Lenox Park Historic District
The Lenox Park Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [†] Adaptation copyright © 2011, The Gombach Group.
Lenox Park Historic District, located to the southwest of the commercial center of downtown Hendersonville, is bounded roughly by the rear property lines on the south side of Allen Street on the north, South Whitted Street on the west, the Southern Railroad (formerly Transylvania Railroad) right-of-way on the south, and Spring Street on the east. The railroad right-of-way runs east-west, and then turns to the northwest on the west side of the historic district. Boundaries of the Lenox Park Historic District are based upon the 1908 and 1917 plats of the Lenox Park (originally Columbia Park) subdivision. The Lenox Park Historic District is smaller than the platted area because only a portion of the neighborhood was built up during the historic time period, and of that area, the streets mainly to the south of Allen Street (formerly Ewart Street) retain sufficient integrity. The topography of the neighborhood is basically flat, with most houses on small level lots. Exceptions to this are houses located on South Whitted Street which are set up on the hillsides with stone retaining walls below. The Lenox Park Historic District consists of forty-one contributing houses and outbuildings, one contributing industrial building, one contributing structure, seventeen non-contributing houses and outbuildings, and six vacant lots. All of the noncontributing buildings fall outside the period of significance. The Lenox Park Historic District covers approximately fifteen acres.
The layout of first, Columbia Park in 1908, and later, Lenox Park in 1917 followed a grid pattern typical of many subdivisions of the time, with major streets running north-south and east-west. Ochlawaha Creek, currently a much smaller creek than historically, runs through the neighborhood near the center. The plat of the neighborhood originally extended farther to the north outside the historic district boundaries. There are only a few scattered historic houses in this northern area, and they are separated from the concentration of contributing buildings in the district by new construction and vacant land. Architectural styles and house types in the neighborhood are four Queen Anne houses and two Foursquare houses dating from ca.1908; four two-story gable front houses dating from ca.1908 to ca.1925; one industrial building dating to 1915; sixteen Bungalows dating from 1919 to ca.1930; six front gable cottages dating from ca.1920 to 1930; two side gable cottages dating from ca.1920 to the mid-1930s; one hip-roof cottage dating from the mid-1930s; three Minimal Traditional houses dating from the late 1940s to the mid-1950s; and two Ranch houses dating from the mid-1950s and the 1970s. The buildings range from one to two stories in height, set in uniform setback rows lining both sides of the streets. Wall-cladding materials include weatherboard, stone or brick veneer, shingles, and pebbledash.
The oldest houses in the neighborhood are those that appear on the 1908 plat of Columbia Park. These are: three houses along the west side of Rose Street (308, 310 and 314 Rose Street), one at the north end of Spring Street (213 Spring Street) and the group located on the south side of Dale Street (824, 826, 842, 846 and 848 Dale Street). Deed records do not clearly confirm these construction dates, but stylistically they appear to date no later than 1908. However, deed records only go back as far as when the properties were purchased in the late 1910s by individual owners from the Hendersonville Development Company. A 1908 newspaper article indicates there were houses under construction at this time, and the Hendersonville city directory from 1915 notes several occupied residences along Dale Street. The major period of development in the neighborhood took place after the 1917 plat of Lenox Park, with the majority of homes dating from the early to mid-1920s.
Notable examples of the Bungalow house type are the house at 216 S. Whitted Street (ca.1925); the Henry Cantrell House (302 S. Whitted Street, ca.1926); the Fred Sudduth House (308 S. Whitted Street, ca.1926); the Cooper House (322 Spring Street, ca.1925); and the Smith T. Sudduth House (853 Dale Street, ca.1925). Good examples of the Foursquare house type are the house at 846 Dale Street (ca.1908); and the house at 826 Dale Street (ca.1908). A good representative of a side-gable cottage is the house at 318 Spring Street (ca.1920). The house at 411 Spring Street (ca.1925) is a good example of a front gable cottage, and the Acie H. Jones House (845 Dale Street, ca.1948) is a good-example of a Minimal Traditional house.
