North Carolina Architects and Builders - A Biographical Dictionary

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Stillwell, Erle G. (1885-1978)

Variant Name(s):
  • Erle Gulick Stillwell
Birthplace: Hannibal, Missouri, USA
Residences:
  • Hendersonville, North Carolina
  • Atlanta, Georgia
Trades:
  • Architect
NC Work Locations:
  • Arden, Buncombe County
  • Buncombe
  • Asheville, Buncombe County
  • Buncombe
  • Biltmore Forest, Buncombe County
  • Buncombe
  • Durham, Durham County
  • Durham
  • Winston-Salem, Forsyth County
  • Forsyth
  • High Point, Guilford County
  • Guilford
  • East Flat Rock, Henderson County
  • Henderson
  • Flat Rock, Henderson County
  • Henderson
  • Fruitland, Henderson County
  • Henderson
  • Hendersonville, Henderson County
  • Henderson
  • Kanuga Lake, Henderson County
  • Henderson
  • Cashiers, Jackson County
  • Jackson
  • Cullowhee, Jackson County
  • Jackson
  • Marion, McDowell County
  • McDowell
  • Charlotte, Mecklenburg County
  • Mecklenburg
  • Chapel Hill, Orange County
  • Orange
  • Tryon, Polk County
  • Polk
  • Brevard, Transylvania County
  • Transylvania
  • Pisgah Forest, Transylvania County
  • Transylvania
  • Raleigh, Wake County
  • Wake
Building Types:
  • Commercial;
  • Educational;
  • Religious;
  • Residential
Styles & Forms:
  • Beaux-Arts;
  • Georgian Revival;
  • Gothic Revival;
  • Mediterranean;
  • Rustic;
  • Tudor Revival

Lynncote II [Tryon]

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Lynncote II [Tryon]

Biography

Erle G. (Gulick) Stillwell (August 29, 1885-October 22, 1978) was a prolific architect who spent his long career in his adopted community of Hendersonville, North Carolina. With an extensive practice in western North Carolina and other locales, he planned buildings of myriad styles and types—including Tudor revival, rustic, and Georgian Revival residences; neoclassical public buildings; and Art Deco movie theaters—and led in the development of the architectural profession in western North Carolina and the state. The biographical entry and building list here are adapted with permission from William Mitchell, Buildings as History: The Architecture of Erle Stillwell: A Descriptive Catalogue of His Drawings in the Henderson County Public Library (2006). The building list provides only a sampling of Stillwell's many projects, with emphasis on those still standing; a fuller roster with illustrations appears in Buildings as History.

Stillwell was born in Hannibal, Missouri, to an established local family. In his youth he moved with his widowed mother to various cities, and when he was eighteen he and his mother settled in Hendersonville. He soon made the first of several real estate investments in the area, and in 1907 he married Eva Smith, the daughter of a local real estate developer with whom Stillwell formed a partnership. He became interested in architecture as well as real estate, studied the subject at Cornell, and went to Atlanta in as an apprentice architect. He moved back to Hendersonville by 1913 and associated briefly with Hendersonville architect Hans C. Meyer before the latter moved away.

Stillwell thrived in Hendersonville, where he was well positioned to take part in the growth of the town and the booming real estate market in western North Carolina, which was closely related to the Florida land boom. He invested extensively in real estate and development, as real estate prices soared. Like his contemporaries, he was fluent in essentially every style his clients might desire. He designed elaborate and sophisticated residences for wealthy residents of the region, including several in the deluxe suburbs of Asheville and its neighboring community of Biltmore Forest. Like others of the region's leading architects, he often produced Tudor Revival, Georgian Revival and various Anglophilic and Francophilic designs for these clients, but he also planned richly detailed versions Mediterranean modes akin to those in Florida. In 1929, the first year that the North Carolina Chapter of the American Institute of Architects presented honor awards to the state's architects, Stillwell won awards for two projects, the Mrs. F. W. Galbraith House in Biltmore Forest and the Johnson Residence (not identified).

Stillwell also planned several relatively modest houses including bungalows and designed unpretentious but handsome brick commercial buildings in Hendersonville, Brevard, and other communities. Lie many of his contemporaries, he often employed classical motifs and occasionally Gothic revival elements in apartment houses, shops, churches, civic buildings, and schools. Among his most distinctive school projects was Christ School in Arden, North Carolina, where over a period of several years he planned picturesque campus buildings of local stone.

The crash of the Florida land boom in 1926 dealt a severe blow to construction and to real estate prices in western North Carolina. For Stillwell like many others it essentially halted his business and depleted his fortunes. Three years later the stock market crash and the onset of the Great Depression put him and others deep into debt. A welcome opportunity came in 1932 when the owner of the famed High Hampton Inn in Cashiers, North Carolina, commissioned Stillwell to design a large, rustic inn featuring local chestnut bark shingles, to replace the predecessor building that burned in May 1932; it opened the following May. Continuing work at Christ School also helped keep the firm in business.

