Gordon, Franklin (ca. 1870-1930)
Franklin Gordon (ca. 1870-1930) was one of many architects drawn to the growing and increasingly wealthy mercantile city of Charlotte in the early 20th century. An early leader in organizing the architectural profession in the state, he designed several buildings in Charlotte of which the best known are two of the city’s finest examples of Tudor Revival residential architecture.
The Charlotte Observer of September 30, 1905, reported that Franklin Gordon had arrived from Atlanta as the representative of the firm of Denny and Wachendorff, architects of the new “Highlands Hotel structure.” It appears that this hotel was soon renamed the Selwyn; the Charlotte News of February 7, 1907, commented on the excellent work by its contractor, J. A. Jones, and noted that the architects were Denny and Wachendorff of Atlanta, with Franklin Gordon as supervising architect. In 1908, the Charlotte News of March 16 noted that Gordon had come to Charlotte about two years previously “in the early stages of the Selwyn Hotel to associate himself with Mr. Denny, of Atlanta, Ga. He was placed in charge of this important work and after Mr. Denny’s death, some time later, Mr. Gordon remained here and, on completion of the hotel, decided to locate in Charlotte.” In 1908 Gordon formed an architectural partnership with Leonard L. Hunter, who was identified as a young and energetic architect who had been in Charlotte for four years.
In 1910, the United States Census listed Franklin Gordon, aged 44 and his wife, Agnes, 39, as boarders in the home of Walter and Eva Scott. Gordon was identified as a native of New York whose parents had been born in Massachusetts. Nothing has been learned about his early life.
Franklin Gordon continued in Charlotte into the 1920s. Among his projects reported in the local newspapers were the Catholic institution called Mercy Hospital (1914-1915) and an apartment house for a Dr. R. E. Linney (1922). Along with other Charlotte architects, he found a rewarding clientele among the wealthy citizens who were building fine houses in the exclusive new suburb of Myers Park. He designed Tudor Revival style residences there, on for Southern Power Company executive E. C. Marshall, the other for Earle S, Draper, the Myers Park landscape designer.
Gordon and his wife led a busy social life, and news of their events and trips appeared frequently in the society notes of the Charlotte newspapers. Gordon’s professional activities in architectural organizations also gained regular coverage. He was an early member and officer of the North Carolina Architectural Association (formed in 1906), a group that included architects from Charlotte and parts west. In 1906, the Charlotte Observer reported that he (as secretary) and W. G. Rogers (as chairman) had had several meetings before calling a meeting in July 1906 at Wrightsville Beach to organize a state architects’ association. Also in 1906, Gordon wrote on behalf of the NCAA to Glenn Brown of the national AIA for membership information. In 1907, the North Carolina Architectural Association held its meeting in the Selwyn Hotel in Charlotte, with Charles Christian Hook as president and Franklin Gordon as secretary. After the North Carolina Chapter of the AIA was organized in 1913, Gordon became an active member of that statewide group.
Gordon died on September 24, 1930, at Mercy Hospital, the facility for which he had been the architect several years before. His death certificate gave his age as 60 and his birthplace as Maine; his parents were not named. He was buried at Elmwood Cemetery in Charlotte.
- Catherine W. Bishir and Michael T. Southern, A Guide to the Historic Architecture of Piedmont North Carolina (2003).
- C. David Jackson and Charlotte V. Brown, History of the North Carolina Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, 1913-1998 (1998).
- Dates:1912Location:Charlotte, Mecklenburg CountyStreet Address:100 Beatties Ford Rd., Johnson C. Smith University Campus, Charlotte, NCStatus:StandingType:EducationalNote:The library on the historically black college campus features a neoclassical design in brick with terra cotta columns and other details. Contractor Richard N. Hunter was active in Charlotte and vicinity; there is no known familial relationship between L. L. and R. N. Hunter. For fuller information see http://www.cmhpf.org/S&Rs%20Alphabetical%20Order/surveys&rcarnegie.htm.
- Variant Name(s):Grace Covenant ChurchDates:1910Location:Charlotte, Mecklenburg CountyStreet Address:Corner of South Blvd. and East Blvd., Charlotte, NCStatus:StandingType:ReligiousNote:The Charlotte Evening Chronicle of June 11, 1910, reported on the new "classical, colonial" church located in the suburb of Dilworth. The red brick church features a portico of Corinthian columns and an especially fine interior. Famed minister Billy Graham attended this church in his youth. The church is now home to Grace Covenant Church.
- Dates:1915Location:Charlotte, Mecklenburg CountyStreet Address:500 Hermitage Rd., Charlotte, NCStatus:StandingType:ResidentialNote:A landmark of the Myers Park suburb, the grand Tudor Revival residence was built for Southern Power Company (later Duke Power) president E. C. Marshall.
- Contributors:Franklin Gordon, architectDates:1923Location:Charlotte, Mecklenburg CountyStreet Address:1621 Queens Rd., Charlotte, NCStatus:StandingType:ResidentialImages Puslished In:Catherine W. Bishir, North Carolina Architecture (2005).
Catherine W. Bishir and Michael T. Southern, A Guide to the Historic Architecture of Piedmont North Carolina (2003).
- Dates:1915-1916Location:Charlotte, Mecklenburg CountyStreet Address:821 Harvard Pl., Charlotte, NCStatus:StandingType:ResidentialNote:The picturesque frame residence is one of several houses in Myers Park cited to Hunter and Gordon.
- Dates:1915Location:Charlotte, Mecklenburg CountyStreet Address:E. 5th St., Charlotte, NCStatus:No longer standingType:Health CareNote:The hospital opened on the site between 5th St. and Vail in 1916. A nursing school was added in 1922 (see Michael McInerney).
- Dates:1905-1908Location:Charlotte, Mecklenburg CountyStreet Address:W. Trade St., Charlotte, NCStatus:No longer standingType:CommercialNote:The 6-story hotel at the corner of West Trade and North Church Streets was a popular and prestigious local institution for many years.