Construction of the Brookshire Freeway displaced all houses on this odd-numbered side of Van Buren Avenue about 1968.
Van Buren Avenue
Built about 1958 for William E. White, a teacher at Northwest Junior High. After the government took land along Van Buren Avenue in 1968 to build the Northwest Expressway (now Brookshire Freeway), White won appointment to the Charlotte Redevelopment Commission, a place where he could call attention to the harm that such projects did to neighborhoods.
Built 1955 – 56 for dentist Dr. J. Dwight Martin and his wife Ruby Barr Martin, a teacher and college administrator who had worked on Wall Street before coming to Charlotte. Dr. Martin’s Civil Rights activities included co-filing a lawsuit to stop construction of a separate and unequal campus of historically black Carver College in 1961. He was the son of early JCSU professor James D. Martin, for whom Martin Street on the southern border of campus is named.
Built in 1955 for Joseph W. Harper II, a letter carrier with the Post Office who also worked as a waiter at Charlotte’s elite country clubs, and his wife Lucy Harper, an entrepreneur whose businesses included Harper’s Barber Shop. The couple lived there until his death in the 1960s and hers in 1975.
During the late 1950s, son Joseph W. Harper III and his bride Mary Turner Harper stayed here at 1630 Van Buren during summer breaks from their teaching jobs in Lincolnton, NC, until building their own house a few blocks away in Charlotte’s Oaklawn Park neighborhood in 1959. Both would go on to be important educational leaders. Joseph Harper III became a beloved coach whose name is still remembered Lincolnton, then served as Assistant Principal at East Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte from the 1970s until 1991. Dr. Mary T. Harper became one of first African American professors at UNC Charlotte, then in 1976 co-founded what is now the Gantt Center for African American Art and Culture.
Construction of the Brookshire Freeway displaced all houses on the odd-numbered side of Van Buren Avenue about 1968. This residence, which had recently been built by the family of Civil Rights activist Rev. Cecil Ivory, was moved to the Hyde Park neighborhood further out Beatties Ford Road.