During the Great Depression, Stillwell had the good fortune to begin an association with the Wilby-Kincey company which was co-owned by Paramount Pictures. In 1934 he designed the first of many theaters for the firm, an association that proved to the salvation of his practice. Centrally located in their communities, and accommodating the growing public for movies during the Depression, his movie theaters were classic examples of the type and usually featured moderne and Art Deco motifs. Often they were the most striking—or only—examples of modernist design in their small town settings.

Through his movie theater work, he garnered the first of several projects sponsored or assisted by the United States government through the Public Works Administration—the remodeling of the city hall in Sumter, South Carolina, to include a movie theater. Late in the 1920s, he had provided plans for present Western Carolina University, and he gained additional commissions for the campus that were funded during the depression with PWA and WPA assistance.

With the onset of World War II, private construction projects all but disappeared, and military construction projects went primarily to large firms. To qualify for some of this work, Stillwell and some of his architect friends in Asheville teamed up to form Six Associates. The founding members of the group, who planned the association at a meeting at the S&W Cafeteria in Asheville (designed by Douglas D. Ellington), included Stillwell, Henry Irvin Gaines, Anthony Lord, William Waldo Dodge, Jr., W. Stewart Rogers, and Charles Waddell. The combined staff of Six Associates in this period included as many as forty. The firm won commissions for three field hospitals and other projects and formed relationships that brought additional work after the war. In the postwar era, Six Associates established itself as a premier architectural firm in western North Carolina; Stillwell and other founders continued their association until their retirements or deaths. The firm headquartered in Asheville continued under that name until the mid-1990s. The successor firm is Callaway Johnson Moore and West.

Stillwell kept his office in Hendersonville until 1953 while also commuting to Asheville where the main offices of Six Associates were located. He continued to design buildings, including the theaters that were his specialty. In 1950 he became president of Six Associates and spent much of his time in Asheville, while maintaining his own practice for several years. He retired from Six Associates in 1970. His wife, Eva, died in 1971, and Erle lived until 1978, dying at the age of 93.

Throughout Stillwell's career he was active in the organization and promotion of the architectural profession. He was a founding member of the Architect's Association of Western North Carolina. He became a member of the American Institute of Architects in 1916 and was a longtime leader in the North Carolina Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, serving as the chapter's secretary-treasurer (1917-1921) and president of (1922-1923 and 1942-1944). He was awarded the honor of FAIA in 1942. A substantial portion of his architectural drawings and other records are held by the Henderson County Public Library in Hendersonville.

Author: William Mitchell. Update and editor: Catherine W. Bishir.

Published 2014

Building List

Chase P. Ambler House (Biltmore Forest, Buncombe County)

Buncombe Biltmore Forest

1927

Contributors:
Dates: 1927
Location: Biltmore Forest, Buncombe County
Street Address: Hilltop Rd., Biltmore Forest, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Residential
Images Published In:
  • William Mitchell, Buildings as History: The Architecture of Erle Stillwell. A Descriptive Catalogue of His Drawings in the Henderson County Public Library (2006).
Note:

Stillwell's initial design for the Ambler house was a formal, Georgian Revival composition, but probably at the client's request, Stillwell designed the present Tudor Revival residence with its dramatic, asymmetrical form and plan. Ambler was a physician active in the region's natural conservation efforts including the formation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Mt. Ambler is named for him.

Herbert Brown House (Biltmore Forest, Buncombe County)

Buncombe Biltmore Forest

1927

Contributors:
Dates: 1927; 1937
Location: Biltmore Forest, Buncombe County
Street Address: Westwood Rd., Biltmore Forest, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Residential
Images Published In:
  • William Mitchell, Buildings as History: The Architecture of Erle Stillwell. A Descriptive Catalogue of His Drawings in the Henderson County Public Library (2006).
Note:

The Browns asked Stillwell to design their residence after a house they had seen in Rueil, France.

Canfield House (Tryon, Polk County)

Polk Tryon

1929

Contributors:
Dates: ca. 1929
Location: Tryon, Polk County
Street Address: Hillswick Rd., Tryon, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Residential
Images Published In:
  • William Mitchell, Buildings as History: The Architecture of Erle Stillwell. A Descriptive Catalogue of His Drawings in the Henderson County Public Library (2006).

Sidney O. Chase House (Asheville, Buncombe County)

Buncombe Asheville

1927

Contributors:
Dates: 1927
Location: Asheville, Buncombe County
Street Address: Lakeview Park, Asheville, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Residential
Images Published In:
  • William Mitchell, Buildings as History: The Architecture of Erle Stillwell. A Descriptive Catalogue of His Drawings in the Henderson County Public Library (2006).
Note:

A rare example of the architect's work in a Mediterranean mode; a Tudor Revival scheme was also considered.

