Barrett, Charles W. (1869-1947)

Variant Name(s):

Charles Wanton Barrett

Birthplace:

Fort Scott, Kansas, USA

Residences:

  • Kansas
  • New Mexico
  • Raleigh, North Carolina

Trades:

  • Architect

Styles & Forms:

Colonial Revival; Gothic Revival; Queen Anne; Shingle Style

Charles W. (Wanton) Barrett (1869-1947) was one of Raleigh’s most prolific architects around the turn of the century, designing buildings in Colonial Revival and other styles and publishing his work in promotional volumes. Arriving in town when the capital had very few architects, Barrett practiced on his own and in partnership with architect Frank K. Thomson. According to his notice in Raleigh Illustrated (1910), Barrett was born in Fort Scott, Kansas, in 1869, studied in an architect’s office, entered practice in 1898, and moved to Raleigh in 1899. Barrett is believed to have trained in the office of his uncle, George F. Barber, the prolific mail order architect headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Confirming these accounts, the 1870 census showed Charles Barrett, ten months old, living near Fort Scott with his parents, William and Olive Barber Barrett, of New York and Illinois, respectively, and two older children. Also in the household was George Barber, 16, Olive Barber Barrett’s younger brother, also a native of Illinois, working as a farm laborer. Shortly before the Civil War, Cornelia Barber, widow of Lyman Barber, had moved her family of several children from Illinois to Fort Scott, Kansas. One son, George F. Barber, went as a boy to live with his married sister Olive, who essentially raised him on the Barrett farm. Olive’s son Charles grew up with the future architect George serving almost as an older brother. By 1880 George F. Barber was married and working as a house carpenter in Fort Scott. He moved back to Illinois and then moved to Knoxville in 1888, where he established his large architectural business with many draftsmen and other employees, among whom was doubtless his nephew Charles Barrett.

Upon moving to Raleigh in 1899, Barrett worked briefly with William P. Rose in the firm of Rose and Barrett. In 1900 he married Sarah Elizabeth Hodges of New Bern, North Carolina, and they soon had children, Margaret, May, and Isobel. Also in 1900 Barrett established the firm of Barrett and Thomson with Frank K. Thomson. Thomson (whose named was often misspelled Thompson) specialized in engineering and construction, including concrete structures. Their office was located on Fayetteville Street. Both men took an interest in organizing the architectural profession in the state and were active in the North Carolina Architectural Association (est. 1906).

Barrett, like other architects of his day, used publications to promote his work—thus following the example of his uncle, George F. Barber. In 1900 Barrett and Thomson published a booklet entitled Photographs. Barrett & Thomson, Architects (1900), which featured residences, churches, and even a boiler house and engine room at a Durham tobacco factory. Soon after this, Barrett published a collection of his own designs entitled Colonial Southern Homes (1903), which included residences in Raleigh, Durham, Oxford, Southern Pines, and Savannah, Georgia as well as commercial and institutional buildings in Louisburg, Raleigh, and Wilson. Some of the buildings featured in the Barrett & Thomson booklet also appeared in Barrett’s own book—presumably indicating that they were his designs. (One design, the Henry Miller House in Raleigh, also appeared in William P. Rose’s promotional booklet, That House [1900]!)

Like his uncle, George F. Barber, Barrett encouraged members of the public to tell him what they might desire in a home, from which he could plan their buildings: “Just give me a rough outline or description of your needs,” he advised in Colonial Southern Homes, “and let me develop them to scale, so that you can the better see how your ideas appear, in connection with the finishing touches of an experienced hand.” Barrett explained that his residences—which covered the Colonial Revival mode from Queen Anne-Colonial Revival hybrids to columned Southern Colonial residences—were tailored to the needs of the South, and were “made up from years of study of the demands and requirements of the modern Southern home.” In any case, it is not always clear which buildings were Thomson’s, which were Barrett’s, and which were by both men in collaboration.

In 1911, Barrett and Thomson published Plans for Public Schoolhouses, which featured plans and estimates of construction for public schoolhouses for use by the North Carolina state superintendent in planning both city and rural school facilities. Among the examples built from these designs are two in Alamance County, the McCray School (1911) and the Woodlawn School (1911-1912).

