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Harpe Consulting writes successful National Register of Historic Places nomination for Fountain Inn Principal’s House and Teacherage

20 Aug

The Fountain Inn Principal’s House and Teacherage, built in 1935, is significant for its historical association with the Fountain Inn Negro School and African-American history in Fountain Inn. The house is the only remaining building that is historically associated with the Fountain Inn Negro School complex, comprised of the grade school built in 1928, a high school built in 1930, a library, and the Clayton “Peg Leg” Bates Gymnasium, built in 1942. The school and its appurtenant buildings served the educational needs of the Fountain Inn’s African American community until the students of this community were enrolled in Fountain Inn High School in the 1960s. The teacherage was constructed originally as a home for teachers that provided educational instruction for African Americans in Fountain Inn, and by the 1940s housed teachers and the principal and his family. Its separate entrance at the building’s southwest corner accessed the kitchen and accommodated home economics classes. These buildings were designed to offer comfortable domestic amenities like front corner porches and modern indoor bathrooms, but they were also meant to serve as instructional facilities. The house is nearly identical to Plan No. 301 (“Teachers Home for Community Schools”) for teacherages supported by the Julius Rosenwald Fund. Although this house was constructed after the end of the Rosenwald Fund school program, its design is consistent with plans frequently used for Rosenwald schools and related buildings. Listed in the National Register June 27, 2011.


Jason L. Harpe and Ingleside Plantation, Lincoln County, North Carolina

06 Mar

Jason L. Harpe of Harpe Consulting was asked recently to provide some historical and architectural insight into the significance of Ingleside Plantation of eastern Lincoln County. Built in 1817 by Daniel Forney, Ingleside is one of the finest examples of Federal style architecture in the Piedmont of North Carolina.

Ingleside Plantation


Valley Ablaze: Pottery Tradition in the Catawba Valley

20 Dec

Jason L. Harpe, Brian Dedmond, and Melany Dawn Crouse. Valley Ablaze: Pottery Tradition in the Catawba Valley. Conover, N.C.: Goosepen Studio and Press, 2012.

Brian Dedmond, Melany Dawn Crouse, and I are pleased to announce
the release of the long awaited and much anticipated book VALLEY ABLAZE:
Pottery Tradition in the Catawba Valley
. Designed and published by
Goosepen Studio and Press of Conover, North Carolina, this 242-page hardcover
volume chronicles the rich pottery tradition in the Catawba Valley region of
North Carolina from the late eighteenth century to the present. Traditional and
contemporary alkaline-glazed forms and wood-fired groundhog kilns come alive in
full color photographs mixed with vintage images of potters and their work.


With a forward by Dr. Charles “Terry” Zug, and
contributions from Scott Smith, Jeff Pruett, and Barry Huffman, Valley Ablaze
spotlights over 1,000 pieces of masterfully crafted utilitarian forms from the
Catawba Valley’s earliest documented potters and face jugs of Burlon Craig,
nationally-recognized folk potter from Lincoln County who kept this pottery
tradition alive from the 1960s through the early 1980s. Also showcased is the
work of contemporary potters who directly or indirectly learned traditional
methods of production from Burlon Craig, and a new group of potters who are
continuing the tradition while adding their own unique and special adaptations
to utilitarian forms.


To learn more about Valley Ablaze, specifically how to order, visit www.valleyablaze.com.




Shiloh Presbyterian Church Cemetery

20 Aug


Artifact Survey for the City of Cary, North Carolina

08 Oct

Jason L. Harpe met Gary W. Roth of Capital Area Preservation (CAP) in February 2010 at the Ferrell Store and Carpenter Farm Complex after Harpe found information on the North Carolina Museum Council’s website about CAP’s interest in procuring a museum professional to conduct an inventory of the artifacts and objects stored at the Ferrell Store, Howard Farm, and Jones Farm, each located in Cary.  The initial meeting did not include a site visit to the Jones Farm because Roth was not able to secure a key to access the house’s interior. We did briefly conduct a visual survey of the artifacts and objects stored at the Ferrell Store and Jones Farm for Harpe to write and submit a proposal for the artifact survey for the Town of Cary. 

