The Fulton Heights Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [‡]
The Fulton Heights Historic District in Salisbury is an intact representative of a middle and upper-middle class residential neighborhood that developed in the early twentieth century. Fulton Heights is among several suburbs of North Carolina towns that emerged as an outgrowth of nationwide planning efforts such as the City Beautiful Movement. The neighborhood is laid out in grid-patterned streets along which houses rendered in nationally-popular styles were regularly spaced within well-landscaped yards. Fulton Heights is among several neighborhoods of the period in the state that boasted amenities such as a streetcar system and large park area within its boundaries. The developers of the neighborhood formed the Southern Development Company and sponsored the extension of the city's existing streetcar tracks to the neighborhood in 1904. Several streetcar suburbs emerged around the turn of the century in North Carolina's larger cities, but the streetcar line that serviced Fulton Heights in the town of Salisbury, was distinguished in that it provided direct transportation for workers commuting to the nearby Southern Railway Spencer Shops. Though the park and the streetcar tracks have been replaced by a landscaped median, the neighborhood still conveys a strong sense of its origins as an early twentieth century residential suburb with its varietal collection of well-maintained housing, wide avenues and generous landscaping.
Stimulated by the development and expansion of the Spencer Shops, as well as by the early twentieth century growth and prosperity of the city of Salisbury, the Fulton Heights neighborhood grew steadily through the 1930s. During the 1940s, post-World War II housing filled vacant lots and sprang up along the periphery. The Fulton Heights neighborhood, therefore, provides an example of the physical evolution of residential areas that developed on the edge of Salisbury's central business district during the early twentieth century. The period of significance for the neighborhood begins with the construction date of the earliest house in 1903 and ends in 1948, the year which marks the National Register fifty-year age criterion.
The character, integrity, and range of the Fulton Heights Historic District's architectural resources render it further eligible for listing under criterion for architecture. Its extensive group of early twentieth century residential buildings represent a well-preserved collection of dwellings erected during the first half of the twentieth century. The architecture of the Fulton Heights Historic District is not centered on one theme, but rather exhibits a variety of nationally-popular styles such as Colonial Revival, Craftsman, Tudor Revival and World War II-era Minimal Traditional along with several examples of earlier styles including Queen Anne and late Victorian-era cottages. The T.A. Ludwick House, a circa 1908 Queen Anne House at 200 Mitchell Avenue exhibits the transition to Colonial Revival with its classical porch, while the circa 1908 Reams-Hambley House at 612 Mitchell Avenue, later altered in the 1920s, represents a more evolved rendition of Colonial Revival with its hipped-roof form. Other manifestations of the Colonial Revival style including the Dutch Colonial Revival and the Spanish Colonial Revival style are also present. Numerous examples of Craftsman Bungalow houses are exhibited in the district with particularly notable renditions in the 400 block of Maupin Avenue. Architectural landmarks of the Fulton Heights Historic District include the Gothic Revival style Second Reformed Presbyterian Church (117 Ridge Avenue) and First Associated Reformed Presbyterian Church (1330 South Fulton Street), and the Neo-classical Calvin Wiley School (211 Ridge Avenue).
Architectural Context: Early Twentieth-Century Suburban Architecture in North Carolina
In their overall volume and in the scale and style of individual dwellings, North Carolina's early twentieth century suburbs display conservative, yet substantial manifestations of national movements in architecture. During the first two decades of the century, the Revival styles, including the Colonial, Classical, and Tudor Revivals became prominent, representing what architectural historian Mary M. Foley calls the "colonial and picturesque'' styles which reflected an American and European past that was romanticized to counteract what had become declasse in contemporary design schemes (Foley 1983). Builders and architects nationwide were inspired by the revival of these traditional styles, and this trend is reflected in Fulton Heights. As was true of middle- and upper middle-class neighborhoods throughout the country during this time. Craftsman and Colonial Revival styles were the most prominent influences in the neighborhood.
