North Carolina Architects and Builders - A Biographical Dictionary

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Marye, P. Thornton (1872-1935)

Variant Name(s):
  • Philip Thornton Marye
Birthplace: Newport News, Virginia, USA
Residences:
  • Newport News, Virginia
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Atlanta, Georgia
Trades:
  • Architect
NC Work Locations:
  • Hickory, Catawba County
  • Catawba
  • Winston-Salem, Forsyth County
  • Forsyth
  • Greensboro, Guilford County
  • Guilford
  • Charlotte, Mecklenburg County
  • Mecklenburg
  • Salisbury, Rowan County
  • Rowan
  • Raleigh, Wake County
  • Wake
Building Types:
  • Commercial;
  • Public
Styles & Forms:
  • Art Deco;
  • Beaux-Arts;
  • Gothic Revival

State Administration Building (Ruffin Building) [Raleigh]

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State Administration Building (Ruffin Building) [Raleigh]

Biography

Philip Thornton Marye (1872-1935), architect, developed a practice in Atlanta that included buildings across the South including notable Beaux Arts and Art Deco style buildings in North Carolina. Marye was born in Newport News, Virginia, and grew up near Fredericksburg. After studying at Randolph Macon College (1888-1889) and the University of Virginia (1889-1890), he worked in the architectural office of Glenn Brown, then opened his own practice in Newport News and had an office in Washington, D.C. (1902-1903). He also served in the Spanish American War and in World War I.

An important commission for the design of Atlanta's railroad terminal prompted Marye's move to Atlanta in 1904. In Atlanta, Marye had his own firm for several years, and by the 1920s expanded into various partnerships, with Barrett Alger (Marye and Alger, 1920-1921); Richard Alger (Marye, Alger & Alger, 1922-1925); Oliver J. Vinour (Marye, Alger and Vinour, 1926- 1929); and J. Nisbet Marye and J. Warren Armistead, Jr. (Marye, Vinour, Marye and Armistead, 1930-1935). The firms' best known buildings in Atlanta include the Fox Theater (formerly the Shrine Mosque), St. Luke's Episcopal Church, and the Southern Bell Building. Marye's practice gained a wide reputation with a project range throughout the Southeast in the 1910s and 1920s. In the late 1920s the Southern Bell Company employed Marye, Alger, and Vinour, to design its buildings in towns throughout the South.

In North Carolina, while still operating under his own name alone, Marye gained key commissions in Raleigh during the city's growth spurt and rebuilding in the 1910s, including the city hall, county courthouse, a major state office building, and the city's tallest skyscraper. Erected when taste was shifting from the eclecticism of the late 19th century to the Beaux Arts esthetic, these buildings were some of some of Raleigh's premier examples of Beaux Arts design and showed the firm's command of Beaux Arts principles with detailing in various styles. In some cases, Marye worked with local architect Frank Simpson. Because most of these works have been lost, Marye's contribution to the city's early 20th century character is not widely recognized. The finest of his surviving North Carolina buildings, the State Administration Building (Ruffin Building) of 1913 in Raleigh exemplifies his subtle handling of neoclassical elements to set a monumental building in a tight urban site. In a locally unique Beaux Arts skyscraper design, he employed opulent Gothic detailing to dramatize the verticality of the Commercial National Bank.

During the late 1920s, the firm of Mayre, Alger, and Vinour planned four Southern Bell office buildings in North Carolina--in Charlotte, Greensboro, Salisbury, and Winston-Salem--which featured an Art Deco mode suitable to the novelty and modernity of the telephone system. (After 1930, the company returned to a more traditional Georgian Revival style.) Although Mayre was head of the firm, and his signature appears on the drawings for the North Carolina telephone buildings, some writers credit Oliver Vinour, who joined the firm in the 1920s, with the Art Deco designs for Southern Bell.

Author: Dave Delcambre. Update: Catherine W. Bishir.

Published 2009

Building List

Southern Bell Office Building (Greensboro, Guilford County)

Guilford Greensboro

1929

Contributors:
Dates: 1929
Location: Greensboro, Guilford County
Street Address: 124 S. Eugene St., Greensboro, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Commercial
Images Published In:
  • Marvin A. Brown, Greensboro: An Architectural Record (1995).
Note:

Drawings for this building are dated Sept. 14, 1929, "made by H." Copies from Southern Bell Archives.

