The Southern Pines Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1991. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [‡]
The Southern Pines Historic District includes the greater portion of the downtown and adjacent residential areas of Southern Pines developed between the founding of the town and World War II. Platted on logged-over Sandhills land adjacent to the Seaboard Air Line Railway in 1883 by John T. Patrick as a refuge for tubercular Northerners, by the end of the nineteenth century it had grown into a substantial winter resort for Northern visitors, with Queen Anne and Shingle style cottages and a sizable resort hotel. Led by the efforts and influence of the Boyd family, including historical novelist and newspaper publisher James Boyd, the town developed a distinctive image which included golf and fox hunting, and which attracted wealthy Northerners to build large seasonal houses in the Boyds' Weymouth Heights subdivisions. A substantial body of Colonial Revival and English/Norman Cottage style designs by New York architect Aymar Embury II, much of it contained within the district, together with a large complementary oeuvre by local architect Alfred Yeomans, created an architectural identity for Southern Pines between the World Wars that was unique in Eastern North Carolina. Tied together by intensive early twentieth century plantings of pines, hollies, magnolias and other trees and shrubs, the Southern Pines Historic District combines a rich architectural fabric with a handsome landscape.
Historical Background and Community Development Context
The Raleigh and Augusta Railway (later Seaboard Air Line Railway) cut through the Moore County Sandhills region in 1877 on its way to Hamlet, a railroad junction in adjoining Richmond County. This thinly-settled area contained substantial sections of old-growth Longleaf pines, and stations or stops were established initially at Manly, Shaw's Ridge and Blue's Crossing [Aberdeen] to load turpentine and other forest products for export. The Shaw's Ridge section was the mid-nineteenth century property of Charles C. Shaw (1781-1852), a farmer who was also involved in the production of naval stores. (His house still stands outside the Southern Pines Historic District to the northwest.) After his death, and the death of his wife Mary after the Civil War, the large farm was divided among their children. (Lindau, The First Hundred Years, p.9)
Into the area in the early 1880s came John T. Patrick, an Anson County native who had been hired by the State of North Carolina in 1879 to recruit settlers for its thinly-settled landscape. A former newspaper editor, Patrick had a flair for promotion and was successful in attracting northern investments. In 1882 he was named Commissioner of Immigration by Governor Vance, a largely ceremonial title. (Lindau, p.9) Patrick used the position, however, along with his status as an industrial agent for the Seaboard Air Line to found a series of new towns along the S.A.L.'s route. He is credited with opening settlements at Southern Pines; Pinebluff; Patrick, South Carolina; Southmont; Peachland; Vaughn; and in the mountains, Chimney Rock. (Huttenhauer, Young Southern Pines, p.11)
Dr. John and Peter C. Shaw had sold their portion of the Shaw's Ridge land to W.O. Robinson, who worked it for turpentine, after which it was sold to Buchan & Bland, who cut the virgin pine for lumber. In 1883 Patrick bought 400 acres of this cut-over tract from Buchan & Bland, paying $52.50 an acre for it, as well as 170 acres east of the railroad from Duncan R. and Mary Jane Shaw for $4.00 per acre. C.W. "Squire" Shaw also gave him 84 acres at the south end to straighten out his line. (Southern Pines Tourist, 24 July 1914. p.1) Patrick brought an engineer from Raleigh to lay out the new town, which he called Vineland (soon changed to Southern Pines), and established the New England Manufacturing, Mining and Estate Company to promote it.
