1816 Van Buren Avenue

Built in 1955, this house first appeared in the city directory in 1956 with occupants James R. Grier and his wife Robbie L. Grier.

James Ramsey Grier worked then as a shipping clerk at Huttig Sash & Door, a building materials firm located near the intersection of Tuckaseegee Road and Thrift Road. By the 1980s he was a mechanic at Estes Express, one of the many long-distance trucking firms based in the Charlotte area. He and Mrs. Grier were married for more than sixty years.

Robbie Lee Stevenson Grier (1920 – 2010) grew up in Winnsboro, South Carolina (as did neighbor Rev. P.L. Ross at 1808 Van Buren Avenue).

“Mrs. Grier as a compassionate caregiver at the Wesley Nursing Home, now Liberty Nursing Home, but her major work was a Christian steward,” noted the obituary in her funeral program. At St. Paul Baptist Church, she “was a member of the Deaconess Ministry, the Chancel Choir, Noon Day Bible Study and any other ministries that needed her support….”

“[F]ondly called ‘Aunt Pet’ by her family, … she was soft-spoken, kind, loving, friendly and compassionate. She loved to talk and make new friends. Mrs. Grier was a wonderful cook who enjoyed sharing her treats with her neighbors and friends. Her ‘never fail’ pound cake and ‘melt in your mouth’ rolls were the talk of her McCrorey Heights community.

“The work she did speaks for her.”



Ranch style house, one-story tall in red brick. There is a main gable roof and a projecting front gabled porch. There appears to be a small addition at the rear. Aluminum clapboard siding now covers the gable ends and the rear addition.

The massing of the house, the shape and placement of the porch, and the pair of small horizontal front windows are all very similar to 1800, 1804, and 1808 Van Buren on this same block.

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

none found

First appeared in city directory

1956 – James R. Grier & Robbie L.
He: Shipping Clerk, Huttig Sash & Door at 1018 Jay St.
She: No occupation listed

1981 – James R. Grier & Robbie L.

He: Mechanic, Estes Express.

She: Nurse’s aid, Wesley Nursing Home