1635 Washington Avenue

Kenneth S. Powell (4.28.1919 – 7.26.1990) was born on the island of Nassau in the Bahamas, immigrating to New York City at a young age with his parents. After high school in suburban New Rochelle, he came south to Johnson C. Smith University. “In collegiate circles as well as in the athletic arena he is known for his remarkable skill in football and basketball,” reported The New York Age newspaper at the start of his senior year. He graduated in 1943 with B.S. in Physical Education and a considerable reputation on the playing field, named All-CIAA and All-American in football.

With the U.S. in the midst of World War II, Powell joined the military. “Upon returning from active duty, he was united in marriage to Willie M. King of Chester, South Carolina,” said his funeral program reported. “The union was blessed with two sons.” Both would go on to become dentists: Dr. Kenneth S. Powell II in St. Louis and Dr. Marty M. Powell in Detroit.

The years after the war were especially busy for young Coach Powell. He started his teaching and coaching career at Howard University in 1948-49. The following year he received a masters degree from New York University. He came back south to Charlotte to become Athletic Director and Head Football Coach at Second Ward High School. In 1961 he joined Johnson C. Smith University as Professor of Health and Education, Assistant Football Coach and Head Track Coach. He would hold those positions til retirement in 1985.

Professor Powell was named Coach of the Year for track in the Carolinas by the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics in 1969. The CIAA (Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association) also named him a Coach of the Year, and in 1987 the organization inducted him into the CIAA Hall of Fame.

Mr. and Mrs. Powell moved to Washington Avenue about 1970. Their house moved there, too. It had been built just a few years before at 1623 Van Buren Avenue, down the hill at the southern edge of McCrorey Heights. When traffic engineers routed the new Northwest Expressway (now Brookshire Freeway) through that land, Powell arranged for the dwelling to be moved up to Washington Avenue in 1969.



Split-level house moved from Van Buren Avenue in 1969 due to construction of the Northwest Expressway (Brookshire Freeway). Brick exterior added when it arrived on this new site on Washington Avenue.

Building permits

ODD PERMITS. Several permits were granted to owner Ken Powell for moving a house from Van Buren Av to Washington Av in 1968 – 69.  The permits gave the new address as 1607 (and one gave 1609) Washington, but there was already a circa 1960 house at that address — and Powell ended up living at 1635 Washington.  So we surmise that the permits were miss-numbered and are for 1635.

House moved from 1623 Van Buren

Date issued: October 2, 1968
Owner: Ken Powell
Contractor: Widenhouse House Movers
Estimated cost: $1,000
Other permit info: Foundation

Date issued: March 27, 1969
Owner: Ken Powell
Contractor: Boyles Const. Co.
Estimated cost: $10,000
Other permit info: Restoring to original structure. House was moved.

This is the jacket for several permits, says “1607 – see 1619 Washington”

Date issued: January 27, 1969
Owner: Kenneth Powell
Contractor: Concrete Associates
Estimated cost: $10,700
Other permit info: This building move to this lot from Van Buren St. Work to be done: footings, foundation, brick veneer, repair interior walls.

First appeared in city directory

1975 – Kenneth S. Powell & Willie M.
He: Asst Prof JCSU. She: No occupation listed.

1982 city directory – Powell is still listed here


“The Athlete Returns to School,” The New York Age, September 12, 1942. On-line at: https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/40879474/

“CIAA Hall of Fame,” TheCIAA.com website. On-line at: http://www.theciaa.com/hall_of_fame/hof_list

“Oxendine Named Coach of the Year,” Gastonia Gazette, May 19, 1969. On-line at https://www.newspapers.com/image/13773497/.

Powell, Kenneth, funeral program in the Obituary Project notebooks, African American Genealogy Interest Group collection, Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.

City directory collection, Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.

Building permit files, Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.