David Ed Holden took out the permit to build this house in 1957 for himself and wife Gladys. “For his entire working life he served as manager of Southside Homes,” noted his funeral program. Located on South Tryon Street, Southside Homes was built in 1952 as one of Charlotte’s public housing developments. Gladys was a school teacher who helped open York Road School adjacent to Southside Homes in 1955, then worked there her whole career.
Woodson G. Carson, Sr., took out the permit to build this house in 1951, making it one of the first post-World War II houses to go up in McCrorey Heights. Carson worked as a waiter on the Southern Railway. Railroad jobs such as porter and waiter were among the best employment open to African Americans in the mid-twentieth century, prized for their steady work and decent pay. Carson’s wife Willa M. Carson also held a desirable position as a teacher at Second Ward High School.
The house is architecturally interesting for its unusual mix of Colonial and Modernistic design influences.
Built about 1958, the longtime home of Alexander H. Byers, a pioneering black school principal in the era of integration, and his wife Rachel, also an educator in the public schools. Reported his funeral program, “Two distinct honors for Alex occurred when he was named the first principal of the newly opened J.T. William Junior High School, and later Ranson Junior High, where he became the first principal of a predominantly white school.”
Built about 1959 on Van Buren Avenue 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. When the Brookshire Freeway took land along Van Buren Avenue in 1968, 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.
Built 1951 – 52 by brickmason Tony S. Jordan. He and wife Francennie, a teacher, resided here for over three decades.
Bricklaying was a trade dominated by African Americans in the South into the mid-twentieth century. That dated back to slavery times, when African Americans not only made much of the South’s brick, but also handled nearly every aspect of building construction. Tony Jordan was one of half a dozen brickmasons whose solidly middle-class economic achievements gave them the money to build in prestigious McCrorey Heights.
Built in 1963-64 for musician Calvin M. McKennie and his wife Dorothy C. McKennie, a schoolteacher. McKennie helped his relative Maurice Williams build a national career as an R&B musician, known for the enduring hit “Stay (Just a Little Bit Longer).” McKennie worked as a songwriter, horn player and ultimately business manager for Maurice Williams & the Zodiacs. His house has a full “walk-out” basement, a feature that is a rarity in the Charlotte area. It is possible that the basement provided rehearsal space for the band.