North Carolina Architects and Builders - A Biographical Dictionary

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Flannagan, Eric G. (1892-1970)

Birthplace: Virginia, USA
Residences:
  • Henderson, North Carolina
Trades:
  • Architect
NC Work Locations:
  • Concord, Cabarrus County
  • Cabarrus
  • McCain, Hoke County
  • Hoke
  • Sanford, Lee County
  • Lee
  • Kinston, Lenoir County
  • Lenoir
  • Bear Grass, Martin County
  • Martin
  • Williamston, Martin County
  • Martin
  • Jackson, Northampton County
  • Northampton
  • Woodland, Northampton County
  • Northampton
  • Greenville, Pitt County
  • Pitt
  • Asheboro, Randolph County
  • Randolph
  • Henderson, Vance County
  • Vance
Building Types:
  • Educational;
  • Health Care;
  • Public;
  • Recreational;
  • Religious;
  • Residential
Styles & Forms:
  • Art Deco;
  • Art Moderne;
  • Colonial Revival;
  • Gothic Revival;
  • Mission

Henderson High School [Henderson]

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Henderson High School [Henderson]

Biography

Eric Goodyear Flannagan Sr. (1892-1970) was an architect and engineer whose firm in Henderson, North Carolina planned buildings throughout central and eastern North Carolina. He specialized in educational and health related facilities but also designed churches, civic buildings, residences, and other structures, with Henderson's First United Methodist Church, located just a few steps from his office, one of his best-known landmarks. His sons Eric Jr. and Stephen continued in the business he founded.

Eric G. Flannagan Sr. was born in Albemarle County, Virginia, to Broadus and Lottie Goodyear Flannagan. He married Beryl Morris on June 26, 1915, and they had three children: Eric, Jr., Stephen, and Effie Louise. After his first wife's death in 1968, Eric G. Flannagan Sr. married Clara Hamlett Robertson, who survived him.

Like many of his generation, Flannagan worked his way up as an architect. He graduated from the Miller Manual Training School of Albemarle, Virginia, where he studied and later taught mechanical drawing and served as head of the Mechanical Drawing Department (1912-1914). He worked as a draftsman (1913) for patent attorney Victor J. Evans in Washington, D.C., and received his certification from the International Correspondence Schools in Scranton, Pennsylvania, in 1914. From 1914 to 1922 he worked with the West Virginia Pulp and Paper Company of Covington, Virginia, where he became superintendent of construction and head of the engineering department.

Flannagan was encouraged by family members to move to North Carolina. He became a registered engineer in the state in 1921, and in 1922, he moved to the flourishing tobacco town of Henderson where he had relatives and opened an engineering firm. He advertised his services as a construction engineer in the autumn and winter of 1922 in the Oxford Public Ledger, and that newspaper carried a story on October 27, 1922, headlined "New Construction Engineer at Henderson, N. C.," reporting that Flannagan had been practicing in Henderson for about five months. His specialty was "that of furnishing Plans, Specifications, & Supervision, for all kinds of buildings and in case of a factory building he can take charge of the entire installation of machinery, etc.&" Flannagan became a registered architect in 1926, and thereafter practiced both architecture and engineering. In time he took his sons into the firm, which from 1954 onward operated as Eric G. Flannagan and Sons, Architects and Engineers. Active in professional and community organizations, Flannagan was a member of the North Carolina Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, the Henderson Rotary Club, Masonic Lodge No. 229, and the North Carolina Architectural Board of Registration (1951-1956), for which he served as vice-president in 1955-1956.

In a career that spanned over forty-five years in North Carolina, Flannagan planned a wide range of facilities including numerous institutional buildings such as county homes, schools, churches, hospitals, and nursing homes, chiefly in eastern and piedmont North Carolina. The Temple Theatre (1924-1925) in Sanford, one of his first major buildings, represents his characteristic mix of Colonial Revival and Art Deco styles. In his adopted hometown of Henderson, he built apartments, stores, warehouses, and commercial buildings including those in the building list plus the Henderson Daily Dispatch Building, the Southern National Bank Chestnut Street Branch, and the Dr. A.P. Newcomb Office. He also planned Camp Graham, a Girl Scout Camp at nearby Kerr Lake.

Like many architects of his day, Flannagan planned numerous educational facilities. At East Carolina State Teachers College, now East Carolina University (ECU) in Greenville, he designed nine structures including five student dormitories, one teacher's dormitory, the Flanagan Building (1939), J.Y. Joyner Library (1954), and Christenbury Memorial Gymnasium (1952). Working in the era of racial segregation, he designed public schools both for white students and for black students, with some of the latter including schools assisted by the Rosenwald Fund. His designs and his practice suited his clients so well that several of them, such as ECU, continued to call on him year after year (see Dictionary of North Carolina Biography). Eric G. Flannagan Sr. retired from fulltime practice in 1965 but continued to consult with his sons in the family architectural practice until his death in 1970.

