Fact Friday 127 – The James B. Duke Mansion – Myers Park Series
The original façade of this stately home in the Myers Park neighborhood was built in 1915 by Zebulon Taylor, president of the Southern Public Utilities Company. Having secured a loan from the American Trust Company for the lot, Taylor and his wife commissioned the local Hook and Rogers architectural firm to build the 7,000 square-foot Colonial Revival –style house on sixty acres of land. Situated on the brow of a hill on Hermitage Road in the new suburb, the house wasn’t far from the recently laid Queens Road trolley line. This shot was taken the year the house was completed, and it was undoubtedly one of the finer residences in the area. The house would truly become grand as well as famous a few years later, however, when one of North Carolina’s most influential native citizens returned home from New Jersey to expose his daughter to the Southern way of life.
These images of other angles of the house were taken by the Historic American Building Survey in the 1980s.
Noted tobacco and energy industrialist James Buchanan Duke, president and founder of the Duke Power Company, purchased the Taylor property in 1919 and tripled the size of the house to 32,000 square feet, transforming it into a majestic forty-five-room mansion he called Lynnwood. In 1924 a series of meetings in the house culminated in the formation of the Duke Endowment, a multimillion-dollar trust fund established to support hospitals, children’s homes, and institutions of higher education, such as Duke University and Johnson C. Smith University, in the Carolinas. The mansion remained a residence and passed through various hands after Duke’s death in 1926, and in 1996 Duke Power preserved it as a historic inn and meeting center. The original 1915 façade of the house remains in this modern view, although it does not show the grandeur of what has since become the largest wooden structure by square feet in the state of North Carolina.
Until next week!
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Information taken from:
Charlotte Then and Now, Brandon Lunsford, 2013.
“We have to do with the past only as we can make it useful to the present and the future.” – Frederick Douglass