1729 Oaklawn Avenue

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

Built 1968-1969 for Mildred P. Aldridge, lifelong educator and the widow of a physician who belonged to one of Charlotte’s leading Presbyterian families, and her second husband Theodore A. Aldridge.

Mildred Louise Phillips Brodie Alridge ( – 2002) had been born and grew up in Charlotte. Her father, Edgar J. Phillips, was one of the city’s leading barbers. He owned the Service Barber Shop which served white clientel downtown on College Street. There were few white barbers in that era; African Americans ranked among the most prosperous businessmen in many Southern cities. Daughter Mildred graduated from Shaw University, then won a scholarship to University of Cincinnati where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Education. She later obtained a Masters from Columbia University in New York City. She taught elementary school in Charlotte for many years at the Morgan, Biddleville, Oaklawn and Paw Creek schools.

Her first husband Milledge Thompson Brodie II (8.3.1896 – 3.29.1948) came from one of Charlotte’s most distinguished Presbyterian families. His father, Rev. Furman Lawrence Brodie (1856 – 1927), grew up the son of former slaves in South Carolina and did not learn to read and write until age 16, studying “at night time by the aid of a pine knot fire.” But he found his way to the new Theological Seminary at Johnson C. Smith University where he graduated at age 33. After pastoring at a succession of churches in the region, Rev. Brodie returned to Charlotte to lead the city’s Brooklyn Presbyterian Church for several decades of the early twentieth century. Young Milledge grew up to be a physician.

After Dr. Brodie passed away in 1948, Mildred married Theodore A. Aldridge late in life. Little is known of his history.  The two took out the permit to construct this prominent dwelling in McCrorey Heights in 1968.

Though her first husband Dr. Brodie had been a Presbyterian, Mildred was a lifelong Baptist. She took a leading role in First Baptist Church West. Her father Edgar J. Phillips had been a Deacon and sung in the choir when the church was in its downtown location at 1020 S. Church Street. Over the years she participated in many leadership roles, including chairing the Finance Board. She served as Chairperson of the Building Committee which worked with noted African American architect Harvey Gantt to design the new church building that opened in 1977 across Fairfield Street from her home.

“In addition to her church work, she was an active and loyal member of both social and service organizations,” the obituary in her funeral program noted. “She was a life member of the NAACP and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.” When the City of Charlotte organized the Historic Properties Commission in the mid 1970s, “she was the first and only black woman elected to the board,” and made sure that key buildings on the Johnson C. Smith University Campus were among the city’s first designated historic landmarks. The obituary continued, “Mildred was not only a worker, but a participant in several social organizations, as well: Les Pieriettes, Sans Souci, Our Bridge Club, Chip and Dip, and the Monday Nighters. Traveling was a joy to her, not only on this continent, but the other continents of the world.”

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Architecture

Ranch house, one-story in white brick. This is among the most stylish Ranch examples in McCrorey Heights. A low gable roof with projecting eaves gives it strong horizontality. Shutters frame the front windows, including a large “picture” window in the living room, a Ranch style hallmark. A garage is incorporated in the main block of the house, entered by a garage door at the east side of the dwelling.

Building permit

Oaklawn-1729-permit
Date issued: July 26, 1968
Owner: T. A. Aldridge and wife Mildred
Contractor: Hopkins & Hopkins Const. Co.
Estimated cost: $19,800
Other permit info: build

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

First appeared in city directory

1969 – Theo A. Alridge & Mildred P.
He: Retired. She: no occupation listed.

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

obituary

Resources

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

“Edgar Phillips and Service Barber Shop,” Charlotte Mecklenburg Story website created by the Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.  On-line at: http://www.cmstory.org/content/edgar-j-phillips-and-service-barber-shop

First Baptist Church: A Century of Christian Witnessing, 1867 – 1967. On-line at: https://archive.org/stream/firstbaptistchur00firs_4/firstbaptistchur00firs_4_djvu.txt

“Furman Lawrence Brodie,” in Arthur Bunyan Caldwell, editor, The History of the American Negro and His Institutions (Atlanta: A.B. Caldwell Publishing, 1921), pp. 681 – 684. On-line at: https://books.google.com/books?id=tzoTAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA684&lpg=PA684&dq=Milledge+Brodie&source=bl&ots=PN6uOzPkiO&sig=SScj9ptA1Ja7srYaVukDEfg2XZg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwie07jByJLTAhVW82MKHclUAAw4FBDoAQgcMAE#v=onepage&q=Milledge%20Brodie&f=false

“History of First Baptist Church West,” First Baptist Church West website. On-line at: https://www.fbcwest.org/index.cfm/PageID/1057/index.html

“Milledge Thompson Brodie,” Find A Grave website.  On-line at: www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=73176256