Although most houses in neighborhoods developed in the early twentieth century were designed by the owner-builder, built on speculation by a local contractor, or based on plans ordered from mail order concerns, a few were designed by regionally prominent architects. Among the houses in the Fulton Heights Historic District designed by architects is the Lewis D. Peeler House (607 Mitchell Avenue) designed by English architect Percy Bloxam and the Ernest Lauriston Hardin House (702 Mitchell Avenue) by award-winning New York architect Frank Joseph Forster.
Throughout America's suburbs, and as seen in the Fulton Heights Historic District, the long reign of the Colonial Revival indicates the continuing preference for the style. The earliest allusion to the Colonial Revival style is evinced in some of Fulton Height's late Queen Anne dwellings. With their asymmetrical massing and classical porch features, these houses marked the transition between the styles. The influence of the Colonial Revival continued into the 1920s with the popular Dutch Colonial Revival. Well into the 1940s elements including columned entry porches appeared on the smallest and most simple one-story cottages. These renditions diverge from that of Victorian-era houses in their simpler detailing, more geometrical massing, and more compact size. The 1902 T.A. Ludwick House at 200 Mitchell Avenue, exhibits the purest example of the Queen Anne style in the district with Classical wraparound porch, while the house at 219 Maupin Avenue represents a more straightforward hip-roofed form with a symmetrical wraparound Doric porch.
Houses became smaller in the 1920s to compensate for the technological advances in plumbing and heating and cooling systems which substantially added to the cost of building (Bishir and Earley 1983, p.27). The Craftsman Bungalow became popular as a response to this trend towards economy with most constructed between 1920 and 1940 according to pattern books. A proliferation of Craftsman houses in neighborhoods signified a nationwide building explosion in the 1920s that was concurrent with the neighborhood movement emphasizing suburban residential development. Two houses, R.R. Perry House at 428 Maupin Avenue and J.N. Haden House at 430 Maupin Avenue, are notably typical versions of the Craftsman Bungalow along with several similar houses in that block. These houses are characterized by a side-gabled form with a prominent central gabled dormer or a front-gabled porch supported by bartered columns on brick piers. Craftsman details include exposed rafter ends, eave brackets, and three-over-one-light sash windows.
Beginning in the late 1920s and continuing through the 1930s, Tudor Revival became a popular style in early twentieth century neighborhoods. In Fulton Heights, while the style is alluded to in several Tudoresque cottages, a few more pure examples occur. The houses at 501 Maupin Avenue and 509 Maupin Avenue, with their multiple steeple-pitched front gables exhibit typical Tudor form and details including leaded glass windows, arched entries, robust chimneys, and the decorative half-timbering at the gables. Also during this period, the Prairie School style became a popular influence. Several brick houses with typical hipped-roof Foursquare form, wide eave overhangs and substantial brick porch columns exhibit the style along Mitchell Avenue. The J.C. Ketchie House at 130 Wiley Avenue exhibits a less common form comprising a low-pitched hipped roof with multiple gabled projections.
Widespread domestic building ceased between 1941 and 1945 as the country prepared for and fought World War II. When construction resumed in 1946, houses based on historical precedent were largely abandoned for new variations of modern styles which had appeared briefly in the pre-war era. The earliest of these, the Minimal Traditional style actually appeared as early as the late 1930s, but flourished in the post-war 1940s and early 1950s. In Fulton Heights examples these simple houses based loosely on the Tudor Revival style stand along Heilig Avenue and cross streets such as Fries Street, which developed later during the neighborhood's evolution. By the early 1950s they were being replaced by the Ranch style, which dominated American domestic buildings through the 1960s. The construction dates of these Ranch style dwellings fall outside the Fulton Height Historic District's period of significance. Their small number in Fulton Heights does not detract from the district's overall integrity.
