Carol Wohlford Mesrobian and Caroline Mesrobian Hickman oral history interview 1, 2013 May 10
- 2013 May 10
In this interview, Carol Wohlford Mesrobian and Caroline Mesrobian Hickman, the widow and daughter of Charlotte architect Ralfe Mesrobian, share Mesrobian family history beginning with Ralfe’s parents Mihran and Zabelle Mesrobian. They recount Mihran’s career as an architect in Turkey and his service in the Turkish army in World War I, including family lore concerning Lawrence of Arabia’s role in rescuing Mihran from execution as a prisoner of war. Other topics include the family’s immigration to the United States, family dynamics and involvement in the Armenian church, the effect of Turkish deportation of Armenians on the family, and Mihran’s architectural work in Washington, D.C. In shifting the focus to Ralfe, Carol and Caroline share about his interest in and talent for athletics, his education, including how he came to attend Duke University, his service as a Marine pilot in World War II, and his marriage to Carol. They explain the factors that led to his becoming an architect and starting his first job in Charlotte and discuss his relationship with his employers and clients, the scope and style of his work throughout his career, his transition to being an independent architect, and specific projects in Charlotte, including the original Charlotte Airport terminal, private residences, the Spaugh Building at Little Church on the Lane, the Mecklenburg Furniture Store, and the Strawn Apartments in Dilworth.