Ambrose Cramer House (Biltmore Forest, Buncombe County)

Buncombe Biltmore Forest

1925

Contributors:
Dates: 1925-1926
Location: Biltmore Forest, Buncombe County
Street Address: Busbee Rd., Biltmore Forest, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Residential
Images Published In:
  • William Mitchell, Buildings as History: The Architecture of Erle Stillwell. A Descriptive Catalogue of His Drawings in the Henderson County Public Library (2006).
Note:

One of Stilwell's most imposing residences, the elaborately detailed Georgian Revival house occupies a large, wooded lot in the sylvan suburban community.

James L. Egerton Houses (Hendersonville, Henderson County)

Henderson Hendersonville

1913

Contributors:
Dates: 1913
Location: Hendersonville, Henderson County
Street Address: 650 5th Ave. W. and 807 4th Ave. W., Hendersonville, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Residential
Images Published In:
  • William Mitchell, Buildings as History: The Architecture of Erle Stillwell. A Descriptive Catalogue of His Drawings in the Henderson County Public Library (2006).
Note:

These relatively modest bungalows, apparently Stillwell's first commission, were probably built as speculative houses for resale or rental.

Frank A. Ewbank House (Hendersonville, Henderson County)

Henderson Hendersonville

1920

Variant Name(s):
  • Villa Montana
Contributors:
Dates: 1920; 1924
Location: Hendersonville, Henderson County
Street Address: Blythe St., Hendersonville, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Residential
Images Published In:
  • William Mitchell, Buildings as History: The Architecture of Erle Stillwell. A Descriptive Catalogue of His Drawings in the Henderson County Public Library (2006).
Note:

The Tudor Revival house with half-timbering is one of several houses Stillwell planned for the Ewbank family.

Mrs. F. W. Galbraith House (Biltmore Forest, Buncombe County)

Buncombe Biltmore Forest

1927

Contributors:
  • Chauncey Beadle, landscape designer;
  • Erle Stillwell, architect;
  • H. B. Swope, landscape designer
Dates: 1927
Location: Biltmore Forest, Buncombe County
Street Address: Eastwood Rd., Biltmore Forest, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Residential
Images Published In:
  • William Mitchell, Buildings as History: The Architecture of Erle Stillwell. A Descriptive Catalogue of His Drawings in the Henderson County Public Library (2006).
Note:

The picturesque brick residence won a design award for Stillwell from the North Carolina chapter of the American Institute of Architects in 1929. The drawings include a landscape plan by Beadle and Swope; Chauncey Beadle was associated with the Biltmore Estate and a founder of the Biltmore Forest community; he designed numerous landscape plans in the Asheville area.

William A. Knight House (I) (Biltmore Forest, Buncombe County)

Buncombe Biltmore Forest

1924

Contributors:
Dates: 1924
Location: Biltmore Forest, Buncombe County
Street Address: Forest Rd., Biltmore Forest, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Residential
Images Published In:
  • William Mitchell, Buildings as History: The Architecture of Erle Stillwell. A Descriptive Catalogue of His Drawings in the Henderson County Public Library (2006).
Note:

The Mediterranean style house, one of the few by Stillwell in that mode, was built for Knight, a businessman from St. Augustine, Florida, and a founder of the Biltmore Forest community. About 1925 he commissioned a more elaborate residence by Stillwell, which was never built, perhaps because of the collapse of the Florida land boom in 1926. Knight had another house built in 1927 from plans by architect William W. Dodge (see William A. Knight House II).

Lynncote II (Tryon, Polk County)

Polk Tryon

1927

Variant Name(s):
  • C. P. Rogers Residence
Contributors:
Dates: 1927
Location: Tryon, Polk County
Street Address: W side NC 108, Tryon, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Residential
Images Published In:
  • William Mitchell, Buildings as History: The Architecture of Erle Stillwell. A Descriptive Catalogue of His Drawings in the Henderson County Public Library (2006).
Note:

The original Lynncote I was a picturesque stone house planned for the Erskine family in the 1890s and attributed to architect Richard Sharp Smith. It was gutted by fire in 1916, and several years later an Erskine daughter, Susan, and her husband, Carroll Pickens Rogers, commissioned Stillwell to rebuild and use the surviving stone walls. He produced a dramatically picturesque Tudor Revival residence that is one of the finest of its style in western North Carolina.