The choice of company names and the names of avenues in the new town indicate where Patrick planned to recruit his townspeople. The Sandhills had a reputation for a mild and healthful climate, with a number of natural springs, and Patrick hoped to attract northerners who had respiratory illnesses or who might be seeking refuge from harsh northern winters. He spread pamphlets extolling the virtues of the new settlement across New England, offered free lots to doctors who might move down, invited Northern journalists to visit, and toured the North with carloads of exhibits financed by the Seaboard Air Line, successor to the Raleigh and Augusta. (Huttenhauer, p.13, 14)
The initial settlers found a largely desolate landscape of stumps, sand and brush on which the streets and lots had been marked out. Patrick had built a crude hotel of green lumber where settlers could stay until they had built dwellings. However, the land was easily cleared, lumber was in plentiful supply, and among the early settlers were carpenters Fred Chatfield, Samuel T. Moffett, Walter Poe, Tom Burgess and William Crain, who were responsible for many of the buildings constructed in Southern Pines in the late nineteenth century. (Huttenhauer, p.21, Lindau, p.11-12. (Tourist, 24 July 1914, p.1)
In 1887 the Town of Southern Pines was incorporated and a description of the town noted that it consisted of "half-a-dozen pretty cottages, one hotel, another in construction, and a railroad depot." (Huttenhauer, p.22) Early on, Bennett Street served as the main boulevard of the settlement.
The new hotel, the Prospect House, marked the beginning of Southern Pines's transition from a refuge for consumptives to a resort for Northerners seeking to avoid the northern winter. A census in the early 1890s put the population at 947, of whom 615 were winter visitors. (Huttenhauer, p.22) The resort season initially ran from December to May, later from October to May. This influx of visitors spurred the development of the town. By 1898 the S.A.L. Magundi remarked, "During the past year 30 new buildings by actual count have been erected, including two fine churches and many fine residences.... New streets have been opened and old ones graded and put into good condition; sidewalks improved, stock law enforced. A free graded school has been established.... The town has issued $30,000 in water bonds.... An electric light plant is in successful operation." (Huttenhauer, p.23)
A downtown business district had begun development along Broad and the adjacent streets, although it was still almost entirely made up of frame buildings; the D.N. Thomas Building (constructed in 1898) at 244-250 North West Broad Street was the first brick structure downtown. (Huttenhauer, p.23) A number of rooming and boarding houses were located in town, and the streets were sprinkled with small rental cottages occupied by the seasonal trade.
Southern Pines's identity as a resort community was solidified in 1895 with the construction of a large resort hotel, the Piney Woods Inn, on a hill northwest of the downtown. Able to accommodate 250 guests, the hotel was a long, boxy, frame Late Victorian structure. (Huttenhauer, p.137) The Seaboard Air Line recognized the area's resort status by constructing a handsome new Queen Anne style passenger depot in 1898 (215 NW Broad Street).
Paradoxically, the growth of Southern Pines was enhanced by the development of another new resort town nearby called Pinehurst. Like J.T. Patrick, industrialist James W. Tufts of Boston purchased a large tract of logged-over sandhills land in 1895 on which he planned to found a winter health resort for middle-class Northerners with "delicate lungs." However, instead of selling off lots, Tufts retained title and built the town's hotels, cottages and other facilities himself. Unlike Southern Pines, which was laid out in a grid plan with central squares in each block (the latter largely ignored from the start, and now almost undetectable), Pinehurst had a radial arrangement of streets planned by Frederick Law Olmsted. Tufts introduced golf to the Sandhills by constructing a golf course in 1897, the first of what was to become one of the region's chief attractions. By 1905, when son Leonard began selling off lots in an addition to Pinehurst, a covenant was inserted prohibiting occupation of the property by persons with '"tuberculosis or consumption." However, ownership of most of Pinehurst remained in the Tufts family until 1971. (Pinehurst National Register Nomination, p.8B)
Rail travellers to Pinehurst had to descend at the Southern Pines station, and in the late nineteenth century the towns were connected by a trolley line, replaced by a road in 1908. Southern Pines benefitted from the additional traffic, and from the enhanced reputation of the area as a resort. Never-the-less, the two towns had different characters, as James Boyd humorously noted in 1927: "Pinehurst is a resort visited by golfers; Southern Pines is a town inhabited by fox hunters. In the summer Pinehurst ceases to exist. It is merely a deserted village haunted by the ghosts of departed golfers. But all the year around, Southern Pines may be seen vigorously flourishing, its noble civic life distinguished by sectarian disputes, town dogs, corner loafers, Kiwanians, caucuses, tax-dodgers, bootleggers, dead beats, rummage sales, law suits, chiropractors, public oratory and all the other attributes of organized metropolitan society." (Sandhill Citizen, 16 December 1927)