A portion of Flannagan's extensive records are held by Special Collections Research Center, North Carolina State University Library, including drawings, project files, and an overall list of his projects. Additional records of the Flannagan firm's work in eastern North Carolina are held by East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina.

In a letter published in North Carolina Architect, June 9, 1970, Flannagan's sons reported a long list of structures in which their father had been involved. Described in general terms only, they include the following: County Homes: Edgecombe, Northampton, and Vance Counties; School Buildings: Halifax, Northampton, Lee, Granville, Edgecombe, Pitt, and Craven Counties; Churches: Martin (Williamston), Martin (Hamilton), Granville (Oxford), Warren (Ridgeway), and Vance (Henderson) Counties; Hospitals: Lee (Sanford), Cabarrus (Concord), Caldwell (Lenoir), Alamance (Graham), Chatham (Siler City), Harnett (Dunn), and Vance (Henderson) Counties; Nursing Homes: Halifax (Roanoke Rapids), Randolph (Asheboro), Cabarrus (Concord), Caldwell (Lenoir), Alamance (Graham), and Vance (Henderson) Counties. The building list here represents but a small fraction of Flannagan's work. Further study of his extensive career is needed.

Author: Angie Clifton. Update: Catherine W. Bishir. Contributor: Vanessa Patrick.

Published 2015

Building List

Northeast Medical Center (Concord, Cabarrus County)

Cabarrus Concord

1937

Variant Name(s):
  • Cabarrus County General Hospital;
  • Cabarrus Memorial Hospital
Contributors:
Dates: 1937; 1940
Location: Concord, Cabarrus County
Street Address: 920 Church St. North, Concord, NC
Status: Unknown
Type:
  • Health Care

Northeast Medical Center

McCain Correctional Hospital (McCain, Hoke County)

Hoke McCain

1937

Contributors:
Dates: 1937; 1939
Location: McCain, Hoke County
Street Address: 855 Old Hwy 211
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Health Care
Note:

The McCain facility hospital was formerly a state tuberculosis sanitarium.

Temple Theater (Sanford, Lee County)

Lee Sanford

1924

Contributors:
Dates: 1924-1925
Location: Sanford, Lee County
Street Address: 120 Carthage St., Sanford, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Recreational
Note:

A landmark of Sanford, the imposing brick building combines elements of the Colonial Revival and Art Deco styles. The 450-seat performing theater and movie house began by showing traveling vaudeville and other road shows but later shifted to movies.

Caswell Center (Kinston, Lenoir County)

Lenoir Kinston

1939

Variant Name(s):
  • Caswell Training School
Contributors:
Dates: 1939 and later
Location: Kinston, Lenoir County
Street Address: 2415 W. Vernon Ave., Kinston, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Educational

Williamston Colored School (Williamston, Martin County)

Martin Williamston

1930

Variant Name(s):
  • E. J. Hayes School
Contributors:
Dates: 1930-1931
Location: Williamston, Martin County
Street Address: 705 Washington St., Williamston, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Educational
Note:

One of many public schools planned by Flannagan, the one-story, red brick school was built with the assistance of the Julius Rosenwald Fund and the State Literary Fund as the first modern high school for African Americans in Williamston. Architect Flannagan employed an H plan frequently used in Rosenwald schools, extended to serve as a twelve-teacher school. See Joanna McKnight, "Williamston Colored School," National Register of Historic Places, 2014.

Bear Grass School (Bear Grass, Martin County)

Martin Bear Grass

1925

Contributors:
Dates: 1925
Location: Bear Grass, Martin County
Street Address: Highway 1001 0.2 mi NE of SR 1108, Bear Grass, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Educational

Northampton County Home (Jackson, Northampton County)

Northampton Jackson

1924

Variant Name(s):
  • Northampton County Social Services Building
Contributors:
Dates: 1924
Location: Jackson, Northampton County
Street Address: 9467 NC 305, 1.7 miles N of US 158, Jackson vicinity, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Public
Note:

One of Flannagan's earliest projects, the Northampton County Home is one of the very few such buildings still standing in North Carolina. The symmetrical, three-part building with Georgian Revival detailing reflects growing attention in the early 20th century to the quality and utility of county home facilities built to serve the indigent in the state.