Lynncote II

John Maybank House (Hendersonville, Henderson County)

Henderson Hendersonville

1916

Variant Name(s):
  • Appledore
Contributors:
Dates: 1916
Location: Hendersonville, Henderson County
Street Address: Golden Gate Dr., Hendersonville, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Residential
Images Published In:
  • William Mitchell, Buildings as History: The Architecture of Erle Stillwell. A Descriptive Catalogue of His Drawings in the Henderson County Public Library (2006).
Note:

This was Stillwell's first major commission. The hilltop site sets off the imposing composition of the large stone house with full-height portico; like other Flat Rock residences, it was built for a family with Charleston connections.

Alfred A. McCall House (Hendersonville, Henderson County)

Henderson Hendersonville

1920

Contributors:
Dates: 1920
Location: Hendersonville, Henderson County
Street Address: 941 Kanuga St., Hendersonville, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Residential
Images Published In:
  • William Mitchell, Buildings as History: The Architecture of Erle Stillwell. A Descriptive Catalogue of His Drawings in the Henderson County Public Library (2006).
Note:

Rough stonework and half-timbering give the substantial bungalow a naturalistic character in keeping with its wooded site.

Mountain Lodge (Flat Rock, Henderson County)

Henderson Flat Rock

1827

Contributors:
Dates: 1827; 1936
Location: Flat Rock, Henderson County
Street Address: Flat Rock, Flat Rock, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Residential
Images Published In:
  • William Mitchell, Buildings as History: The Architecture of Erle Stillwell. A Descriptive Catalogue of His Drawings in the Henderson County Public Library (2006).
Note:

Mountain Lodge was among the earliest houses built for wealthy Charlestonians who created a summer retreat community at Flat Rock. It began as a hip roofed house with square plan; Stillwell's 1936 addition doubled its size, with a large wing on one side, a sun room on the other, and a dramatic full-height portico.

William Sherard House (Hendersonville, Henderson County)

Henderson Hendersonville

1920

Contributors:
Dates: ca. 1920s
Location: Hendersonville, Henderson County
Street Address: 1110 4th Ave., Hendersonville, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Residential
Images Published In:
  • William Mitchell, Buildings as History: The Architecture of Erle Stillwell. A Descriptive Catalogue of His Drawings in the Henderson County Public Library (2006).
Note:

The spacious bungalow features bold half-timbered effects in Tudor Revival style. The drawings are undated.

Roy L. Smart House (Charlotte, Mecklenburg County)

Mecklenburg Charlotte

1936

Contributors:
Dates: 1936; 1937
Location: Charlotte, Mecklenburg County
Street Address: 414 Eastover Rd., Charlotte, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Residential
Images Published In:
  • William Mitchell, Buildings as History: The Architecture of Erle Stillwell. A Descriptive Catalogue of His Drawings in the Henderson County Public Library (2006).
Note:

Stillwell designed the Tudor Revival residence for Smart, regional manager for the Wilby-Kincey theater chain for which Stillwell planned a large number of movie theaters.

Erle Stillwell House (Hendersonville, Henderson County)

Henderson Hendersonville

1925

Contributors:
Dates: ca. 1925
Location: Hendersonville, Henderson County
Street Address: Blythe St. at Pinecrest, Hendersonville, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Residential
Images Published In:
  • William Mitchell, Buildings as History: The Architecture of Erle Stillwell. A Descriptive Catalogue of His Drawings in the Henderson County Public Library (2006).
Note:

Stillwell invested heavily in the booming real estate economy of Hendersonville, including purchasing this lot in 1920, where he built this substantial Norman Revival stone house as his own residence in 1925. The real estate boom crash in 1926 cost him heavily and was followed by the Great Depression; Stillwell had to sell the house in 1931.

Mrs. Erle Stillwell House (Hendersonville, Henderson County)

Henderson Hendersonville

1935

Contributors:
Dates: 1935
Location: Hendersonville, Henderson County
Street Address: 541 Blythe St., Hendersonville, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Residential
Images Published In:
  • William Mitchell, Buildings as History: The Architecture of Erle Stillwell. A Descriptive Catalogue of His Drawings in the Henderson County Public Library (2006).
Note:

After Stillwell's fortunes rebounded when he became a favorite of the Wilby-Kincey franchise of Paramount Theaters, he designed this relatively modest Norman-influenced residence "for Mrs. Erle Stillwell" next door to the larger residence he had lost in 1931. He and Eva lived there for the rest of their lives. The brick walls originally had a white wash or stuccoed surfact that enhanced the Norman character. (If hte property was actually in Eva's name, that was a frequent strategy to protect the wife's financial security.)

Charles S. Williams House (Biltmore Forest, Buncombe County)

Buncombe Biltmore Forest

1925

Contributors:
Dates: ca. 1925
Location: Biltmore Forest, Buncombe County
Street Address: Vanderbilt Rd., Biltmore Forest, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Residential
Images Published In:
  • William Mitchell, Buildings as History: The Architecture of Erle Stillwell. A Descriptive Catalogue of His Drawings in the Henderson County Public Library (2006).
Note:

Among Stillwell's premier examples of the Georgian Revival style, the large house combines carefully proportioned forms with fine craftsmanship and details.

