The South Aspen Street Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2003. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [‡]
Lincolnton was established as the county seat of Lincoln County in 1785. It was laid out with a central courthouse surrounded by a grid plan of streets, blocks, and lots, with four primary streets — East and West Main streets and a north-south cross street, now called North Aspen and South Aspen streets — leading from the courthouse and dividing the town into quadrants. Over time, development in Lincolnton filled the original grid plan, expanded it, and eventually moved beyond it, while maintaining the four principal arteries like compass points. The South Aspen Street Historic District, located several blocks south of the courthouse, forms a cohesive and distinctive area of residential and institutional buildings that reflects the character of Lincolnton's development from the mid-nineteenth century through the mid-twentieth century. The two oldest houses in the South Aspen Street Historic District — the Wallace H. Alexander House and the Barrett-Hoyle House — were built in 1852 at the end of Lincolnton's first period of prosperity that stretched from the late eighteenth century to the mid-nineteenth century. The next half century was a fallow time for Lincolnton, with the population actually decreasing from 1860 to 1900. With the arrival of the new century, however, came renewed vitality for Lincolnton, filled with energy and new economic and community endeavors. The development of the area encompassed by the South Aspen Street Historic District parallels and reflects this renewal. Of major importance to the community was the 1907 opening of Lincoln's first hospital on South Aspen Street in the center of the district. Over time, the Lincoln Hospital (after 1936 the Gordon Crowell Memorial Hospital) spurred a significant amount of additional building activity in the district, including the Nurses' Residence, the home of hospital co-founder Dr. Lester A. Crowell Sr., three other houses built by members of the Crowell family, and the homes of at least two other doctors and two dentists. Almost simultaneously with the construction of the hospital, the Rhodes family arrived in Lincolnton to establish a new textile mill, the Rhodes Manufacturing Company. John M. Rhodes, C. William Rhodes, and David P. Rhodes all built houses on South Aspen Street at the south end of the district near their mill. Houses continued to be built from the 1910s through the 1930s, undoubtedly boosted during the latter half of that period by the completion in 1924 of the Lincolnton High School at the north end of the district. By 1940, few openings remained in the district for new construction, but several additional buildings were erected in the 1940s and 1950s. Of particular significance was the construction ca.1948 of the large, brick, Colonial Revival, John D. Abernathy House at 904 South Aspen Street. It clearly indicated that in the mid-twentieth century, South Aspen Street was still considered a fashionable place to live. The South Aspen Street Historic District is locally significant in the area of Social History. It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places because it is a distinct area that reflects through its institutional buildings and domestic architecture the development of Lincolnton — and the often-important role of families in that development — as the town transcended from a mid-nineteenth century community to a mid-twentieth century community.
The South Aspen Street Historic District is architecturally significant at the local level and listed in the National Register of Historic Places because its buildings include good examples of a variety of architectural styles popular in Lincolnton from the mid-nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century. The two oldest houses in the South Aspen Street Historic District — the Wallace H. Alexander House and the Barrett-Hoyle House — erected in 1852 in the Greek Revival and transitional Greek Revival-Italianate styles, respectively, are among a small and important surviving collection of mid-nineteenth century buildings in Lincolnton. Among striking examples of other styles represented in the South Aspen Street Historic District are the Queen Anne style John M. Rhodes House; the Colonial Revival style Rouser-Ruth House; the Classical Revival style former Lincolnton High School; the Bungalow/Craftsman style Dr. William F. Elliott House; the Tudor Revival style Dr. Lester A. Crowell Jr. House; the Dr. S.H. Steelman House, an example of the eclectic period cottage; and the Hoke S. Heavner House, which exemplifies the mid-twentieth century minimal traditional style. These and other buildings in the South Aspen Street Historic District contribute to the district's character as a spectrum of the architectural styles associated with Lincolnton's development from the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries.
The South Aspen Street Historic District's period of significance spans the century from 1852 to ca.1950. The period encompasses the construction of the district's oldest houses in 1852, the houses built by members of the industrialist Rhodes family ca.1906, the opening of the Lincoln Hospital in 1907, the construction of the former Lincolnton High School in 1923-1924, and the construction of other architecturally significant houses built prior to ca.1950.