Lenox Park Historic District, with a period of significance from ca.1908, when it was first platted as Columbia Park, to 1952, is significant for its contributions to the social and architectural history of Hendersonville. Most of the development in the historic district took place after 1917, when the neighborhood was replatted as Lenox Park, into the 1920s, but an intact grouping of Queen Anne, Foursquare and two-story, gable-front houses built ca.1908 are an important architectural feature of the neighborhood. The Lenox Park Historic District is significant for social history as a neighborhood where residents from many different social backgrounds coexisted within the same community. Business and industrial owners of companies such as the Freeze-Bacon Hosiery Mill, the City Ice Company, and the Wing Paper Box Company lived as neighbors with their employees. Real estate developers, contractors, and employees of the railroad and other local mills and businesses also resided in the neighborhood during its period of significance. Lenox Park Historic District is significant for its association with the railroad-related industrial development at the south side of the neighborhood, with owners, managers, and employees of these industries all living in the same community. Lenox Park is also significant for its association with tourism-related businesses which were part of the neighborhood in the 1920s, when many of the owners of the larger ca.1908 homes took in summer boarders. While there were other boarding houses in Hendersonville, the concentration of them in Lenox Park is significant, probably as a result of the neighborhood's location next to the Transylvania Railroad, a main tourism line, and for its close proximity to Lennox Spring, known throughout the southeast for its mineral waters. The association the Lenox Park neighborhood had with tourism was part of a trend throughout all of western North Carolina where one of the economic mainstays of many mountain communities in the late nineteenth to early twentieth centuries was the income derived from visitors. Lenox Park, like many other neighborhoods in Hendersonville, slowed in development in the 1930s, but began to grow again as the local economy improved in the late 1940s and 1950s, resulting in houses dating from this latter period being built as infill on vacant lots within the district. The Lenox Park Historic District is also significant for architecture with its important collection of residences dating from ca.1908, which are all excellent examples of the Queen Anne, Foursquare, and two-story gable-front houses. A particularly notable house in the Lenox Park Historic District, located at 848 Dale Street, is one of the best examples of the Queen Anne style in Hendersonville.
The late nineteenth to early twentieth centuries in Hendersonville proved a tremendous boom time for speculative residential real estate development. Once the railroad arrived in 1879, popular style house plans and the materials to construct houses became more readily available. Local brickyards and sawmills became important commercial enterprises. As the population of both year-round and summer residents began to grow, the need for housing became a top priority and an opportunity for many entrepreneurial developers. The Lenox Park Historic District was first platted as Columbia Park in 1908. The developers were H.S. Anderson, S.F. Wren, J.W. Streetman, and R.F. Burton and the Columbia Park Land Improvement Company. H.S. Anderson, an attorney and real estate developer, began buying land in Hendersonville as early as 1890. He personally owned all of the land later platted as Columbia Park, transferring ownership to the development company in 1909.
Columbia Park was laid out in two sections, the north section extending from Chestnut Street on the north to the Transylvania Railroad on the south. Whitted Street formed the west boundary, and Sycamore and Justice Streets formed the east boundary. Most of the lots on the south side of Dale Street, the east side of Rose Street, and the northern part of Sycamore Street (now Spring Street) had houses shown on them in the 1908 plat. However, deeds do not clearly confirm the construction dates of these early houses, and indicate that some of these may have changed ownership or perhaps been built after 1917, when Lenox Park was platted. It is possible, since ownership of Columbia Park remained with H.S. Anderson until 1909, that he built many of these houses as speculative ventures, and hoped to sell them through the development company.