Northampton County Home

Woodland-Olney School (Woodland, Northampton County)

Northampton Woodland

1925

Contributors:
Dates: 1925
Location: Woodland, Northampton County
Street Address: Main St., Woodland, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Educational

Flanagan Building (Greenville, Pitt County)

Pitt Greenville

1939

Variant Name(s):
  • Science Building
Contributors:
Dates: 1939
Location: Greenville, Pitt County
Street Address: East Carolina University Campus, Greenville, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Educational

Christenbury Memorial Gymnasium (Greenville, Pitt County)

Pitt Greenville

1952

Contributors:
Dates: 1952
Location: Greenville, Pitt County
Street Address: East Carolina University Campus, Greenville, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Educational

Erwin Building (Greenville, Pitt County)

Pitt Greenville

1952

Contributors:
Dates: 1952
Location: Greenville, Pitt County
Street Address: East Carolina University Campus, Greenville, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Educational

J.Y. Joyner Library (Greenville, Pitt County)

Pitt Greenville

1954

Contributors:
Dates: 1954
Location: Greenville, Pitt County
Street Address: East Fifth St., East Carolina University Campus, Greenville, NC
Status: Altered
Type:
  • Educational
Note:

In the 1990s, the 1954 library was completely overbuilt, leaving only a few original elements still recognizable. The most significant survivor from the 1954 library is a pair of large classical columns, no located at the entry to a courtyard.

Randolph Hospital (Asheboro, Randolph County)

Randolph Asheboro

1931

Contributors:
Dates: 1931-1932; 1946-1976
Location: Asheboro, Randolph County
Street Address: 373 N. Fayetteville St., Asheboro, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Health Care
Note:

Flannagan's first project in Asheboro, the hospital was funded by the recently established Duke Endowment. The buff brick building features a restrained Art Deco style in the original section and subsequent additions.

Randolph Hospital

Asheboro High School (Asheboro, Randolph County)

Randolph Asheboro

1949

Contributors:
Dates: 1949-1950; 1952-1953
Location: Asheboro, Randolph County
Street Address: 1221 Park St. at US 64, Asheboro, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Health Care

Acme-McCrary Recreation Building (Asheboro, Randolph County)

Randolph Asheboro

1948

Contributors:
Dates: 1948-1949
Location: Asheboro, Randolph County
Street Address: 148 North St., Asheboro, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Recreational
Note:

The distinctive Art Moderne brick building, erected to serve employees of the nearby Acme-McCrory textile mill, features striking curved corners and glass block.

Henderson Fire Station and Municipal Building (Henderson, Vance County)

Vance Henderson

1908

Contributors:
Dates: 1908; 1928
Location: Henderson, Vance County
Street Address: 205 Garnett St., Henderson, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Public
Note:

Flannagan evidently modernized or enlarged a fire station built earlier in the 20th century by Robert Bunn.

Henderson Fire Station and Municipal Building

Henderson High School (Henderson, Vance County)

Vance Henderson

1935

Contributors:
Dates: 1935-1936
Location: Henderson, Vance County
Street Address: Charles St., Henderson, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Educational
Images Published In:
  • Catherine W. Bishir and Michael T. Southern, A Guide to the Historic Architecture of Piedmont North Carolina (2003).
Note:

One of many public schools aided by the Works Progress Administration, the large brick building features Flemish bond brickwork and Tudor style details.

Henderson High School

First United Methodist Church (Henderson, Vance County)

Vance Henderson

1922

Contributors:
Dates: 1922-1930
Location: Henderson, Vance County
Street Address: 300 block N. Garnett St., Henderson, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Religious
Note:

The stone church in Gothic Revival style was one of Flannagan's best known projects.

First United Methodist Church

Stonewall Apartments (Henderson, Vance County)

Vance Henderson

1926

Contributors:
Dates: Ca. 1926
Location: Henderson, Vance County
Street Address: Young Ave., Henderson, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Residential
Note:

The rectilinear, 3-story stone apartment house features a tall front portico.

Eric C. Flannagan'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).
  • Clara H. Flannagan, "Eric Goodyear Flannagan," in William S. Powell, ed., Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 2 (1986).
  • Eric G. Flannagan and Sons Records, East Carolina University Manuscript Collection, East Carolina University Library, Greenville, North Carolina.
  • Eric G. Flannagan file, Charlotte Vestal Brown Papers, Special Collections Research Center, North Carolina State University Libraries, Raleigh, North Carolina.
  • Eric G Flannagan Papers 1922-1989, Special Collections Research Center, North Carolina State University Libraries, Raleigh, North Carolina.
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