UNC Charlotte Special Collections J. Murrey Atkins Library - Special Collections & University Archives

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Stephens Company minute book

 Collection — Oversize Box: 1 [F09.075.03.07]
Identifier: MS0363

Scope and Contents

The Stephens Company Minute Book consists of one bound item of nearly 200 pages, with a few loose pages (plus a bound photocopy of the original). The book consists of articles of incorporation, bylaws and minutes of board meetings and annual reports from 1911 to 1922.

Dates

  • 1911 - 1922

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.

Biographical / Historical

The land that ultimately became Myers Park, in Charlotte, North Carolina, was originally owned by the Springs family. One of the descendants was John “Jack” Springs Myers (son of W.R. Myers and Sophia Springs Myers), who lived from 1847 to 1925; and the land was known as “Springfield.” The family mansion on this estate was one of the most opulent in the Charlotte area. In 1869, Jack received his portion of the family property for “one dollar and love and affection.” A year later, Jack married Mary Rawlinson, of South Carolina, and brought his bride to the family estate. Later, Myers bought adjoining land, increasing it by 240 acres, for a total of 1100 acres, which he used for cotton cultivation. At the time, the roads were so frequently muddy and impassible that the family felt isolated from the rest of Charlotte society, where all of the important social and political magnates were clustered. Gradually, the city expanded and the dirt roads were paved with macadam, making the outlying estate better connected to the rest of Charlotte. Nevertheless, Mrs. Myers convinced her husband to move the family to a house in the city. Around 1900 the estate acquired the moniker, “Myers Park.” Another central figure in the development of the Myers Park neighborhood was George Stephens, a local insurance agent, banker and real estate agent. Stephens met the Myers’ daughter, Sophie; developed a fondness for her and they married in 1901. It was largely through his new in-laws that Stephens was able to acquire the Myers’ land. Stephens incorporated a development company on March 4, 1911, “to buy, sell, exchange, transfer, let and assign, mortgage, or otherwise dispose of…any and all property…of the suburb of the City of Charlotte known as Myers Park.” The Stephens Company was a small enterprise, consisting of only Stephens, Word H. Wood, and A. J. Draper. Wood served as secretary, and Stephens as chairman. Stephens had a grand vision for what Myers Park could become, and he hired some of the most capable people in the country to design the best plan and the right landscape for his neighborhood. The Stephens Company hired John Nolen to determine the layout of the streets and the contour of the landscape. Nolen had just completed his education in landscape design from Harvard University. It was he who determined what trees would be planted, and brought in trees larger than mere saplings to ornament the area. Later, Nolen went on to be one of the country’s leading and most acclaimed landscape designers. Among the values and priorities that went into his planning, Nolen wanted a neighborhood that would be readily accessible by both automobiles and a trolley car system (linking it with the downtown area)—a new concept at the time. Nolen was averse to a gridded, checker-board plan of delineating plots, and used the natural contours of the landscape to determine the best places to establish streets. Lots were about an acre each, and would allow houses to be equipped with carriage houses and/or guest houses. Queens Road, equipped with trolley rails, would encircle the area, in order to provide mass transit service to every residence in no more than two blocks. Lastly, Nolen’s capstone of his design was the greenway that passed through the neighborhood. Nolen felt that creeks should be featured as community parkways, rather than hidden behind properties. This was another radical change from previous conventions. The whole design made for what some observer’s called a “continuous parkway.” Ultimately, Nolen made Myers Park into Charlotte’s most attractive, fashionable, and desirable neighborhood. In the years since development in the early twentieth century, properties (which were originally generously delineated in acre allotments) have been subdivided and sold off. By the end of the century, lots were paired down to a smaller and more customary size; and the number of house in the neighborhood have approximately tripled.

Extent

0.1 Linear Feet

Overview

Minute book of the Stephens Company, which owned and developed the property that became Myers Park, Charlotte, NC

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Acquired from Ms. Jean Sullivan.

Related Materials

Asbury and Boyer architectural papers ; Cansler & Cansler ; Draper ; Kratt ; Mason ; Myers Park Homeowners Association.

Processing Information

Processed by Robert A. McInnes, February 2006.
Title
Guide to the Stephens Company minute book
Status
Completed
Author
Robert A. McInnes
Date
2006
Description rules
dacs
Language of description
English

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscript Collections, J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections and University Archives, UNC Charlotte Repository

Contact:
Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte
9201 University City Blvd
Charlotte 28223 United Stated