Nearly fifteen minutes after the visual survey of the Ferrell Store, Harpe uncovered a two-gallon, salt-glazed lidded jar made by J.D. Craven that has a hairline crack extending from the base of the piece to the neck.  (This piece is discussed in depth in the artifact survey.).  Harpe encouraged staff of the Cary Planning Department to procure the piece and relocate it to a safer location so that it would not suffer any future cracks, fractures, or breaks.  Finding and identifying this piece early in this informal visual survey led Harpe to propose a more in-depth survey of the Ferrell Store, Jones Farm, and Howard Farm to determine whether or not these buildings hold any objects or artifacts of historical significance to the Town of Cary.  Although the Town of Cary does not currently have a local history museum, there is a local effort to convert the Howard Farm property into a park while preserving the house, and possibly build on this project’s momentum with a new small history museum that collects, preserves, and presents the history of Cary. 

After submitting the initial proposal and cost estimate for a lengthy artifact survey, the Town of Cary decided to

J.D. Craven Lidded-Jar, Carpenter, North Carolina.

scale back the project and asked for a more abbreviated assessment that included an inventory of the artifacts and objects surveyed and recommendations for the preservation of these items and possible grants sources to assist with future preservation efforts for the objects included in the survey.  The scope of work agreed upon by Harpe and the City of Cary includes the following:

  • Conduct a cursory survey of the Howard Farm, Ferrell Store and Jones Farm properties to determine which items currently stored at these locations should be retained by the Town of Cary and which items can be discarded.
  • Prepare a database with photographs of the items recommended for retention by the Town.  Database to be provided to the Town of Cary in printed and electronic format.

Harpe conducted a complete initial survey of the Ferrell Store, Howard Farm, and Jones Farm on Thursday, March 4, 2010.  The Ferrell Store required the most attention from Harpe because this project’s largest collection of artifacts is stored at this location.  With assistance from community service worker Nick DePalma, Harpe sorted the artifacts at the Ferrell Store into discriminatory sections of the building based on their classification, paying close attention to objects whose condition was less than poor and irreparable.  Harpe and DePalma made a large pile for the vast amounts of Christmas decorations; threw into large trash cans broken glass, damaged ceramics, and other objects that were not part of or attached to the artifacts and objects that did retain enough historical significance to be considered worthy of inventorying in this survey; moved into the center of the building the objects that Harpe planned to survey and inventory; and, left in place the objects that were included in the survey but were too large and cumbersome to move to the center of the building with the other surveyed objects and artifacts.  The site visits to the Howard Farm and Jones Farm did not require much time because of the limited number of objects stored at each of these sites.  Although Harpe did photograph the various outbuildings located at the Howard Farm and Jones Farm, he did not inventory the objects stored in these outbuildings because they have experienced accelerated deterioration and are too modern to be considered for inclusion in this survey.

Jones Farm, Cary, North Carolina, 2010.


The methodology utilized in the completion of this artifact survey included four elements: on-site survey, research, condition, and funding for future conservation.  With the exception of the Jones Farm, the artifacts stored at the Ferrell Store and the Howard Farm have been exposed to conditions that include, but are not limited to, fluctuations in climate, non-discriminatory collecting practices, and a lack of documentation/provenience.  Much of this is contributable to uninformed holders/owners of these artifacts/objects and uncontrollable circumstances related to the transfer of the properties between owners.  The consultant has limited survey files for the artifacts and objects that are part of this artifact survey because of the parameters established by the client, but they include digital files integrated into the PastPerfect Software and data files in Excel spreadsheets.  The consultant has provided the client with a CD of high resolution images of the objects and artifacts included in this artifact survey and low resolution images integrated into the copies from the PastPerfect software, but the Microsoft Excel spreadsheets only contains data organized into columns and rows according to a numerical structure. 

Harpe established criteria for inclusion in this report early in the project that dictated his assessment of the objects and artifacts according to their age, potential benefit to the Town of Cary’s future efforts at establishing a local history museum, and the costs associated with restoring the objects to their original condition so that they can be exhibited in some capacity in the museum or in other locations throughout the Town of Cary to educate the general public about the town’s artifactual history and heritage.