Until after the turn of the century, almost all of the built-up portion of Southern Pines was located to the north of the railroad tracks. A 1925 article in The Pilot noted, "In 1904...there were not over 25 houses east (southeast) of the railroad track in what are now the corporated limits of Southern Pines. The sand hill opposite the depot extended almost to the main track.... There were no stores east (southeast) of the railroad." (The Pilot, 30 October 1925, p.1)
In the years immediately before World War I, however, the section south of the tracks began to be built up with houses, hotels and commercial buildings. One major impetus was the construction by L.A. Gould in 1913 of a row of rental duplexes and bungalows along May Street between Connecticut and Pennsylvania Avenues. (Tourist, 22 August 1913, p.1) Others included the opening of two large hotels on the south side, the Juneau in 1908 (demolished 1967) on Ashe Street and the Hollywood Hotel in 1913 (demolished 1966) on New York Avenue. In 1909 the Southern Pines Building Company was formed by a group of local businessmen to provide better quality rental cottages, a number of which were built south of the tracks. (The Tourist. 8 October 1909, p.1)
At the northwest end of Patrick's town plat, outside the Southern Pines Historic District, another settlement began to grow, a primarily African-American one separated from the portion around the railroad tracks by a slight valley. This section became a distinct town called West Southern Pines, and was not rejoined to Southern Pines until the 1930s.
In 1903 James Boyd, a wealthy Pennsylvania railroad and coal magnate, bought 1,200 acres of land on the high ground to the south of the existing downtown, known as Shaw's Ridge, and named the virgin pine tract Weymouth Woods. (Lindau, p.21) He was the first of the Boyds who were to have a significant role in deciding the type and timing of the development of substantial parts of Southern Pines. The large Classical Revival style house that he acquired there, which he also called Weymouth, served as a seasonal residence for the extended family.
When the Piney Woods Inn burned in 1910, Boyd agreed to provide eight acres of land on the ridge at the south end of Massachusetts Avenue on which a new resort hotel might be built. (Lindau, p.38) The elegant frame Colonial Revival style Highland Pines Hotel (605 East Massachusetts Avenue), opened in 1912, was designed by a young New York architect, Aymar Embury II, and had grounds planned by a landscape architect from Chicago who was a Boyd relative, Alfred Yeomans. Embury also designed several Colonial Revival style cottages to be built on the streets around the hotel and rented under its management.
Both James and his son John Boyd were avid golfers, having a private nine hole golf course at Weymouth. They were prime movers in the development of the Southern Pines Country Club and in its location in the Weymouth Heights area west of the historic district in 1909. (Lindau, p.36)
Although James Boyd died in December of 1910, his son John Yeomans Boyd (d.1914) and daughter Helen Boyd Dull (d.1924) continued to promote the family's interests in the Weymouth property. In 1913 they subdivided the land immediately around the Highland Inn at the south end of the district, using a plat prepared by Alfred Yeomans which showed curving streets, lots carefully arranged to provide views, and formally-landscaped gardens. (Moore County Maps, Book 1, Section 1) Weymouth, Valley and Highland Roads in the district were included in this first phase. Deeds conveying the new parcels in the Weymouth Heights subdivision contained covenants which required the purchasers to build a house costing at least a specified amount, within seven years, and only after approval of plans submitted to the Boyds' "landscape architect," presumably Alfred Yeomans. (Moore County Deeds, Book 84, p.562)
Southern Pines shared in the wave of national prosperity during and after World War I. The downtown was almost completely rebuilt in the first quarter of the century, and in the process brick buildings replaced frame, aided by a fire district ordinance passed by the town commissioners in 1909. (The Tourist, 24 September 1909, p.1) A catastrophic conflagration in 1921 also destroyed a large part of the oldest and most heavily built-up section of Broad Street, the 100 block of North West Broad. (Lindau, p.35)
With the development of a state and national highway system in the years just after World War I, Southern Pines was linked to the north by being placed on the primary New York to Florida highway, what was to become US Highway 1. This was both a recognition of the status of the area as a popular resort and a spur to further development.
