North Carolina Architects and Builders - A Biographical Dictionary

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Hunter, Herbert B. (1890-1976)

Variant Name(s):
  • Herbert Bernard Hunter
Birthplace: Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
Residences:
  • High Point, North Carolina
  • Charlotte, North Carolina
Trades:
  • Architect
NC Work Locations:
  • Burlington, Alamance County
  • Alamance
  • Elon, Alamance County
  • Alamance
  • Lexington, Davidson County
  • Davidson
  • High Point, Guilford County
  • Guilford
  • Kinston, Lenoir County
  • Lenoir
Building Types:
  • Commercial;
  • Educational;
  • Institutional;
  • Residential
Styles & Forms:
  • Colonial Revival;
  • Georgian Revival;
  • Tudor Revival

Elon College [Elon]

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Elon College [Elon]

Biography

Herbert Bernard Hunter (October 5, 1890-March 31, 1976), architect, worked widely in North Carolina and elsewhere, with his principal North Carolina projects occurring in the 1920s. Born in Charlotte, according to his obituary he attended the Charlotte Military Academy before studying at the Beaux Arts Architectural School in New York. He worked as a draftsman for Charlotte architect Leonard L. Hunter (probably a relative) for a few years, and then established his own firm in High Point in the early 1920s. He was an early member of the North Carolina Chapter of the American Institute of Architects and was pictured among the group at the annual meeting in Charlotte in 1929. He also served as architect for the National Park Service, designing numerous park buildings. A special opportunity came, as his obituary stated, when he was "personally selected by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to make the drawing for the White House Oval Room." He served in the Navy in both World Wars, planning hospitals and other facilities. He and his wife Johnsie had two children, Herbert Bernard, Jr., and Haynes N. In 1965 Hunter retired to Asheville, and he died in nearby Hendersonville at age 85.

Hunter designed a variety of buildings in North Carolina, chiefly in the 1920s. He is best known for his campus work, typically in the popular Georgian Revival-Colonial Revival style with red brick accented by bold classical detailing. He worked in this mode in planning the campus and designing the original buildings of High Point College (High Point College Buildings;1920-1924; now High Point University), a newly established Methodist school. He continued the style at (Elon College Buildings; now Elon University), where after a fire, the industrialist Holt and Duke families sponsored construction of five buildings "all of colonial architecture." And he used a similar vocabulary at the new campus of the Junior Order United Mechanics National Orphans Home (1925-1932), which was generally modeled on the University of Virginia.

Hunter was also eclectic in his use of styles and forms, as evidenced by his striking design for the 12-story Hotel Kinston (1928), an exotic blend of Moorish, Mission, and Art Deco motifs that towers over Kinston's main street and is one of the few skyscrapers in eastern North Carolina. Also in Kinston, he planned a Tudor Revival mansion, the Harvey C. Hines House (late 1920s), for a leading businessman who was an organizer of the hotel project. Hunter's obituary in the Asheville Citizen (April 2, 1976) also mentioned buildings at Mount Mitchell State Park, houses in Blowing Rock and Charlotte, and a residential project for James B. Duke, but these have not been identified.

Author: Angie Clifton. Update: Adam Ronan.

Published 2009

Building List

First Baptist Church (Burlington, Alamance County)

Alamance Burlington

1922

Contributors:
Dates: 1922-1923
Location: Burlington, Alamance County
Street Address: 400 S. Broad St., Burlington, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Religious
Images Published In:
  • Allison Harris Black, An Architectural History of Burlington, North Carolina (1987).

Elon College Buildings (Elon, Alamance County)

Alamance Elon

1923

Contributors:
Dates: 1923-1925
Location: Elon, Alamance County
Street Address: Elon University, Elon, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Educational
Note:

Drawings for the early 1920s buildings of Elon College by Herbert Hunter are in the Guy E. Crampton and William Henley Deitrick Papers, Special Collections Research Center, North Carolina State University Libraries, Raleigh. They include drawings for the Administration Building, Covered Passageway, Religious Education Building, Library, and Science Building, all dated 1923. A fire in 1923 had destroyed the earlier campus buildings, and rebuilding began promptly afterward. Hunter's buildings set the tone for the campus. Some sources cite R. E. Mitchell of Washington, D.C. as architect, with Hunter the local architect.

Elon College Buildings

Junior Order United Mechanics National Orphans Home (Lexington, Davidson County)

Davidson Lexington

1925

Variant Name(s):
  • American Childrens Homes Home
Contributors:
Dates: 1925-1932
Location: Lexington, Davidson County
Street Address: Jct. NC 47 and NC 8, Lexington vicinity, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Institutional
Images Published In:
  • Paul Baker Touart, Building the Backcountry: An Architectural History of Davidson County, North Carolina (1987).

Junior Order United Mechanics National Orphans Home

First Reformed Church (Lexington, Davidson County)

Davidson Lexington

1927

Contributors:
Dates: 1927
Location: Lexington, Davidson County
Street Address: 22 E. Center St., Lexington, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Religious

High Point College Buildings (High Point, Guilford County)

Guilford High Point

1921

Contributors:
Dates: 1921-1924
Location: High Point, Guilford County
Street Address: High Point University, Montlieu Ave. at College Dr., High Point, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Educational
Images Published In:
  • H. McKelden Smith, Architectural Resources: An Inventory of Historic Architecture, High Point, Jamestown, Gibsonville, Guilford County (1979).
Note:

At the newly established High Point College, now University, Hunter designed many buildings, establishing the campus's red brick Colonial Revival style.

St. Mary's Episcopal Church (High Point, Guilford County)

Guilford High Point

1927

Contributors:
Dates: 1927-1928
Location: High Point, Guilford County
Street Address: N. Main St., High Point, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Religious
Images Published In:
  • H. McKelden Smith, Architectural Resources: An Inventory of Historic Architecture, High Point, Jamestown, Gibsonville, Guilford County (1979).

Springfield Friends Meeting House (High Point, Guilford County)

Guilford High Point

1927

Contributors:
Dates: 1927
Location: High Point, Guilford County
Street Address: Elva Pl. at Springfield Rd., High Point, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Religious
Note:

A blueprint and correspondence concerning Herbert Hunter's design for the Springfield Friends Meeting House (Quaker Church) are in the John J. Blair Papers at the North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, North Carolina.

Harvey C. Hines House (Kinston, Lenoir County)

Lenoir Kinston

1920

Contributors:
Dates: Late 1920s
Location: Kinston, Lenoir County
Street Address: 1118 N. Queen St., Kinston, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Residential
Images Published In:
  • M. Ruth Little, Coastal Plain and Fancy: The Historic Architecture of Lenoir County and Kinston, North Carolina (1998).

Hotel Kinston (Kinston, Lenoir County)

Lenoir Kinston

1928

Contributors:
Dates: 1928
Location: Kinston, Lenoir County
Street Address: 501 N. Queen St., Kinston, 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).
  • M. Ruth Little, Coastal Plain and Fancy: The Historic Architecture of Lenoir County and Kinston, North Carolina (1998).

Hotel Kinston

Herbert B. Hunter's Work Locations

Bibliography

  • Asheville Citizen, Apr. 2, 1976.
  • 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.
  • C. David Jackson and Charlotte V. Brown, History of the North Carolina Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, 1913-1998 (1998).
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