North Carolina Architects and Builders - A Biographical Dictionary

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Stoddart, William Lee (1868-1940)

Birthplace: New Jersey, USA
Residences:
  • New York City, New York
Trades:
  • Architect
NC Work Locations:
  • Asheville, Buncombe County
  • Buncombe
  • Concord, Cabarrus County
  • Cabarrus
  • Winston-Salem, Forsyth County
  • Forsyth
  • Greensboro, Guilford County
  • Guilford
  • High Point, Guilford County
  • Guilford
  • Charlotte, Mecklenburg County
  • Mecklenburg
  • Elizabeth City, Pasquotank County
  • Pasquotank
  • Raleigh, Wake County
  • Wake
  • Goldsboro, Wayne County
  • Wayne
Building Types:
  • Commercial
Styles & Forms:
  • Beaux-Arts;
  • Skyscraper

Battery Park Hotel [Asheville]

View larger image and credits

Battery Park Hotel [Asheville]

Biography

William Lee Stoddart (1868-1940) was a prolific architect in New York City whose multi-state practice popularized Beaux Arts style hotels in the early 20th century. His typical designs were of brick with classical cast stone detailing. His work covered many eastern states, including North Carolina, where he designed several hotels and other tall buildings that followed popular national models. In some cities, Stoddart's buildings fit into a developing urban streetscape, while in some smaller communities, his modern hotels represented new urban progress and commercial advancement as well as a new marker in the skyline.

Born in Tenafly, New Jersey, Stoddart studied architecture at Columbia University and apprenticed to two architects in Atlanta. After leaving Atlanta, he worked for New York architect George B. Post from 1895 to 1905, when he established his own practice in New York. Although he designed several banks and corporate buildings, Stoddart is best known for his large hotels and apartment houses in the eastern United States including the Lord Baltimore Hotel in Baltimore, the Charleston Hotel in Charleston, South Carolina, and the opulent Ponce de Leon Apartments in Atlanta.

Stoddart gained commissions in North Carolina as its small cities blossomed in the 1910s and 1920s, each one generating a demand for quality hotels to attract business travelers and symbolize urban status. His projects reached from Elizabeth City in the east to Asheville in the west, and some were the tallest buildings in their communities at the time. His first known project in the state was the O. Henry Hotel (1918-1919) in Greensboro, named for O. Henry, the pen name of Greensboro's famous native son, William Sidney Porter. Stoddart sent his employee, the young New York architect Charles C. Hartmann, to supervise the job along with his Sheraton Hotel in High Point. (After impressing local businessmen, Hartmann subsequently moved to Greensboro and established a large practice of his own.)

Stoddart's hotels took key places in many of the state's growing cities and towns. The Sir Walter Hotel in Raleigh, showing the architect's typical red brick with Georgian Revival detailing, was the capital's premier hotel and for many years was known as the "third house" of the state legislature because of legislators' use of it during their sessions. Stoddart's Battery Park Hotel in Asheville was built by entrepreneur E. W. Grove as part of a major redevelopment project (1923-1924); Thomas Wolfe, who was living in Asheville at the time, expressed his views on Stoddart's design in his novel Look Homeward, Angel when he dismissed the architect as "some gigantic biscuit-cutter." The Nissen Building in Winston-Salem, Stoddart's only known twin-tower building in North Carolina, was one of his few non-hotel buildings in the state, an office building for a local manufacturing family. At eighteen stories, it was briefly the tallest building in the state. In smaller communities, Stoddart's buildings were among the largest ever built there, as is the case with the 9-story Virginia Dare Hotel in Elizabeth City, still the community's tallest building. Stoddart's work in the state evidently ended around the Great Depression. With a few notable exceptions, his buildings still stand as downtown landmarks.

Stoddart was among the first men licensed to practice architecture in North Carolina. His license certificate, issued in 1915, was #39 in the official registration book of the North Carolina Board of Architecture.

