Stout, John C. (1860-1921)

Variant Name(s):

John Christie Stout

Birthplace:

Randolph County, North Carolina, USA

Residences:

  • Wilmington, North Carolina
  • Wilson, North Carolina
  • Rocky Mount, North Carolina

Trades:

  • Builder
  • Architect

Styles & Forms:

Beaux-Arts; Colonial Revival; Queen Anne

John C. (Christie) Stout (December 19, 1860-November 24, 1921), a contractor and architect from Randolph County, worked briefly in Wilmington, then moved to Wilson and to Rocky Mount. He had a large practice that extended throughout much of eastern North Carolina and concentrated in the railroad towns of the inner coastal plain. Like other practitioners in the region, he worked for a time in the Queen Anne style, but, especially after 1900, he began to incorporate neoclassical elements. Among his specialties were powerfully composed residences with grand porticoes, which suited his clients’ taste for the “Southern Colonial” style and became landmarks of their communities.

Stout was the son of Peter and Mary (Wrightsman) Stout of Randolph County. He was educated in the public schools and is said to have displayed a talent for architecture even in his youth. He trained as an architect and builder for three years in the office of Thomas A. Kluttz, a builder active in Asheboro, Fayetteville, and elsewhere, who worked at one time with Knoxville architect George F. Barber. In the 1880s Stout married Hattie Cornelia Jordan in Fayetteville, and the couple moved to the busy port city of Wilmington, where he established a practice.

By May 1891, Stout gained attention in the Wilmington Messenger for his work as contractor of the city’s YMCA. In 1897 Stout entered into a partnership with Thad F. Tyler, “under the firm name of Stout & Tyler, to carry on the business of contractors and builders” at 17 South Water Street. The announcement of the partnership in the Wilmington Dispatch asserted, “They are both experienced architects.” The partnership was short-lived, however, and by 1899 the two men were practicing separately. In November 1899 Stout advertised that he had “recently made arrangements with one of the best architects in the south, by which no charge is made for plans and specifications, where I am awarded the contract.” (This architect has not yet been identified.)

In September 1899 Stout gained a major commission that spurred his move from Wilmington to the central coastal plain. He became the contractor for the Atlantic Coast Line Relief Hospital in Rocky Mount. (The ACL was a major presence in Wilmington and its route led northward through the coastal plain.) After completion of this project in May 1900 he received many other commissions in the Rocky Mount area, and in 1900 he and Hattie were residing in Rocky Mount. He found abundant opportunity in the small market towns along the railroad lines, where tobacco manufacturing and sales along with textile manufacturing complemented local agricultural production and brought new people and wealth. In 1904, Stout bought a lot in Wilson, where he built his own home, a classically detailed cottage. He is credited with the design or construction of several residences in Wilson, as well as an annex to the Wilson Sanitorium.

By 1906, however, Stout had moved back to Rocky Mount, where he devoted himself exclusively to architecture. He was associated briefly (ca. 1908) with the prolific Wilson architect Charles Collins Benton. In 1910, Stout, listed as an architect, and his wife Hattie were still living in Rocky Mount, heading a household that included many young men living there as lodgers and working as clerks and dispatchers in local firms.

Stout distinguished himself as a master of the Southern Colonial Revival style that suited the prosperous industrialists and other businessmen of the coastal plain. In 1906, the Rocky Mount Record published a feature story about Stout and his work, and another story followed in the 1912 Rocky Mount Record, which noted, “He has made plans and contracted for some of the city’s handsomest residences.” In Rocky Mount and nearby communities he designed some of the area’s grandest examples of the Southern Colonial style. Notable among these was the massive, columned T. J. Hackney House, a grandiose, columned mansion that was a showplace of Rocky Mount; the grandiose Elm City School in the small town of Elm City; and the Bartholomew House in the small community of Castalia. He planned other opulent residences on Rocky Mount’s prestigious residential avenues of Church Street, Falls Road, Western Avenue, and Sunset Avenue, most of which have been lost.