Development History of the Fulton Heights Neighborhood and Community Planning Context: Early Twentieth-Century Streetcar Suburbs in North Carolina
Although it was not one of the larger towns in the state, Salisbury at the turn-of-the-century was flourishing with textile and railroad-related industry. This vitality presented a certain allure to developers and residential construction was on the rise. An eyewitness to the growth in 1900 was D. Eggleston, Jr., a traveler traveled by train from Asheville to Raleigh: "It is not necessary to leave the train at Salisbury to see evidences of substantial growth on every side. New dwellings nicely painted, just as many more in process of erection. [These] tell the onlooker that Salisbury is wide awake, and I could not help thinking with a sigh...she will soon make the larger cities of our good state put on their fighting clothes to keep from getting left in the race for pre-eminence." (Salisbury Sun, January 8, 1900 as stated in Salisbury Evening Post 1976, p.8P).
Improvements that had occurred in Salisbury by 1900 included the purchase of a waterworks plant, the installation of sewer lines and electric power, and the provision of long-distance telephone service by Southern Bell — all of which encouraged and facilitated the development of suburbs such as Fulton Heights. Expansion of Southern Railway facilities in Spencer in 1904 and again in 1907 also contributed to an influx of middle-class employees to the area and infused large amounts of capital into the local economy. Street railway service opened suburban land to these citizens who previously could not afford to live out of the proximity of schools, churches, stores, and places of employment North Main Street Historic District NR Nomination 1984, pp.8.2-3).
Development of residential neighborhoods in the early twentieth century was also encouraged by Salisbury's evolution into a small manufacturing town. In addition to excellent rail facilities, there existed a supply of cheap labor from the surrounding rural area, and the city experienced a rapid expansion of its industrial base (North Main Street Historic District Nomination 1985, p.8.1). With new job offerings, the city began to experience a large population increase that lasted until 1930. The 1913 annual report of the Salisbury Industrial Club indicates that twelve new businesses had located in the city in 1911 and the Spencer Shops had again expanded ("Salisbury's the Place," December 1913, p.337). By 1915, Salisbury boasted fifty-three businesses and the demand for a more adequate water supply effected the erection of a water-pumping station which along with the other municipal improvements paved the way for the largest annexation in the city's history that same year. The city limits were extended to the north, west, and south, to include at least the northern-most portion of the Fulton Heights neighborhood area (Salisbury Evening Post 1976, pp.8-10). The city almost doubled its population between 1910 and 1920. By 1920 Salisbury's population of 13,884 had ranked it the ninth largest city in the state, and by 1922, the city had reached a population of 15,000. However, 1920 was the last year in which Salisbury would appear on a list of North Carolina's ten largest cities (North Carolina Year Book and Business Directory 1912 and Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps 1922). In response to the demands of this growth, a substantial service industry flourished, and the vocations of Fulton Heights residents included plumbers, grocers, teachers, mechanical contractors, merchants, pharmacists, barbers, auto mechanics and builders (Salisbury City Directories).
The magnitude of construction activity occurring in Salisbury during the 1920s is pointed out in the June 1926 issue of The Wachovia, a regional business report published by Wachovia Bank and Trust Company. The report stated that Salisbury's citizens had received "renewed inspiration from the great march of progress that has been underway in their city'' and detailed the significant increase in the total amount of building permits issued in the city during the mid-1920s. These permits totaled $756,000 in 1923, $990.095 in 1924, and rose to $1,451,771 in 1925 (Salisbury-Spencer City Directory 1928-29). An increase in residential construction during the 1920s was stimulated not only by Salisbury's continuing prosperity but also by the expansion of Southern Railway's facilities in Spencer in 1924, making it the largest such facility in Southern's system (Hood 1983). The pressing need for housing at all levels of income was met by real estate developers, architects and building contractors — both those local and those attracted from other cities by the economic vitality of Salisbury. By 1929 the fifty manufacturing firms in the Salisbury area were producing over one hundred products of various types valued at over $16 million, and the city's population had increased by forty percent between 1910 and 1929 (Wachovia, June 1926). Salisbury continued to enjoy growing prosperity into the third decade of the twentieth century, as new development continued at a steady rate. By 1930, Salisbury had reached a population of more than 20,000 (Salisbury-Spencer City Directory 1928-1929).