Author: Angie Clifton. Contributing Author: Marvin C. Housworth. Update: Adam Ronan.

Published 2009

Building List

Battery Park Hotel (Asheville, Buncombe County)

Buncombe Asheville

1923

Contributors:
Dates: 1923-1924
Location: Asheville, Buncombe County
Street Address: Battle Square, Asheville, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Commercial
Images Published In:
  • Catherine W. Bishir, Michael T. Southern, and Jennifer F. Martin, A Guide to the Historic Architecture of Western North Carolina (1999).

Battery Park Hotel

Concord National Bank and Hotel (Concord, Cabarrus County)

Cabarrus Concord

1925

Contributors:
Dates: 1925
Location: Concord, Cabarrus County
Street Address: 2-14 Union St. North, Concord, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Commercial
Images Published In:
  • Peter R. Kaplan, The Historic Architecture of Cabarrus County, North Carolina (2004).
Note:

Construction of the dual purpose building, which cost more than $400,000 to erect, was covered in the local Concord Times of May 7, 1925 and February 8, May 31, June 10, June 14, and June 17, 1926. A design for the Concord National Bank and Hotel was also prepared by architect Christopher Gadsden Sayre, as noted in the American Art Annual, Vol. 21.

Nissen Building (Winston-Salem, Forsyth County)

Forsyth Winston-Salem

1926

Contributors:
Dates: 1926
Location: Winston-Salem, Forsyth County
Street Address: 314 W. 4th St., Winston-Salem, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Commercial

Nissen Building

O. Henry Hotel (Greensboro, Guilford County)

Guilford Greensboro

1918

Contributors:
Dates: 1918-1919
Location: Greensboro, Guilford County
Street Address: 101 Bellemeade St. at N. Elm St., Greensboro, NC
Status: No longer standing
Type:
  • Commercial

O. Henry Hotel

Sheraton Hotel (High Point, Guilford County)

Guilford High Point

1921

Contributors:
Dates: 1921
Location: High Point, Guilford County
Street Address: 400 N. Main St., High Point, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Commercial
Images Published In:
  • H. McKelden Smith, Architectural Resources: An Inventory of Historic Architecture, High Point, Jamestown, Gibsonville, Guilford County (1979).

Hotel Charlotte (Charlotte, Mecklenburg County)

Mecklenburg Charlotte

1924

Variant Name(s):
  • White House Inn;
  • Queen Charlotte Hotel
Contributors:
Dates: 1924
Location: Charlotte, Mecklenburg County
Street Address: 327 W. Trade St., Charlotte, NC
Status: No longer standing
Type:
  • Commercial

Hotel Charlotte

Johnston Building (Charlotte, Mecklenburg County)

Mecklenburg Charlotte

1924

Contributors:
Dates: 1924
Location: Charlotte, Mecklenburg County
Street Address: 212 S. Tryon St., Charlotte, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Commercial

Independence Building (Charlotte, Mecklenburg County)

Mecklenburg Charlotte

1908

Variant Name(s):
  • Realty Building
Contributors:
Dates: 1908-1909; 1927-1928 [addition]
Location: Charlotte, Mecklenburg County
Street Address: 100-102 W. Trade St., Charlotte, NC
Status: No longer standing
Type:
  • Commercial
Images Published In:
  • Mary Norton Kratt and Mary Manning Boyer, Remembering Charlotte: Postcards from a New South City, 1905-1950 (2000).
  • Daniel J. Vivian, "'A Practical Architect': Frank P. Milburn and the Transformation of Architectural Practice in the New South, 1890-1925," Winterthur Portfolio (Spring, 2005).
Note:

The 12-story skyscraper was the first steel-framed skyscraper in North Carolina and an icon of Charlotte's urban ambitions. Originally known as the Realty Building, it was renamed in 1922 for the Independence Bank that occupied it. In 1928, New York architect William Lee Stoddart added two more stories. It was imploded in 1981 amid strong controversy.

