1907 Oaklawn Avenue

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

During the 1920s-30 Oaklawn Avenue became a prestigious suburban address for African American physicians, ministers and other leaders. 1907 Oaklawn Avenue first appeared in the 1932 city directory, occupied by Rev. William Moore and wife Sallie. Subsequent directories through 1937 listed him as Rev. Wade H. Moore, but did not indicate his church, nor give an occupation for her.

About 1938, Alexander W. Davis and wife Leila bought the house, living here for twenty years. He was a porter at Pound and Moore, the city’s leading office supply store, and she taught at Myers Street School. Most businesses in that era employed a “porter” as a jack-of-all trades delivering packages, running errands and doing light building maintenance. Davis eventually joined the Federal Reserve Bank, one of Charlotte’s most prestigious institutions, where he was initially listed as “porter” and later as “clerk.”

In 1956-57 the couple built a new brick house next door at 1911 Oaklawn Avenue. They kept 1907 Oaklawn as a rental property, along with adjoining 1901 Oaklawn, into the 1970s.

In 1974 the City of Charlotte used its eminent domain power to take land on both sides of Oaklawn Avenue in order to widen the the street. The project was part of a planned thoroughfare that would have included present-day Matheson Avenue in the NoDa area. Community activists, especially in the neighborhood that became known as Plaza Midwood, succeeded in blocking the plan but not before Oaklawn Avenue was widened. Alexander and Leila Davis were compelled to sell about twenty feet of lawn in front of their two houses at 1907 and 1911 Oaklawn and they also had to sell land they held adjacent to 1901 Oaklawn.

Oaklawn-1907-a-web
Oaklawn-1907-b-web

Architecture

This one-story wood-frame dwelling shows Victorian and Bungalow style influences. It has a main hip roof and a large projecting front gable that forms the wide porch extending across the front of the house. The porch has substantial brick steps and four brick piers that once carried wooden columns, now replaced by “wrought iron” units. The front gable retains its original wooden windows in the Bungalow style, each with four vertical panes. There is a prominent exterior brick chimney at the east side of the house and a secondary interior chimney near the rear.

The house has been renovated with aluminum siding and aluminum-frame sash windows that appear to have re-used the original window openings.

Building permits

Oaklawn-1907-permit
Date issued: June 9, 1958
Owner: Alexander Davis
Contractor: Alexander Davis
Other permit info: replace garage

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

First appeared in city directory

1932 – Rev. William Moore & Sallie.

1934 & 35 – Rev. Wade H. Moore & Sallie

no other occupation data given.

1936 – Wade H. Moore & Sallie

He: Laborer.  She: no occupation listed.

1937 – Rev. Wade H. Moore & Sallie

no other occupation data given.

1938 – Alexander W. Davis & Leila M.

He: Porter, Pound & Moore. She: Teacher, Myers Street School.

1981 – Mrs. Mamie G. Herron (renter). Retired.

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

Resources

Charlotte City Clerk, Minute Book 60, page 176, May 20, 1974.  On-line at: http://charlottenc.gov/CityClerk/Minutes/May%206,%201974.pdf