This house first appears in city directories in 2003, the home of Henry D. Harris. The brickwork of the foundation hints that it may be an older dwelling.
Built 1959-60 for Austin Simons and wife Julia Simons. In a neighborhood where nearly all residents worked in the professions, Mr. and Mrs. Simons were unusual in holding jobs that were much more typical of African Americans in the mid 20th century. Austin Simons was listed in the city directory as a “porter” at Harry & Bryant Funeral Home, one of the city’s long-time white funeral agencies. Julie Simons worked at Harry & Bryant as a maid, perhaps the most prevalent job then among African American women but a rarity in McCrorey Heights. The couple must have been hard workers to build this suburban house. They remained here for over twenty years.
Built 1966-67 for Alvin Von Kennedy and Natalie Shirley Williams Kennedy. Mr. Kennedy was a social worker with the Veterans Administration. Mrs. Kennedy worked as a teacher, first at Myers Street School when this house was built, and later in the 1970s at Eastover Elementary.
The Kennedys’ daughter Natalie Kennedy Beard lives here in the 2010s. She serves as Clerk of Session, the chief lay leader at First United Presbyterian Church in Charlotte’s center city. She is also President of the McCrorey Heights Neighborhood Association.
Built about 1974 as a retirement residence for Johnson C. Smith University philosophy professor, tennis coach and administrator Dr. Winson R. Coleman and his wife Theodora, an elementary school teacher.
Professor Winston came to JCSU in 1929 to teach Greek and later added philosophy. He earned a PhD at University of Chicago in 1950, one of only four African Americans in the nation to win a doctorate in philosophy during the decade of the 1950s. JCSU named Dr. Coleman as Dean of the University in 1962, supervising curriculum.
Built about 1960 on Van Buren Avenue in McCrorey Heights, then moved to Washington Avenue in 1969 due to construction of the Northwest Expressway (Brookshire Freeway).
It became the longtime home of Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth S. Powell. Mr. Powell was Professor of Health and Education, Assistant Football Coach and Head Track Coach at JCSU. In 1969 the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics honored him as Coach of the Year for track in the Carolinas. The CIAA (Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association) also named him a Coach of the Year, and in 1987 the organization inducted him into the CIAA Hall of Fame.
Built in 1957 for Presbyterian minister Rev. Hercules Wilson and wife Carrie D. Wilson. Rev. Wilson had helped organize Charlotte’s Brooklyn Presbyterian Church in 1911, then accepted a call to Westminster Presbyterian in Concord where he pastored forty years until retirement in 1957. He also served as Moderator (top regional administrator) of the Catawba Synod of the Presbyterian Church.
When Rev. Wilson retired, he and his wife chose to move into McCrorey Heights. It was a place to be part of the cultural life of Charlotte, especially the intellectual and religious opportunities of Johnson C. Smith University, and many McCrorey Heights neighbors were Presbyterian ministers.
Built about 1951 as the parsonage for First United Presbyterian Church, also known as Seventh Street Presbyterian. It was one of the city’s leading downtown congregations, responsible for the founding of Johnson C. Smith University.
The first occupants at 1650 Patton Avenue, from about 1952 to 1962, were Rev. James W. Smith, Sr., pastor at Seventh Street Presbyterian, and his wife Margaret A. Smith, a longtime Charlotte school teacher.
Built about 1949 – 50 for Joseph C. Belton, principal at Clear Creek (later renamed J.H. Gunn) School, the main African American high school for rural students in eastern Mecklenburg County. In 1965 he moved to Marie G. Davis Elementary where he retired in 1974. His wife Marjorie R. Belton led Charlotte’s Phyllis Wheatley Branch of the YWCA, one of the oldest African American YMCA branches in the South.
Joseph Belton’s sister Mattie Belton DeLaine lived next door at 1706 Washington Avenue; she and husband Rev. J.A. DeLaine played roles of national importance in the Briggs v Elliott court case that led to the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Brown v Board desegregation ruling. Joseph Belton’s brother Moses lived a block away at 1809 Washington. He created JCSU’s office of public relations and took a leading part in desegregating Charlotte’s restaurants in the early 1960s.