Spurred by Salisbury's evolution into an important manufacturing and commercial center during the last quarter of the nineteenth century and the expansion of the Southern Railway's facilities in the early twentieth century. Fulton Heights began as a residential suburb in 1902 with the organization of the Southern Development Company. The investors were J.M. Maupin, H.B. Crosby, William Murdoch Wiley, William A. Blair and W.E. Mitchell, of which Maupin and Wiley were natives of Salisbury. The company purchased property on the west side of South Fulton Street including a tract of twenty-four acres from James D. Heilig, a prominent local businessman: a tract of sixty-five acres from James M. and J.A. Monroe: and four small tracts from R.A. Wheeler (Salisbury Post 1946-1949 and Deeds 96-26 and 95-584 ). Other individuals who assisted in developing the area included Sidney Heilig and C.S. Reams. South Fulton Street, the thoroughfare bordering the east side of the district, was established in the late nineteenth century. (Gray's New Map of Salisbury 1882).
The main subdivision streets, named for the individual investors of the Southern Development Company, were laid out and the land was subdivided for the sale beginning in 1902. The company chose the location for the Fulton Heights subdivision in anticipation of subsidizing the extension of the existing streetcar line, which ran from the depot in the adjacent town of Spencer to Salisbury's Chestnut Hill Cemetery located just east of the proposed development. In 1904, the track was extended approximately 340 feet west down Mitchell Avenue.
Fulton Heights was one of a several desirable residential neighborhoods that had been developing on the edges of downtown Salisbury and spurred by increasing industrial activity and the nearby Spencer Railway Shops. Other such neighborhoods were that of Brooklyn-South Square (see Brooklyn-South Square Historic District NR 1984), which began to flourish in the mid-nineteenth century and continued to grow through the 1930s, and the North Main Street area (see North Main Street Historic District NR 1984) which developed between 1900 and 1930. However, Fulton Heights was the only subdivision among these into which the streetcar was specifically planned to extend as a neighborhood amenity. In addition to its convenience as a commuter line from neighborhoods to places of employment, the streetcar also brought patrons to the neighborhood to take advantage of the facilities boasted by "Fulton Heights Park," an amusement facility which was created in 1906 as an amenity to induce buyers and streetcar patrons.
On October 25, 1906, the auctioning of 210 lots in the suburb of Fulton Heights was advertised in the local newspaper, the Salisbury Post. An April 1906 survey map for the Southern Development Company shows these lots laid out from east to west between Fulton and Bean Street [now Boyden Road, named for Archibald H. Boyden, an illustrious mayor who served from 1901 to 1909 (Salisbury Evening Post 1976, p.15)] and from north to south between Wiley Avenue and Miller Street (now Heilig Avenue). Because the narrow, deep lots were typically only about fifty feet wide, families often purchased more than one. The east-west-running avenues, however, were fairly wide for developments of the time, especially Mitchell Avenue down which the streetcar ran. Rear-lot service alleys — a beneficial development feature not often found in North Carolina towns — also indicated on the 1906 map are still present today. The alleys were written into the land deeds, and the driveways and garages were conveniently located along them. Other amenities offered in the neighborhood included water and sewer lines, electrical power and sidewalks.
In 1907, the streetcar line was sold to the Salisbury and Spencer Railway Company, which sponsored a grand re-opening of Fulton Heights Park in 1908. This same year Southern Railroad erected a new train depot in Salisbury (Carolina Watchman, August 23, 1905 and July 22, 1908). The park facility continued operating until the end of World War I in 1918, just prior to the 1920s building boom which imposed development pressures on the park land (Salisbury Evening Post 1976, p.9 and Carolina Watchman, June 17, 1908).
