1808 Van Buren Avenue

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.

When the house first appeared in the city directories, in 1957, the occupant was Mrs. Virginia W. Stepteau. She worked as a cashier with the North Carolina Mutual Insurance Company. NC Mutual, one of the nation’s largest black-owned businesses, had its headquarters in Durham, North Carolina. The head of its Charlotte office for decades was E.A. Spears who resided on Oaklawn Avenue at the edge of McCrorey Heights. In 1960, another McCrorey Heights neighbor stepped into the leadership: W.W. Twitty who lived at 1725 Madison Avenue.



Ranch style house, one-story tall in red brick. The front porch has been partially enclosed and there is a small rear addition. Aluminum siding covers the addition, the porch enclosure, the house’s gable ends, and a horizontal strip connecting the front windows.

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

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

1957 – Mrs. Virginia W. Stepteau. Cashier, NC Mutual Life Insurance at 317 S. Brevard.

1981 – Lee Ada Harris, retired.