Stout also designed in other classicially inspired styles, and built civic, religious, and commercial buildings in several communities. He used variations on the Neoclassical and Colonial Revival styles in such notable buildings as the First National Bank, the Rocky Mount Municipal Building, and the Phillips Building. In 1907, he submitted plans for the Robeson County Courthouse in Lumberton, but the large firm of Milburn, Heister, and Company won the commission. Stout’s practice culminated with his design of the Nash County Courthouse in Nashville, completed in 1921, The red brick courthouse with restrained detailing is a rare example of the Federal style revival in a courthouse of the period, when most such edifices followed the Beaux-Arts classical mode. A biographical sketch of Stout, published shortly before his death in 1921, stated, “Mr. Stout has proved a thorough master of his craft and has made an enviable reputation for himself as an architect.”

John C. Stout was one of the first licensed architects in North Carolina. His license certificate, issued in 1915, was #37 in the registration book of the North Carolina Board of Architecture, one of the early group of men who were licensed in the state based on their having been in professional practice prior to the licensing act of 1915.

Note: In addition to those included in the building list, a number of buildings were cited as Stout’s work in the Rocky Mount Record of 1906. Further information about their status and location is sought. These include the following: Beaufort County, Washington: J. D. Grimes House; George T. Leach House; B. B. Nicholson House; John H. Small House; and H. S. Ward House. Edgecombe County, Tarboro: Dr. Julian Baker House; T. H. Gatlin House; J. J. Green House; Mrs. James Pender House; Dr. Cliff Whitehead House. Nash County, Rocky Mount: J. C. Braswell House; J. D. Bulluck, Jr., House; James P. Bunn House; H. E. Crews House; D. D. Cuthrell House; E. L. Daughtridge House.

  • Catherine W. Bishir and Michael T. Southern, A Guide to the Historic Architecture of Eastern North Carolina (1996).
  • Branson’s North Carolina Business Directory (1896, 1897).
  • Charlotte Vestal Brown Papers, Special Collections Research Center, North Carolina State University Libraries, Raleigh, North Carolina.
  • Richard Leonard Mattson, The History and Architecture of Nash County, North Carolina (1987).
  • Nash County Records (Wills), North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, North Carolina.
  • Kate Mearns (Ohno), Central City Historic Buildings Inventory, Rocky Mount (1979).
  • Kate Ohno and Robert C. Bainbridge, Wilson, North Carolina, Historic Buildings Inventory (1980).
  • William Reaves Files, New Hanover County Public Library, Wilmington, North Carolina.
  • Rocky Mount City Directory (1908; 1912).
  • Rocky Mount Record (1906; 1912).
  • Rocky Mount Telegram, May 24, 1900.
  • Wilmington Dispatch, June 12, 1897; Feb. 15, 1900; May 10, 1900; Oct. 22, 1910.
  • Wilmington Messenger, May 22, 1891; Mar. 31, 1899; Aug. 11, 1899; Sept. 19, 1899; Nov. 10, 1899; Nov. 29, 1899.
  • Wilmington Morning Star, Feb. 1, 1893; Apr. 7, 1896; Apr. 29, 1900; May 18, 1907; Jan. 10, 1911.
  • Wilson County Records (Deeds), North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, North Carolina.
  • Wilson County School Board Minutes, July 20, 1904.
Sort Building List by:
  • Arrington Building

    Contributors:
    John C. Stout, architect and builder
    Dates:
    1912
    Location:
    Rocky Mount, Nash County
    Street Address:
    Rocky Mount, NC
    Status:
    No longer standing
    Type:
    Commercial

  • Atlantic Coast Line Relief Hospital

    Contributors:
    John C. Stout, architect and builder
    Dates:
    1899-1900
    Location:
    Rocky Mount, Nash County
    Street Address:
    Rocky Mount, NC
    Status:
    No longer standing
    Type:
    Health Care

  • Benjamin F. Lane House

    Contributors:
    John C. Stout, architect and builder
    Dates:
    Ca. 1898
    Location:
    Wilson, Wilson County
    Street Address:
    601 W. Nash St., Wilson, NC
    Status:
    Standing
    Type:
    Residential
    Images Puslished In:
    Kate Ohno and Robert C. Bainbridge, Wilson, North Carolina, Historic Buildings Inventory (1980).
    Note:
    One of Stout's earliest surviving houses, the symmetrical dwelling has a 1-stsory wraparound porch with Ionic columns.

