1800 Van Buren Avenue

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

This is one of a row of four houses “spec built” by local contractor Wheatley & Co. The firm took out all four permits on the same day, April 22, 1955, to construct 1800, 1804, 1808, and 1812 Van Buren Avenue. The houses are not identical, though #1800 and #1808 are similar.

Chester Donald, a teacher at Northwest Junior High on Beatties Ford Road, became the first resident here at 1800 Van Buren along with wife Jessie N. Donald.

Born in Rowan County east of Charlotte, Chester A. Donald, Jr. (died 1.12.1995) attended the black J.C. Price High School in Salisbury, NC. He must have shown unusual promise for he was sent on to Lincoln Academy, the private black high school located between Gastonia and Kings Mountain, North Carolina. He returned to Salisbury to earn an undergraduate degree at Livingstone College, the denominational college of the AME Zion religion. He continued his studies at Carlton University in Minnesota and UNC Chapel Hill, attaining a graduate degree at New York University. He became a life-long educator. He taught first in the Zebulon school system near Raleigh, NC, then in Cumberland, Maryland, and finally with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools where he retired after 31 years of service. He belonged to Phi Beta Sigma fraternity and to Memorial Presbyterian Church. He and Jessie raised son Chester III and daughter Elise here on Van Buren Avenue.

VanBuren-1800-a-web
VanBuren-1800-b-web

Architecture

Ranch style house, one-story tall in red brick.

Note that dwellings exist only on this north side of Van Buren Avenue. Houses on the south side were demolished or moved about 1968 to allow construction of the Northwest (Brookshire) Freeway. Today the Freeway’s tree-covered embankment rises above the Avenue.

Building permits

VanBuren-1800-04-08-12-permits
Date issued: April 22, 1955
Owner: Wheatley & Co.
Contractor: Wheatley & Co.
Estimated Cost:
Other permit info: to build residence

Note that the permits for 1800, 1804, 1808, and 1812 Van Buren were all taken out the same day by spec builder Wheatley & Co.

First appeared in city directory

1956 – Chester Donald & Jessie N.
He: Teacher, Northwest Jr High. She: No occupation listed.

obituary