City Hall and Auditorium (Raleigh, Wake County)

Wake Raleigh

1910

Contributors:
Dates: 1910-1911
Location: Raleigh, Wake County
Street Address: Fayetteville St. at Davie St., Raleigh, NC
Status: No longer standing
Type:
  • Public
Images Published In:
  • James Vickers, Raleigh: City of Oaks (1982).
Note:

The grand, Beaux Arts style civic auditorium burned in 1930.

City Hall and Auditorium

Commercial National Bank (Raleigh, Wake County)

Wake Raleigh

1912

Variant Name(s):
  • First Citizens Bank
Contributors:
Dates: 1912-1913
Location: Raleigh, Wake County
Street Address: 14-20 East Martin St., Raleigh, NC
Status: No longer standing
Type:
  • Commercial
Images Published In:
  • Linda L. Harris and Mary Ann Lee, An Architectural and Historical Inventory of Raleigh, North Carolina (1978).
Note:

Briefly the tallest building in the city, the beautiful Gothic Revival skyscraper was razed in 1992. Photographs of Marye's blueprints and some construction photographs are in the North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh.

Commercial National Bank

Southern Bell Office Building (Charlotte, Mecklenburg County)

Mecklenburg Charlotte

1928

Contributors:
Dates: 1928-1929
Location: Charlotte, Mecklenburg County
Street Address: 208 North Caldwell St., Charlotte, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Commercial
Note:

Drawings for the Charlotte Southern Bell Building are dated July 11, 1928 and were drawn by "A. P. A. and B. W. H." Copies from Southern Bell Archives. As Thomas Hanchett has described it, the 4-story, limestone fa├žade featured diverse motifs including an Indian chief, tobacco plants, flamingos, and gryphons.

Southern Bell Office Building (Salisbury, Rowan County)

Rowan Salisbury

1928

Contributors:
Dates: 1928
Location: Salisbury, Rowan County
Street Address: 121 W. Council St., Salisbury, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Commercial
Note:

Drawings dated April 26, 1928, were drawn by "A. P. A." Copies from Southern Bell Archives.

State Administration Building (Raleigh, Wake County)

Wake Raleigh

1913

Variant Name(s):
  • Ruffin Building
Contributors:
Dates: 1913
Location: Raleigh, Wake County
Street Address: 1 West Morgan St., Raleigh, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Public
Note:

As state government required more space in the early 20th century, a plan was developed to enlarge the North Carolina State Capitol (see Frank Pierce Milburn). But an outcry stopped that project, and instead the State Administration Building was erected facing Union Square, taking design cues from the State Capitol. Marye's drawings for the State Administration Building are in the North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh.

State Administration Building

First National Bank (Hickory, Catawba County)

Catawba Hickory

1914

Contributors:
Dates: Ca. 1914
Location: Hickory, Catawba County
Street Address: 1st Ave. NW at 2nd St. NW, Hickory, NC
Status: No longer standing
Type:
  • Commercial
Images Published In:
  • Kirk Franklin Mohney and Laura A. W. Phillips, From Tavern to Town: The Architectural History of Hickory, North Carolina (1988).
Note:

In 1914 a notice in the Manufacturers' Record stated that P. Thornton Marye had designed the First National Bank in Hickory, to be built with granite and terra cotta; the contractor was to be J. A. Jones. The Beaux-Arts classical bank depicted in postcards is believed to be Marye's design; it was replaced by an Art Deco building in 1941, which still stands.

First National Bank

Wake County Courthouse (Raleigh, Wake County)

Wake Raleigh

1915

Contributors:
Dates: 1915
Location: Raleigh, Wake County
Street Address: Fayetteville St., Raleigh, NC
Status: No longer standing
Type:
  • Public
Images Published In:
  • Steven Stolpen, Raleigh : A Pictorial History (1977).
Note:

The large, Beaux Arts edifice, which had a long colonnade of Corinthian columns set in antis, was razed in the late 1960s to make way for the present Wake County Courthouse.

Wake County Courthouse

P. Thornton Marye's Work Locations

Bibliography

  • Charlotte Vestal Brown Papers, Special Collections Research Center, North Carolina State University Libraries, Raleigh, North Carolina.
  • Linda L. Harris and Mary Ann Lee, An Architectural and Historical Inventory of Raleigh, North Carolina (1978).
  • Lucian L. Knight, A Standard History of Georgia and Georgians (1917).
  • Raleigh Illustrated (1910).
  • Raleigh News and Observer, Oct. 11, 1915, Oct. 12, 1915.
  • Who's Who in American Art, 1938-1939 (1939).
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