Whereas in earlier years most seasonal visitors rented accommodations, by the 1920s an increasing number of the more affluent ones were building substantial houses to be occupied during the season, particularly in the Weymouth Heights subdivision and surrounding area. By 1924 almost all of the original Weymouth subdivision had been sold, and more than fifty additional acres were subdivided to the south, east and west by the Boyd heirs, again following a plan drawn by A.B. Yeomans (part out of the district). (Moore County Maps, Book 1, Section 1) Within the next five years many of these new lots, carrying the same restrictions as the initial ones, had been sold and large new houses constructed on them — often to building designs by Yeomans.
Also in 1924, John Boyd's son Jackson Boyd purchased a thirteen-acre tract north of Ridge Street that had composed the Abraham Orchard. On part of it he had A.B. Yeomans lay out a new road, Orchard Road, connecting Ridge Street in the older section of the district and Weymouth Road at the edge of Weymouth Heights, while a seven acre tract to the east, adjacent to Boyd's own house, was reserved for a park. (The Pilot, 19 December 1924, p.1 and Moore County Maps, Book 1, Section 1, p.13) Still another Weymouth Heights subdivision was made farther to the south in 1926 (most out of the district). (Moore County Maps, Book 1, Section 1)
Many of the wealthy who built houses on Weymouth Heights were from Pennsylvania (particularly the Pittsburgh area), or New York, but others came from as far away as Ohio and Michigan. Not all built houses for themselves. Louis Lachine, an engineer with the Highland Pines Inn organization, built (and apparently designed) at least ten substantial houses around the inn on speculation, as did the Boyds and realtor Roy Pushee. (The Pilot, 2 July 1926, pp.1, 4 and 6 June 1930, p.7)
At the end of 1919 John Y. Boyd's son James moved permanently to Southern Pines and began his career as a writer. The younger Boyd had been born and raised in the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania area, and had attended Princeton University and Trinity College, Cambridge. After teaching for a short period, he was forced by illness in the mid-1910s to spend an extended period of convalescence at the family's house in Southern Pines with brother Jackson Boyd, who had taken over management of the family interests in the area following the death of their father, John Y. Boyd, in 1914. James Boyd subsequently served in the U.S. Army Ambulance Service during World War I. (Powell, Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, p.201 and Lindau, p.39)
Although Boyd had written stories, plays and poetry since his youth, and although he had spent short periods of time at the Harrisburg Patriot and Country Life, the move to Southern Pines was a crucial point in his career as a writer. By 1930 stories with recognizable North Carolina settings by Boyd were appearing regularly in Scribner's Magazine, Century Magazine, American Mercury and elsewhere. By 1922, however, he had turned to writing the historical novels for which he is best known. Three of Boyd's five historical novels are set in North Carolina. Drums ( 1925), about the American Revolution, is set in the Edenton area; Marching On ( 1927), a Civil War novel, is set in the Wilmington and coastal area; and Long Hunt ( 1930) has its opening scenes set in the western part of the state. Boyd also wrote Roll River (1935), a partly autobiographical novel about a Pennsylvania industrial family, and Bitter Creek (1939), set in the Wyoming cattle country. (Powell, pp.201-202)
Both critics and the reading public received Boyd's novels with enthusiasm, particularly Drums and Roll River. Scholars have recently come to recognize his novels as "representing major steps in the development of the historical novel as a genre, carrying it beyond the older historical romance through greater historical accuracy, psychological and sociological awareness, moral and aesthetic sensitivity, and formal control." (Powell, p.202)
Boyd's writing drew him into contact with other southern writers and with writers from outside the region who wrote about the South, including Paul Green, Thomas Wolfe, Sherwood Anderson, William Faulkner, John Galsworthy and Struthers Burt. (Powell, p.202) Boyd's presence helped attract other writers to the area, both to visit, as did Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Anderson and Wolfe, or to live, as did Hugh McNair Kahler and Struthers and Katherine Newlin Burt. He established a tradition of writers coming to the Sandhills that remains active today. (The Pilot, 5 March 1987)