Brevard Bank (Brevard, Transylvania County)

Transylvania Brevard

1923

Contributors:
Dates: ca. 1923
Location: Brevard, Transylvania County
Street Address: 73 W. Main St., Brevard, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Commercial
Images Published In:
  • William Mitchell, Buildings as History: The Architecture of Erle Stillwell. A Descriptive Catalogue of His Drawings in the Henderson County Public Library (2006).
Note:

A stone portico gives a classical formality to the relatively small building.

Chamber of Commerce Building (Hendersonville, Henderson County)

Henderson Hendersonville

1926

Contributors:
Dates: 1926
Location: Hendersonville, Henderson County
Street Address: 5th Ave., Hendersonville, NC
Status: Unbuilt
Type:
  • Commercial
Images Published In:
  • William Mitchell, Buildings as History: The Architecture of Erle Stillwell. A Descriptive Catalogue of His Drawings in the Henderson County Public Library (2006).
Note:

At the apex of the real estate boom, Hendersonville's chamber of commerce commissioned plans for a grand skyscraper that epitomized the town's success and prospects. Stillwell's drawings show a sequence of ever taller designs, the last of which reached more than 10 stories. Working drawings were made, and the basement was excavated and foundations were laid before the Florida land boom collapsed and with it the boom it had fed in western N.C. towns. Construction on the ambitious building stopped before it rose any higher; eventually some small buildings were erected atop the basement. Another ambitious scheme in the area ended by the Florida crash was the Fleetwood Hotel at nearby Laurel Park, a still taller building planned by architects Henry Irvin Gaines and Beacham and LeGrand of Asheville, had reached a full 13 stories in height before construction stopped, and it was torn down in 1936 and its plumbing fixtures and other materials reused throughout the area.

Citizen's National Bank (Hendersonville, Henderson County)

Henderson Hendersonville

1918

Contributors:
Dates: 1918
Location: Hendersonville, Henderson County
Street Address: 400 N. Main St., Hendersonville, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Commercial
Images Published In:
  • William Mitchell, Buildings as History: The Architecture of Erle Stillwell. A Descriptive Catalogue of His Drawings in the Henderson County Public Library (2006).
Note:

One of many early 20th century banks of this type, the columned entrance set in antis and pilasters along the side emphasize the prominent corner location of the bank.

Ewbank and Ewbank Building (Hendersonville, Henderson County)

Henderson Hendersonville

1920

Contributors:
Dates: ca. 1920s
Location: Hendersonville, Henderson County
Street Address: 308 N. Main St., Hendersonville, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Commercial
Images Published In:
  • William Mitchell, Buildings as History: The Architecture of Erle Stillwell. A Descriptive Catalogue of His Drawings in the Henderson County Public Library (2006).
Note:

The stone façade graced with garlands at the cornice line has a strong presence in the streetscape.

First Bank and Trust Company Building (Hendersonville, Henderson County)

Henderson Hendersonville

1922

Contributors:
Dates: 1922
Location: Hendersonville, Henderson County
Street Address: 401 N. Main St., Hendersonville, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Commercial
Images Published In:
  • William Mitchell, Buildings as History: The Architecture of Erle Stillwell. A Descriptive Catalogue of His Drawings in the Henderson County Public Library (2006).
Note:

Across from its nearly contemporary neighbor, Citizen's National Bank, this larger building commands its prominent corner with tall pilasters in yellow brick and contrasting classical detail.

High Hampton Inn (Cashiers, Jackson County)

Jackson Cashiers

1932

Contributors:
Dates: 1932
Location: Cashiers, Jackson County
Street Address: E side NC 107, Cashiers, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Commercial
Images Published In:
  • William Mitchell, Buildings as History: The Architecture of Erle Stillwell. A Descriptive Catalogue of His Drawings in the Henderson County Public Library (2006).
Note:

Stillwell designed the large mountain inn with its chestnut bark walls to replace an earlier hostelry of the same that had burned. It is a remarkable survival from the many rustic mountain inns that once welcomed visitors to the region. Its owner, E. L. McKee, also owned the Sylva Tanning Company, which produced tannin from the chestnut trees. Construction of the inn provided welcome local employment in the depths of the Great Depression.

High Hampton Inn

Kirk Building (Hendersonville, Henderson County)

Henderson Hendersonville

1925

Contributors:
Dates: ca. 1925
Location: Hendersonville, Henderson County
Street Address: Main St. at 5th Ave., Hendersonville, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Commercial
Images Published In:
  • William Mitchell, Buildings as History: The Architecture of Erle Stillwell. A Descriptive Catalogue of His Drawings in the Henderson County Public Library (2006).
Note:

The 2-story brick commercial building is one of several such structures Stillwell planned in his adopted home town, and which help define the downtown character.

