tuscan columns. The circa 1929 Reverend Albert D. and Rachel L. Kinnett House at 202 Rolling Road also displays modest Colonial Revival influences. The one-and-one-half story side-gable-roofed house has a gabled entrance porch supported by slender paired Tuscan columns, six-over-one sash, and two gabled dormers on the front roof slope. The James R. and Ella Watson House, constructed at 601 North Main Street in 1933, is a two-story, hip-roofed, brick, Colonial Revival house with a gabled entrance portico supported by Tuscan columns, a hip-roofed dormer on the front roof slope, and a fanlight over the main entrance. The style remained popular through the 1950s, as evidenced by the construction of an austere two-story, side-gable-roofed, brick house with gabled front and side porches supported by square posts at 240 Highland Avenue in 1956.
The Beverly Hills Historic District contains only one true example of a Dutch Colonial Revival style dwelling, which typically have gambrel roofs and almost full-width shed dormers. The circa 1928 gambrel-roofed house at 212 Highland Avenue has a large shed dormer that extends across the front roof slope and a gabled hood above the front door.
As in many neighborhoods that developed during the first half of the twentieth century, the Beverly Hills Historic District includes examples of period revival styles, most notably the English cottage form, also called the Period Cottage, and the Tudor Revival style. Drawing from buildings erected in Tudor England during the late fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, such houses, constructed through the 1940s, are usually executed in brick with false half-timbering in steeply pitched gables and feature diamond-paned or casement windows, round-arched doors, and facade chimneys. Real estate developers D.R. and C.C. Fonville constructed a notable Tudor Revival style dwelling at 102 Rolling Road in 1928 to serve as the Beverly Hills subdivision's model home. The house features a projecting gabled corner entrance bay with a recessed arched front door below a copper-roofed oriel window. A facade chimney intersects the bay, and the upper portions of the chimney and entrance bay are stuccoed. The projecting hip-roofed bay on the facade's north end encompasses an engaged front porch with stuccoed gables and paneled, bracketed square posts. D.R. Fonville remodeled his personal residence at 116 North Ireland Street in around 1930, creating a two-story brick Tudor Revival style home with a gable-on-hip roof, hipped dormers, a portico with Tuscan columns, and a stone foundation, chimneys, quoins, and porch posts. Faux half-timbering distinguishes the gables and dormers. C.C. Fonville also selected the Tudor Revival style for his residence at 118 Rolling Road. The one-and-one-half-story front-gable-roofed house has a projecting gabled entrance bay at the facade's north end and an engaged screened porch at the south end. Red brick arches surround the primary and porch entrances and a small oriel window pierces the front gable.
The Beverly Hills Historic District contains nineteen smaller-scale examples of the Tudor Revival style. The 1938 Period Cottage at 220 Rolling Road, for example, refers to its English cottage antecedents with a steeply-pitched gabled entrance bay at the facade's south end, a facade chimney, and a central stuccoed and faux-half-timbered gable. Inset stones embellish the entrance bay, the chimney, and the corner porch arches. The one-and-one-half story, side-gable roofed, brick Period Cottage Jesse H. and Hattie E. Cates constructed at 924 North Main Street in 1939 reflects both the Period Cottage and the Colonial Revival styles with a gabled bay at the facade's west end, a projecting central bay with a broken pediment entrance surround, hip-roofed dormers, and a corbelled cornice on the facade's east end.
Alamance County judge Daniel J. Walker and his wife Annie constructed the district's sole example of a Mediterranean Revival style house around 1930. Mediterranean Revival style dwellings evoke villas on the Mediterranean coasts of France, Spain and Italy with their low-pitched hipped roofs covered with ceramic tiles, deep bracketed eaves, arches above large windows, French doors and symmetrical facades. The two-story, brick, hip-roofed, house has a projecting one-story central bay with an arched door opening and sidelights flanking the entrance. One-story flat-roofed wings project from the north and south sides of the main block. Curved brackets support the deep eaves.
As construction revived after World War II, some North Carolina families sought the comfort and reassurance of building in styles of the past such as the Colonial Revival, but, more commonly, new houses took on a decidedly modern appearance. Small homes — usually one-story — with minimal detailing often reflected a stripped-down Colonial Revival influence; thus, the style, which began appearing just before the war and proved very popular in the last half of the 1940s, has been called the Minimal Traditional style by architectural historians. In Burlington, Minimal Traditional style houses took several forms including a side-gabled dwelling with or without a front-facing gable. The Beverly Hills Historic District contains thirty-eight Minimal Traditional style dwellings executed in brick or frame. Developers often constructed clusters of these houses within the district. The eight modest houses at the south end of Highland Avenue are a good example of this trend.
