Martin-Beardsley house

Martin-Beardsley house

This unusual house at the corner of Ideal Way and Park Road, Charlotte, is a unique example of Asian influences on the popular Bungalow style.

Advertisements


rchitects generally find their inspiration among styles of previous periods and in other lands, then add their own touches. The Bungalow style harkens back to wayside shelters used by the British during Victorian times along the main travel routes in India.

The word comes from the Bengalese word, "bungla," and the style was first known as Bungaloid.

The new style, featuring low-pitched, wide overhanging roofs and multiple gables, was the fore-runner of the Bungalow.

Exteriors were often textured with stone and wood shingles. Exposed rafter ends, cross-framed gables and angled, bracketed support occurred regularly. Porches and verandas were favored as the open-plan style brought interior and exterior living spaces together. During the Bungalow years, designers evoked a similar style with a distinctive Asian flavor called the Craftsman style.

In his book, "Houses of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County," Charlotte architect Jack Boyte says, "Adapted to residences in this country by architects and designers, there was little other than the name that was Indian about the vast majority of these Bungalows. Inspiration was often drawn from Japanese or Spanish sources.

Mixture of Styles

The Martin-Beardsley house has many details that are typical of Bungalows, and many that are not. "The Martin-Beardsley house is a variation of the Bungalow, which was developed in California by the Green brothers. It is one of the few in Charlotte with such extreme Oriental features that you can't miss, with the Japanese roof and flare-outs."- Jack Boyte. Martin-Beardsley Bungalow style house, Charlotte, NC

"In California, where climate and social conditions were favorable, the Bungalow flourished and spread throughout the country. Additionally, it was the Bungalow as much as any other kind of house that led to the general adoption of the living room and indoor-outdoor space."

The Bungalow house, popular among the rapidly growing middle class, attracted the attention of architects across the country, including Frank Lloyd Wright, who was probably drawn to it because of its blending the indoors and outdoors.

"The Van Landingham house on The Plaza exemplifies the Bungaloid style on a grand scale," Boyte says, "compared to the Martin-Beardsley house on Park Road and Ideal Way, which, while more modest, is replete with Japanese and Spanish embellishments so typical of the style."

The Martin-Beardsley house, named for the original owners, was probably designed by Charles C. Hook, whose work also includes the Belk house and the historic Charlotte City Hall. It was built in 1915.

Good times

Charlotte was on the brink of a boom period, with thousands of people moving here. Opportunities existed everywhere for those who could spot them. With textile mills opening in Charlotte, what better idea than to set up shop and hire people to make men's trousers?

That's what Edward Dilworth Latta, a young entrepreneur born in Pendleton, S.C., did in 1883. Latta, who lived from 1851 to 1925, had left Princeton University at the end of his freshman year to enter the clothing business in New York. But something—possibly opportunity and the desire to be closer to his family—brought him to Charlotte, where he opened the Charlotte Trouser Shop.

Four years later, his 63 sewing machines were turning out enough men's pants to keep five traveling salesmen busy selling to stores throughout the South and as far north as New York. It also was making Edward D. Latta a very rich man at a fairly young age.

At the time, most of Charlotte's population was clustered in the four original wards. Just beyond lay farmland and woods, connected to the urban area by wagon roads. But the population was growing, and people needed housing. The invention of electrified streetcars made it possible for people to move out of the center city, and suburbs were cropping up all over the United States.

They also needed more efficient transportation.

The 4C's Company truly revolutionized the transportation system of Charlotte when they constructed an electric streetcar or trolley systemStreetcar

The 4C's Company truly revolutionized the transportation system of Charlotte when they constructed an electric streetcar or trolley system.

Latta recognized both those needs and was inspired. In February 1890, he invited the visiting Thomas Edison to his home to learn more about the new electric streetcar technology. The same year, he started a construction company called Charlotte Consolidated Construction Company—"the 4 C's"—and bought about 1,000 acres of farmland for less than $100 an acre.

