1721 Patton Avenue

This is a draft, now being reviewed by members of the McCrorey Heights Neighborhood Association. Please share comments with Tom@HistorySouth.org 

William L. North, Sr., took out the permit to build this house on November 13, 1950. The 1950 city directory showed him as a mail clerk for the Railway Mail Service on the Southern Railway. His son William L. North, Jr., was in the same line of work, listed in the 1950 directory as a carrier for the U.S. Post Office.

A number of homeowners who built in McCrorey Heights during the 1950s and early 1960s worked as mail clerks for the Southern Railway or for the U.S. Post Office. With steady pay and some job security, those were among the best jobs open to African American men prior to the Civil Rights era.

Though W.L. North Sr. took out the permit and built the dwelling, he lived elsewhere. “This house is my family house,” explains descendant Tiffany North. “It was built by William Leon North for his son and his daughter in law, William Leon North, Jr and Flossie Mae Gantt North (Flossie North). Jr and Flossie are my grandparents and she raised five children in this home. The house was given to her because Junior died prior to Senior.”[1]  

“Flossie was a school teacher and worked for the school system for years,” Tiffany North continues. Flossie made the transition from the classroom to school secretary, then became the secretary for the Staff Development Center in the main offices of Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools.[2] She raised four daughters and a son, taking active interest in their schooling at Our Lady of Consolation, Charlotte’s African American Catholic academy, and also in out-of-school events such as annual Cotillion parties organized by African American families.[3] Flossie North still resided in this house when she died in 1989 at age 62.[4]

[1] Tiffany North, emails to Tom Hanchett, June 14, 2022.

[2] “Secretaries Honored,” Charlotte News, April 22, 1982. https://www.newspapers.com/image/622642997/  “Twenty Older Workers Earn Words of Thanks,” Charlotte Observer, March 18, 1987. https://www.newspapers.com/image/632608424/

[3] “Spring Cotillion is Tonight,” Charlotte Observer, April 11, 1975. https://www.newspapers.com/image/622684962/  “Thirty Charlotte Girls to Be Presented,” Charlotte News, April 9, 1975. https://www.newspapers.com/image/622640060/ “Mr. Joseph Reginald North,” obituary in the Charlotte Observer, February 12, 2003.

[4] “Other Mecklenburg Deaths,” Charlotte Observer, December 26, 1989. https://www.newspapers.com/image/622684962/  “Mrs. Flossie Gannt North,” funeral notice in Charlotte Observer, December 28, 1989. https://www.newspapers.com/image/625585875/

Patton-1721-a-web

Architecture

1.5 story Cottage style dwelling in red brick. The Cottage style featured more compact massing and steeper roofs than the long, low Ranch style which was also popular in this period. This house has gable roofs that are steep enough to contain a partial second floor living space. There is a main gable roof plus a projecting front gable. At the east side of the house, a gabled screen porch extends. A prominent front chimney with decorative stone at its base   towers next to the front door, which has a round-arched top; both are characteristic of the Cottage style. The metal awning over the front porch, supported by “wrought iron” columns, may be an addition by the original owner in the 1960s, a favorite modification in McCrorey Heights.

Building permits

Patton-1717-permit
Date issued: November 13, 1950
Owner: W. L. North
Contractor: W. C. Whiteside
Other permit info: to build residence
[Note that house was preliminarily numbered 1717, then became 1721]

Patton-1721-permit
Date issued: February 25, 1960
Owner: North
Contractor: Mecklenburg Plbg. Co.
Other permit info: bathroom addition

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

First appeared in city directory

1952 – William L. North & Rosalyn E.
He: Mail clerk Southern Ry. She: No occupation listed.

1961 – W. Leon North & Iris J.
He: Clerk PTS [Post Office]. She: No occupation listed

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