MATTHEWS – The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission is trying to preserve the former home of Charles McLaughlin, who served as mayor during the Great Depression.
Dan Morrill, chairman of the landmarks commission, told town commissioners on Oct. 28 that the home at 501 W. John St., was built sometime between 1883 and 1894 by local grocer Sidney Hooks, who also served as the Matthews postmaster. McLaughlin lived there from 1907 until his death in 1952.
“As we go through this chain of human life and we go through our journey, many of us are quickly forgotten but he was mayor from 1929 until 1941, therefore faced all of the difficulties associated with the impact of the Great Depression here in Matthews, in North Carolina and the country as a whole,” Morrill told town commissioners.
The home is also historically significant because it’s one of three Folk Victorian-style houses left in Matthews. While the integrity of the exterior has been maintained over the years, the inside of the house has “undergone major renovation,” Morrill said.
“It’s a house that basically takes its inspiration from the mechanical lathe and the scroll saw,” Morrill said. “Therefore, it has a lot of gingerbread, a lot of brackets, a lot of intricate ornamentation to distinguish it from the later craftsman-style house.”
The historic designation would only apply to the exterior of the home and a portion of the parcel.
Morrill said the landmark designation helps prevent the destruction of historic structures. It also gives the landmarks commission the ability to review material alterations to property. Owners can apply to defer half of the property taxes.
Planning Director Jay Camp said local historic designations won’t prohibit potential road widening. The property does not meet the qualifications to appear on the national register of historic property, he added.
Commissioners are expected to approve the historic designation during their Nov. 11 meeting.