Both James and Jack Boyd had acquired a taste for riding to the hounds in Pennsylvania, and they continued to hunt in Southern Pines. The brothers were co-founders and joint masters of the Moore County Hounds, the oldest formal fox hunt club in North Carolina and the genesis of the local riding industry, a prominent feature of the area today. (Lindau, p.39)
In 1940 Boyd organized and served as national chairman of the Free Company of Players, a group of American writers concerned about the growth of anti-democratic attitudes in the country, who produced and broadcast a series of radio plays early in 1941. In 1941 Boyd also purchased and became editor of the Southern Pines weekly, The Pilot, and turned it into a progressive regional newspaper. He died while out of town in 1944 and his ashes were returned to be buried at Weymouth. (Powell, p.202)
The elder James Boyd's daughter, Mrs. Helen Boyd Dull, was also an important element in the early twentieth century development of Southern Pines. In 1907, mostly through the efforts of Mrs. Dull, but also with the strong support of Miss Anna Jenks and other women of the town, the Southern Pines Civic Club was formed to improve and enhance the town's civic and cultural life, its health and safety, the education of its children, and its attractiveness to winter guests. They called for and carried out a public clean-up day, arranged for regular trash collection and a trash dump, worked for the planting of trees and other shrubs along the railroad line, arranged cultural events, and provided the town with practical items such as a fire truck and playground equipment. The club still operates in a building constructed in 1925 to a design by A.B. Yeomans. (Lindau, p.36)
The logged-over wasteland that early settlers encountered in Southern Pines was gradually improved by the active efforts of both the Civic Club and the local Chamber of Commerce. In 1909 the Civic Club reported that it had planted nearly 300 trees and shrubs, mostly pines, magnolias and hollies, and was taking orders from property owners for the delivery of plants at cost. (Tourist, 9 April 1909, p.2) The Chamber of Commerce carried out further plantings in the 1920s along the railroad tracks, again with pines, dogwoods, hollies and other shrubs that could be obtained at small cost at local nurseries. (The Pilot, 25 March 1927, p.1)
The Depression brought Southern Pines's rapid growth to a near halt, as the flow of winter visitors dried up. A few building projects were carried out, however, including the new Southern Pines Library (180 SW Broad Street) and U.S. Post Office (190 SW Broad Street), both built in the late 1930s with Public Works Administration funds.
With the beginning of World War II, the local economy received a considerable boost as the expansion of nearby Fort Bragg and the opening of Camp Mackall near Pinebluff swelled the population. The military took over the Highland Pines Inn, as it did most of the resort hotels in the area, and many of the surrounding seasonal residences were used to house officers.
During the postwar period Southern Pines adjusted to a changing economy and a changing population. A number of military families who had been exposed to Southern Pines returned to live there. Open spaces within the district were gradually filled in with new residential construction. The U.S. Air Force Ground School occupied the Highland Pines Inn from 1951 until it burned in 1957. (Lindau, p.38) The resultant open space was redeveloped with new houses and is not part of this Southern Pines Historic District. Gradually, most of the other large resort hotels inside Southern Pines were converted to other uses or demolished, and the boarding houses became apartment buildings. In 1955 a new routing of US Highway 1 was made, bypassing the downtown to run north through the low area between the east and west parts of town. During the late 1970s the James Boyd House and a portion of the Weymouth estate were listed in the National Register. The house was repaired and a conference center established on the property (555 East Connecticut Avenue).
