2025 Oaklawn Avenue

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

Longtime home of Rev. Franklin M. Beaver, minister at Davidson United Presbyterian Church on Depot Street in downtown Davidson, about half an hour north of Charlotte. Rev. Beaver led the church for three decades from 1934 until his retirement in 1965.

Rev. Beaver was an energetic man who embraced change. When he took over the church it was Davidson Colored Presbyterian. He immediately renamed it Davidson United Presbyterian Church (USA). “During his thirty-two years of ministry, the membership increased to one hundred fifty-three,” noted the church website in 2017. “This is the largest it has ever been during the history of the church.”

In addition to building up the congregation, Rev. Beaver literally built up the church. Reported the website: “He was successful in renovating the original church both inside and outside into a beautiful edifice. In 1962, an Educational Building was erected, which added greatly to the program of the church.” The renovations including giving the 1880s wooden structure a new brick exterior and new windows.

Rev. Beaver’s house at 2025 Oaklawn Avenue reflected his energy. For one thing, he chose to live in Charlotte near Johnson C. Smith University with its educational and cultural advantages, commuting to the smaller village of Davidson to minister to his flock. To supplement the pay that a village church could provide, he worked part-time as a barber in the city. In his later years his shop stood at 1116 Beatties Ford Road, a block from his home. His wife Effie was by his side in the early years on Oaklawn Avenue. As the family grew and changed, Rev. Beaver continually added to and renovated his house. Effie Beaver evidently passed away in the mid 1950s; Rev. Beaver was listed alone in the city directory for several years. As he neared retirement from the church in 1965, he remarried to Johnsie A. Beaver. The couple undertook a massive remodeling, transforming the old house with a new brick exterior and modern windows — an echo of the architectural  transformation that Rev. Beaver wrought in his church at about the same time.  Johnsie Beaver would continue to live at 2025 Oaklawn Avenue after Rev. Beaver’s passing, into the 1980s, working as a teacher at Harding High School.

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Architecture

This one-and-a-half-story house has been much remodeled over the years. Originally built in the 1930s, it was given a brick exterior and Ranch style touches in a 1963 remodeling.

The main block of the house has a “jerkin head” gable roof, the top corners of each end appearing to be clipped. There is also a central front gable with aluminum clapboard siding, a hint of the wooden clapboards that likely covered the whole dwelling originally. The three-gable arrangement was a common one in North Carolina in the years around 1900; architectural historians sometime refer to it as a “Triple A.”

The original owner, Rev. Frank Beaver, took out a permit to build a rear addition in 1950 and another permit in 1957 to extend a porch, probably also at the rear. More additions appear to have been done at the rear as well.

Rev. Beaver subsequently took out a permit for a major remodeling in 1963 at a cost of $9000. It sheathed the house in brick, added a large brick exterior chimney at the east side, created a brick base for the front porch with new “wrought iron” columns and railings, and replaced the windows with metal-framed units, many of them horizontal in the Ranch style then popular in suburban America.

Building permits

Oaklawn-2025-2032-permit
Date issued: June 27, 1950
Owner:  F. M. Beaver
Contractor:  F. M. Beaver
Estimated cost:
Other permit info: build addition

Oaklawn-2023-2025-permit
Date issued: September 24, 1951
Owner: F. M. Beaver
Contractor: F. M. Beaver
Estimated cost:
Other permit info: reroof one side of house

Oaklawn-2025-permit
Date issued: January 22, 1957
Owner: F. M. Beaver
Contractor: Herbert Eaves
Estimated cost:
Other permit info: extend porch

Oaklawn-2025-permit-a
Date issued: May 21, 1963
Owner: F. M. Beaver
Contractor: Catos Construction Co.
Estimated cost: $9,000
Other permit info: general remodeling and building carport

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

First appeared in city directory

1934 – Rev. Frank M. Beaver, & Effie.  Pastor, Church St. Presbyterian Church, 1513 S. Church St.

1935 &  1937 – Rev. Frank M. Beaver & Effie S.

1940 – Rev. Franklin M. Beaver & Effie  (note indicates address was previously 2035)
He: Barber, 1116 Beatties Ford Road

1951 – Rev. Frank Beaver & Effie S.
He: Pastor, Davidson Col. Presbyterian Church.
She: No occupation listed

1959 – Rev. Frank M. Beaver
He: Pastor, Davidson United Presbyterian Church.

1965 – Rev. Frank Beaver & Johnsie E.
He: Pastor, Davidson United Presbyterian Church.
She: No occupation listed

1969 – Rev. Franklin M. Beaver & Johnsie A.
He: Retired.  She: Teacher, Harding High School.

1981 – Mrs. Johnsie A. Beaver. Teacher, Harding High School.

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

Resources

“Church History,” Davidson United Presbyterian Church website. On-line at http://www.dpcus.org/history.htm/.