The artifact survey of this project’s three locations yielded results that range from retention to discardation.  The artifacts and objects that are stored at the Jones Farm and Howard Farm have the benefit of being in good condition from the time of their purchase or installation at these locations, but the objects and artifacts stored at the Ferrell Store were in good, fair, or bad condition before the building’s owners relocated these objects or artifacts from their original locations to this building.  Further investigation is necessary with the owner of the building to determine the condition of these objects and artifacts before they were stored in this building.  Although this building seems to be structurally sound with a fairly new metal roof, the objects have been subject to a fluctuating climate, dust, dirt, and unprofessional housekeeping procedures that afforded the opportunity for termites, roaches, beetles, pigeons, rats, and other elements to contribute to the deterioration of these objects and artifacts.

The artifacts and objects located at each of the locations that are part of this survey are not in perfect condition or

Howard Farm, Cary, North Carolina.

ready to be on display in an exhibition.  This is one of the conditions that the Town of Cary must consider as they decide whether or not to retain these objects and artifacts.  All of the objects and artifacts that Harpe separated for the Town of Cary to consider for retention will require attention from a professional conservator because of their condition.  Some of the artifacts that have veneered exteriors that will require advanced conservation, but ceramics, glassware, and objects constructed of wood will require a basic cleaning to clear their exterior surfaces of dust, dirt, and any other exterior coatings exacerbated by storage in a building that is not climate controlled and open to various pollutants.

My recommendations include storing the objects inventoried in this survey at a location this not susceptible to dust and dirt infiltration, and is structurally sound.  Other recommendations are included below.

  • Relocate the objects suggested for retention from the Ferrell Store to the Jones Farm and store either in the house or the small building adjacent to the house.
  • Discard the objects recommended by Harpe that are currently stored at the Ferrell Store.  Discard them by either holding a yard sale or contacting a local antique dealer who will provide a quote to take all of the artifacts and objects.
  • Talk with the current owner of the Carpenter Store and elder members of the Carpenter community about the artifacts and objects marked for retention.  They may have stories to tell about some of these items. 
  • After talking with the owner of the Carpenter Store and members of the community, encourage them to provide the Town of Cary a list of artifacts in their collections that may consider donating to the local effort.
  • Move the piano from the Howard Farm to the Jones Farm.
  • Contact the North Carolina Museum of History for a consultation from their staff about the Town of Cary’s future efforts at preserving the town’s history at one of the locations that is part of this artifacts survey or another location.
  • Collaborate with a non-profit, history or historic preservation-related organization in Wake County and apply for grants to continue the work associated with this artfact survey.
  • Apply to the American Association of Museums for a Museum Assessment Program (MAP) II Collections Management Assessment.
  • Donate the artifacts and objects that are part of this survey to a museum in Wake County if the Town of Cary is not able to provide the financial resources and personnel to properly preserve them.
  • Contact a college or university in Wake County with a museum studies undergraduate or graduate program and ask if they have an intern that is interested in working with the Town of Cary on developing future plans for these objects and artifacts at the Jones Farm or another location.
  • Secure from Harpe a list of professional conservators that can provide a cost estimate for conserving the various objects and artifacts that require this attention.

Harpe Consulting Writes Report for Leatherman Barbershop’s Local Landmark Designation

05 Oct

Harpe Consulting recently completed local historic landmark reports for the John Moore House and Leatherman Barbershop in Lincolnton, North Carolina.

Among the records in repositories across the state of North Carolina are very few documents that provide any information on barbershops in Lincolnton and Lincoln County before the twentieth century.  The earliest documented barbershop in Lincolnton was operated by the African American Elias B. Revels in the southwest square in downtown Lincolnton during the 1830s.  In 1838, Hiram Rhodes Revels, Elias’s brother and Mississippi State Senator (1869), relocated to Lincolnton from Fayetteville, North Carolina to work as an apprentice in his brother’s shop.  Elias died in 1841, and his widow relinquished her husband’s assets to Hiram before she married her second husband.  Hiram Revels left Lincoln County in 1845 to attend Union County Quaker Seminary in Indiana.[1] 

Leatherman Barber Shop, built 1940. Photograph by Jason L. Harpe, 2009.