Some Minimal Traditional style houses incorporate newly popular building materials, such as permastone, a formed concrete veneer. The one-and-one-half story Minimal Traditional style house at 706 North Main Street has a projecting gabled bay covered with permastone at the facade's east end. Others, like the dwelling at 804 North Main Street, encompass amenities such as attached carports.
The Ranch house, with its long, rectangular form, low-pitched roof, and open floor plan, appeared in Burlington in the 1940s and became popular in the 1950s. The Ranch style, loosely based on the rural homes of ranchers in the western United States, originated in California in the 1930s and by the middle of the century it had been adapted throughout the country to meet the needs of families who desired a low-cost dwelling with living area on one level and enough space for all its members to enjoy their privacy. Craftsman and Modern design also influenced the Ranch style with their emphasis on connectivity between indoor and outdoor spaces, the use of natural materials, and exposed structural elements. Ranch houses in the Beverly Hills Historic District are modest in both size and design; most have brick and synthetic siding exteriors with broad chimneys and minimal detailing.
Seventeen Ranch houses were built on undeveloped lots or replaced earlier dwellings throughout the neighborhood from the 1950s through 2002. Larry B. and Mary L. McCauley constructed a brick Ranch house with a gabled hood sheltering the central entrance, brick and concrete stoops with metal railings, and two-over-two horizontal sash at 209 Highland Avenue in 1952. The Japp L. and Virginia E. Watson House, erected at 236 Highland Avenue in 1959, is a brick Ranch house with a slightly taller central block and an inset front porch supported by square posts. A few examples, such as the 1952 D. Gary and Blanche C. Barnes at 251 Rolling Road and the neighboring 1955 Alf M. and Kathleen A. Hoyle House, have hipped roofs. The most recently constructed Ranch houses are simple vinyl-sided dwellings.
Beverly Hills is one of several similar subdivisions platted during Burlington's 1920s population and construction boom. Like Fountain Place, Central Heights, Brookwood, and Country Club Estates, Beverly Hills offered quality housing in close proximity to downtown. Developers erected homes in these neighborhoods that would appeal to middle-class clientele, presenting a variety of popular architectural styles ranging from modest Bungalows to Colonial, Tudor, and Mediterranean Revival style dwellings. Houses in the Beverly Hills Historic District retain a high level of integrity in comparison with these other subdivisions, all of which manifest similar changes, such as synthetic siding application and replacement window installation.
North Main Street was originally called Tarpley Street. The street name changed in 1891 when Lindsey Fonville subdivided property on the street's south side.
Allison Black, An Architectural Survey of Burlington, North Carolina (Burlington, City of Burlington, 1987), 54.
Claudia P. Roberts, "Historic Resources of Burlington," Multiple Property Documentation Form. On file at the North Carolina Historic Preservation Office, Raleigh, N.C., 1983, Section 8.1-2; Durward T. Stokes, Company Shops, The Town Built by a Railroad (Winston Salem: John F. Blair, 1981), 10; Dr. J.A. Hunter, "Development of Burlington is Viewed From Research Work: Transition From Company Shops," Burlington Daily Times-News, November 16, 1936; Walter Whitaker, Centennial History of Alamance County, 1849-1949 (Burlington: Burlington Chamber of Commerce, 1949), 134; "History of Burlington, North Carolina," Alamance County, NC Convention and Visitors Bureau, www.visitalamance.com/historyburlington. asp, accessed in January 2009.
Claudia P. Roberts, "Historic Resources of Burlington," Section 8.3.
Ibid., Section 8.4-5; Walter Whitaker, Centennial History of Alamance County, 134-135.
Claudia P. Roberts, "Historic Resources of Burlington," Section 8.3.
Julian Hughes, "L. J. Fonville Family Contributes Much To Progress Of Community," Burlington Daily Times News, January 24, 1957; Allison Black, An Architectural Survey of Burlington, 54, 118; Dr. J.A. Hunter, "Development of Burlington is Viewed From Research Work: Transition From Company Shops," Burlington Daily Times-News, November 16, 1936; Charles Emerson, North Carolina Tobacco Belt Directory (Raleigh: Edwards, Broughton, and Company, 1886), 77; "L.J. Fonville Property," Plat Book 3, page 30, Register of Deeds, Alamance County Courthouse, Graham, N.C.