After a period of decline immediately after the war, many of the Southern Pines Historic District's larger houses have been restored in recent years, as have sections of the downtown, due to the growing desirability of the area as a haven for retirees. Some of the larger houses are still occupied only on a seasonal basis. A number of the older residences in the north part of the district have been converted to apartments. The local economy provides services for the resort trade, for Fort Bragg, and for a large retired population.
The earliest buildings in Southern Pines were simple frame structures designed more for shelter than for style. Within a few years, however, settlers began constructing houses ornamented with brackets, decorative shingling, turned columns and scroll-sawn vergeboards in imitation of the late Victorian residences found in coastal communities in the Northeast. Commercial buildings in the downtown area were mostly plain, gabled or flat-topped with bracketed Italianate cornices.
At the turn of the century, a number of Late Queen Anne and Classical Revival structures were built that prominently featured large areas of wood-shingled wall and turned or Tuscan porch columns. Both the Baptist Church (former, 289 West Connecticut Avenue) and the Congregational Church (first church on the site at 141 North Bennett Street) built during this period were wood-shingled, reflecting the influence of the New England Shingle style, as it is sometimes known.
Earlier than most of North Carolina, the Arts and Crafts-influenced Craftsman style was well-represented in small cottages and a few large houses built in Southern Pines by 1910. With their dark-stained shingled walls, hipped or side-gabled roofs, and casement or diamond-pane, double-hung windows, they represented a recognizable entity.
The construction of the Juneau Hotel out of concrete block in 1909 marked the introduction of a new material that was to be popular for nearly 25 years for use in foundations, retaining walls and in small garages, molded with a rock-face or rusticated. (The Tourist, 17 September 1909, p.5) After the establishment of a fire district in the downtown area in 1909, new brick buildings were constructed, most in a plain commercial vernacular ornamented only by panels of basket weave brickwork or by corbelled pendants at the cornice level. However, brick did not become a common material for residential construction until the 1920s.
It is probably not possible to overestimate the impact of New York architect Aymar Embury II on the appearance of Southern Pines and the Sandhills resort area between 1912 and 1940. Brought to Southern Pines by the Boyds to design the Highland Park Inn, he produced a substantial body of work in a short period of time, creating a recognizable but difficult to define Sandhills style. Most of the designs brought forth by Embury for the area were in a freely-adapted Colonial Revival mode influenced heavily by Pennsylvania and Delaware Federal style architecture, but he also designed a handful of buildings which were; in the words of a contemporary article in Architectural Record, "playful in the use of material, without affectation, so difficult to find precedent for, although there are many things about it of haunting familiarity. It is not quite English, nor quite French, nor can it be called Art Nouveau. It is rather the result of a thorough assimilation of many historic precedents and complete mastery over them." (Architectural Record, June 1924. p.551)
The most influential of these buildings was Loblolly (140 North Valley Road), the house designed for Mrs. A.P.L. (Helen Boyd) Dull in 1918. Loblolly is a tour-de-force of stuccoed clay tile, checkerboard brick and stucco, bell cast hipped and gabled slate roofs with tile ridges, and a variety of other evocative details. Although becoming popular in the northeast during the period, possibly due to the belated influence of such English Arts and Crafts architects as C.F.A. Voysey, these English/Norman cottage style houses were unknown in North Carolina east of Asheville. Loblolly had a profound affect on new residences built in Southern Pines, particularly in the Weymouth Heights subdivisions, during the 1920s.