A 1908 newspaper article about Columbia Park, however, indicates there were indeed some houses under construction, and the Hendersonville city directory from 1915 does note that there were residents on Dale Street, including H.S. Anderson, an attorney and the developer of Columbia Park; Professor W.H. Cale; J.F. Freeze, owner of Freeze-Bacon Hosiery Mill located on the south side of the railroad tracks; Frank Freeze, also an owner of Freeze-Bacon Hosiery Mill; and J.B. Morris, the superintendent for Freeze-Bacon Hosiery Mill, all lived on Dale Avenue. Lots ranged from fifty to ninety feet in width, with some larger lots reserved for the northern part of the development. A creek ran through the middle of the development.
Section 2 of Columbia Park, which was located southwest of the railroad right-of-way was also developed by H.S. Anderson in 1908, but consisted only of the road layout and no lot divisions. Whitted's Spring, named for Dr. W.D. Whitted, who owned the land in the area in the mid-nineteenth century, was located just across the railroad tracks in Section 2 of the development. When Lenox Park was platted in 1917, this spring was renamed Lennox Spring. According to several articles in the French Broad Hustler, H.S. Anderson had originally planned a 150-room hotel for the southern section of Columbia Park. It was also noted that "...the work in Columbia Park will not cease until it becomes a beautiful village..." As work began in Columbia Park in July of 1908, it was noted that "...a number of new residences are in process of construction and more to be started within a short while..." By August of 1908, it was noted in the newspaper that work had "...begun on the 50-room house which Hon. H.S. Anderson will build on the Whitted place in Columbia Park...plans for the building specify a 50 room four story house [apparently a tourist boarding house]...a fine stone foundation...a spacious veranda will extend nearly all around the house, and in it will stand huge colonial columns..." This same article also noted that Mr. Anderson, when completing all the houses in Columbia Park, would have "a city of his own..." The article also noted that streets were gravel and there was a lake. Plans included an "automobile line" to the passenger depot, unless the streetcar was completed in the area first. A passenger depot was built on the tracks to accommodate the year-round and summer residents in Columbia Park. The spring in the neighborhood was certified by the state chemist, furnishing 30,000 gallons of water per day.
Some of the lots in Columbia Park sold, but two judgments against the Columbia Park Land and Improvement Company in 1910 in the amounts of $5,735.00 and $16,912.00 marked the end of the development company. It was taken over in this settlement by American National Bank of Asheville. The area was sold by American National Bank to a new company, Hendersonville Development Company, in 1917, and the area was then platted as Lenox Park. Some of the larger lots from Section 1 of Columbia Park were subdivided, but overall boundaries of the subdivision remained the same in Section 1 of Lenox Park, except for a small area to the west of South Whitted Street which extended Dale Street to the west one block. Hendersonville Development Company also bought up the second section of Columbia Park south of the railroad, divided the land into lots, and changed the layout of some of the streets. According to deed records, most of the development in Lenox Park took place from 1917 to 1927.
Social History Context
Many of the residents of Lenox Park were employed by the various industries along the railroad located on the south side of the neighborhood. Residents included management of the Freeze-Bacon Hosiery Mill which was located just across the railroad tracks, and owners or managers of the City Ice Company, another industry located along the railroad. Later, when the smaller bungalows were built in the 1920s and 1930s, some residents were employees of the Wing Paper Box Company, located in the former location of the Freeze-Bacon Mill. Some residents were employees of Southern Railroad, and some residents either owned or were employed in other local businesses and mills not located in the neighborhood such as Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Chipman-LaCrosse Hosiery Mill, Hendersonville Supply & Coal Company, and Rigby-Morrow Company.