Laurel Park Buildings (Hendersonville, Henderson County)

Henderson Hendersonville

1911

Contributors:
Dates: 1911-1926
Location: Hendersonville, Henderson County
Street Address: Laurel Park, Hendersonville, NC
Status: No longer standing
Type:
  • Recreational
Images Published In:
  • William Mitchell, Buildings as History: The Architecture of Erle Stillwell. A Descriptive Catalogue of His Drawings in the Henderson County Public Library (2006).
Note:

Beginning in the late 19th century, Hendersonville civic leader William A. Smith invested in and began to develop a large "summer playground" on a tract west of town. By the early 20th century, it featured lakes, pavilions, and drew crowds from far and wide. In 1911 he began selling lots for residential construction, and eventually sold off his investment in 1922. His son-in-law, Stillwell, likewise invested in the enterprise, and provided designs for the Casino, a golf club, and likely many other structures. The collapse of the land boom brought the development to a halt, and none of the early buildings is known to survive. A few years later, new investors began construction of the skyscraper known as the Fleetwood by architects Henry Irvin Gaines and Beacham and LeGrand, which was never completed and was eventually razed.

Blue Ridge School (Hendersonville, Henderson County)

Henderson Hendersonville

1914

Contributors:
Dates: 1914; 1920; 1951
Location: Hendersonville, Henderson County
Street Address: Four Seasons Blvd., Hendersonville, NC
Status: No longer standing
Type:
  • Educational
Images Published In:
  • William Mitchell, Buildings as History: The Architecture of Erle Stillwell. A Descriptive Catalogue of His Drawings in the Henderson County Public Library (2006).
Note:

The private boys' school was the pride of Hendersonville for more than 50 years, and Stillwell designed most of its buildings.

Christ School (Arden, Buncombe County)

Buncombe Arden

1913

Contributors:
Dates: 1913; 1930s
Location: Arden, Buncombe County
Street Address: SR 3196, Arden, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Educational
Images Published In:
  • William Mitchell, Buildings as History: The Architecture of Erle Stillwell. A Descriptive Catalogue of His Drawings in the Henderson County Public Library (2006).
Note:

For the Episcopal boys' school founded in 1900, Stillwell designed several buildings of local rough-cut brown stone quarried from the site.These complement the Gothic Revival chapel (1905), which was probably designed by school founder Thomas Wetmore. Stillwell's initial connection came through his partner, H. C. Meyer, who planned a classroom building in 1913, and Stillwell alone designed dormitories in 1930 and 1937, Wetmore Hall in 1940, and other buildings.

Davidson River School (Pisgah Forest, Transylvania County)

Transylvania Pisgah Forest

1940

Contributors:
Dates: 1940
Location: Pisgah Forest, Transylvania County
Street Address: 970 Ecusta School, Pisgah Forest, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Educational
Images Published In:
  • William Mitchell, Buildings as History: The Architecture of Erle Stillwell. A Descriptive Catalogue of His Drawings in the Henderson County Public Library (2006).
Note:

One of several schools planned by Stillwell in the 1930s and 1940, the 1-story building of local stone features an unusual Art Deco inspired entrance pavilion; it has been used for a variety of purposes.

East Flat Rock School (East Flat Rock, Henderson County)

Henderson East Flat Rock

1923

Contributors:
Dates: 1923
Location: East Flat Rock, Henderson County
Street Address: Spartanburg Rd., East Flat Rock, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Educational
Images Published In:
  • William Mitchell, Buildings as History: The Architecture of Erle Stillwell. A Descriptive Catalogue of His Drawings in the Henderson County Public Library (2006).
Note:

The 2-story, red brick public school typifies many of its era of widespread public school building throughout the state. Some of its original classical detailing has been removed. It was one of several schools Stillwell planned in the area.

Hendersonville High School (Hendersonville, Henderson County)

Henderson Hendersonville

1925

Contributors:
Dates: 1925
Location: Hendersonville, Henderson County
Street Address: N. Church St. at Bearcat Blvd., Hendersonville, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Educational
Images Published In:
  • William Mitchell, Buildings as History: The Architecture of Erle Stillwell. A Descriptive Catalogue of His Drawings in the Henderson County Public Library (2006).
Note:

Amid the great educational building campaign of the 1920s Stillwell designed the imposing high school, which was meant to accommodate eleven grades and had first-rate facilities including a gym and an auditorium, the latter of which serves the local public as well as the school.