Identified buildings by Embury surviving within the Southern Pines Historic District include several cottages designed to accompany the Highland Pines Inn, the Dr. E.E. Cady House (220 South Valley Road), the Hugh Betterley House (210 South Valley Road), Loblolly, the James Boyd House (140 North Valley Road), Woodstock (120 Highland Road), Dr. Mudgett's Medical Offices (140 SW Broad Street), the Southern Pines Public Library (180 SW Broad Street), the U.S. Post Office (190 SW Broad Street), and the Citizens Bank Building (132 NW Broad Street). Other buildings in the Southern Pines Historic District may be attributed to him on the basis of close resemblance to his known work. Together, they represent the best collection of his designs in North Carolina, particularly since a number of Embury buildings have been demolished, including the Southern Pines and Aberdeen schools, the Club House at the Southern Pines Country Club, the Highland Pines Inn, and the Sand Hills Fruit Growers Association Building.
A 1924 Architectural Record article remarks that when Embury first came to the Sandhills one of his greatest handicaps was the lack of skilled workers able to carry out his designs: "Until Mr. Embury began his work in the Sand Hills some contractors had never seen a blue print, or built from plans, and full sized details were unknown. These men, however, were keen to learn and quick to take suggestions and among them there are today many mechanics who can read plans intelligently and execute them well and directly or indirectly to a surprising extent they have been educated by Mr. Embury. (Architectural Record, p.506)
Embury also imported contractors to carry out work in the area. John A. MacPherson of New York came to Southern Pines to build Loblolly. He stayed, and eventually constructed many of the more exacting commissions in the district, including the James Boyd House at Weymouth (140 N. Valley Road), the Boyd-Campbell House (482 E. Connecticut Avenue), the Pushee-Arkell House (110 Highland Road), the Robert Krafferts House (135 Highland Road), and George Henne House (145 Highland Road), among others. (Southern Pines, North Carolina: The Mid-South Resort, n.p.) At Loblolly, Aymer Embury and John MacPherson essentially introduced the stuccoed clay tile method of construction to Southern Pines, where it became a distinctive feature of the building vocabulary.
Embury received a degree in civil engineering (1900) and the Master of Science (1901) from Princeton, but did not begin studying architecture until after leaving school. He worked as a draftsman in a number of the most successful architectural practices of the time, including George B. Post, Cass Gilbert, Howells & Stokes, Palmer & Hornbostel, and Herbert D. Hale. He became, as he once expressed it, "a forced specialist in country house work." (Brickbuilder, V.24, p.128) Although he had a substantial career as a designer of suburban and country period houses in the Northeast, not to mention a plethora of buildings of all types, Embury is paradoxically best known for having designed or collaborated on the Whitestone Bridge, Lincoln Tunnel, the Triboro Bridge, and the permanent New York City Building at the 1939 New York World's Fair. (Obituary, Progressive Architecture, p.47-48)
Another of the Boyds' contributions to the development of Southern Pines came when they imported landscape architect Alfred B. Yeomans to lay out the Weymouth Heights subdivision. Yeomans (1870?-1954) was a relative of the Boyds (the elder James Boyd was his uncle), born in Orange, New Jersey to Reverend Alfred Yeomans and Mrs. Elizabeth Ramsey Yeomans. A graduate of Princeton University, the younger Mr. Yeomans worked professionally as a landscape architect in Chicago at the turn of the century. After his initial visit to lay out the first phase of Weymouth Heights, Yeomans returned to Southern Pines, where he spent the rest of his life. (Obituary, The Pilot, 20 August 1954, p.1)