The only other documented barber that operated a shop in Lincolnton during the last quarter of the nineteenth century was John Connor.  The January 25, 1879 issue of the Lincoln Progress publicized that “John Connor has opened a barber shop in the office formerly occupied by Dr. M. L. Brown, deceased.”  Connor, an African American barber, operated his shop on the west side of the Butt, Brown, Pressley House at the corner of Government St. and West Main St. in downtown Lincolnton.  John Connor is listed on the 1870 and 1880 Lincoln County Census with his occupation as “barber.”  There is a tombstone in the Old Methodist cemetery on South Aspen Street in Lincolnton for “John Connor born July 19, 1849 died 1884″ that could possibly be this barber.  According to these sources, John Connor operated a barbershop in Lincolnton during the period from 1870 to 1880.[2]

It was not until 1908 that the shop of the next barber, M.A. Putnam, can be found in local newspapers and on Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps for Lincolnton.  Putnam was born in Waco, Cleveland County, North Carolina and moved to Rutherford County, North Carolina in 1903 where he worked as a barber for five years.  In 1908 he moved to Lincolnton and opened his shop on Lot Number 1 in the Northeast Square in downtown Lincolnton where the current Chamber of Commerce is located.[3]  Putnam opened his barbershop with two barbers and eventually grew to six, which necessitated a move to a larger location further east on Main Street.  Putnam and his barbers stayed at this location until 1933 when they moved further east to the building at the intersection of East Main Street and North Academy Street.  He made his final move in August 1940 to the old Lawing building on the north side of East Main Street’s 100 block beside Lawing and Costner Drug Store.  The Lincoln County News publicized this move and Putnam’s new “tonsorial parlor” as being “modern throughout, brand new, [with] steaming hot shower baths and all kinds of barber work at a moment’s notice.”  Some of the barbers who worked with Mr. Putnam at his shops were Claude Sherrill, Bob Caldwell, and Lee Wyant.[4] 

Lemuel Moore Nolen (1884-1977) was another early cosmetologist in Lincoln County that worked in both Lincolnton and Crouse from the 1920s to the 1940s.  In 1900, at the age of fifteen, Lem worked at one of the local mills as a “slubber.”  On April 24, 1908, Lem married Emma Beatrice Crouse, and they lived in Crouse with Lem working as a salesman in one of the local retail stores.  Lem and Emma moved to Rockingham, North Carolina soon after their marriage, where their daughter Elizabeth was born in 1913.  By 1917, the couple had returned to Crouse and their son William was born.  Not only did the Nolens have to acclimate themselves to life with children, they also had to welcome Lem’s new profession as a barber.  He began working for M.A. Putnam during the 1920s as a forty year old man with a family to support, but his aspirations led him to focus on new hairstyles for women as a market that he could take advantage of.  He was aware that Lincolnton had no beauty shops, and the only shops of this type were located in Gastonia and Charlotte.  Nolen made the drive from Crouse to Gastonia to learn from stylists that provided the appropriate instruction in hairdressing.  His niece, Mabel Crouse, began accompanying him to Gastonia after he advanced from working with wigs to human subjects.[5] 