Brevard Rosenwald School (Brevard, Transylvania County)

Transylvania Brevard

1946

Contributors:
Dates: 1946
Location: Brevard, Transylvania County
Street Address: Rosenwald Ln., Brevard, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Educational
Images Published In:
  • William Mitchell, Buildings as History: The Architecture of Erle Stillwell. A Descriptive Catalogue of His Drawings in the Henderson County Public Library (2006).
Note:

Assisted by funds from the Julius Rosenwald foundation, the substantial stone building followed Stillwell's general plans from the Davidson River School. It replaced a ca. 1920 frame Rosenwald School that burned in 1941.

Breese Gymnasium (Cullowhee, Jackson County)

Jackson Cullowhee

1937

Contributors:
Dates: 1937-1938
Location: Cullowhee, Jackson County
Street Address: Western Carolina University Campus, Cullowhee, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Educational
Images Published In:
  • William Mitchell, Buildings as History: The Architecture of Erle Stillwell. A Descriptive Catalogue of His Drawings in the Henderson County Public Library (2006).
Note:

During the 1930s Stillwell began a long relationship with the Western North Carolinia Teachers College (now Western Carolina University). On his own and with Six Associates, he planned several buildings, beginning with Breese Gymnasium. It was erected with WPA assistance; some accounts state it was built with student labor and of native stone.

McKee Laboratory School (Cullowhee, Jackson County)

Jackson Cullowhee

1938

Contributors:
Dates: 1938
Location: Cullowhee, Jackson County
Street Address: Western Carolina University Campus, Cullowhee, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Educational
Images Published In:
  • William Mitchell, Buildings as History: The Architecture of Erle Stillwell. A Descriptive Catalogue of His Drawings in the Henderson County Public Library (2006).
Note:

Funded by the PWA, this was built as a school building to give WCTC students practical experience and training as teachers. Along with other Stillwell designs on the campus, including Hoey Auditorium and Robertson Hall, it features red brick and classical detailing and has been remodeled. During this same period, noted landscape architect E. S. Draper created a campus plan, which Stillwell followed.

First United Methodist Church (Hendersonville, Henderson County)

Henderson Hendersonville

1924

Contributors:
Dates: ca. 1924
Location: Hendersonville, Henderson County
Street Address: Church St. at 6th Ave., Hendersonville, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Religious
Images Published In:
  • William Mitchell, Buildings as History: The Architecture of Erle Stillwell. A Descriptive Catalogue of His Drawings in the Henderson County Public Library (2006).
Note:

The authorship of this large, neoclassical brick church is especially interesting, since Stillwell's records show that architect Baylor of the Methodist Board of Church had a role in its design. It is known that such sources often provided church designs, but thus far little is known of the process. Although Stillwell did not sign the drawings, they are in his papers and show his usual drawing style.

Hendersonville City Hall (Hendersonville, Henderson County)

Henderson Hendersonville

1927

Contributors:
Dates: 1927
Location: Hendersonville, Henderson County
Street Address: 145 5th Ave. E, Hendersonville, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Public
Images Published In:
  • William Mitchell, Buildings as History: The Architecture of Erle Stillwell. A Descriptive Catalogue of His Drawings in the Henderson County Public Library (2006).
Note:

As the leading resident architect in Hendersonville, it was appropriate that Stillwell designed its principal civic building. Red brick with classical detail, it features a prominent portico and a columned loggia on the side façade.

McDowell County Courthouse (Marion, McDowell County)

McDowell Marion

1923

Contributors:
Dates: 1923
Location: Marion, McDowell County
Street Address: SE corner Main St. and Court St., Marion, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Public
Images Published In:
  • William Mitchell, Buildings as History: The Architecture of Erle Stillwell. A Descriptive Catalogue of His Drawings in the Henderson County Public Library (2006).
Note:

The restrained classical design features simple pilasters defining the large windows of the upper two stories.

St. James Episcopal Church (Hendersonville, Henderson County)

Henderson Hendersonville

1918

Contributors:
Dates: 1918-1919; 1920s; 1950s; 1960s
Location: Hendersonville, Henderson County
Street Address: Main St., Hendersonville, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Religious
Images Published In:
  • William Mitchell, Buildings as History: The Architecture of Erle Stillwell. A Descriptive Catalogue of His Drawings in the Henderson County Public Library (2006).
Note:

Stillwell was a member of the parish and is said to have traveled in England with the parish priest. The parish began plans for a new church in English Gothic style, to be built in stages. Economic problems delayed completion, and the chancel and chapel were completed in the 1950s and the nave in the 1960s.