J. F. Reynolds, "Looking Backward Burlington is not Ashamed of Past Year," Greensboro News, February 10, 1924; Claudia P. Roberts, "Historic Resources of Burlington," Section 8.7; Sanborn Map Company, Burlington, 1918; "Piedmont Estates," Plat Book 1, page 30A, Register of Deeds, Alamance County Courthouse, Graham, N. C.; Allison Black, An Architectural Survey of Burlington, 118.
Allison Black, An Architectural Survey of Burlington, 38-39, 145.
Ibid., 38-39; Claudia P. Roberts, "Historic Resources of Burlington," Section 8.8; A.C. Linberg, "Central Heights, Burlington, NC," 1925, Plat Book 2, page 47; A.C. Linberg, "Section 1, Brookwood, Burlington, N.C.," October 28, 1926, Plat Book 2, page 81; A.C. Linberg, "Section 1, Country Club Estates, Burlington, N.C.," August 26, 1927, Plat Book 2, page 124, Register of Deeds, Alamance County Courthouse, Graham, N.C.
Claudia P. Roberts, "Historic Resources of Burlington," Section 8.5-8; Allison Black, An Architectural Survey of Burlington, 117; "Great Demand for Homes in Burlington," Burlington Daily Times-News, August 9, 1927; J.L. Thrower, "Section 1, Beverly Hills, Burlington, NC," December 22, 1927, Plat Book K, page 3, Register of Deeds, Alamance County Courthouse, Graham, N.C.
"New Development Announced to Public," Burlington Daily Times-News, November 1, 1927.
Beverly Hills subdivision advertisements, November 1927, January 13, 1928, February 9, 1928, August 24 and 28, 1928, November 27, 1928, Burlington Daily Times-News; "The House Beautiful Admired By Hundreds," Burlington Daily Times-News, December 5, 1928; "The House Beautiful Exposition Closes, Hundreds Inspect It," Burlington Daily Times News, December 13, 1928.
Burlington Chamber of Commerce, Why Burlington? Because Its Resources Encompass Your Requirements (Burlington: Burlington Chamber of Commerce, ca.1938), 29.
Miller's Official Burlington, Graham, and Haw River City Directory (Asheville: The Miller Press, 1927-28).
J.S. Kirk, Walter A. Cutter and Thomas W. Morse, eds., Emergency Relief in North Carolina: A Record of the Development and Activities of the North Carolina Emergency Relief Administration, 1932-1935 (Raleigh: North Carolina Emergency Relief Administration, 1936), 449-450.
Howard M. Brunsman, United States Census of Population: 1950, Number of Inhabitants, North Carolina, 33-9.
Hill's Burlington City Directory (Richmond: Hill Directory Co., Inc., 1946), 21.
Burlington Chamber of Commerce, Let's Go to Burlington, North Carolina (Burlington: Burlington Chamber of Commerce, ca.1959); "Burlington Mills: $23,000,000 Plant Increase," Raleigh News and Observer, January 4, 1951; A.C. Snow, "Burlington Project, Dream for 10 Years, Nears Reality," Raleigh News and Observer, January 31, 1954.
Paul Duchscherer and Douglas Keister, The Bungalow: America's Arts and Crafts Home (New York: The Penguin Group, 1995), 2, 7-8, 14-15.
Richard Guy Wilson, The Colonial Revival House (New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2004), 6.
Beverly Hills subdivision advertisements. November 1927, January 13, 1928, February 9, 1928, August 24 and 28, 1928, November 27, 1928, Burlington Daily Times-News.
Bishir, Catherine W. "Introduction." In Early Twentieth-Century Suburbs in North Carolina, edited by Catherine W. Bishir and Lawrence S. Earley. Raleigh: North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, 1985.
Bishir, Catherine W. and Michael T. Southern. A Guide to the Historic Architecture of Piedmont North Carolina. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 2003.
Black, Allison. An Architectural Survey of Burlington, North Carolina. Burlington, City of Burlington, 1987.
Bolden, Don. "D.R. Fonville, Sr. Retires from Firm." Burlington Daily Times-News, December 13, 1957.
Brunsman, Howard M. Chief, Population and Housing Division. United States Census of Population: 1950, Number of Inhabitants, North Carolina. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1951.
