Bonniwell, Norma N. (1877-1961)

Birthplace:

Hickory, North Carolina, USA

Residences:

  • Hickory, North Carolina
  • Windsor, North Carolina

Trades:

  • Architect

Styles & Forms:

Queen Anne

Norma N.Bonniwell (1877-1961) or Norma Bonniwell King, her married name, was among the very few women in 19th century or early 20th century North Carolina identified as an architect. She was the daughter of George C.Bonniwell, a manufacturer, builder, and architect who trained three of his children—Norma, Josephine, and James Gaither—in his business. Norma was identified as an architect from a remarkably young age. Although she evidently worked with her father in Bonniwell andDaughter, Norma had her own identity as an “architect” and had clients in several towns in the western Piedmont and foothills. The first such reference appears in the March 19, 1892, Manufacturers’ Record, which reported that “Miss Norma Bonniwell has prepared plans for the erection of $25,000 building at Lenoir College” in Hickory. In 1893 she designed an elaborate Queen Anne style residence in North Wilkesboro, the Thomas B. Finley House, for which the client’s family recalls signed plans.

A few years later, The Landmark in Statesville noted on February 23, 1897, “Miss Norma Bonniwell, an architect of Hickory, was in town last week looking after the matter of drawing plans for residences for Messrs. R. L. Poston, C. W. Boshamer and W. A. Thomas. She is now preparing plans for Mr. Poston’s house, which is to be built on Mulberry street, next Mr. Geo. H. Brown’s.” A few of these houses have been identified. The W. A. Thomas House, located at 302 West End Avenue in Statesville, is one of the most distinctive Queen Anne-style houses in that city. A Poston house (no longer standing) of Gothic Revival style was located at 123 S. Mulberry Street in Statesville. She may also have done other work in the Hickory area.

Norma Bonniwell and her sister Josephine evidently moved to Raleigh about 1899, as did their father, George. They were both listed in 1900 as boarders living at the White residence in Raleigh, both working in an “architect office.” The architecture firm of Pearson and Ashe hired Norma as a draftsman in 1899, and it is likely that Josephine worked at the firm with her sister. On November 20, 1901, Norma Bonniwell married William Peele King, and they settled in Windsor, North Carolina. She evidently did not return to her architectural practice.

  • The Landmark, Feb. 23, 1897.
  • Charlotte Vestal Brown Papers, Special Collections Research Center, North Carolina State University Libraries, Raleigh, North Carolina.
  • Albert Keiser, Jr. and Angela May, From Tavern to Town, Revisited: An Architectural History of Hickory, NC (2004).
  • Manufacturers’ Record, Mar. 19, 1892.
  • Laura A. W. Phillips, Interviews with Josephine Hambrick, Mar. 17 and Mar. 25, 2007 (notes in possession of interviewer).
Sort Building List by:
  • C. W. Boshamer House

    Contributors:
    Norma N. Bonniwell, architect
    Dates:

    1897-1898

    Location:
    Statesville, Iredell County
    Street Address:

    Statesville, NC

    Status:

    Unknown

    Type:

    Residential


  • George H. Brown House

    Contributors:
    Norma N. Bonniwell, architect
    Dates:

    1897-1898

    Location:
    Statesville, Iredell County
    Street Address:

    Statesville, NC

    Status:

    Unknown

    Type:

    Residential


  • Lenoir College (Lenoir-Rhyne College), unknown building

    Contributors:
    Norma N. Bonniwell, architect
    Dates:

    1892

    Location:
    Hickory, Catawba County
    Street Address:

    Lenoir College (Lenoir-Rhyne College), Hickory, NC

    Status:

    No longer standing

    Type:

    Educational


  • R. L. Poston House

    Contributors:
    Norma N. Bonniwell, architect
    Dates:

    1897

    Location:
    Statesville, Iredell County
    Street Address:

    Mulberry St., Statesville, NC

    Status:

    Unknown

    Type:

    Residential

    Note:

    A Poston house (no longer standing) of Gothic Revival style was located at 123 S. Mulberry Street in Statesville.


  • Thomas B. Finley House

    Contributors:
    Norma N. Bonniwell, architect
    Dates:

    Ca. 1893

    Location:
    North Wilkesboro, Wilkes County
    Street Address:

    1014 E. St., North Wilkesboro, NC

    Status:

    Standing

    Type:

    Residential

    Images Published In:

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


  • W. A. Thomas House

    Contributors:
    Norma N. Bonniwell, architect
    Dates:

    1897

    Location:
    Statesville, Iredell County
    Street Address:

    302 West End Ave., Statesville, NC

    Status:

    Standing

    Type:

    Residential

    Note:

    The W. A. Thomas House is one of the most distinctive Queen Anne style houses in Statesville. See Laura A. W. Phillips, Mitchell College Historic District, National Register of Historic Places nomination.


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