During his relatively brief time in North Carolina, Barrett (alone or with Thomson) was remarkably prolific. In 1910, Barrett was described in Raleigh Illustrated as architect of “a great many” buildings in the state. In addition to planning buildings, Barrett and Thomson, alone or together, served as supervising architects for the large Municipal Building and Auditorium in Raleigh (1910-1911), designed by Atlanta architect P. Thornton Marye. Their works regularly gained notice in the Manufacturers’ Record. In addition to those included in the building list, the Manufacturers’ Record noted Charles W. Barrett or Barrett and Thomson’s role in several buildings whose status has not been determined: for Barrett, the BPOE Home and Club Building, Raleigh (1904); the Oxford Seminary, Oxford (1905); and for Barrett and Thomson, the Raleigh Auditorium (1900), the Marion Butler House, Raleigh (1901), and the Carolina Trust Company, Raleigh (1901); additions to hospitals in Raleigh, Morganton, and Goldsboro; and schools in Goldsboro (1907), Durham (1908), and Walkertown (1908).

Barrett and his family left the state shortly after 1910, apparently for reasons of his health. They moved to Indiana and Colorado, being located in Akron, Colorado in 1920. In 1921 they settled in the healthful, dry community of Las Vegas, New Mexico, where Barrett designed many offices, schools, churches and residences. He moved to Denver in 1942 and worked in facilities maintenance at Lowry Air Force Base until his death in Denver on February 19, 1947.

  • Charles W. Barrett, Colonial Southern Homes (1903).
  • Charles W. Barrett and Frank E. Thomson, Plans for Public Schoolhouses (1911).
  • Charlotte Vestal Brown Papers, Special Collections Research Center, North Carolina State University Libraries, Raleigh, North Carolina.
  • Charles W. Barrett and Frank E. Thomson, Photographs, Barrett & Thomson, Architects, 1900 (1900).
  • Linda L. Harris and Mary Ann Lee, An Architectural and Historical Inventory of Raleigh, North Carolina (1978).
  • Boyd C. Pratt, Carleen Lazzell, and Chris Wilson, Directory of Historic New Mexico Architects (1988).
  • Raleigh Illustrated (1910).
  • Raleigh News and Observer, June 7, 1907.
Sort Building List by:
  • A. W. Graham House

    Contributors:
    Charles W. Barrett, architect; Barrett and Thomson, architects
    Dates:
    Ca. 1900
    Location:
    Oxford, Granville County
    Street Address:
    Oxford, NC
    Status:
    No longer standing
    Type:
    Residential
    Images Puslished In:
    Charles W. Barrett, Colonial Southern Homes (1903).

  • Adolph Oettinger House

    Contributors:
    Charles W. Barrett, architect
    Dates:
    Ca. 1898
    Location:
    Goldsboro, Wayne County
    Street Address:
    619 Park Ave., Goldsboro, NC
    Status:
    Standing
    Type:
    Residential
    Images Puslished In:
    Charles W. Barrett, Colonial Southern Homes (1903).
    Catherine W. Bishir and Michael T. Southern, A Guide to the Historic Architecture of Eastern North Carolina (1996).

  • Bishop's House

    Contributors:
    Charles W. Barrett, architect
    Dates:
    1904
    Location:
    Raleigh, Wake County
    Street Address:
    St. Mary's School, NW corner Hillsborough St. and St. Mary's St., Raleigh, NC
    Status:
    Standing
    Type:
    Residential

  • Boyd-Kerr House

    Contributors:
    Charles W. Barrett, architect; Barrett and Thomson, architects
    Dates:
    1908
    Location:
    Warrenton, Warren County
    Street Address:
    216 Church St., Warrenton, NC
    Status:
    Standing
    Type:
    Residential

  • Charles H. Gattis House

    Contributors:
    Charles W. Barrett, architect
    Dates:
    Ca. 1900
    Location:
    Raleigh, Wake County
    Street Address:
    122 S. Dawson St., Raleigh, NC
    Status:
    No longer standing
    Type:
    Residential
    Images Puslished In:
    Charles W. Barrett, Colonial Southern Homes (1903).