Burlington Chamber of Commerce. Let's Go to Burlington, North Carolina. Burlington: Burlington Chamber of Commerce, ca.1959.
________. Why Burlington? Because Its Resources Encompass Your Requirements. Burlington: Burlington Chamber of Commerce, ca.1938.
"Burlington Mills: $23,000,000 Plant Increase." Raleigh News and Observer, January 4, 1951.
"C. C. Fonville Fatally Stricken in Local Store this Morning." Burlington Daily Times-News, November 22, 1950.
"Centennial Edition." Burlington Daily Times-News, May 9, 1949.
"D. R. Fonville, Sr." Burlington Daily-Times News, April 26, 1958.
Duchscherer, Paul, and Douglas Keister. The Bungalow: America's Arts and Crafts Home. New York: The Penguin Group, 1995.
Emerson, Charles. North Carolina Tobacco Belt Directory. Raleigh: Edwards, Broughton, and Company, 1886.
Euliss, Eleanor Samons, ed., compiled by Alamance County Historical Museum. Alamance County, The Legacy of Its People and Places. Greensboro: Legacy Publications, 1984.
"Great Demand for Homes in Burlington." Burlington Daily Times-News, August 9, 1927.
Hill's Burlington City Directories. Richmond: Hill Directory Co., Inc., 1935 to 1960.
"History of Burlington, North Carolina." Alamance County, NC Convention and Visitors Bureau, www.visitalamance.com/history-burlington.asp, accessed in January 2009.
"The House Beautiful Admired By Hundreds." Burlington Daily Time-News, December 5, 1928.
"The House Beautiful Exposition Closes, Hundreds Inspect It." Burlington Daily Times-News, December 13, 1928.
Hughes, Julian. "L. J. Fonville Family Contributes Much To Progress Of Community." Burlington Daily Times-News, January 24, 1957.
Hunter, Dr. J. A. "Development of Burlington is Viewed From Research Work: Transition From Company Shops." Burlington Daily Times-News, November 16, 1936.
Jamison, Tom. "Beverly Hills Historic District." Study List application on file at the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office, Raleigh, N.C., 2008.
Kirk, J. S., Walter A. Cutter and Thomas W. Morse, eds. Emergency Relief in North Carolina: A Record of the Development and Activities of the North Carolina Emergency Relief Administration, 1932-1935. Raleigh: North Carolina Emergency Relief Administration, 1936.
"L. J. Fonville Property," Plat Book 3, page 30, Register of Deeds, Alamance County Courthouse, Graham, N.C.
Miller's Official Burlington, Graham, and Haw River City Directories. Asheville: The Miller Press, 1927-28 and 1929-30.
"Mrs. F. R. Fonville, Sr., Dies after Auto Accident." Burlington Daily Times-News, May 4, 1950.
"New Development Announced to Public," Burlington Daily Times-News, November 1, 1927.
"Piedmont Estates." Plat Book 1, page 30A, Register of Deeds, Alamance County Courthouse, Graham, N.C.
Reynolds, J. F. "Looking Backward Burlington is not Ashamed of Past Year." Greensboro News, February 10, 1924.
Roberts, Claudia P. "Historic Resources of Burlington," Multiple Property Documentation Form. On file at the North Carolina Historic Preservation Office, Raleigh, N.C., 1983.
Sanborn Company Maps, Burlington, Alamance County, N.C., 1918, 1924, 1929, 1948, and 1952.
Snow, A. C. "Burlington Project, Dream for 10 Years, Nears Reality." Raleigh News and Observer, January 31, 1954.
Stokes, Durward T. Company Shops, The Town Built by a Railroad. Winston Salem: John F. Blair, 1981.
Thrower, J. L. "Section 1, Beverly Hills, Burlington, NC." December 22, 1927, Plat Book K, page 3, Register of Deeds, Alamance County Courthouse, Graham, N.C.
Whitaker, Walter. Centennial History of Alamance County, 1849-1949. Burlington: Burlington Chamber of Commerce, 1949.
Wilson, Richard Guy. The Colonial Revival House. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2004.
‡Heather Fernbach and Tom Jamison, Fernbach History Services, Inc., Beverly Hills Historic District, Alamance County, NC, nomination document, 2009, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
Church Street North • Highland Avenue • Ireland Street North • James Street • Main Street North • Rolling Road • Saint John Street North • Virginia Avenue