Independence Building

Virginia Dare Hotel and Arcade (Elizabeth City, Pasquotank County)

Pasquotank Elizabeth City

1927

Contributors:
Dates: 1927
Location: Elizabeth City, Pasquotank County
Street Address: 507-509 E. Main St., Elizabeth City, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Commercial
Images Published In:
  • Catherine W. Bishir and Michael T. Southern, A Guide to the Historic Architecture of Eastern North Carolina (1996).
Note:

The Virginia Dare Hotel is pictured on the left.

Virginia Dare Hotel and Arcade

Sir Walter Hotel (Raleigh, Wake County)

Wake Raleigh

1922

Contributors:
Dates: 1922-1924
Location: Raleigh, Wake County
Street Address: 400 Fayetteville St., Raleigh, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Commercial
Images Published In:
  • Catherine W. Bishir and Michael T. Southern, A Guide to the Historic Architecture of Piedmont North Carolina (2003).

Goldsboro Hotel (Goldsboro, Wayne County)

Wayne Goldsboro

1924

Contributors:
Dates: 1924-1926
Location: Goldsboro, Wayne County
Street Address: 100-104 S. Center St., Goldsboro, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Commercial

George Vanderbilt Hotel (Asheville, Buncombe County)

Buncombe Asheville

1924

Contributors:
Dates: Ca. 1924
Location: Asheville, Buncombe County
Street Address: Haywood St., Asheville, NC
Status: Altered
Type:
  • Commercial
Note:

The Pack Memorial Library in Asheville has plumbing and electrical plans by Stoddart for the Vanderbilt Hotel.

George Vanderbilt Hotel

Robert E. Lee Hotel (Winston-Salem, Forsyth County)

Forsyth Winston-Salem

1919

Contributors:
Dates: 1919; 1929
Location: Winston-Salem, Forsyth County
Street Address: W. 5th St., Winston-Salem, NC
Status: No longer standing
Type:
  • Commercial
Images Published In:
  • Molly Grogan Rawls, Winston-Salem in Vintage Postcards (2004).

Bon Marche (Asheville, Buncombe County)

Buncombe Asheville

1923

Variant Name(s):
  • Haywood Park Hotel
Contributors:
Dates: 1923
Location: Asheville, Buncombe County
Street Address: 26-32 Haywood St., Asheville, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Commercial
Images Published In:
  • David R. Black, Historic Architectural Resources of Downtown Asheville, North Carolina (1979).
Note:

The Asheville Citizen of Jan. 21,1923, reported of the Bon Marche store, "Original Plans as prepared by W.L. Stoddardt [sic], well known architect, of New York City, called for a building seven stories high." The owners decided to built it to five stores with potential to add later. On Nov. 15, 1923, the newspaper reported the opening of the store. The Pack Memorial Library in Asheville has plans for Bon Marche drawn by Stoddart in 1923. The illustration shows a view of Hawywood St. with the Bon Marche building on the left.

Bon Marche

William Lee Stoddart's Work Locations

Bibliography

  • Catherine W. Bishir and Michael T. Southern, A Guide to the Historic Architecture of Eastern North Carolina (1996).
  • Catherine W. Bishir and Michael T. Southern, A Guide to the Historic Architecture of Piedmont North Carolina (2003).
  • Catherine W. Bishir, Michael T. Southern, and Jennifer F. Martin, A Guide to the Historic Architecture of Western North Carolina (1999).
  • Charlotte Vestal Brown Papers, Special Collections Research Center, North Carolina State University Libraries, Raleigh, North Carolina.
  • North Carolina Board of Architecture, Record Book 1915-1992. Microfilmed by North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, North Carolina.
  • John E. Wells and Robert E. Dalton, The Virginia Architects, 1835-1955: A Biographical Dictionary (1997).
  • Henry F. Withey and Elsie Rathburn Withey, Biographical Dictionary of American Architects (Deceased) (1970).
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