Nolen’s advancement in the profession led him to open his own salon as Lincoln County’s sole hairdresser.  He opened his first shop in one of the back rooms of M.A. Putnam’s barbershop in downtown Lincolnton.  They divided their two shops between the men and women’s sections with a white sheet, and the women had to walk past the barber shop to reach Nolen’s beauty parlor.[6]  The Lincoln County News printed an advertisement on September 20, 1926 for Putnam’s Beauty Salon that featured L.M. Nolen.  Many local women were apprehensive about visiting Putnam’s to have their hair done by a male hairdresser.  By March 13, 1933, Nolen advertised in the Lincoln County News that he had opened Nolen’s Beauty Parlor.  In an article from the same newspaper addition, a reporter outlined that “Mr. Lem Nolen, for a number of years at the head of the beauty parlor at Putnam’s Barber Shop, has purchased the beauty parlor equipment and is moving it into larger quarters, two rooms, located over Lincolnton Furniture Store, second floor.”  It was at this location that the women of Lincoln County had their hair styled for seven years, until Nolen opened his own beauty salon in Crouse in a building near his house.[7]  In a lengthy advertisement in the Lincoln County News on June 3, 1940, titled “Announcement Extraordinary,” Nolen explained that he relocated his beauty shop to Crouse “to get out where expenses are not so high.  I am not expecting all my trade to follow me to Crouse but any time you feel like you would like to save some money why not come to my place in Crouse.  This move is going to be a saving proposition to all my customers located anywhere in Lincoln or Gaston counties because work can be done here at about one-half the price.  I understand there is going to be another shop in my old stand in Lincolnton.  I want all my customers to know that I am not connected with it and you are not doing me any favor at all by patronizing the place I was located.  Another thing to the mill people and country people or anyone who gets out early, my place is going to be open any time.  You can get a permanent and back home for breakfast.  Open from 4 a.m. til 10 p.m.  Service with a price that cannot be duplicated is my motto.”[8]  Lem Nolen operated his hair salon in Crouse until the 1950s, and at this time other barbers received their degrees from various barber schools and began practicing in Lincolnton. 

Lawrence Franklin Leatherman (1895-1971) started his barber business in Lincolnton on East Sycamore Street one block from the Courtsquare on January 2, 1915.  His brother, Ernest Leatherman, worked alongside him in the small barbershop whose exterior was finished with weatherboards, and the interior had barber chairs that they purchased before they opened their shop.  In 1920 Lawrence and Ernest moved their shop from East Sycamore Street to the northeast side of East Main Street’s 100 block in the basement of McLean’s Furniture Store.  During the Great Depression, Leatherman charged ten cents for a haircut and the City of Lincolnton charged Leatherman ninety cents each month for power – the city did not have electric or water meter readers.  Ernest left Lincolnton and his brother’s barber business in 1929 for Fort Sumter, New Mexico.  Lawrence cut hair at his shop on East Main Street until he lost his lease in 1938.  He relocated to the basement of Efird’s Department Store on the south side of downtown Lincolnton’s 100 block, which was once a bus station ran by Heave Huffstetler.  Lawrence’s son James started shining shoes in the basement of the barbershop on East Main Street in 1936.  They remained in this location until an unanticipated opportunity arose that would cement the legacy of Leatherman Barbershop in downtown Lincolnton for over sixty years.[9] 

Leatherman Barbershop, Interior, 2009. Photography by Jason L. Harpe, 2009/

Lawrence purchased the .04 acre lot at 210 South Academy Street in downtown Lincolnton from R.F. “Frank” Beal and Blanche Beal on April 23, 1940 for $800.00.  This purchase included the vacant lot located to the south of the Lincoln Dry Cleaning Company building, and the “new line running through the middle of the north brick wall of the one-story brick building now occupied by Lincoln Dry Cleaning Company.”  R.F. and Blanche Beal conveyed to Leatherman “one-half undivided interest in a brick wall, located on the south side of the lot above described, said wall being 13 inches in width, 45 feet in length, and 14 ½ feet in height, it being the Northern Wall of the building now occupied by the Lincoln Dry Cleaning Company…the full, liberty, and privilege of joining to…for any building, which they, or either of them, may desire or have occasion to use same.”[10]

R.F. Beal wanted to sell the lot and house at 204 South Academy Street to Lawrence Leatherman for $2,500.00, but Leatherman denied the offer because he had a thirty-five acre farm located on the Maiden Highway that he had to maintain.  Lawrence’s son James helped his father build the barbershop at South Academy Street.  James finished his education at Lincolnton High School in 1944, signed up for the military on November 11, 1944, and served in the South Pacific.  He returned home in 1946 and worked at the Dixie Home Store in downtown Lincolnton in 1947.  Shortly thereafter, the store made James manager of the store in Cherryville, but he decided to forego this advancement and enroll in barber school in March 1948.  James married his wife Maxine on October 25, 1947, and she questioned his decision to leave a managerial position for barber school.  James’s response to his wife’s question was “they can fire me anytime they want.”  James and his wife lived in Iron Station, Lincoln County, North Carolina with his wife’s brother while he was at the Winston-Salem Barber School.  James paid for his education with the $125-per-month GI Bill check he received from the Federal government for service during World War II.[11]  James built a house for his wife in 1950 at 1867 North Aspen Street.  James helped his father build the barbershop on South Academy Street by shoveling sand out of Indian Creek at Cooter Back, picking up rocks out of pastures, and pouring forms for the walls.  They made the walls out of rock and cement.[12]