Historical Background and Social History and Architecture Contexts
In 1779 the North Carolina General Assembly carved Lincoln County out of the larger Tryon County. Initially including 1,800 square miles, the county became a leader statewide in the value of many farm products. In addition, furnaces and forges produced large quantities of ironware, and other industries, such as textiles, enlivened the economy (Brown and York, 244, 246).
After several unsuccessful tries to establish a seat of government for the new county, the General Assembly identified three hundred acres for the county seat, and on December 29, 1785, Lincolnton was established. Located initially on fifty of the three hundred acres, Lincolnton was laid out symmetrically with a grid plan of streets, blocks and lots, with the courthouse at the center. The town was divided into quadrants by four principal streets — East and West Main streets and a north-south cross street now called North and South Aspen streets — that led from the courthouse square like compass points. Lincolnton soon grew into a prosperous center of government, commerce, and culture. Stores and professional offices encircled the courthouse and spread out along West Main Street and, particularly, East Main Street. As the town grew, it filled the original grid plan, expanded it, and eventually moved beyond it. By 1820, the sale of new town lots provided for the construction, ca.1821, of the Pleasant Retreat Academy for boys on the north side of town and, in 1825-26, a female academy on the south side of town just north of the South Aspen Street Historic District (Brown and York, 246-247; Heritage, 253).
During the 1840s, three new counties were pulled from Lincoln County, leaving it with 305 square miles, only a fraction of its original 1,800. Until the mid-nineteenth century, numerous fine houses and other buildings were erected in Lincolnton, but with the diminution of the county, the momentum for growth — in both the county and the town — was curtailed. Lincoln County's population and economy remained static in the mid-nineteenth century and grew slowly in the second half of the century. In Lincolnton, however, the population actually diminished from 1860 to 1900, and building activity was limited when compared with earlier times (Brown and York, 263, 271).
With the beginning of a new century, Lincolnton began to flourish once more. A variety of new businesses improved the local economy, yet they were surpassed in their impact by a growing number of textile mills located in and around Lincolnton that took advantage of the South Fork of the Catawba River and two rail lines. The town's population increased from 828 in 1900 to 2,413 in 1910; by 1920 it had reached 3,390. The early twentieth century saw greatly increased building activity in Lincolnton, with brick stores replacing frame structures around the courthouse and one- and two-story frame houses proliferating beyond the center of town (Brown and York, 272-273).
Being one of the primary arteries leading to and from the center of Lincolnton, South Aspen Street developed over time, reflecting Lincolnton's continuum of growth. Located several blocks south of the courthouse and encompassing the 500-1000 blocks of South Aspen Street, 114-130 East Rhodes Street, and 624-636 West Park Drive, the South Aspen Street Historic District is a cohesive and distinctive area whose collection of thirty-five primary and forty-three secondary resources form a microcosm of Lincolnton's residential and institutional development from the mid-nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century.
The oldest surviving buildings in the South Aspen Street Historic District are the Greek Revival style Wallace H. Alexander House (613 South Aspen Street) and the transitional Greek Revival/Italianate style Barrett-Hoyle House (130 East Rhodes Street). Located just south of the Female Academy, both were erected in 1852 at the end of Lincolnton's long first period of prosperity. When built, these were outlying houses in the community, possessing more land than did the dwellings erected within Lincolnton's original grid. Because many buildings dating from Lincolnton's late-eighteenth to mid-nineteenth century development were lost during mid-to-late twentieth century re-development in the town, the Alexander and Barrett-Hoyle houses are part of a small and significant group — composed also of several houses in the 200 and 300 blocks of West Main Street and a few elsewhere — of mid-nineteenth century houses in Lincolnton. The two-story form and hipped roof with overhanging eaves of the Barrett-Hoyle House gives it an appearance related to that of the Michal-Butt-Brown-Pressly House on West Main Street, and the broad, pedimented, front-gable temple form and overall proportions of the one-story Alexander House are very similar to the William H. Michal House, also on West Main Street.