Ambassador Theater (Raleigh, Wake County)

Wake Raleigh

1937

Contributors:
Dates: 1937
Location: Raleigh, Wake County
Street Address: Fayetteville St., Raleigh, NC
Status: No longer standing
Type:
  • Commercial
Images Published In:
  • William Mitchell, Buildings as History: The Architecture of Erle Stillwell. A Descriptive Catalogue of His Drawings in the Henderson County Public Library (2006).
Note:

A favorite landmark on the main street of the state capital, the Art Deco style movie theater—considered Raleigh's foremost movie theater—was one of many designed by Stillwell, most of which have been lost. This one was razed in the 1970s when Fayetteville Street was made into a mall. See Mitchell, Building as History and the website "Going to the Show" for images of this and many others of his theaters.

Carolina Theater (Chapel Hill, Orange County)

Orange Chapel Hill

1941

Contributors:
Dates: 1941
Location: Chapel Hill, Orange County
Street Address: Franklin St., Chapel Hill, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Commercial
Images Published In:
  • William Mitchell, Buildings as History: The Architecture of Erle Stillwell. A Descriptive Catalogue of His Drawings in the Henderson County Public Library (2006).
Note:

One of the few of Stillwell's movie theaters still standing in the state (though no longer used as a theater), its red brick "Colonial" design was meant to fit in with Chapel Hill's "village" vocabulary.

Center Theater (Durham, Durham County)

Durham Durham

1938

Contributors:
Dates: 1938
Location: Durham, Durham County
Street Address: W. Chapel Hill St., Durham, NC
Status: No longer standing
Type:
  • Commercial
Images Published In:
  • William Mitchell, Buildings as History: The Architecture of Erle Stillwell. A Descriptive Catalogue of His Drawings in the Henderson County Public Library (2006).
Note:

The magnificently showy theater was the pride of Durham for many years, a bold composition in the moderne or Art Deco style that dominated movie theater architecture in its day. The rounded corner and stepped lines made the most of the corner location.

Center Theater (High Point, Guilford County)

Guilford High Point

1938

Contributors:
Dates: 1938
Location: High Point, Guilford County
Street Address: 152 S. Main St., High Point, NC
Status: Altered
Type:
  • Commercial
Images Published In:
  • William Mitchell, Buildings as History: The Architecture of Erle Stillwell. A Descriptive Catalogue of His Drawings in the Henderson County Public Library (2006).
Note:

The Center was High Point's largest movie theater and one of the few of Stillwell's surviving theaters.

Varsity Theater (Raleigh, Wake County)

Wake Raleigh

1939

Contributors:
Dates: 1939
Location: Raleigh, Wake County
Street Address: Hillsborough St., Raleigh, NC
Status: Altered
Type:
  • Commercial
Images Published In:
  • William Mitchell, Buildings as History: The Architecture of Erle Stillwell. A Descriptive Catalogue of His Drawings in the Henderson County Public Library (2006).
Note:

The modest Art Deco style theater across Hillsborough St. from the North Carolina State University campus maintains its striking presence in the streetscape, though the interior has been remade for a new use.

Winston Theater (Winston-Salem, Forsyth County)

Forsyth Winston-Salem

1948

Contributors:
Dates: 1948
Location: Winston-Salem, Forsyth County
Street Address: W. 4th St., Winston-Salem, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Commercial
Images Published In:
  • William Mitchell, Buildings as History: The Architecture of Erle Stillwell. A Descriptive Catalogue of His Drawings in the Henderson County Public Library (2006).
Note:

The dramatic and colorful Art Deco theater has been renovated for use as offices.

Gillican House (Kanuga Lake, Henderson County)

Henderson Kanuga Lake

1919

Contributors:
Dates: 1919
Location: Kanuga Lake, Henderson County
Street Address: Nighthawk Ln., Kanuga Lake, NC
Status: Altered
Type:
  • Residential
Images Published In:
  • William Mitchell, Buildings as History: The Architecture of Erle Stillwell. A Descriptive Catalogue of His Drawings in the Henderson County Public Library (2006).
Note:

The picturesque, rural Tudor Revival residence of stone and half-timbering featured a plan with wings and porches intended to catch the cooling breezes; it has been substantially altered from its original character.

McNaughton House (Fruitland, Henderson County)

Henderson Fruitland

1924

Contributors:
Dates: 1924
Location: Fruitland, Henderson County
Street Address: Fruitland vicinity, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Residential
Images Published In:
  • William Mitchell, Buildings as History: The Architecture of Erle Stillwell. A Descriptive Catalogue of His Drawings in the Henderson County Public Library (2006).
Note:

The rustic residence of local stone and wood complements its rural, wooded setting.

Erle Stillwell's Work Locations

Bibliography

  • C. David Jackson and Charlotte V. Brown, History of the North Carolina Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, 1913-1998 (1998).
  • William Mitchell, Buildings as History: The Architecture of Erle Stillwell. A Descriptive Catalogue of His Drawings in the Henderson County Public Library (2006).
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