James began cutting hair in 1948 when haircuts were thirty-five cents and shaves were twenty five cents.  When he started cutting hair in the Leatherman shop, there were twenty other barbers in Lincoln County.  These barbers included Paul Harrill, John Harrill, Bud Harrill, Sid Caskey, Claude Sherrill, Clyde Kistler, Earl Kistler, Herman Kistler, Wheatie Harwell, M.A. Putnam, D.P. Putnam, O. Barnes, Reeves Blackwell, Archie Caudle, Belton Beal, Enoch Reinhardt, Johnny Carpenter, Walt Sutton, Elmer Burke, and Puitt Lawing.  None of these barbers are currently alive, and James Leatherman is the only barber from this group that is still cutting hair in Lincolnton.  James remembers each of these barbers and recalls a few of them working with him and his father before they opened their own shops.[13]

Lawrence and James Leatherman cut little girls’ and women’s hair until Lawrence passed away in 1971.  While working at their barbershop on South Academy Street, Lawrence and James had no fans, so they had to leave the front door open for ventilation.  Their front door screen and the screens over the windows kept away the flies from Corriher’s livery stables that were located to the west of the barbershop.  Lawrence and James purchased a fan in 1952 that helped, but they purchased a window air conditioning unit in 1955 for $75.00.  They stood on a cement floor in the barbershop until 1953 when they installed an asphalt tile floor to relieve the stress on their feet.  Lawrence Leatherman worked at the barbershop on South Academy Street until his death in 1971, and his son James has continued the business.  Men in Lincolnton have visited Leatherman’s barbershop for many years, and James continues to charge $10.00 for haircuts with chairs and sinks manufactured during the 1920s, and towel cases and back bar made in 1915.  James still maintains interior lamps that were installed in the shop in 1940.[14] 

[1] William L. Sherrill, Annals of Lincoln County, North Carolina (Baltimore: Regional Publishing Company, 1937), 284-285.  Elias Revels also operated a grocery store in Lincolnton.  Ann Dellinger, interview by author, 5 May 2010.

[2] Dellinger interview.

[3] “Putnam Has Barbered For 27 Years In Lincolnton,” The Lincoln County News, October 7, 1935.

[4] “Putnam’s Barber Shop Moves Today To New Location,” The Lincoln County News, August 12, 1940.

[5] Ann Dellinger, “Lemuel Moore Nolen – A Man of Many Talents,” in In Our Own Words: The Story of Lincoln County (Lincolnton, N.C.: Lincoln County Historical Association, 2006), 120-121.

[6] “Beauty Shops Have Come Long Way In 28 Years,” The Lincoln County News, October 13, 1955.  Annie Belle Ramsaur Matig explained to Ann Dellinger in an interview in 1987 that she began giving permanents about the time Lem Nolen began to do them.  Annie Belle opened her own shop very shortly after Lem.  She was the first female beautician in Lincolnton.  She was 85 when Dellinger interviewed her in 1987.  She had worked at the Square Store – did buying for the ready-to-wear department.  She worked there until the store burned, and then she bought a dress shop on East Main and gave perms in the back of the shop.

[7] Dellinger, “Lemuel Moore Nolen – A Man of Many Talents.”

[8] “Announcement Extraordinary: Nolen’s Beauty Shop, Crouse, N.C.,” The Lincoln County News, June 3, 1940.

[9] James Leatherman, interview by author, 15 March 2010.