The economic stagnation that Lincolnton experienced during the second half of the nineteenth century is evident in the South Aspen Street Historic District. No buildings known to date from that period survive.
The early twentieth century, particularly during the first decade but also, to some extent, during the 1910s, was a different story. The South Aspen Street Historic District bears witness to the renewed energy that was seen in Lincolnton as a whole during those years.
The influx of new textile mills in and around Lincolnton had a direct effect on building activity in the district. Shortly after the turn of the century, members of the Rhodes family moved to Lincolnton to establish a textile mill. John Melancthon Rhodes (1849-1921) was already a successful manufacturer who, ultimately, was involved with the creation of eight cotton mills in North Carolina's western Piedmont. His son, David Polycarp "Polie" Rhodes (1871-1936), worked with him to establish several of those mills, and later worked with his own son, Paul, to build and operate the Rhodes-Rhyne Manufacturing Company in Lincolnton and to purchase and operate the Indian Creek Mills outside Lincolnton, both of which continued to be operated by the Rhodes family until the mid-1940s. Christian William Rhodes, brother of John and uncle of Polie, moved with his kinsmen to Lincolnton right after the turn of the century. Together the three men established the Rhodes Manufacturing Company, later known as the Massapoag Mill, about a half mile south of the district. The mill produced "Army Duck" cloth and, when built, was the only weave mill in Lincoln County. All three Rhodes men built houses along South Aspen Street in or around 1906. The most striking of these is the John M. Rhodes House at 903 South Aspen Street. The one-and-a-half-story Queen Anne style dwelling is an early and unusual example in Lincolnton of rusticated concrete-block construction. After successfully using this construction material for his own home, Rhodes soon thereafter used rusticated concrete blocks in building the employee housing at the Rhodes Manufacturing Company. Typical Queen Anne style features such as an irregular configuration and plan, a multi-gabled roof, a bay window, a wraparound porch, and a variety of materials are utilized at the John M. Rhodes House. One of its most distinctive features is the lancet-arched boxed bargeboard in the front gable end. William Rhodes built his house adjacent to his brother's at 913 South Aspen Street. More typical of many Queen Anne style cottages built in North Carolina during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, it is a one-story, weatherboarded-frame dwelling with an asymmetrical form, a steep hipped roof with multiple intersecting gables, and a wrap-around front porch with turned posts and small sawnwork brackets. Down the street at 1022 South Aspen Street, Polie Rhodes built his house, apparently from the same plan as his father's house. It differs, however, in being a two-and-a-half-story, weatherboarded-frame dwelling. While it is more simple in its detailing than the John M. Rhodes House, exhibiting more of a stylistic transition between the Queen Anne and the Colonial Revival, it displays one of the signature features of the John Rhodes House — the unusual lancet-arched, boxed bargeboard in the front gable end.
Several other properties in the 800 and 900 blocks of South Aspen Street also bear connections with the Rhodes family. These include the Huss-Harrill House at 819 South Aspen Street (Ada Huss was a daughter of John M. Rhodes); the M.C. Quickel House, which stood at 904 South Aspen Street until ca.1948, when the John D. Abernathy House was built, and then remained on the rear of the lot until the mid-1980s (Georgia Quickel was a daughter of John M. Rhodes); and the Charles M. Sumner House at 923 South Aspen Street, which may have been erected by Ada Rhodes Huss between 1917 and 1919 or earlier by the Rhodes Manufacturing Company (Cauble, 16-18, 35, 39; Deeds 122/238 and 93/272; Census, 1910 and 1920; Gamble Interview; Brown and York, 179; Heritage, 186).