The overall pattern of construction beginning in 1903 spread north and south parallel to Mitchell Avenue, the central spine of the subdivision. The majority of houses faced onto these avenues rather than onto the cross streets (Sanborn Maps and Salisbury City Directories). An April 1906 map of the neighborhood surveyed by M.E. Miller, a civil engineer, indicates mostly fifty-foot lots laid out from east to west between Fulton and Bean Street, now named Boyden Road, and from north to south between Wiley and Heilig Avenues. The map does not indicate any construction of houses on these lots, however. A June 1906 map also by Miller shows fifty-foot lots laid out along the two eastern-most blocks of Ridge Avenue and Elm Street, but again, no actual construction. The map refers to this section of the neighborhood as "Johnson Heights," with the property being owned by R.H. Johnson. The 1922 Sanborn maps indicate fairly substantial residential development along the eastern sections of the arterial streets of Mitchell Avenue and South Fulton north of Mitchell Avenue, with only scattered development on Maupin and Wiley Avenues. The 1931 Sanborn maps indicate that by that year most of Mitchell Avenue had been developed and that more construction had occurred on the west end of Maupin Avenue, though it was not as dense as that of Mitchell. Vacancies were apparent at the intersections of the east-west-running avenues with the north-south-running Jordan Street. The street appears to have been opened later, possibly after the park closed, as it is not indicated on an early-1900s map of the C.S. Reams property within the subdivision. Another indication of the street's later establishment is the tact that it is offset to the south between Wiley and Maupin Avenues, allowing a margin for the end of the streetcar tracks. Development began on the northern side of the district along Elm Street and Ridge Avenue, and along Heilig Avenue on the southern periphery, mostly after 1922. The lots on the south side of Heilig, of which only the two eastern-most blocks are included in the district, had just begun to be built upon in 1925 (Salisbury City Directory 1925-1926).
As the Fulton Heights neighborhood expanded, two churches, a school, and several grocery stores opened in the 1910s and 1920s to service the area. Standard brick commercial buildings housing groceries were built on Fulton Street. Other buildings that are architecturally pivotal within the Fulton Heights Historic District include those of institutions which have played an important unifying role in the community. These include the 1916 Neo-classical Calvin H. Wiley School (211 Ridge Avenue) and two churches, the circa 1913 Second Reformed Presbyterian Church (117 Ridge Avenue) anchoring the northeast corner of the district and the 1939 First Associated Reformed Presbyterian Church at 1330 South Fulton Street anchoring the southeast corner of the district. Both churches are of brick rendered in the Gothic Revival style, and though modest in size, are neighborhood landmarks.
With construction in the neighborhood dating from 1903 and continuing well into the 1940s, most of the dwellings fall into one of three overlapping phases of development. The earliest group of houses in the Fulton Heights Historic District includes a number of notable two-story houses built immediately along Mitchell Avenue and other main avenues soon after subdivision lots were laid out in 1902. Some of these early substantial residences are gone, but those that remain reflect the upper-class demographics extant during the early development phase. The next phase of development, from 1910 to 1930, coincided with the nationwide building boom of the 1920s: Fulton Height's participation is exhibited in the proliferation of Craftsman Bungalows constructed during this period. The phase also includes the Revival styles, including Colonial and Tudor Revival which were dominant among standard frame and brick-veneered houses of one, one-and-a-half, and two stories. The last building phase in the neighborhood occurred during the Depression and lasted through the post-war era. Sporadic development occurring through the 1930s and 1940s reflected the needs of a growing middle-class population oriented toward service stations. This development occurred on the shorter cross streets and exhibited a certain conformity and modesty of style and scale with the modest Bungalow and Minimal Traditional being the dominant styles.
With its admixture of prosperous merchants, service-oriented vacationers, and railroad employees, along with owner-occupied and rental homes, Fulton Heights was typical of the other socially-eclectic neighborhoods that developed in Salisbury in the early twentieth century. The needs of this somewhat varied population were partially met by the construction of a number of multi-family buildings including duplexes, triplexes and small apartment buildings such as 717 Maupin Avenue (C.R. Walton, Jr. House) and 1316 S. Fulton Street, a construction trend that continued through the 1950s. Also during the 1950s and through the 1960s, Ranch-style houses were built sporadically as infill. As was true of most other contemporary residential neighborhoods across the state that began developing in the early twentieth century, substantial development was mostly complete by the 1930s. The limited amount of undeveloped land remaining in these neighborhoods, as well as the effects of the nationwide economic depression, reduced the amount of development that occurred in these areas following the 1930s.
