1919 Oaklawn Avenue

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

Built about 1924, at a time when Oaklawn Avenue was just taking shape as a favored suburban address for African American physicians, ministers and other leaders. Original occupants were Edward O’Daniel and wife Bonnie. He worked as porter/bellman at the Mecklenburg Hotel, one of the city’s largest downtown hotels. Porter/bellman was considered a good job by African Americans in that era, where a hard-working, dependable man could earn an income that allowed a middle-class lifestyle. O’Daniel bought the land from next-door-neighbor J. Henry Warren, reported the Charlotte Observer on March 26, 1924: “A lot on Double Oaks Avenue, being part of the H.L.McCrorey land, was sold by J. Henry Warren to Edward O’Daniel for $10 etc.”

In the late 1930s, the dwelling was occupied by the Strong family. The 1939 directory listed Wayne C. Strong, shoe repair, Lola Strong, domestic, Louie Strong, chauffeur, Mamie Strong, domestic, and Helen Strong, no occupation.  (Wayne Strong later moved nearby to 1212 Condon Avenue. The 1961 city directory listed him living there and running West End Shoe Shop, 1120a Beatties Ford Road).

During the 1950s and 1960s, leading westside businessman Charles W. Withers resided at 1919 Oaklawn Avenue with wife Lucille. He owned and operated the Neighborhood Service Station, 1930 Beatties Ford Rd. “Pure Oil Gas, Oil, Light Groceries, Ice Cream, Drugs and other Commodities,” according to the 1961 city directory.

Oaklawn-1919-a-web
Oaklawn-1919-b-web

Architecture

Bungalow style house, one story tall. There is a main gable roof with the wide side eaves supported by triangular wooden brackets, a Bungalow hallmark. A large projecting front gable shelters the broad front porch, whose original wooden columns have been replaced by “wrought iron” units. There is a small gable-roofed rear wing. At the west side, a prominent exterior chimney promises a welcoming hearth inside. Exterior walls are sheathed aluminum siding, likely covering original wooden clapboards or beveled-edge wooden siding. The house appears to retain its original double-hung wooden-sash windows.

Building permits

No permits found.

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

First appeared in city directory

1925 – Edward O’Daniel & Bonnie.
He: Bellman, Hs. Double Oaks Av.

1926 – (Double Oaks Av., Wash Hgts.) – Edward O’Daniel & Bonnie.
He: Porter Mecklenburg Hotel.

1933 – (1919 Oaklawn Avenue) – Bonnie O’Daniel (no occupation listed)

1939 – Lola Strong, domestic; Louie Strong, chauffeur; Mamie Strong, domestic; Helen Strong, no occupation; Wayne C. Strong, shoe repair.

1951 – Charles W. Withers & Lucile S.

He: Neighborhood Service Station. She: no occupation listed.

1961 – Charles W. Withers & Lucile

He: Neighborhood Service Station, 1930 Beatties Ford Rd. “Pure Oil Gas, Oil, Light Groceries, Ice Cream, Drugs and other Commodities.”  She: no occupation listed.

(1961 also shows Wayne Strong living at 1212 Condon, running West End Shoe Shop, 1120a Beatties Ford Road)

1981 – Ira Nash & Emma (renter). Retired.

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