Around the same time that the Rhodes men were building their houses, Dr. Lester A. Crowell Sr. (1867-1954) moved from West Main Street to South Aspen Street. There, responding to a long-time community need, he and Dr. R.W. Petrie opened the Lincoln Hospital in 1907 at what is now 816 South Aspen Street. It was one of only a few general hospitals in North Carolina at the time and was Lincolnton's only hospital until 1930, when the Reeves Gamble Hospital opened in another part of town. After a couple of years, Dr. Petrie sold his interest in the hospital to Dr. Crowell, who continued to practice medicine there until his death at the age of eighty-five, all the while living in a two-story house across the street. The Crowell family continued to operated the hospital for another fifteen years, until it was sold to a hospital management firm in 1969. Period photographs show that the original hospital was a large, two-story, weatherboarded-frame former dwelling of Colonial Revival influence with a hipped roof and dormers, interior chimneys, and a wraparound classical porch extended on one side to form a porte-cochere. From the hospital's earliest years until the end of World War II, a nursing school was operated in conjunction with the hospital, and Dr. Crowell built a one-and-a-half-story frame bungalow at 701 South Aspen Street as a residence for the nurses and nursing students (Sherrill, 310-311; Sanborn Maps, 1911, 1921, 1929, 1929/1941; Brown and York, 180; Census, 1920; Lincoln Times, October 7, 1935; Charlotte Observer, March 15, 1982.)
Another influential event, which was nearly simultaneous with the construction of the Lincoln Hospital and the Rhodes houses, doubtless had an impact on development in the South Aspen Street Historic District. In 1907, the Lincolnton Graded School was erected on the site of the Female Academy, just beyond the north end of the district at the southwest corner of East Congress and South Academy sheets. It no long stands, having been demolished in recent years for a parking lot, but during its years of operation, the school added to the attractiveness of South Aspen Street as a residential neighborhood (Brown and York, 282).
Ten other surviving houses were built along South Aspen Street during the first two decades of the twentieth century. Several of these provide an additional view of the frequently interwoven character of property ownership in the district as well as a sense of the occupations represented by the owners. During the period, building contractor William W. Motz and his wife, Edna, occupied a large, two-story frame dwelling with a wraparound porch located at 1010 South Aspen Street. Motz also built the two-story frame house on property he owned from 1899 to 1923 on the opposite side of Motz Avenue at 924 South Aspen Street. Whether he ever lived in this house is not known, but in 1920 it was being occupied by a physician, Dr. Elliott Richard Lee, and his family. In 1923, the house was sold to another physician, Dr. J. Frank Gamble (Deeds, 139/379 and 158/560; Census, 1910, 1920; Sanborn Map, 1921; Gamble Interview; Eurey Interview). For years, the two-story frame house at 710 South Aspen Street was the home of Barnette Cornelius "B.C." Lineberger and his family. Lineberger, a cotton broker in business with his three sons, was married to Fleta Crowell, a first cousin of Dr. Lester A. Crowell Sr. (Crowell Interview; Sanborn Maps, 1921, 1929, 1929/41; Census, 1920, 1930). The ca.1913 one-and-a-half-story-frame house at 526 South Aspen Street was the home of Charles H. and Mary E. Harrill during its first three decades. The Harrills were likely the parents of dentist Dr. Charles H. Harrill, who with his wife, Laura Dry Harrill, purchased the house at 819 South Aspen Street in 1933, and lived there for several decades. This same house had been owned for several years around 1920 by Ada Huss, daughter of John M. Rhodes, and her husband, George D. Huss, who was superintendent at the cotton mill (Deeds, 117/554, 129/270, 133/262 and 468, 175/631, 235/641, 449/136; Sanborn Maps, 1921, 1929/41; Census, 1920, 1930; Dellinger notes). From 1919 until 1970, the family of Charles McBee Sumner owned the two-story frame, Colonial Revival house at 923 South Aspen Street. Who built the house is not clear. Sumner purchased the property from George D. and Ada Rhodes Huss, but Ada had acquired the property from the Rhodes Manufacturing Company in 1917. It may be that the mill built the house to serve as a company house, perhaps for the mill superintendent. After Sumner's death, the house was occupied for some years by his daughter, Myra, and her husband, Tennyson B. Smith, who was a bookkeeper at the cotton mill (Deeds, 262/284, 286/347; Census, 1920, 1930; Sanborn Map, 1921). Other houses believed to have been built in the first two decades of the twentieth century include the Jacob A. Burgin House at 618 South Aspen Street, the Colonial Revival style Houser-Ruth House at 815 South Aspen Street, the home of grocer James Howard Mauney at 910 South Aspen Street, and the long-time home of Lincolnton postmaster Victor N. Fair and his family at 918 South Aspen Street. Prior to the Fairs' purchase of the house in 1923, it was rented — at least in 1920 — by John C. Ramsaur, who soon thereafter built his own home at 510 South Aspen Street (Deeds, 98/573, 138/58, 139/299, 209/362, 213/637; Census, 1910, 1920, 1930; Sanborn Maps, 1921, 1929/41; Eaddy Interview; Campbell Interview; Dellinger notes). By 1920, half of the South Aspen Street Historic District's thirty-five primary resources had been built.