Although not professionally trained as a building designer, Alfred B. Yeomans gradually built a considerable practice as an architect. In addition to his own house (370 East Pennsylvania Avenue), he also designed houses for Mrs. J.H. Andrews (790 E. Connecticut Avenue), Mrs. John Y. Boyd (765 E. Connecticut Avenue), Eugene Stevens (130 Highland Road), Dr. E.L. Prizer (235 E. Massachusetts Avenue), the Pushee-Arkell House (110 Highland Road), Duncraig Manor (790 E. Connecticut Avenue) and other residences, as well as the Civic Club Building (105 South Ashe Street), the former Southern Pines Fire Department (131-135 East New Hampshire Avenue) and the Stevens Building, all in the district. An article in The Pilot in 1928 noted that "Mr. Yeomans has on his hands this summer a dozen or more high-class houses." (The Pilot, 1 June 1928, p.1)
Following Embury's lead at Loblolly, most of Yeomans's houses were picturesque stuccoed versions of the English/Norman Cottage style. Although lacking Embury's virtuoso touch with plan and detail, Yeomans's houses are handsome and distinctive and contribute to an identifiable "Sandhills Style." His most notable contributions to the Southern Pines Historic District are the large English/Norman Cottage style house he designed for the widow of his cousin, Mrs. John Y. Boyd; Duncraig Manor, a multi-sectioned English Cottage style house of painted brick; the Pushee-Arkell House, a first use of Moore County stone for residential construction during the period; and his own more modest, stuccoed, gambrel-roofed Dutch Colonial residence. A tourist brochure from the 1920s sums up Yeomans's approach to residential design for the Sandhills: "The diversified character of the landscape lends itself readily to an almost equally diversified domestic architecture whether one leans toward the traditional dignity and quiet beauty of Southern colonial or is drawn towards the less formal English cottage or Norman farmhouse type, or yet again if one subscribes to no particular architectural creed and prefers to consider the exterior of a house as simply the logical development of a comfortable and livable plan adapted to local climatic and living conditions." (Southern Pines: The Mid-South Resort, n.p.)
As a landscape architect he laid out much of Mount Hope Cemetery, and designed the new Knollwood Subdivision developed in the 1920s, both outside the Southern Pines Historic District. (The Pilot, 5 March 1987, p.1-E and Obituary, The Pilot, 20 August 1954) A town commissioner in the 1920s, Yeomans was an advocate of the public landscaping carried out in the town, and was for years a member of the town parks commission.
In landscaping he believed in making use of native shrubs, flowers and trees. Although the 1913 subdivision plan for the initial Weymouth Heights phase shows suggested sittings for houses, each with a formal, walled garden, only a few appear to have been built, most conspicuously the gardens at Loblolly. His obituary states that "he believed in making use of native shrubs, flowers and trees, shunning a stiff formality and creating a type of garden that persists in this community and has made it famous as a section of gardens featuring natural beauty." (Obituary, The Pilot, 20 August 1954-Alfred B. Yeomans) At some point in the future, as the result of further study, a complete landscape gardening context may be developed for Southern Pines.
Alexander, Ann C. Perspective On A Resort Community: Historic Buildings Inventory, Southern Pines, North Carolina. Southern Pines: Town of Southern Pines, 1981.
Huttenhauer, Helen G. Young Southern Pines. Southern Pines: Morgan/Hubbard, 1980.
Lindau, Betsy. The 1st Hundred Years. Southern Pines: Town of Southern Pines, 1987.
Microfilm files of the Southern Pines Tourist, Sandhills Citizen, and The Pilot.
Moore County Deeds. Register of Deeds, Carthage, North Carolina.
Moore County Maps. Register of Deeds, Carthage, North Carolina.
"Obituaries-Aymar Embury II," Progressive Architecture, Vol.48, No.1 (January 1967), p.46.
Powell, William S., ed. Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, vol.1, A-C. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1979. S.V. "Boyd, James," by David E. Whisnant.
Sanborn Map Company. Insurance Maps of Southern Pines, North Carolina. 1909, 1915, 1924.
Vertical Files, Moore County Public Library, Carthage, N.C.
Whitehead, Russell J. "Some Work of Aymar Embury II in the Sand Hills of North Carolina," Architectural Record, June 1924, pp.505-568.
‡ David R. Black, Architectural Historian, Black and Black Preservation Consultants, Southern Pines Historic District, Moore County, NC, nomination document, 1991, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
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