Other residents worked as carpenters, painters, or drivers for local industries or automobile companies. Other occupations included laborers, plumbers, mail carriers, city firemen, and barbers. A few ran their own businesses, such as the Francisco family and the Hendersonville Coal & Wood Company, the Hollingsworth family and the P.H. Hollingsworth Service Station, and the Beck family and the Beck Hardware Company. Other residents in the neighborhood were real estate developers and two residents in the 1910s and 1920s, Acie H. Jones and Henry Cantrell, were contractors. In the 1920s, many of the larger ca.1908 houses were turned into boarding houses for the summer tourists, making these property owners the proprietors of a thriving tourism-related business venture. In the 1926 city directory, six houses are listed as boarding houses, including the Beck Villa at 826 Dale Street, and those run by Mrs. A.C. Bowen, Mrs. Mae English, Mrs. H.I. Geddings, Country Home run by Mrs. Ida M. Davis, and Lenox Park Villa run by Mrs. Louise Quarles. The boarding houses in the neighborhood played an important role in furthering the development of the tourism industry that had begun in Hendersonville in the mid-nineteenth century and expanded when the railroad arrived in 1879. While the "golden years" of the tourism boom ended with the Depression, many of these boarding houses continued to take in renters during the 1930s. It is likely that these boarders were not tourists but year-round residents who were taken in to help the family income during the Depression years.
The business of boarding tourists was not a new venture for Hendersonville residents. This began at the turn of the century and continued into the late 1920s and 1930s. Many hotels were built around downtown, and owners of some of the larger houses also began to take in summer boarders as a way to boost income. Summer visitors from the "low country" of coastal South Carolina continued to pour into Hendersonville and nearby Brevard. Some stayed in the grand resorts in nearby Flat Rock, and others stayed in town at the hotels and boarding houses. Some built grand summer homes near downtown, including the Curtis-Burckmeyer House at 731 Fourth Avenue West; the Mauney-Blythe House at 705 Fourth Avenue West; the Baker House at 613 Fourth Avenue West; and the Scheper House at 407 Fourth Avenue West, all located within the West Side Historic District (National Register, 2001). It is likely that the proximity of the Lenox Park neighborhood to the Transylvania Railroad line at the south end of the neighborhood made access to the larger homes easy and helps to explain why there was such a large concentration of boarding houses in the neighborhood. The Transylvania Railroad was built to connect Hendersonville to Brevard, another tourist destination in the mountains.
Many residents in Lenox Park owned their homes and lived there for many years, while some houses, especially those along Rose Street, were rented to a different occupant almost annually beginning in the late 1930s through the 1940s. As the economy in Hendersonville picked up again in the late 1940s and early to mid-1950s, several new homes were built in the neighborhood. These owners, like many in the neighborhood had in the previous decades, worked for or owned local businesses, or were employed as local contractors, health professionals, mill employees, Southern Railroad employees, or city employees.
The Lenox Park Historic District contains an intact grouping of nine Queen Anne, Foursquare, and two-story gable-front houses built ca.1908. These houses form a significant collection of turn-of-the century buildings, pre-dating the majority of the historic development of the neighborhood, which took place from the 1920s to the early 1950s. This latter period of development is typical for most Hendersonville neighborhoods, including West Side, Hyman Heights, and Druid Hills, although these neighborhoods, too, contain a few examples from the first decade of the twentieth century. However, in contrast to the scattered pattern of placement of the Queen Anne and Foursquare houses located in West Side Historic District (George H. Valentine House, ca.1910, Foursquare; Oscar A. Meyer House, ca.1910, Queen Anne; Reverend Fred G. MacKenzie House, ca.1910, Queen Anne; James F. Stepp House, ca.1900, Queen Anne; Wiltshire Griffith House, ca.1910, Queen Anne; Baker House, ca.1910, Queen Anne/Classical Revival; Junius Anders House, ca.1900, Queen Anne; Lyda House, ca.1900, Queen Anne; and Claude M. Pace House, ca.1910, Queen Anne), the Lenox Park Historic District is distinctive in that it contains the largest intact grouping of houses in the town from the turn of the century in the Queen Anne, Foursquare, and two-story gable-front styles. All of the earliest houses in Lenox Park are significant as excellent examples of these styles, with the row of houses along Rose Street being particularly notable. The house at 848 Dale Street, in contrast to the more plain Queen Anne houses in other areas of Hendersonville, is one of the best examples of the picturesque, ornamented Queen Anne style of any early neighborhood in the community.
