North Carolina Architects and Builders - A Biographical Dictionary

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Ellington, Royster, and Company (1878-1894)

Headquarters:
  • Raleigh, North Carolina
Trades:
  • Manufacturer;
  • Contractor
NC Work Locations:
  • Durham, Durham County
  • Durham
  • Burgaw, Pender County
  • Pender
  • Raleigh, Wake County
  • Wake
  • Wake Forest, Wake County
  • Wake
Building Types:
  • Commercial;
  • Educational;
  • Residential
Styles & Forms:
  • Colonial Revival;
  • Queen Anne;
  • Second Empire

Biography

Ellington, Royster, and Company (1878-1894) was a contracting and building supply business established in 1878 by Leonard H. Royster (1840- 1912), a native of Raleigh, and William J. Ellington (1849-1919), originally from Chatham County. Their partnership became one of Raleigh's largest contracting and building supply businesses during the post-Civil War period. Royster, who began his career as a carpenter, was the "architect" and superintendent of construction projects, while Ellington was the business manager. Other individuals involved in the company included Benjamin Parks (who managed the factory shops) and Jacob S. Allen, a builder who superintended some projects. The firm was the successor firm to Betts and Allen, in which Jacob Allen had been a partner. Ellington and Royster ended their partnership in 1894, but each continued to work with other partners, Ellington joining William J. Hicks in manufacturing and Royster as a contractor. See Leonard H. Royster for a fuller account of the firm's building operations and list of buildings.

Author: Catherine W. Bishir

Published 2010

Building List

Durham County Courthouse (Durham, Durham County)

Durham Durham

1887

Contributors:
Dates: 1887-1889
Location: Durham, Durham County
Street Address: Durham, NC
Status: No longer standing
Type:
  • Public
Images Published In:
  • Joel A. Kostyu and Frank A. Kostyu, Durham: A Pictorial History (1978).
  • Claudia P. Roberts (Brown) and Diane E. Lea, The Durham Architectural and Historic Inventory (1982).
Note:

The Manufacturers' Record (July 16, 1887) reported that Ellington, Royster, and Company of Raleigh had received the contract to build the courthouse in Durham for $12,000. Their role was confirmed in the Durham Tobacco Plant's account (November 23, 1887) of the cornerstone laying. The courthouse, designed by architect Byron A. Pugin, was a large brick structure with a tower.

Durham County Courthouse

Pender County Courthouse and Jail (Burgaw, Pender County)

Pender Burgaw

1882

Contributors:
Dates: 1882-1883
Location: Burgaw, Pender County
Street Address: Courthouse Square, Burgaw, NC
Status: No longer standing
Type:
  • Public
Images Published In:
  • Bill Reaves, History of Burgaw, N. C., Centennial Edition (1979).

W. C. Parker House (Raleigh, Wake County)

Wake Raleigh

1878

Contributors:
Dates: 1878
Location: Raleigh, Wake County
Street Address: Raleigh, NC
Status: Unknown
Type:
  • Residential

Charles Upchurch House (Raleigh, Wake County)

Wake Raleigh

1879

Contributors:
Dates: Ca. 1879
Location: Raleigh, Wake County
Street Address: NW corner of Fayetteville St. and Lenoir St., Raleigh, NC
Status: No longer standing
Type:
  • Residential
Note:

Detailed specifications for the house for Charles Upchurch dated 1879 are in Wake County Miscellaneous Records, because of a lawsuit over the workmanship of the building. It is not known who the "architect" mentioned in the specifications might have been.

Gray-Fish-Richardson House (Raleigh, Wake County)

Wake Raleigh

1881

Contributors:
Dates: Ca. 1881
Location: Raleigh, Wake County
Street Address: 530 N. Blount St., Raleigh, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Residential

Gray-Fish-Richardson House

Centennial Graded School (Raleigh, Wake County)

Wake Raleigh

1883

Contributors:
Dates: 1883-1885
Location: Raleigh, Wake County
Street Address: South St. at S end of Fayetteville St., Raleigh, NC
Status: No longer standing
Type:
  • Educational
Note:

The commission for Raleigh's Centennial Graded School was awarded to architect Samuel Sloan on August 1, 1883, and construction began in November. After Sloan's death in 1884, the project was completed by his associate A. G. Bauer in 1885. The public school opened in 1876—thus the name—in the old Governor's Palace (see James Calder) that stood in a prominent position "at the foot of Fayetteville Street." Notable as an early graded school in the state, Centennial encompassed primary grades through high school. It marked the beginnings of Raleigh's public school system. After the Governor's Palace was torn down, the new school was built in 1883-1885, reusing bricks from the previous building. The 1880s school was razed in 1931 and replaced by Raleigh's Memorial Auditorium (see Atwood and Weeks). See Harold N. Cooledge, Jr., "Samuel Sloan, Architect of Philadelphia" (1986); William B. Bushong, "A. G. Bauer, North Carolina's New South Architect" (1983); and Murray and Johnson, "Wake: Capital County of North Carolina, Vol. II: Reconstruction to 1920" (2008).

W.G. Upchurch Store (Raleigh, Wake County)

Wake Raleigh

1886

Contributors:
Dates: 1886
Location: Raleigh, Wake County
Street Address: 206-208 Fayetteville St., Raleigh, NC
Status: No longer standing
Type:
  • Commercial
Note:

The Raleigh News and Observer of August 18, 1886, reported that W. G. Upchurch had contracted with Ellington and Royster for "a store building of pressed brick and three stories in height occupying nos 206 and 208 Fayetteville St. Norris and Carter will occupy it."

Lea Laboratory Building (Wake Forest, Wake County)

Wake Wake Forest

1886

Contributors:
Dates: 1886-1888
Location: Wake Forest, Wake County
Street Address: Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (Wake Forest College) Campus, Wake Forest, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Educational
Images Published In:
  • Catherine W. Bishir, North Carolina Architecture (1990).
Note:

Wilson drew plans for Lea Laboratory late in 1886 in collaboration with Dr. James R. Duggan of the Wake Forest College chemistry department. Originally it contained lecture rooms, offices, and, in the wings, chemical and biological laboratories. It was named in honor of Sidney Lea and his wife Fannie; Sidney Lea was a Baptist from Caswell County who donated generously to the college. The contract was let to Ellington, Royster, and Company of Raleigh in March 1887, and the building was ready for occupancy by October 1888. It was constructed principally of "penitentiary brick," meaning the bricks manufactured at Central Prison in Raleigh; other edifices of penitentiary brick included the North Carolina Executive Mansion (see Samuel Sloan) and Holladay Hall (see Charles L. Carson) in Raleigh. This is the oldest surviving building on the campus.

Lea Laboratory Building

North Carolina Agricultural Experiment Station Farm Buildings (Raleigh, Wake County)

Wake Raleigh

1886

Contributors:
Dates: 1886
Location: Raleigh, Wake County
Street Address: 2714 Vanderbilt Ave., Raleigh, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Agricultural
Images Published In:
  • Annual Report of the North Carolina Agricultural Experiment Station, 1886 (1887).
Note:

The Experiment Station later became associated with present North Carolina State University. Most of the complex has been lost, but the picturesque, gabled 2-story "cottage" still stands and is a private residence.

Ellington, Royster, and Company's Work Locations

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