Soon after, his company bought the old Charlotte Street Railway, which had a limited rail system and depended on real live horsepower. He then announced that his company would invest $50,000 to convert the horse-drawn streetcars to electricity. He also planned to expand the system "in all directions."

By July, Latta was ready to announce a huge residential development along the streetcar line - 442 acres of fields around a wooded ravine. The development would bear his middle name, Dilworth. The catchy promotion slogan was "Buy a home in Dilworth with rent money."

Many of Charlotte's leading architects, including Hook, designed early houses, and Dilworth was an immediate success. It was North Carolina's first streetcar suburb. Among the most popular house designs was the Bungalow.

The Martin-Beardsley House

The Bungalow's pagoda detailing with flared stone supports are found in other historic neighborhoods, including  Myers Park,  Elizabeth, Plaza Hills and Wilmore.Dilworth continued to expand its boundaries, and around 1915, the Martin-Beardsley House went up on the corner of Park Road and Ideal Way. "There were very few houses in this neighborhood," said Boyte. "Ideal Way was not paved. Park Road may have had a simple macadam pavement on it, but it was a simple, two-lane road. It was a country house when it was built as an expansion of the earlier part of Dilworth."

The Martin-Beardsley house is a variation of the Bungalow, which was developed in California by the Green brothers, he said. "It had Oriental details. It is one of the few in Charlotte with such extreme Oriental features that you can't miss, with the Japanese roof and flare-outs. The bungaloid was combined with the early Craftsman house, where there was a lot of exposed glass and beams.

"The columns supporting the roof are tapered from the bottom. The designer of the Martin-Beardsley House attempted to balance the porch design with a pier on the side to support a lantern, originally," Boyte said. "The windows bring the inside out. The whole second floor appears to be a sunroom. It's a small and modest enclosed area, but the porch and sunroom increase the appearance of size. The porch is a large part of the dwelling."

The Bungalow's pagoda detailing with flared stone supports are found in other historic neighborhoods, including Myers Park, Elizabeth, Plaza Hills and Wilmore.

Charlotte's Historic Homes

Acknowledgements:

Jack Boyte and his book, "Houses of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County; "The Charlotte Observer, Its Time and Place, 1869-1986," by Jack Claiborne; "Sorting Out the New South City," by Thomas W. Hanchett; Dr. Dan Morrill, from his biographical sketch of Edward Dilworth Latta, written for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission.
# http://www.cmhpf.org
# http://www.landmarkscommission.org

More Attractions like - Martin-Beardsley house

  • Belk House
    CharlesChristian Hook arrived in Charlotte in 1890, after his graduation from Washington University. He originally planned to be a teacher, but two years later, he set up shop as an architect and
  • Charlotte's Historic Homes
    In the 1700s, Charlotte was just a small settlement where two trading paths crossed. Then came the planters, and the industrialists and merchants, and the developers. All changed the city's
  • Lethco House
    Typical Tudor details include steep roof pitches, half-timber work, leaded glass windows, decorative doorways and the use of brick and stone. George Stephens, the brains behind the creation of Myers
  • Berryhill House
    Italianate style features low-pitched, projecting roofs, square towers, tall, slender windows and undulating modillion brackets. The Berryhill House in Fourth Ward owes its existence to the need for
  • Cedar Grove House
    Federal style features a simple box structure with symmetrically arranged windows and doors, usually side gabled with exterior end chimneys. In 1831, a wealthy North Mecklenburg planter named James
  • Shotgun houses
    Shotgun houses were long, narrow one-story dwellings, with rooms lined up one behind the other inside. A porch and gable roof face the street. At one time, Charlotte had hundreds of Shotgun houses to
  • Queen Anne
    The complex roof, fish-scale shingles, circular two-and-a-half story tower, large wrap-around porch with detailed spindle work, and two-paneled glass windows make this one of the finest Queen Anne