Development continued mostly along the neighborhood periphery at Heilig Avenue and Elm Avenue through the 1940s. This later development corresponded with a period of economic acceleration in the country following the late 1930s Depression era, and housing construction boosted to accommodate returning service men and women after World War II (Bishir and Earley 1983, p.21). Fulton Heights remained a fashionable neighborhood through the 1930s, and today retains the characteristics that rendered it a desirable residential area throughout its development history — those of landscaped settings, diverse house styles, modern amenities, and distance between residence and employment. Although the streetcar line ceased operation in 1938, a landscaped median installed shortly thereafter on Mitchell Avenue pays homage to the former location of that momentous innovation in transportation.
The trend of suburban development as seen in Fulton Heights was apparent across the country as commercial and government uses consumed the cores of cities in the late nineteenth century. In response, urban dwellers became increasingly ardent about preserving residential space and distinguishing it from incongruent land uses. Inspired by the concepts set forth by the City Beautiful Movement that occurred subsequent to the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, communities throughout the country, especially those in the South, began to focus on the improvement of their currently developing residential suburbs. It was actually the emergence of a railroad, the Seaboard-Airline that touched off the City Beautiful Movement in the South as organizers established improvement societies at every stop on its line from Virginia to Atlanta. Railroad directors knew this demonstration of civic responsibility would attract Northern investors to the depression-ridden region. As a result, early twentieth century residential enclaves such as the Fulton Heights neighborhood became more common and among their inhabitants a sense of neighborhood pride emerged that was evident in well-landscaped lawns and streetscapes. Local governments created organizations whose purpose was to create more visually-appealing neighborhoods: the desirability of suburban living was enhanced by landscaping, sidewalks and the inclusion of park-like amenities, all characteristics exhibited by Fulton Heights (Bishir & Earley 1983, pp.11 & 35).
North Carolina suburbs, like their counterparts elsewhere in the South, offered both a sylvan retreat and the most modern amenities such as electricity, water and sewer, and public transportation, since developers of these neighborhoods typically had major interests in other industries such utilities and transportation systems. The men who formed the Southern Development Company to establish the Fulton Heights neighborhood were no exception (Bishir and Earley 1985, p.14). It was commonplace for these entrepreneurs to be engaged with numerous business schemes, charities, and various service organizations. Their development activities worked together with these concerns to produce greater profit. Charlotte developers Daniel A. Tompkins and Edward Latta, for example, were involved in a broad array of civic affairs in that city. Latta ran an electric streetcar line and, not coincidentally, a development firm as well. Profits were rarely made from mass-transit, and were most often borne out of real estate transactions. Second, the allure of the central city as a dwelling place was fading for all classes as the very technological innovations which made suburban existence more feasible detracted from an urban existence (Bishir and Earley 1985, p.14).
The investors of the Southern Development Company in Salisbury followed the lead of Latta, who in 1891 had extended the nearby city of Charlotte's streetcar line to his subdivision development called "Dilworth," located just south of the central business district (Dilworth Historic District NR Nomination 1987, p.8.2). The extension coincided with the sale of the first lots which were laid out in typical grid pattern with land reserved for park space at the end of the streetcar line. The ninety-acre "Latta Park" featured many of the same attractions as Salisbury's Fulton Heights and was enjoyed by the residents of Dilworth as well as the city at large. Dilworth, which included four boulevards and a suburban industrial park, had its first lots sold in 1891 with the streetcar opening the same week (Bishir and Earley, 1985, pp.14-16). An amusement and recreation area, called Latta Park, was located at the center of the neighborhood and operated until about 1910 (Bishir and Earley 1985, p.71).
Other streetcar suburbs in Charlotte emerged around 1910 and included Chatham Estates, Elizabeth, Western Heights, Wilmore, Rosemont, Wesley Heights, and Washington Heights. Myers Park (see Myers Park Historic District NR 1987), which began in 1911, had a streetcar line along its curving main boulevard (Bishir and Earley, 1985, p.72). The Elizabeth neighborhood, one of Charlotte's leading early twentieth century middle- and upper middle-class residential areas featured an undeveloped green space called Independence Park, which as the city's first public park also served as the neighborhood's focal point (Elizabeth Historic District NR Nomination 1989, p.8.3).