Development within the South Aspen Street Historic District continued at a steady pace in the 1920s, mirroring that in Lincolnton as a whole. The most significant addition to the district during this decade was the construction in 1923-1924 of the Lincolnton High School at 511 South Aspen Street. It was built at the north end of the district on the site of the 1852 Barrett-Hoyle House, which required the removal of the house from the property. Instead of being demolished, the house was moved to the south side of East Rhodes Street, across the street from its original site, and turned forty-five degrees to face north. Although the architect of the Lincolnton High School has not been identified, the building is an impressive three-story brick structure which exhibits the influence of the Classical Revival style. A classical, two-story entrance with fluted pilasters and a frieze inscribed with "High School" centers on the west facade. Projecting secondary entrances at either end of the facade are inscribed with "Boys" and "Girls." The building no longer serves as the high school, but it retains its educational use, now being the Lincoln Campus of Gaston College (Times, October 7, 1935; Hood; Brown and York, 167; Deeds, Sanborn Map, 1929). Immediately outside the south end of the district, 1923 also saw the construction of the South Aspen Street Primary School. Thus, beginning in the 1920s, the Lincolnton Graded School and the Lincolnton High School on the north end and the South Aspen Street Primary School on the south end served as bookends to the historic district, surely an encouragement to its continued development (Times, October 7, 1935). Of the three schools, only the former high school survives.
Five of the South Aspen Street Historic District's houses were built between ca.1920 and ca.1922. At the north end of South Aspen Street, the M.A. McLean House (502 S. Aspen Street) and the John C. Ramsaur House (510 S. Aspen Street) were built ca.1922 and ca.1921, respectively, across the street from the site of the future high school. John Ramsaur operated a lumber yard with his brother, but he and his wife also rented rooms in their home to teachers, so that the house came to be known as the teacherage. Additionally, the Ramsaurs operated a lunch room in their home, not only for the teachers, but also for the townspeople in general (Deeds, 134/338, 138/58, 309/95, and 593/104; Campbell Interview). Around 1920, James M. Reinhardt built a two-story frame house of Craftsman-style influence at 605 South Aspen Street, across East Rhodes Street from the site of the high school. The construction of the Reinhardt House signaled the break-up of the thirty-three acre Alexander tract (Wallace H. Alexander House, 613 South Aspen Street), purchased by Dr. Lester A. Crowell Sr. and his wife, Mary Hull Crowell, on June 13, 1919. The Crowells began to divide the Alexander land into lots, selling a corner lot to Reinhardt on October 19, 1919 (Deeds, 129/126 and 277; Sanborn Map, 1929). Also around 1920, two bungalows were erected in the 800 and 1000 blocks of South Aspen Street. Dr. William F. Elliott built the district's finest bungalow just south of the Lincoln Hospital, at 828 South Aspen Street. The one-and-a-half-story frame dwelling is sheathed in wood shingles and has a broad, side-gable roof covered with metal imitation Spanish tiles that shelters a broad engaged porch across the east facade. Elliott was a family practitioner and an ear, nose, and throat specialist who served on the staff of Lincoln/Gordon Crowell Memorial Hospital for some thirty years. When he first moved to Lincolnton after completing medical school, Elliott boarded with Dr. Lester A. Crowell Sr. until he could build his own home (Census, 1920; Sanborn Map, 1921; Crowell Interview; Crowell Remarks). The frame bungalow built at 1007 South Aspen Street is very similar in form to the Elliott House. Its original owner is not known, but the longest-known owner, from 1941 to 1970, was Georgette Brown Heavner (Sanborn Map, 1921, 1929; Deeds, 226/15, 4 78/205).