  • Charles Hart House

    Contributors:
    Charles W. Barrett, architect
    Dates:
    Ca. 1900
    Location:
    Raleigh, Wake County
    Street Address:
    409 Oakwood Ave., Raleigh, NC
    Status:
    Standing
    Type:
    Residential
    Images Puslished In:
    Charles W. Barrett, Colonial Southern Homes (1903).

  • E.M. Fulton House

    Contributors:
    Charles W. Barrett, architect (ca. 1900); Alfred Beaver Yeomans, architect (1927)
    Variant Name(s):
    Hibernia
    Dates:
    Ca. 1900; 1927 [extended]
    Location:
    Southern Pines, Moore County
    Street Address:
    E. Rhode Island Ave., Southern Pines, NC
    Status:
    Unknown
    Type:
    Residential
    Images Puslished In:
    Ann C. Alexander, Perspective on a Resort Community: Historic Buildings Inventory, Southern Pines, North Carolina (1981).
    Charles W. Barrett, Colonial Southern Homes (1903).
    Charles W. Barrett and Frank E. Thomson, Photographs, Barrett & Thomson, Architects, 1900 (1900).
    Note:
    The shingled, gambrel-roofed house, built for Elisha Fulton of New York, was one of the first large, stylish houses in Southern Pines. It was remodeled and expanded in 1927 by architect Alfred Beaver Yeomans and renamed "Hibernia." See Ann C. Alexander, Perspective on a Resort Community: Historic Buildings Inventory, Southern Pines, North Carolina (1981).

  • George Lyon Residence

    Contributors:
    Charles W. Barrett, architect
    Dates:
    Ca. 1900
    Location:
    Durham, Durham County
    Street Address:
    Durham, NC
    Status:
    No longer standing
    Type:
    Residential
    Images Puslished In:
    Charles W. Barrett, Colonial Southern Homes (1903).

  • Henry Miller House

    Contributors:
    Dates:
    Ca. 1900
    Location:
    Raleigh, Wake County
    Street Address:
    612 N. Blount St., Raleigh, NC
    Status:
    Standing
    Type:
    Residential
    Images Puslished In:
    Charles W. Barrett, Colonial Southern Homes (1903).
    Charles W. Barrett and Frank E. Thomson, Photographs, Barrett & Thomson, Architects, 1900 (1900).
    William P. Rose, That House: Wm. P. Rose, Architect, Raleigh, N. C. (1900).
    Note:
    The Miller House, which still stands, might have been designed by Charles W. Barrett when he was working with William P. Rose, which might explain why it appears in three different promotional booklets.

  • J.D. Boushall House

    Contributors:
    Charles W. Barrett, architect; Barrett and Thomson, architects
    Dates:
    Ca. 1900
    Location:
    Raleigh, Wake County
    Street Address:
    127 New Bern Ave., Raleigh, NC
    Status:
    No longer standing
    Type:
    Residential
    Images Puslished In:
    Charles W. Barrett, Colonial Southern Homes (1903).
    Charles W. Barrett and Frank E. Thomson, Photographs, Barrett & Thomson, Architects, 1900 (1900).

  • John F. Wily House

    Contributors:
    Charles W. Barrett, architect
    Dates:
    Ca. 1900
    Location:
    Durham, Durham County
    Street Address:
    Durham, NC
    Status:
    No longer standing
    Type:
    Residential
    Images Puslished In:
    Charles W. Barrett, Colonial Southern Homes (1903).

  • Louis Round Wilson House

    Contributors:
    Charles W. Barrett, architect
    Variant Name(s):
    Wilson-Perlmutt-Seehusen House
    Dates:
    1911
    Location:
    Chapel Hill, Orange County
    Street Address:
    607 E. Rosemary St., Chapel Hill, NC
    Status:
    Standing
    Type:
    Residential
    Note:
    Barrett designed this house for University of North Carolina librarian Louis Round Wilson; the specifications for the house, at Special Collections Research Center, North Carolina State University Libraries, Raleigh, North Carolina, constitute a rare example of such a record for Barrett's houses.

