2005 Washington Avenue

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

African American real estate dealer George W.C. Moreland, who lived nearby on Patton Avenue, took out permits to build this house in 1961 – 1962. Moreland also took out permits the same year to erect 2001 Washington Avenue next door. He would add two more houses, adjacent, by the mid 1960s. All were constructed by contractor T.R. Helms.

First occupant here at 2005 Washington Avenue was Spurgeon Webber, Jr., one of the city’s leading medical men, known for his community involvement. Today Dr. Webber Drive, leading from Beatties Ford Road to West Charlotte High, is named in his honor.

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Spurgeon Webber Jr. (1.26.1934 – 12.6.2011) grew up in Kings Mountain, about an hour west of Charlotte. His father was a farmer whose family owned their own land, a 1oo-acre farm. That achievement put them in the upper echelon of African Americans during that era. Both Spurgeon Sr. and wife Dorothy attended Johnson C. Smith University. Spurgeon had to drop out in 1929 to take over the farm when his father passed away unexpectedly. He was determined that his children get the education he missed out on.

Young Spurgeon Jr., attended Lincoln Academy, a private African American high school located near Kings Mountain, where his mother Dorothy was a teacher. For college he journeyed to Virginia to Hampton Institute where he earned a B.S. in science with a minor in education. He went on for a doctorate in dental surgery at Mehrarry Medical School in Nashville, which ranked alongside Howard University as the nation’s top medical school for African Americans. There he met wife Jean, a nursing student. After graduating he served a stint in the U.S. Air Force as a Captain in their Dental Corps.

Dr. Webber started his practice upstairs at 1109a Beatties Ford Road, a modest two-story business building that still exists a short walk from this house on Washington Avenue. He subsequently developed the University Park Medical Center at 2301 Keller Avenue. That structure no longer stands, but Keller Street was renamed Dr. Webber Avenue in his honor in the 2010s. Webber’s office became known for welcoming young dentists on their way up: more than thirty started their careers there before opening practices of their own. Dr. Webber also took leadership in professional associations, including serving as President of the black Old North State Dental Association. As barriers began to fall during the Civil Rights era of the 1960s and 70s, Webber was appointed as the first African American on the North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners.

Loretta Jean Hill Webber put her nursing degree to work in Charlotte as a civic leader. She became program director for the Metrolina Lung Association and also consulted as a health analyst with the City of Charlotte. She was named North Carolina Small Business Person of the Year for her leadership of American Minority Industries, Inc., a computer tabulating business that she and her husband founded in the mid-1970s. The couple had two children: son Dr. Spurgeon Webber III, a dentist who took over his father’s practice, and daughter Diedra Webber Humphrey.

Jean and Dr. Webber became active philanthropists. Gifts to JCSU included endowing a scholarship in honor of Dr. Webber’s parents and also funding a suite of laboratories in the new Science Center constructed on campus in 2016. The couple gave substantial gifts to other colleges including Meharry, Hampton, Winston Salem State (where Dr. Webber chaired the Board of Trustees) and Central Piedmont Community College (where he serves as Trustee Board vice-chair). Other beneficiaries included the Urban League of Central Carolinas, the Charlotte chapter of the NAACP, the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship and the Harvey Gantt Center for African American Arts and Culture.

This house on Washington Avenue may have been the couple’s first residence in Charlotte as Dr. Webber established his dental practice nearby at 1109a Beatties Ford Road. In the mid 1960s the family moved around the corner to 915 Condon Avenue, another of George Moreland’s cluster of four rental dwellings. In 1971 Dr. and Mrs. Webber would build a large new house of their own in Hyde Park, an elite African American neighborhood developed during the late 1960s and 1970s further out Beatties Ford Road.

Washington-2005-b-web

Architecture

Ranch, one story in red brick. The low hip roof and the wide, metal-frame windows  — including a large three-part picture window in the living room — give the house a horizontal emphasis that is characteristic of the Ranch style. A screen-porch wing covered by a hip roof extends at the east side of the residence.

Building permits

Washington-2005-permit
Date issued: September 28, 1961
Owner: Mr. George Moreland, 624 E. 9th St.
Contractor: T.R. Helms Construction
Estimated cost: $7200
Other permit info: Build Residence

First appeared in city directory

1962 – Spurgeon W. Webber, Jr. (No spouse). Dentist at 1109a Beatties Ford Rd.

 

Obituaries

Resources

“Laboratory Suite in New Science Center will Honor Webber Family,” The Bulletin: The Magazine of Johnson C Smith University, 2012 – 2013, p, 68. On-line at: https://www.jcsu.edu/uploads/73/8d/738d8ae321e26b20de262ecb4744a3b9/JCSU-FINAL-BULLETIN-2013.pdf

Spurgeon Webber, Jr., obituary in the Charlotte Observer, December 9, 2011. On-line at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/charlotte/obituary.aspx?pid=154950398