2009 Oaklawn Avenue first appeared in city directories in 1939 occupied by Frederick L. Wiley and wife Grace E. Wiley. The couple were life-long educators in Charlotte’s public schools, he at Second Ward High and she at Isabella Wyche Elementary. Mr. Wylie served on the three-person committee that raised half the funds to construct West Charlotte’s athletic stadium in 1948, spurring the School Board to provide a matching amount.
This stylish Victorian residence is among the oldest surviving African American upper-middle-class dwellings in Charlotte. City directory evidence indicates that it was built about 1915 by Robert H. Caldwell. He was listed in the 1916 city directory as a laborer, and later in 1921 as a chair maker, but for most of his life he was a plasterer. African Americans dominated the building trades in the generations following the Civil War, especially brickmaking and the allied art of plastering.
Caldwell and wife Azilee lived here for some four decades, both listed at this address as late as the 1951 city directory.
Built about 1938-39 by Dr. Edson E. Blackman, a physician of statewide importance during the 1930s and 1940s for his pathbreaking work to document and end the substandard conditions of African American hospitals under segregation. He served as President of the black Old North State Medical Society in the mid 1930s. North Carolina Governor William Broughton tapped him to write a 1945 report, “Negro Hospital and Medical Needs in North Carolina.” It helped lay groundwork for the national Hill-Burton Act of 1946, the first federal aid to hospitals.
Blackman’s son, Edson E. Blackman, Jr., became one of the first four African Americans to win the rank of sergeant in the United States Marine Corps, 1943.
Built about 1934 for Rev. Franklin M. Beaver, minister at Davidson United Presbyterian Church 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.
In 1965 Rev. Beaver and his wife Johnsie massively renovated the house, giving it new windows and a brick exterior in the Ranch style. Mrs. Beaver, a teacher at Harding High School, continued living here into the 1980s.