  • Louisburg Baptist Church

    Contributors:
    Charles W. Barrett, architect
    Dates:
    1901-1904
    Location:
    Louisburg, Franklin County
    Street Address:
    302 North Main St., Louisburg, NC
    Status:
    Standing
    Type:
    Religious
    Images Puslished In:
    Charles W. Barrett, Colonial Southern Homes (1903).
    Charles W. Barrett and Frank E. Thomson, Photographs, Barrett & Thomson, Architects, 1900 (1900).

  • News and Observer Building

    Contributors:
    Charles W. Barrett, architect
    Dates:
    Ca. 1907-1910
    Location:
    Raleigh, Wake County
    Street Address:
    114-116 West Martin St., Raleigh, NC
    Status:
    No longer standing
    Type:
    Commercial

  • Percy Albright Residence

    Contributors:
    Charles W. Barrett, architect
    Dates:
    Ca. 1900
    Location:
    Raleigh, Wake County
    Street Address:
    705 Hillsborough St., Raleigh, NC
    Status:
    No longer standing
    Type:
    Residential
    Images Puslished In:
    Charles W. Barrett, Colonial Southern Homes (1903).

  • R.B. Raney House

    Contributors:
    William Carter Bain, contractor; Charles W. Barrett, architect
    Dates:
    1902
    Location:
    Raleigh, Wake County
    Street Address:
    102 Hillsborough St., Raleigh, NC
    Status:
    No longer standing
    Type:
    Residential
    Images Puslished In:
    Charles W. Barrett, Colonial Southern Homes (1903).
    Catherine W. Bishir, "Landmarks of Power: Building a Southern Past, 1855-1915," reprinted in Catherine W. Bishir, Southern Built: American Architecture, Regional Practice (2006).

  • R.E. Carrington House

    Contributors:
    Charles W. Barrett, architect
    Dates:
    Ca. 1900
    Location:
    Durham, Durham County
    Street Address:
    Durham, NC
    Status:
    No longer standing
    Type:
    Residential
    Images Puslished In:
    Charles W. Barrett, Colonial Southern Homes (1903).

  • Raleigh Country Club

    Contributors:
    Charles W. Barrett, architect
    Dates:
    Ca. 1910
    Location:
    Raleigh, Wake County
    Street Address:
    Hillsborough Rd., Raleigh, NC
    Status:
    No longer standing
    Type:
    Recreational

  • Raleigh Elks Club Building

    Contributors:
    Charles W. Barrett, architect
    Dates:
    1904-1906
    Location:
    Raleigh, Wake County
    Street Address:
    220 S. Salisbury St., Raleigh, NC
    Status:
    No longer standing
    Type:
    Fraternal

  • Rex Hospital

    Contributors:
    Charles W. Barrett, architect
    Dates:
    1908
    Location:
    Raleigh, Wake County
    Street Address:
    Raleigh, NC
    Status:
    No longer standing
    Type:
    Health Care

  • Royster House

    Contributors:
    Charles W. Barrett, architect
    Dates:
    Ca. 1900
    Location:
    Oxford, Granville County
    Street Address:
    Raleigh St., Oxford, NC
    Status:
    Standing
    Type:
    Residential
    Images Puslished In:
    Charles W. Barrett, Colonial Southern Homes (1903).
    Marvin A. Brown and Andrew J. Carlson, Heritage and Homesteads: The History and Architecture of Granville County, North Carolina (1988).

  • St. Paul's Episcopal Church

    Contributors:
    Charles W. Barrett, architect
    Dates:
    1900
    Location:
    Louisburg, Franklin County
    Street Address:
    301 Church St., Louisburg, NC
    Status:
    Standing
    Type:
    Religious
    Images Puslished In:
    Charles W. Barrett, Colonial Southern Homes (1903).
    Catherine W. Bishir and Michael T. Southern, A Guide to the Historic Architecture of Piedmont North Carolina (2003).

