Milburn, Heister, and Company (1909-1934)

The prolific firm of Milburn, Heister, and Company consisted of founder Frank Pierce Milburn, Michael Heister, and Milburn’s son Thomas Yancey Milburn. It was established in 1909, when architect Frank Pierce Milburn formed a partnership with Michael Heister, a young designer who had headed Milburn’s drafting department since 1903. The partnership became one of the most successful architectural firms in Washington, D.C. Milburn took his son Thomas to work in the firm’s Durham office. After Frank retired from the firm in 1925 and died in 1926, the firm continued with Michael Heister and Thomas Yancey Milburn until 1934. Heister died at the age of 77 in 1948, in Washington, D.C. The younger Milburn subsequently practiced on his own and died in 1977. For the firm’s activities and projects, see Frank Pierce Milburn.

Milburn and Heister were quick to gain licenses to practice architecture in North Carolina promptly after the passage of the licensing act of 1915. Heister’s license certificate of 1915 was #2 and Milburn’s was #3 in the official registration book of the North Carolina Board of Architecture.

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  • Alexander Motor Company Building

    Contributors:
    Dates:

    1923

    Location:
    Durham, Durham County
    Street Address:

    330 E. Main St., Durham, NC

    Status:

    Standing

    Type:

    Commercial

    Images Published In:

    Claudia P. Roberts (Brown) and Diane E. Lea, The Durham Architectural and Historic Inventory (1982).


  • Battle-Vance-Pettigrew Dormitory

    Contributors:
    Dates:

    1912

    Location:
    Chapel Hill, Orange County
    Street Address:

    University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC

    Status:

    Standing

    Type:

    Educational

    Images Published In:

    John V. Allcott, The Campus at Chapel Hill: Two Hundred Years of Architecture (1986).
    M. Ruth Little, The Town and Gown Architecture of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 1795-1975 (2006).

    Note:

    Thomas Wolfe roomed here while he was a student at the university.


  • Buncombe County Courthouse

    Contributors:
    Dates:

    1927

    Location:
    Asheville, Buncombe County
    Street Address:

    60 Court Square, Asheville, NC

    Status:

    Standing

    Type:

    Public

    Images Published In:

    Catherine W. Bishir, Michael T. Southern, and Jennifer F. Martin, A Guide to the Historic Architecture of Western North Carolina (1999).


  • Dillard House

    Contributors:
    Dates:

    1917

    Location:
    Durham, Durham County
    Street Address:

    1311 N. Mangum St., Durham, NC

    Status:

    Standing

    Type:

    Residential

    Images Published In:

    Claudia P. Roberts (Brown) and Diane E. Lea, The Durham Architectural and Historic Inventory (1982).


  • Durham Auditorium

    Contributors:
    Variant Name(s):

    Carolina Theatre

    Dates:

    1926

    Location:
    Durham, Durham County
    Street Address:

    211 Roney St., Durham, NC

    Status:

    Standing

    Type:

    Commercial

    Images Published In:

    Claudia P. Roberts (Brown) and Diane E. Lea, The Durham Architectural and Historic Inventory (1982).


  • Durham City Hall

    Contributors:
    Dates:

    1904; 1926 [remodeled]

    Location:
    Durham, Durham County
    Street Address:

    120 Morris St., Durham, NC

    Status:

    Standing

    Type:

    Public

    Images Published In:

    Claudia P. Roberts (Brown) and Diane E. Lea, The Durham Architectural and Historic Inventory (1982).

    Note:

    The building was erected as a high school in 1904 and remodeled as the city hall in 1926.


  • Durham County Courthouse

    Contributors:
    Dates:

    1916

    Location:
    Durham, Durham County
    Street Address:

    208 E. Main St., Durham, NC

    Status:

    Standing

    Type:

    Public

    Images Published In:

    Catherine W. Bishir and Michael T. Southern, A Guide to the Historic Architecture of Piedmont North Carolina (2003).
    Claudia P. Roberts (Brown) and Diane E. Lea, The Durham Architectural and Historic Inventory (1982).
    Daniel J. Vivian, “‘A Practical Architect’: Frank P. Milburn and the Transformation of Architectural Practice in the New South, 1890-1925,” Winterthur Portfolio (Spring 2005).


  • Durham High School

    Contributors:
    Dates:

    1930

    Location:
    Durham, Durham County
    Street Address:

    N. Duke St., Durham, NC

    Status:

    Standing

    Type:

    Educational

    Images Published In:

    Claudia P. Roberts (Brown) and Diane E. Lea, The Durham Architectural and Historic Inventory (1982).


