Constructed about 1968-69, “spec-built” by a small construction firm, Union Builders of Matthews, N.C. City directories first listed the dwelling in 1976, the occupant being Mayo L. Rich, “Recovery Assistant, City Mental Health & Allied Services.”
Rev. Mayo L. Rich had become pastor at Bethel AME Church in 1970 — recently displaced from the old Brooklyn neighborhood. “It was under his leadership that Bethel marched triumphantly into the location at 201 Grandin Road under the name Greater Bethel African Methodist Church,” a church history notes. “The adjective ‘Greater’ was added with the consent of the membership to reflect God’s blessing on the congregation and their works.” The essay does not give an end date for Rev. Rich’s leadership, but suggests it was in the mid 1970s. Though he left Greater Bethel to work for Charlotte’s mental health agency, he continued to serve his community as a minister, including offering worship services for residents of the Red Carpet Inn, a facility for the elderly and handicapped, in 1980.
A 1977 Charlotte Observer feature story on the annual Delta Sigma Theta Cotillion, a major event in Charlotte’s African American community which raised funds for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, listed among the debutants “Shelby Vanessa Rich, 18, East Mecklenburg High, daughter of Rev. and Mrs. Mayo L. Rich, 1849 Patton Avenue.” When Reverend and Mrs. Rich announced the engagement of Vanessa in 1980, the Charlotte Observer listed their address as 1610 Van Buren Avenue, two blocks away in McCrorey Heights.
This unusual looking house was listed as “split level” on the original building permit in 1968. Technically it is not a split level, but rather a house with a one-story section and a two-story section. In a true split level, the floor heights are offset, so that you walk up or down half a flight from the one-story section int0 the two-story section; here the floor heights are not offset. Stylistically, the house is Ranch style, with light brown brick on the first story and clapboards on the second, gable roofs, and straightfoward unembellished door and window detailing including a large multi-pane “picture window” in the front living room.
Date issued: August 31, 1968
Owner: Union Builders, Matthews, NC
Contractor: Union Builders
Estimated cost: $19,000
Other permit info: build residence. Split level.
Building permit files, Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.
First appeared in city directory
1976 – Mayo L. Rich. Recovery Assistant, City Mental Health & Allied Services.
City directory collection, Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.
“Our History” page on the website Greater Bethel A.M.E. Church. On-line at: http://www.gbame.org/history.htm
“24 Debs will Make Their Bows at Delta Sigma Theta Cotillion,” Charlotte Observer, March 17, 1977.