The Carrie and Charles Angle House at 919 Spring Garden Street in College Hill was saved from demolition through a partnership between the College Hill Neighborhood Association, the 1772 Foundation, the Covington Foundation, the City of Greensboro, and the Preservation Greensboro Development Fund.
The home is an excellent example of an American Foursquare with Colonial Revival features and holds a prominent location in the heart of the neighborhood. Vacated after a fire in 2011 and on a path to demolition, neighbors and preservationists banded together to cultivate a strategy for preservation and reinvestment.
The American Foursquare takes its name from a four-room floor plan arranged within a cubical block form. The compact house form was popular beginning in the late nineteenth century as it accommodated a single-family detached home within a narrow suburban lot. Foursquares are characterized by a two-story plan, with a broad front porch, symmetrical façade, and a pyramidal roof often punctuated by a central dormer window.
The style of the Angle House is inspired by Colonial Revival architecture. Interest in Colonial styles grew after the nation’s Centennial celebration in 1876, and buildings in various Colonial styles were evocative of homes built early in the nation’s history. Designers mimicked the diamond pane windows, bay windows, attenuated columns, and clapboard siding of early American homes when designing Colonial Revival style houses. The Angle House demonstrates each of these characteristics, with the addition of a broad wrap around porch popular in the Carolina Piedmont to create an indigenous home that reflected both national trends and the local Piedmont vernacular.
In 1901, the Greensboro Brick Company subdivided (Image, right) a large tract of land between Spring Garden Street and the North Carolina Railroad for single family homes. Lots along Spring Garden Street sold quickly, and Miss Annie D. Davis of 809 Pearson Street purchased Lot 7 on the southwestern corner of Spring Garden and Joyner streets on 17 April 1901 for $375.
Annie Davis held the property, presumably undeveloped, for several years until it was purchased by John McCracken (a farmer from the Friendship area) for $800 on 5 April 1907. Though the title is uncertain during the summer of 1907, the property was sold to Carrie Angle for $3,500 on 22 October 1907 – the change in cost indicating a building had been erected since April. Carrie Lee Finney and her husband Charles Joel Angle remained in the house until their deaths on 4 September 1942 and 21 February 1942 respectively – a remarkable 35 year span in ownership! The couple had two children: Mary Ruth (known as Ruth) and Charles William.
The Angle family first appeared in Greensboro directories for the 1907-08 editions. Before them the property at the address was listed as occupied by William Crawford, a travelling salesmen. Little is known of Crawford, he left Greensboro by 1907 and it is uncertain whether he lived in this home prior its construction in 1907. Although the National Register nomination for this home credits Crawford as its first occupant, his occupancy, if at all, was fleeting. Therefore, the house is named for its first certain and long-lived occupants, the Angles.
Charles Angle was a native of Henry County Virginia. His wife Carrie was the daughter of the wealthiest man in Henry County. The couple moved to Greensboro around 1907 and Charles established a position as a lumber merchant and later a general contractor. He is most remembered as the contractor that renovated the old First Presbyterian Church for use as a Civic Center in 1938 (today the Greensboro Historical Museum).
Mary Ruth inherited the property at the time of her mother’s death. Ruth Angle was an alumna of UNCG, and served in a variety of positions including an elementary school teacher but most memorably served as a librarian at UNCG. She sold the home to Mary Watson and Joseph Flora in 1976. Ruth passed away 8 February 1983.
Mary and Joseph Flora sold the property to James Wentz in 1983. Wentz made upgrades to the building as an investment property in the 1980s, and owned the property until it was acquired by members of College Place United Methodist Church in 1999, and then the church itself in 2008. In June 2011, a fire damaged much of the rear portions of the house.
The Angle House was acquired by the Preservation Greensboro Development Fund in 2013 in recognition of its role as a contributing structure in the College Hill Historic District (Local) and the National Register Historic District. The College Hill Neighborhood Association promoted the preservation of the house by seeking approval from City Council to assign gap funding from their Municipal Service District program account to the project. The updated MSD Plan was approved by City Council in September 2013, and the funds were allocated to the Angle project in order to stabilize the historic fabric of the neighborhood, to encourage private reinvestment, and to secure the future of the highly visible property through a preservation easement held by the Preservation Greensboro Development Fund. Restoration began in 2014.
Utilizing a grant from the 1772 Foundation, the house was “re-sized” through the restoration process after the fire-damaged additions were removed. This reduced the home’s overall square footage and favored single-occupancy use. The process included a broad scope of work including correction of structural issues, electrical rewiring, new HVAC, plumbing, new bathrooms and kitchen in addition to preservation of the slate roof, the wrap-around porch, and distinctive diamond-pane windows. A grant was made to the city from the Marion Stedman Covington Foundation for the restoration of the slate roof, one of the few remaining in the neighborhood.
The Angle House is now one of just two homes in College Hill that is preserved through a preservation easement. The easement will require a dialog between future property owners and the Preservation Greensboro Development Fund on major changes, and will disallow demolition.
Special thanks to the College Hill Neighborhood Association, the 1772 Foundation, the Marion Stedman Covington Foundation, the City of Greensboro, and the Preservation Greensboro.