  • Elizabeth City High School

    Contributors:
    Dates:

    1921

    Location:
    Elizabeth City, Pasquotank County
    Street Address:

    306 N. Road St., Elizabeth City, NC

    Status:

    Standing

    Type:

    Educational

    Images Published In:

    Thomas R. Butchko, On the Shores of the Pasquotank: The Architectural Heritage of Elizabeth City and Pasquotank County, North Carolina (1989).


  • First National Bank of Henderson

    Contributors:
    Dates:

    1921

    Location:
    Henderson, Vance County
    Street Address:

    213-215 S. Garnett St., Henderson, NC

    Status:

    Standing

    Type:

    Commercial

    Images Published In:

    Ann Melanie Murphy, An Inventory of Historic Architecture, Henderson, North Carolina (1979).


  • First Presbyterian Church

    Contributors:
    Dates:

    1916

    Location:
    Durham, Durham County
    Street Address:

    305 E. Main St., Durham, NC

    Status:

    Standing

    Type:

    Religious

    Images Published In:

    Claudia P. Roberts (Brown) and Diane E. Lea, The Durham Architectural and Historic Inventory (1982).


  • Gaston County Courthouse

    Contributors:
    Dates:

    1911

    Location:
    Gastonia, Gaston County
    Street Address:

    151 South St., Gastonia, NC

    Status:

    Standing

    Type:

    Public

    Images Published In:

    Catherine W. Bishir and Michael T. Southern, A Guide to the Historic Architecture of Piedmont North Carolina (2003).


  • Hoke County Courthouse

    Contributors:
    Dates:

    1911

    Location:
    Raeford, Hoke County
    Street Address:

    Main St. and Edenborough St., Raeford, NC

    Status:

    Standing

    Type:

    Public


  • Independence Building

    Contributors:
    J. A. Jones, builder (1908-1909); Frank Pierce Milburn, architect (1908-1909); Milburn, Heister, and Company, architects (1908-1909); William Lee Stoddart, architect (1927-1928)
    Variant Name(s):

    Realty Building

    Dates:

    1908-1909; 1927-1928 [addition]

    Location:
    Charlotte, Mecklenburg County
    Street Address:

    100-102 W. Trade St., Charlotte, NC

    Status:

    No longer standing

    Type:

    Commercial

    Images Published In:

    Mary Norton Kratt and Mary Manning Boyer, Remembering Charlotte: Postcards from a New South City, 1905-1950 (2000).
    Daniel J. Vivian, “‘A Practical Architect’: Frank P. Milburn and the Transformation of Architectural Practice in the New South, 1890-1925,” Winterthur Portfolio (Spring 2005).

    Note:

    The 12-story skyscraper was the first steel-framed skyscraper in North Carolina and an icon of Charlotte’s urban ambitions. Originally known as the Realty Building, it was renamed in 1922 for the Independence Bank that occupied it. In 1928, New York architect William Lee Stoddart added two more stories. It was imploded in 1981 amid strong controversy.


  • King's Daughters Home

    Contributors:
    Dates:

    1925

    Location:
    Durham, Durham County
    Street Address:

    204 N. Buchanan Blvd., Durham, NC

    Status:

    Standing

    Type:

    Residential

    Images Published In:

    Claudia P. Roberts (Brown) and Diane E. Lea, The Durham Architectural and Historic Inventory (1982).


  • Lincoln Hospital

    Contributors:
    Dates:

    1924

    Location:
    Durham, Durham County
    Street Address:

    1301 Fayetteville St., Durham, NC

    Status:

    No longer standing

    Type:

    Health Care

    Images Published In:

    Claudia P. Roberts (Brown) and Diane E. Lea, The Durham Architectural and Historic Inventory (1982).


  • McPherson Hospital

    Contributors:
    Dates:

    1926

    Location:
    Durham, Durham County
    Street Address:

    1110 W. Main St., Durham, NC

    Status:

    Standing

    Type:

    Health Care

    Images Published In:

    Claudia P. Roberts (Brown) and Diane E. Lea, The Durham Architectural and Historic Inventory (1982).


  • Pitt County Courthouse

    Contributors:
    Dates:

    1910-1911

    Location:
    Greenville, Pitt County
    Street Address:

    Greenville, NC

    Status:

    Standing

    Type:

    Public

    Images Published In:

    Catherine W. Bishir, North Carolina Architecture (1990).
    Catherine W. Bishir and Michael T. Southern, A Guide to the Historic Architecture of Eastern North Carolina (1996).
    Scott Power, The Historical Architecture of Pitt County, North Carolina (1991).