The success of Lincoln Hospital and its importance to the Lincolnton community was clearly demonstrated in 1926, when a significant addition was built to the hospital. (The original building had already been expanded to the west in the 1910s.) The new building — a two-story, brick, Colonial Revival structure — was very similar in design to the original frame building and serves, today, as the historic centerpiece of the hospital complex. Its decorative focal point is a classical front entrance porch with fluted columns, full classical entablature, and balustraded flat roof. "Crowell Clinic" is inscribed over the door, while "Gordon Crowell Memorial" is inscribed on the porch frieze. Probably at the same time the new building was constructed, but certainly by 1929, the original building was brick veneered, and the two were joined by a hyphen (Sanborn Maps, 1921, 1929; Brown and York, 180; Heritage, 317). In 1936, the hospital was incorporated and re-named the Gordon Crowell Memorial Hospital in memory of Dr. Gordon Bryan Crowell. He was a son of hospital founder Dr. L.A. Crowell Sr. and a member of the hospital medical staff who had died unexpectedly at the age of thirty in 1926, during construction of the hospital annex. During the last four years of his life, Gordon Crowell and his young family lived in the Alexander House at 613 South Aspen Street (Observer, March 15, 1982; Times, October 7, 1935; Dellinger, Alexander House report, 7-8).
The 1930s — especially during the mid-to-latter part of the decade as the Great Depression receded — brought the construction or remodeling of a group of architecturally interesting houses in the district, several of which had connections with the hospital or with the Crowell family. Around 1930, Dr. A.M. Cornwell, a staff physician at Lincoln Hospital, built a two-story, brick-veneered, Colonial Revival house at 825 South Aspen Street. While their house was being completed, the Cornwell family rented the adjacent Huss-Harrill House at 819 South Aspen Street. The Cornwells retained ownership of their house until 1982 (Deeds, 157/194 and 587/129; Sanborn Maps, 1929 and 1929/41; Census, 1930; Crowell Interview). In 1935, two architecturally striking houses were erected on South Aspen Street, as reported in the April 1 and July 8 editions of the Lincoln County News. Both houses demonstrated the stylistic eclecticism popular in Lincolnton and North Carolina at the time. Dr. S.H. Steelman, a dentist, built an eclectic period cottage at 619 South Aspen Street. The one-and-a-half-story brick house with steep, side-gable roof features an unusual collection of features, including a double-shouldered chimney with a picturesque hexagonal chimney pot, a large oriel window, a limestone quoined surround around the front entrance, a low tamped wall in front of the entrance and front steps, and a lancet-arched window in the gable of a side wing. Dr. Lester A. Crowell Jr. (1904-1985), son of the founder of the hospital and a long-time hospital staff physician in his own right, built a Tudor Revival house at 709 South Aspen Street adjacent to his father's house. The one-and-a-half-story brick house of fireproof construction has a steep hipped roof with shed-roofed dormers, multiple intersecting gables faced with stucco and timbers, and wood batten doors with wrought-iron strap hinges and flanking period light fixtures, among other Tudor Revival features (News, April 1 and July 8, 1935; Sanborn Map, 1929/41; Crowell Interview). Around 1935, another house was built by the Crowell family. In 1934, Dr. Lester A. Crowell Sr. conveyed two lots to his wife, Mary Hull Crowell on West Park Drive, which was part of the land Crowell was beginning to develop as Crowell Park. When the northern half of the land was sold in 1937 to the Crowell's son, Frank Hull Crowell, it was described as the land "upon which is located what is known as the Mary Hull Crowell dwelling built there by her." Owned from 1943 to 1996 by the Pollock family, the Crowell-Pollock House at 624 West Park Drive is architecturally unique in the South Aspen Street neighborhood, for it is a rustic log and stone bungalow with a matching garage (Sanborn Map, 1929/41; Deeds, 180/714, 197/565,234/787, and 959/740). Two significant remodelings of earlier houses also occurred in the district during the 1930s. In the late 1930s, Dr. Lester A. Crowell Sr. moved his house at 805 South Aspen Street back from the street and brick-veneered and remodeled it in the Colonial Revival style. Crowell's remodeled two-story house has a steep hipped roof with gabled wings, a five-bay facade, and a classical entrance and entrance porch (Crowell Interview). Near the south end of the South Aspen Street Historic District, the house that W.W. Motz built in the early twentieth century at 1010 South Aspen Street was sold in 1929 to Mary Love Glenn, wife of William Wilson Glenn (1875-1955). W.W. Glenn was a textile executive associated with several Lincolnton mills in the 1930s and 1940s, including the Saxony and Melville Mills, the Glenn Manufacturing Company, the Saxony Hosiery Company, the Wisteria Mills, the Glenn Thread Company and, finally, Glenn Mills, Inc. During their ownership — probably in the 1930s but possibly not until the 1940s — the Glenns remodeled their two-story frame house, giving it its present Colonial Revival appearance with its dominant, classical, two-story, front porch (Deed, 158/560; Census, 1930; Gamble Interview; Eurey Interview; News, January 10, 1955).
Sanborn Map Company maps show that by 1941 very few lots in the South Aspen Street Historic District remained open for building. Only three houses in the South Aspen Street Historic District date from the decade of the 1940s — one at the beginning of the decade prior to the country's entry into World War II, and the other two near the end of the decade, after the war. Frank Hull Crowell, administrator of the Lincoln/Gordon Crowell Memorial Hospital, was living with his wife, a former student nurse at the hospital, in the house built by his mother at 624 West Park Drive when, in September of 1939, he purchased the lot at 636 West Park Drive from his parents. Apparently he built his new house soon thereafter, for it was depicted on the 1941 Sanborn Map Company map. The house is a simple, one-and-a-half-story frame, Minimal Traditional house with asbestos-shingle siding (Deed, 207/189; Sanborn Map, 1929/1941). In 1948, county surveyor Hoke S. Heavner and his wife purchased a narrow lot at 917 South Aspen Street that had been carved from the lot associated with the C. William Rhodes House at 913 South Aspen Street. Probably very soon thereafter they built the house they owned until 1978. Another Minimal Traditional house typical of those built across North Carolina in the 1940s and 1950s, the Heavner House is a simple, one-and-a-half-story, brick-veneered dwelling with a steep side-gable roof, a gabled front ell, a shed-roofed front porch, and almost no decorative detailing (Deeds, 258/254,262/74, 541/677). The most significant house built in the 1940s was the one erected at 904 South Aspen Street by John D. Abernathy around 1948. The Abernathys had been living in a frame house on the site since the early 1920s when they moved it to the rear of the property in order to erect their large, brick, Colonial Revival style house. The house is particularly striking because of its front entrance and north-side porches constructed with elaborate ornamental ironwork re-used from the Ramsour-Phifer-Abernathy House which had stood in the 100 block of West Main Street (Deeds, 135/560 and 599/752; Dellinger). The Abernathys' decision to build such a substantial house on South Aspen Street at mid-century is a strong indicator that the neighborhood was still considered a fashionable place to live in Lincolnton.
After around 1950, there was little building activity in the district. In 1954 the modern Block Smith Memorial Gymnasium was constructed at 130 East Rhodes Street. The last house erected was the Reinhardt-Miller House at 114 East Rhodes Street. Built in 1955, it is a small, Minimal Traditional, brick dwelling. Two gas stations were built in the district, probably in the 1950s or 1960s, at 518 South Aspen Street and between 526 and 618 South Aspen Street. The one at 518 South Aspen Street was enlarged and remodeled in the 1980s and now serves as the only commercial building in the district. The other gas station was demolished in the late 1980s or 1990s, leaving a vacant lot (Campbell Interview). In 1983, the Colony House Apartments were built at 702 South Aspen Street, replacing the early-twentieth century Marcus L. Little House (Sanborn Maps, 1921, 1929; Census, 1920). Although it contains twenty-four units, its negative effect on the district streetscape is lessened by the fact that the two-story, stained-weatherboard building runs westward on the lot, away from the street, rather than being spread north and south along South Aspen Street. The Lincoln/Gordon Crowell Memorial Hospital was enlarged around 1955 and again in 1973-74. The last addition necessitated the demolition of a one-and-a-half-story frame house between the hospital and 828 South Aspen Street. In 1985, the hospital was sold to Brian Nursing Centers; it now  stands vacant (Crowell Interview).
