1817 Madison 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 several houses originally constructed on Van Buren Avenue circa 1960, then moved in 1968 to allow construction of the Northwest Expressway (now Brookshire Freeway).

Built about 1959 and first occupied by Louis J. Hughes, principal at the Morgan School in Charlotte’s Cherry neighborhood, and his wife Mary C. Hughes, who taught at West Charlotte High School.

A December 1959 gathering at the family’s new home, written up in the Pittsburgh Courier beneath a large photo of smiling faces around a dining table, gives a glimpse of the active social life that knit McCrorey Heights together as a community:

“Charlotte Couples’ Club has Fun — The Couple’s Club of Charlotte, N.C. celebrated the holiday season gaily. New Year’s Eve was the occasion for the club members to attend a cocktail party at the home of Dr. and Mrs. R. M. Perry of Johnson C. Smith University. A caravan of cars took them on to the elaborate dance of the Medical Society of Charlotte. Following this hilarious and enjoyable affair, the Couples’ Club was treated to a club breakfast at the home of Hughes, Van Buren St. Members of the club are, seated left to right: B.D. Roberts, Mrs. Worth Williams, Mrs. R.P. Perry, Mrs. E.L. Rann, Mrs. T.M. Martin, Mrs. R. M. Wyche, Mrs. L.A. Warner. Standing: J. E. Colston, Dr. R.P. Perry, L.A. Warner, Miss L. H. Grier, L.J. Hughes, Dr. R.M. Wyche, Mrs. B.D. Roberts, T.M. Martin, W.M. Moreland and Mrs. W.H. Moreland.”

Principal Hughes and his wife only got to enjoy their new home for a few years. In 1968 the land was taken by the government through eminent domain to construct what is now the Brookshire Freeway. The Hughes family moved to 1700 Woodvalley Drive in the new Northwood Estates subdivision further out Beatties Ford Road.

Morris G. Gillespie arranged with Widenhouse Movers to transport the dwelling up the hill to this current site at 1817 Madison Avenue. He lived here into the 1980s. Nothing more is known about Mr. Gillespie, though he may be the “Morris G. Gillespie” (1906 – 1995) who is buried at St. Paul Presbyterian Church in rural Mecklenburg County alongside wife Lula Strothers Gillespie.

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Madison-1817-b-web
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Architecture

Ranch style house, one-story in red brick. There is a main hip-roofed front block, plus a large rear wing which is partially hip-roofed, partially flat-roofed. Note the inset front porch which has a brick parapet wall and three simple round metal columns — a modernistic motif also seen in the carport at the Reginald Hawkins House at 1703 Madison Avenue.

Building permits

Madison 1817 permit c
Date issued: September 9, 1968
Owner: Mr. & Mrs. M. G. Gillespie
Contractor: Concrete Associates
Estimated cost: $7,850
Other permit info: Residence repairs

Madison 1817 permit b
Date issued: April 23, 1968
Owner: Morris Gillespie
Contractor: Widenhouse Movers
Estimated cost: $1,000
Other permit info: Foundation for house being moved

Madison 1817 permit a
Date issued: April 23, 1968
Owner: Morris Gillespie
Contractor: Widenhouse Movers
Estimated cost:
Other permit info: Moved from 1605 Van Buren

First appeared in city directory

1605 Van Buren Av first appeared in 1961, occupied by Louis J. Hughes, principal at Morgan School, and Mary C. Hughes, teacher at West Charlotte High School.

(Hughes family is listed at 1700 Woodvalley Drive in the 1981 directory)

(1817 Madison Av listed in 1981 city directory: Morris G. Gillespie, retired)

Resources

“Charlotte Couples’ Club has Fun,” Pittsburgh Courier, January 23, 1960. On-line at: https://www.newspapers.com/image/40045007/

“Morris G. Gillespie,” FindaGrave.com website. On-line at: https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=139915552