  • Professional Building

    Contributors:
    Dates:

    1925

    Location:
    Raleigh, Wake County
    Street Address:

    209 S. McDowell St., Raleigh, NC

    Status:

    Standing

    Type:

    Commercial

    Images Published In:

    Linda L. Harris and Mary Ann Lee, An Architectural and Historical Inventory of Raleigh, North Carolina (1978).

    Note:

    The 8-story building is one of the modest 1920s skyscrapers that redefined downtown Raleigh’s skyline. It was commissioned by William Allen Erwin (1856-1932), a relative of the Alamance County Holt manufacturing family who worked with the Duke family in their entry into the textile industry and became an industry leader himself. It was built in part as a philanthropic investment, for the some of the proceeds from rentals to physicians, dentists, and various corporations were diverted into a trust that benefited the Chapel of the Cross in Chapel Hill, which Erwin had built and given to the Episcopal Diocese (see Hobart Upjohn). The gala opening of the building was in December, 1925. The architects and the contractor were identified in the December 19, 1925, News and Observer.


  • Rocky Mount National Bank

    Contributors:
    Dates:

    Ca. 1918

    Location:
    Rocky Mount, Edgecombe County
    Street Address:

    101 Southeast Main St., Rocky Mount, 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).


  • Rocky Mount Savings Bank

    Contributors:
    Dates:

    1926

    Location:
    Rocky Mount, Nash County
    Street Address:

    142 SW Main St., Rocky Mount, NC

    Status:

    Standing

    Type:

    Commercial


  • Third National Bank

    Contributors:
    Dates:

    1923

    Location:
    Gastonia, Gaston County
    Street Address:

    195 W. Main St., Gastonia, NC

    Status:

    Standing

    Type:

    Commercial


  • Vance County Courthouse

    Contributors:
    W. R. Kivett, contractor (1884); Frank Pierce Milburn, architect (1908); Milburn, Heister, and Company, architects (1908); James R. Thrower, architect and builder (1884)
    Dates:

    1884; 1908 [remodeled]

    Location:
    Henderson, Vance County
    Street Address:

    Young St., Henderson, NC

    Status:

    Standing

    Type:

    Public

    Images Published In:

    Ann Melanie Murphy, An Inventory of Historic Architecture, Henderson, North Carolina (1979).

    Note:

    This project was a thorough remodeling of the 1884 courthouse, including a completely new façade.


  • Wachovia Bank and Trust Company Building

    Contributors:
    William Carter Bain, contractor; Central Carolina Construction Company, contractors; Frank Pierce Milburn, architect (1911, 1917-1918); Milburn, Heister, and Company, architects (1911, 1917-1918)
    Variant Name(s):

    Wachovia National Bank Building

    Dates:

    1911; 1917-1918 [addition and renovation]

    Location:
    Winston-Salem, Forsyth County
    Street Address:

    8 West 3rd St., Winston-Salem, NC

    Status:

    Standing

    Type:

    Commercial

    Images Published In:

    Catherine W. Bishir and Michael T. Southern, A Guide to the Historic Architecture of Piedmont North Carolina (2003).
    Edwin E. Bouldin, Jr., Architectural Guide to Winston-Salem and Forsyth County (1978).
    Molly Grogan Rawls, Winston-Salem in Vintage Postcards (2004).

    Note:

    Wachovia, a banking company that originated in Winston-Salem, began the cit’s early 20th century “race to the sky” with Milburn and Heister’s 7-story steel-framed skyscraper. After the O’Hanlon Building (see Northup and O’Brien) was built to 8 stories in 1914, Wachovia had Milburn and Heister add another story to their edifice. Both were soon eclipsed by taller buildings.


  • Wayne County Courthouse

    Contributors:
    Dates:

    1913

    Location:
    Goldsboro, Wayne County
    Street Address:

    224 E. Walnut St., Goldsboro, NC

    Status:

    Standing

    Type:

    Public

    Images Published In:

    J. Daniel Pezzoni and Penne Smith, Glimpses of Wayne County, North Carolina: An Architectural History (1998).
    Daniel J. Vivian, “‘A Practical Architect’: Frank P. Milburn and the Transformation of Architectural Practice in the New South, 1890-1925,” Winterthur Portfolio (Spring 2005).

    Note:

    The courthouse was described as Rose’s work in his interview with the Goldsboro News-Argus, March 1, 1951.


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