Having developed primarily from the mid-nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century, the South Aspen Street Historic District is a strong reflection of Lincolnton's continuum of residential and institutional growth and social development during that hundred years. The South Aspen Street Historic District survives as a cohesive collection of thirty-five primary resources, many of which are linked by their connections with the Crowell and Rhodes families or with the district's institutions — the Lincoln/Gordon Crowell Memorial Hospital and the former Lincolnton High School. In addition, the district's well-preserved buildings display a chronological sampling of the architectural styles that were popular in Lincolnton, as in the rest of North Carolina, during those years.
Brown, Marvin A and Maurice C. York. Our Enduring Past: A Survey of 235 Years of Life and Architecture in Lincoln County, North Carolina. Lincolnton: Lincoln County Historic Properties Commission with assistance from the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners, the City of Lincolnton, and the North Carolina Division of Archives and History, 1986.
Cauble, Frank P. A Biography of John Melancthon Rhodes. Typescript, 1975.
Charlotte Observer. March 15, 1982.
Childs, Gladys. People of Our Town Past and Present. Compiled and edited by Helen Harrill. n.p: n.p, n.d.
Crowell, Dr. L. A. Jr. Remarks at ground-breaking ceremonies for tenth addition and renovation of Gordon Crowell Memorial Hospital, May 30, 1973.
Dellinger, Ann M. Historical Sketch of the Wallace H. Alexander House.
Dellinger, Ann M. (historical researcher, Lincoln County). Research notes, April-July, 2002. Copies in survey files, State Historic Preservation Office, Raleigh.
Harpe, Jason. Images of America: Lincoln County, North Carolina. Charleston, S.C. Arcadia Publishing for the Lincoln County Historical Association, 2000.
Hood, Davyd Foard. Study List application for Barrett-Cobb-Hoyle House, 120 East Rhodes Street.
Interviews by phone with author. Interview notes in survey files, State Historic Preservation Office, Raleigh.
Campbell, Martha (Owner of 510 and 518 South Aspen Street). June 25,2002.
Crowell, Dr. Gordon C. (son of Dr. Lester A. Crowell Jr. and former resident of 709 S. Aspen Street). April 12 and September 1, 2002.
Eaddy, Dr. Martin (owner of 910 South Aspen Street). June 25, 2002.
Eurey, Sybil (owner of 1010 South Aspen Street). June 24, 2002.
Gamble, Betty Rhodes (granddaughter of David Polycarp Rhodes and former resident of 1022 South Aspen Street). June 24, 2002.
Rhyne, Virginia (former owner of 618 South Aspen Street who operated a kindergarten for four-year-olds there). June 25, 2002.
Lincoln County Deeds.
Lincoln County Heritage. Waynesville, N.C.: Don Mills, Inc. and the Lincoln County Heritage Book Committee, 1997.
Lincoln County News. April 1, 1935. April 8, 1935. January 10, 1955.
Lincolnton Times. October 7, 1935.
Sanborn Map Company. Sanborn Insurance Maps for Lincolnton, North Carolina, 1911, 1921, 1929, 1929 updated to 1941.
Sherrill, William L. Annals of Lincoln County, North Carolina. Charlotte: Author, 1937.
United States Census, Lincoln County, North Carolina. 1910, 1920, 1930.
‡ Laura A. Phillips, Architectural Historian, Consultant to the City of Lincolnton, South Aspen Street Historic District, Lincoln County, NC, nomination document, 2002, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
Aspen Street South • Park Drive West • Rhodes Street East