This week's Fact Friday comes to you from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission & GPSMyCity.
The Bagley-Mullen House is a majestic brick mansion located at Poplar and 5th Streets in Charlotte. It was built by Edward Andrews, who was somewhat known for erected impressive homes in the city.
The home is the only example of French Chateauesque architecture in the city. The Revivalist architecture of the house was inspired by Loire Valley chateaux. It is reminiscent of such august residences as Meillant and Courtalain.
Today, the house is the location of a tattoo parlor. Prior to this it functioned as a day spa. The historic building remains intact for anyone who wants to stop by and see the beautiful architecture.
The Bagley-Mullen House is located within easy walking distance of Discovery Place, St. Peter's Episcopal Church and a large number of historic buildings in the Fourth Ward.
A brief historical sketch of the property:
On October 5, 1892, Edgar Murchison Andrews (1850-1920), a native Charlottean and son of Ezra Hamwood Andrews and Sarah Bolton Andrews purchased property at the corner of N. Poplar St. and Fifth St. in Charlotte, N.C. E. M. Andrews, is best remembered locally for his role in establishing the Andrews Music Co. In 1881 he had opened a furniture store on W. Trade St. Soon thereafter, he had brought his brother, Frank H. Andrews, into the business for purposes of managing a music room in which pianos and organs were to be sold. The significance of this activity notwithstanding, it was the second of his business ventures which makes E. M. Andrews a pivotal figure in the architectural history of this community. In the opinion of one observer, E. M. Andrews was "the first man in Charlotte who built nice homes on back streets." Like the majority of towns in North Carolina, Charlotte had expanded initially along its major thoroughfares, Tryon St. and Trade St. The more imposing residences of the community were located on these two streets. Andrews, responding to the growing demand for substantial dwellings to house the many newcomers who settled in Charlotte in the 1880's and 1890's, invested in lots on streets which intersected the major thoroughfares. Here he erected homes for sale. Edward Dilworth Latta, President of the Charlotte Consolidated Construction Company and developer of Dilworth (Charlotte's initial streetcar suburb), stated that E M. Andrews did more to make Charlotte a livable city than any ten men of his day. E. M. Andrews moved to Greensboro, NC, c. 1905, where he died on July 13, 1920.
E. M. Andrews erected a two and one-half story brick house at the corner of W. Fifth St. and N. Poplar St. The initial owner and resident was Andrew Joyner Bagley (1856-1931), who purchased the house in March 1895. A native of Johnston County, N.C., he came to Charlotte from Shelby, N.C., to accept a position in the freight office of the Carolina Central Railroad. Later he became assistant ticket agent for the Southern Railroad. His wife, Bertha Ward Bagley, died in Charlotte on September 8, 1896. On March 4, 1897, he sold his home and, moved out of the city. He settled in Lincolnton, N.C., where he died on February 26, 1931.
The next owner of the house was Walter Nixon Mullen (1853-1910), Elizabeth City, N.C. He had come to Charlotte in the late 1870's and had opened a grocery store on S. Church St. By 1897 he had achieved the accolades of his neighbors, primarily because of his invention of the "Hornet's Nest Liniment," a widely-acclaimed medicinal brew of that day. The Evening Chronicle explained that he "made a lucrative living from the much advertised and meritorious composition." A member of Trinity Methodist Church, Walter Mullen died in the house on February 17, 1910. "He was gentle in manner, kind in speech, unselfish, honest in heart and life, square in his dealings, in exemplary husband and father," The Charlotte News proclaimed. In the opinion of The Evening Chronicle, W. N. Mullen "had been one of the best known most popular citizens of this community."
On December 30, 1946, the descendants of, Walter Mullen and his wife, Annie Beatrice Grimes Mullen (1859-1925), sold the house to the Charles H. Litaker Insurance Company, that used the structure as its corporate headquarters.
The Bagley- Mullen House (1895) is the only structure in Charlotte, N.C., which is
predominantly, French Chateau or Chateauresque in architectural style. Designs of this fashion appeared initially in France in the second quarter of the nineteenth century and were inspired by the architecture of the reign of Francis I (1515-1547). The most imposing edifice of this genre in the United States was designed for George Washington Vanderbilt by Richard Morris Hunt (1827-1895) and erected in Asheville, N.C. between 1890 and 1895. It is reasonable to infer that
Edgar Murchison Andrews, who built the Bagley-Mullen House for speculative purposes, selected the Chateaureque style because of its association with the Biltmore House, which was under construction at the same time. Admittedly, however, the Bagley-Mullen House is a modest and somewhat unsophisticated example of this architectural motif. The Chateauresque style is massive and irregular in silhouette. It is characterized by steeply pitched hip or gable roofs with dormers, towers, and tall, elaborately decorated chimneys with corbled caps. While incorporating these elements on the exterior the Bagley-Mullen House exhibits interior features, especially the one surviving mantel on the first floor, which draw their inspiration from Neo-Classical designs. Consequently, like the majority of substantial dwellings erected in Charlotte in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the Bagley-Mullen House can be classified as a
transitional structure in terms of architectural style.
The Bagley-Mullen House is significant also because of its role in the development of the residential patterns of the built environment or townscape of this community. This was not the first edifice to occupy this site. Previously, three tenement houses, known as Fox's Row had been situated on this and two adjoining lots. The construction of the Bagley-Mullen House by E. M. Andrews illustrates the introduction of more imposing homes on to the back streets of Charlotte, a process which was occurring during the fourth quarter of the nineteenth century in response to the commercial and industrial expansion of the community.
"The Bagley-Mullen House, Charlotte" GPSMyCity.
"The Bagley-Mullen House," by Dr. Dan L. Morrill, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission, May 2, 1979.
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“History is not the past, it is the present. We carry our history with us. We are our history.” - James Baldwin