[10] Lincoln County Deed Book 209, Page 300.  Lincoln County Courthouse, Lincolnton, North Carolina.

[11] Leatherman Interview; “Shop keeps him on his toes: Barber is not going way of 25-cent haircut,” Gaston Section, The Charlotte Observer, February 10, 2001.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Ibid.


Harpe Consulting Writes National Register of Historic Places Nomination for the Lincolnton Recreation Department Youth Center

05 Oct
The Lincolnton Recreation Department Youth Center is located at 119 East Pine Street in downtown Lincolnton near the intersection of East Pine Street and North Academy Street, and the property adjoins a lot to the east that the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners leases to the Southern Stars Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC), on which lot is situated the historic Pleasant Retreat Academy/Memorial Hall. The property, rectangular in shape, is bordered on the north and west by properties with houses dating to the 1920s, on the east by the historic Pleasant Retreat Academy/Memorial Hall and a tennis court built by the Lincolnton Recreation Department in the 1960s, and on the south by Pine Street. Just east, beyond the Pleasant Retreat Academy, 302 North Academy Street, is the former Academy Street School, built in 1914, that is currently the home of the Lincoln County Building and Land Development office.

The Lincolnton Recreation Department Youth Center is historically significant as the county’s first public recreation facility established in 1947. The Youth Center building was constructed as a temporary school building ca. 1921 and the facility closed in 1927. Little is known about the building’s usage in the intervening years. In 1947 the four-classroom building was acquired by the City of Lincolnton and extensively renovated on the interior for the new recreational use. A professionally-trained woman director, Betty Gabriel, was hired to lead the newly-established recreation program. The building retains historic integrity from the 1947 to 1959 period of significance when the building was used to conduct important recreational, cultural, and social activities that enriched the lives of Lincolnton’s youth and adults. Although the Center continued to function until 1989, the period after 1959 is not of exceptional importance.
The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on December 30, 2009.

Lincolnton Recreation Department Youth Center, Facade. Photograph by Jason L. Harpe, 2009.


Harpe Consulting Writes Successful Grant for St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Lincolnton

26 Sep

Harpe Consulting wrote a successful grant application to the Marion Stedman Covington Foundation of Greensboro, North Carolina, for historic St. Luke’s Episcopal Church of Lincolnton.  The $5,000 grant supported the installation of period-appropriate gutters and downspouts to the soffit area on all four roof elevations of the church’s sanctuary to reduce discoloration to the brick-veneered walls, to divert rainwater away from the building foundation and crawlspace, and the repair windows on the Parish House.  This project is the result of a Historic Maintenance Preliminary Plan prepared for Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church by Restoration Specialist Rick Owens of Simpsonville, South Carolina in 2009.  Owens met with church representatives after the congregation was forced to remove a twelve to fifteen foot beehive from the church’s steeple in July 2008.

The church has organized a historic preservation committee and preservation fund for future preservation efforts that include the restoration of wood windows, glass panes, and trim on the church’s bell tower, and the restoration of stained glass windows and replacement of existing Plexiglas window guards with new polycarbonate or Lexan Clear guards on the church’s sanctuary.  This committee is composed of staff and board members of the St. Luke’s Episcopal Church’s Parish members, Lincoln County Historical Association, Lincoln County Historic Properties Commission, local government officials, and other historic preservation advocates in Lincoln County. 

To learn more about St. Luke’s Episcopal Church of Lincolnton, N.C., visit their website at


The Marion Stedman Covington Foundation of Greensboro, North Carolina was established in 1986 to honor Marion Stedman Covington and her generosity, voluntarism and philanthropy to North Carolina’s historic preservation movement, art, education, and well being of others over the past fifteen years.  The Covington Foundation provides grants to federally tax-exempt, non-profit organizations for historic preservation projects in North Carolina.  For more information on the Marion Stedman Covington Foundation, contact Alexa S. Aycock, Grants Coordinator, The Marion Stedman Covington Foundation, P.O. Box 29304, Greensboro, NC, 27429-9304, (336) 282-0480.


"Harpe Restoring Windows"

Jason Harpe of Harpe Consulting helping restore double-hung wood sash windows.