A Queen Anne style house (1880-1910) generally is a rather large, massive two-story building with an irregular floor plan and most often displaying a steep hip roof, multiple gables, wraparound porch with turned posts and balusters, shingle or weatherboard siding, large corbelled chimneys, decorative gable ends, and corner turrets. Variations to this can include smaller one-story cottages, which still retain many of the features of the larger house. The Foursquare style house (1900-1920) is always two stories, with a hipped roof, symmetrical massing, center front entry, and a full-width attached front porch.
In the Lenox Park Historic District, the majority of Queen Anne houses on the south side of Dale Street are good examples of the style. The exceptions are the highly decorative house at 848 Dale Street, and the houses at 308, 310 and 314 Rose Street which are more plain as compared to the "textbook" examples. However, they are closer in overall massing and detailing to houses of the same style in other parts of Hendersonville. The houses on Dale Street are set back from the street at uniform distances and while as a group display the basic configurations of the Queen Anne and Foursquare styles, are individually unique in their architectural features, an indication that while the Queen Anne and Foursquare styles were widespread throughout the Southeast, they were often open to interpretation and availability of materials for their final appearance. The house at 848 Dale Street is the most notable and architecturally-detailed building in the neighborhood with many features of the Queen Anne style including a corner turret with concave pyramidal roof, pressed roof shingles, wraparound porch with triple porch posts and a corner entry, decorative gable ends including a starburst motif, and diamond-pane windows. The Queen Anne house at 826 Dale Street is notable for its corner entry from the wraparound porch, and classical influences including paired porch posts and pediment over the entry. The L-plan Queen Anne house at 824 Dale Street with a hip roof and clipped gable dormer, wraparound porch, shingle and brick wall cladding, one-over-one windows, and corbelled central brick chimney also displays many of the features of the style. The one-story Queen Anne house at 213 Spring Street, while not as large in its overall massing or as architecturally detailed, displays many of the features of the style including an irregular floor plan, hip roof with dormers, wraparound porch (now enclosed) and weatherboard siding. The two Foursquare houses at 842 and 846 Dale Street are excellent examples of this style, with notable features including clipped gable roofs, diamond-pane windows, and stone foundations: The row of three two-story, gable-front houses at 308, 310 and 314 Rose Street are derivatives of the Queen Anne style, but are more rectangular in plan, a variation on the usual asymmetrical massing of the true Queen Anne. They are similar in appearance, with uniform setbacks, as the houses on Dale Street. Notable architectural features include pebbledash wall finishes, patterned shingles in gable ends, wraparound porches, and leaded glass windows.
"Big Hotel for Hendersonville," French Broad Hustler, 16 July 1908.
Bowers, Sybil. "Historic and Architectural Properties in Hendersonville, North Carolina: A Partial Inventory." National Register of Historic Places, Multiple Property Documentation Form, 1983.
Bowers, Sybil. "Druid Hills Historic District." National Register of Historic Places nomination, March 22, 2000.
Bowers, Sybil. "Hyman Heights/Mount Royal Historic District." National Register of Historic Places nomination, August 9, 2000.
Bowers, Sybil. "West Side Historic District." National Register of Historic Places nomination, August 23, 2001.
"Columbia Park." French Broad Hustler, 23 July 1908.
Henderson County Deed Books.
Henderson County Plat Books.
Hendersonville City Directories 1915, 1926, 1937-1953.
Morgan, Beulah. Long-time neighborhood resident. Written interview by Sybil A. Bowers, 5 November 2001. Oral interview by Sybil A. Bowers, 11 July 2002.
Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps 1922, 1926, 1954.
"The Remarkable Improvements Being Made in Columbia Park," French Broad Hustler, 13 August 1908.
† Sybil Argintar Bowers, Bowers Southeastern Preservation, Lenox Park Historic District, Henderson County, North Carolina, nomination document, 2002, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.