A look inside William Treloar House, a relic of old Uptown Charlotte
If you’re in uptown often, you’ve probably driven by the two-story red brick structure at Brevard and Seventh streets. I have always been curious about it. I wondered when a big company would come in and tear it down and build some huge high rise. With construction in Charlotte booming, I wondered what would happen to the home. I wondered about its history.
I learned that the red home that sits at 328 N. Brevard St. is known as the William Treloar House. William and Julia Treloar built the large Victorian home for $2,500. It was completed in 1887 and accommodated their 13 children through the years.
I wanted to learn more. I decided to investigate, and I even talked my way into a private tour of the vacant building.
Who were the Treloars?
William Treloar, born Feb. 27, 1825, was a gold miner from Cornwall, England, who came to the U.S. in 1844. He moved to Stanly County, where he met Julia. Gold mining was booming. In the late 1840s, the Treloars moved to Charlotte and William owned the Central Hotel (later called the Albert Hotel) on the first block of South Tryon Street, and Granite Row — also known as Treloar Hall — on Tryon Street. When the Civil War broke out, he sold both and moved his family to Philadelphia, where he worked in the shoe and boot business.
After the war, the Treloars returned to Charlotte and purchased the land on Brevard Street in February of 1886. It was put in Julia’s name, a common practice to protect it from foreclosure due to business losses.
The last row house
Brevard Street was once a highly respected residential street. The Treloar Home is the only “row house” (think: townhouse) left standing uptown, a remnant of the old First Ward neighborhood.
William died of pneumonia on Jan. 16, 1894 at the age of 69. Julia lived in the home until her death at the age of 77. They both died in the home and are both buried at Elmwood Cemetery, just outside of uptown.
Since then the home has transferred owners a dozen times. Owners include:
– The Treloar children. – A cotton broker named Samuel Lawson Smith. – In 1934, the house was sold to W. O. and Ilse Potter on a foreclosure sale. The next 13 years the house was rented to various tenants, many of them mill workers. – In 1947, Steve and Doral Dellinger bought it and leased it to the Charlotte Auto Parts Company. It remained in the Dellinger estate and was also leased to the Alexander and Golden Bail Bond Company. – The home was obtained by Levine Properties in the late 1990s.
Inside the vacant home
Daniel Levine took me on a private tour of the home, which has been closed up and vacant since the 1980s. When we walked in, I had an adrenaline rush.
I thought of William and Julia. I thought of all the people that had been inside those four walls and everything that’s happened in 129 years — The family dinners, the holidays, the birthdays, the cold winters, the hot summers. Of course I thought of ghosts. Were there any?
As we made our way around in the dark, Daniel shined a flashlight on what I found to be a beautiful home. There was a fireplace upstairs. As we walked to the backside of the home I noticed a huge opening behind the staircase that was taped off — an old elevator shaft.
From the outside of the house, in the front left upstairs window, you can see a square cut out of the plywood. I wondered why. Once we walked up the tiny, steep staircase I got my answer: There is a camera in that window and it is filming a time lapse of the new Google Fiber building (previously Dixies Tavern) and new First Ward Park.
About the poem
Amy Bagwell from CPCC started The Wall Poems, an art project featuring North Carolinian poetry on buildings. The poetry painted on the Treloar house is called “Bus Stop” by Donald Justice. The project’s murals celebrate North Carolina’s literary legacy and unite Charlotte citizens of all ages and backgrounds in an effort to beautify the city and make poetry accessible to anyone who stops and reads it.
I asked Daniel what his vision for the home is. Was he going to tear it down? He said no. He plans to restore the home. He wants to lease the space to a food-service operator. He said he would like it to have a diner feel, where you can come and get breakfast, lunch or dinner and take in views of the city. I’m excited to see this area of uptown restored and to see what will become of the Treloar House.
At one point later in the day, I was standing in the home with my photographer Justin. He went to go get a different lens for his camera and he left me in the room alone with no flashlight.
It was the darkest area in the house. It was oddly quiet for being a weekday in Charlotte. I stood and just listened to the silence. And then I screamed as loud as I could.
Photos: The very talented Justin Driscoll. To see more of Justin’s work, visit www.justindphotos.com
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