In the city of Raleigh, Josepheus Daniels among other entrepreneurs developed streetcar suburbs in the 1890s and in the city of Winston-Salem, the West End (see West End Historic District NR 1986) and Washington Park (see Washington Park Historic District NR 1992) neighborhoods were established by 1895, all following the success of Dilworth (Bishir and Earley 1985, p.16). Later streetcar suburbs in Raleigh included Glenwood (see Glenwood-Brooklyn Historic District, Boylan Heights (see Boylan Heights Historic District), and Cameron Park (see Cameron Park Historic District, which emerged between 1906 and 1910. Bloomsbury was a park at the end of the Glenwood Avenue streetcar line. In Durham, Trinity Park and Lakewood (which included a park) (see Lakewood Park Historic District) were established shortly after 1901 and Morehead Hill by 1910 (see Morehead Hill Historic District) (Bishir and Earley 1985, p.36).
The Trinity Heights neighborhood, also in Durham, emerged after the electric streetcar system was established there in 1901. Like most of this genre of neighborhoods, it did not have its own park, but rather was located near a common park easily accessed by the streetcar. Developed by owners of land located near the terminus of the streetcar line, Lakewood Park boasted amenities similar to those of Fulton Heights, such as a theatre, swimming pool, various rides, a bowling alley, and a dance pavilion which remained popular into the 1930s. The park influenced the development of a contiguous suburb also called Lakewood. Among the development features that Fulton Heights has in common with Trinity Heights are layout, with its gridded streets and rows of narrow building lots bisected by service alleys, and the higher density of housing in proximity to the streetcar line. Morehead Hill, also in Durham, emerged early in the century in direct response to the establishment of the electric streetcar system. Similar to Fulton Heights, this neighborhood was not as homogenous in class and architecture as were many streetcar suburbs. The Morehead Hill neighborhood exhibits modest houses built for skilled laborers and tradesmen, as well as more elaborate homes built on larger, choice lots for more prominent citizens (Bishir and Earley 1985, pp.40-42).
In the city of Greensboro, the operation of the first electric streetcar line beginning in 1902 spurred additional development in the western part of the city. The subdivision of Fisher Park (see Fisher Park Historic District) began along the streetcar line that same year and the Irving Park subdivision began in 1911. Lindley Park was opened as an amusement park at the end of the streetcar line also in 1902, and a planned neighborhood emerged around the park about 1917 (Bishir and Earley 1985, p.52).
The Salisbury streetcar line was distinguished from other lines in North Carolina towns in that it provided transportation beyond the town's limits and also to-and-from a specific place of employment — the Spencer Shops for railroad repair (The Salisbury Evening Post 1976, p.9). Another example of extra-urban streetcar service is seen in the city of Wilmington. A streetcar serviced the neighborhoods of Carolina Heights (begun in 1908; see Carolina Heights Historic District) and Carolina Place (begun in 1909; see Carolina Place Historic District) and continued to nearby Wrightsville Beach. With extra-urban transportation such as this, the construction of larger homes was encouraged in suburban areas, breaking the traditional pattern of development in which the more impressive dwelling places were located only in the downtown area (Bishir and Earley 1985, p.72).
The popularity of the concept of developing suburbs tied to public transportation and parks in the early twentieth century is clear from the great number of examples across North Carolina. These neighborhoods reflected the nationwide aspiration of cities to provide idyllic suburban neighborhoods as middle-class, working-class, and black suburbs followed their lead. For all classes of people, the suburban neighborhood offered a refuge from the incivilities of urban life.
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‡ Kaye Graybeal, DSAtlantic, Fulton Heights Historic District, Rowan County, NC, nomination document, 1998, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
Blair Street • Boyden Road • Crosby Street • Elm Street • Fries Street • Fulton Street South • Heilig Avenue • Jordan Street • Maupin Avenue • Mitchell Avenue • Ridge Avenue • Stanley Street • Wiley Avenue