  • State Fair Grounds Exhibition Buildings

    Contributors:
    Charles W. Barrett, architect
    Dates:
    Ca. 1907-1910
    Location:
    Raleigh, Wake County
    Street Address:
    Hillsborough St., Raleigh, NC
    Status:
    No longer standing
    Type:
    Public

  • Turner-McPherson House

    Contributors:
    Charles W. Barrett, architect
    Dates:
    1910
    Location:
    Cameron, Moore County
    Street Address:
    Carthage St., Cameron, NC
    Status:
    Standing
    Type:
    Residential
    Images Puslished In:
    Catherine W. Bishir and Michael T. Southern, A Guide to the Historic Architecture of Piedmont North Carolina (2003).

  • Uzzell Printing Company

    Contributors:
    Charles W. Barrett, architect
    Dates:
    Ca. 1907-1910
    Location:
    Raleigh, Wake County
    Street Address:
    239 South Wilmington St., Raleigh, NC
    Status:
    Unknown
    Type:
    Commercial

  • W. H. Hughes, Jr., House

    Contributors:
    Charles W. Barrett, architect
    Dates:
    Ca. 1900
    Location:
    Raleigh, Wake County
    Street Address:
    Raleigh, NC
    Status:
    No longer standing
    Type:
    Residential
    Images Puslished In:
    Charles W. Barrett, Colonial Southern Homes (1903).

  • W.C. Powell House

    Contributors:
    William Carter Bain, contractor; Charles W. Barrett, architect
    Dates:
    1900-1903
    Location:
    Wake Forest, Wake County
    Street Address:
    564 N. Main St., Wake Forest, NC
    Status:
    Standing
    Type:
    Residential
    Images Puslished In:
    Charles W. Barrett, Colonial Southern Homes (1903).
    Kelly A. Lally, The Historic Architecture of Wake County, North Carolina (1994).

  • Walter D. Hay House

    Contributors:
    Charles W. Barrett, architect
    Dates:
    Ca. 1900
    Location:
    Raleigh, Wake County
    Street Address:
    Raleigh, NC
    Status:
    No longer standing
    Type:
    Residential
    Images Puslished In:
    Charles W. Barrett, Colonial Southern Homes (1903).

  • Watauga Hall

    Contributors:
    Charles W. Barrett, architect; Barrett and Thomson, architects
    Dates:
    1902-1903
    Location:
    Raleigh, Wake County
    Street Address:
    North Carolina State University Campus, Raleigh, NC
    Status:
    Standing
    Type:
    Educational
    Images Puslished In:
    Marguerite E. Schumann, Strolling at State: A Walking Guide to North Carolina State University (1973).

  • Will Robbins House

    Contributors:
    Charles W. Barrett, architect
    Dates:
    Ca. 1900
    Location:
    Raleigh, Wake County
    Street Address:
    222 Smithfield St., Raleigh, NC
    Status:
    Standing
    Type:
    Residential
    Images Puslished In:
    Charles W. Barrett, Colonial Southern Homes (1903).
    Charles W. Barrett and Frank E. Thomson, Photographs, Barrett & Thomson, Architects, 1900 (1900).

  • William B. Grimes House

    Contributors:
    Charles W. Barrett, architect
    Dates:
    Ca. 1900
    Location:
    Raleigh, Wake County
    Street Address:
    Raleigh, NC
    Status:
    No longer standing
    Type:
    Residential
    Images Puslished In:
    Charles W. Barrett, Colonial Southern Homes (1903).

  • Wilson County Courthouse

    Contributors:
    Charles W. Barrett, architect
    Dates:
    Ca. 1900
    Location:
    Wilson, Wilson County
    Street Address:
    Wilson, NC
    Status:
    No longer standing
    Type:
    Public

  • Wilson County Courthouse I

    Contributors:
    Charles W. Barrett, architect (ca. 1900-1902); Edmund George Lind, architect (1873); Oswald Lipscomb, builder (1850s); E. A. Sherman, builder (1850s)
    Dates:
    1850s; 1873 (addition, remodeling); ca. 1900-1902 (remodeling)
    Location:
    Wilson, Wilson County
    Street Address:
    Wilson, NC
    Status:
    No longer standing
    Type:
    Public
    Note:
    The accompanying image shows the Wilson County Courthouse after several changes had been made.

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