  • Bissette-Cooley House

    Contributors:
    John C. Stout, attributed architect
    Dates:
    1911
    Location:
    Nashville, Nash County
    Street Address:
    N. 1st St. at E. Washington St., Nashville, NC
    Status:
    Standing
    Type:
    Residential
    Images Puslished In:
    Richard Leonard Mattson, The History and Architecture of Nash County, North Carolina (1987).
    Note:
    Standing at the end of a dramatic axis, the large house with its dramatic Ionic portico overlapping a wraparound porch is a major landmark of the small county seat community. It was built for lumberman George N. Bissette and was later the home of Congressman Harold Cooley.

  • Captain T. W. Tilghman House

    Contributors:
    John C. Stout, architect and builder
    Dates:
    Ca. 1902
    Location:
    Wilson, Wilson County
    Street Address:
    W. Nash St., Wilson, NC
    Status:
    No longer standing
    Type:
    Residential

  • Charles T. Sinclair House

    Contributors:
    Frank B. Simpson, architect; John C. Stout, builder
    Dates:
    1914
    Location:
    Carthage, Moore County
    Street Address:
    403 McReynolds St, Carthage, 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).

  • Dr. Hassell Brantley House II

    Contributors:
    John C. Stout, attributed architect and builder
    Dates:
    1913
    Location:
    Spring Hope, Nash County
    Street Address:
    301 E. Branch St., Spring Hope, NC
    Status:
    Standing
    Type:
    Residential
    Images Puslished In:
    Richard Leonard Mattson, The History and Architecture of Nash County, North Carolina (1987).

  • Dr. L. Gorham House

    Contributors:
    John C. Stout, architect and builder
    Dates:
    Ca. 1900
    Location:
    Rocky Mount, Nash County
    Street Address:
    Sunset Ave., Rocky Mount, NC
    Status:
    Unknown
    Type:
    Residential
    Images Puslished In:
    Kate Mearns (Ohno), Central City Historic Buildings Inventory, Rocky Mount (1979).

  • E. A. Darden House

    Contributors:
    John C. Stout, architect and builder
    Dates:
    Ca. 1902
    Location:
    Wilson, Wilson County
    Street Address:
    315 W. Green St., Wilson, NC
    Status:
    Standing
    Type:
    Residential
    Images Puslished In:
    Kate Ohno and Robert C. Bainbridge, Wilson, North Carolina, Historic Buildings Inventory (1980).
    Note:
    Like many of Stout's designs, the Darden House combines Queen Anne irregular massing with neoclassical details. Similar houses stand in Elm City and Tarboro.

  • Elm City School

    Contributors:
    John C. Stout, architect and builder
    Variant Name(s):
    Durant Hall; E. G. Moore House; Martha Moore Home
    Dates:
    1903-1904
    Location:
    Elm City, Wilson County
    Street Address:
    Elm City, NC
    Status:
    No longer standing
    Type:
    Educational
    Images Puslished In:
    Kate Ohno, Wilson County's Architectural Heritage (1981).
    Note:
    The immense Southern Colonial style building, surrounded on three sides by towering Ionic porticoes, began as a school but became a private hospital and then a private residence owned by E. G. Moore. For the small community of Elm City, such an imposing building was an especially outstanding landmark. It was demolished in the 1970s.

  • F. Rheinstein and Company Building

    Contributors:
    Alfred S. Eichberg, architect; John C. Stout, contractor
    Variant Name(s):
    F. Rheinstein Store
    Dates:
    1891-1892
    Location:
    Wilmington, New Hanover County
    Street Address:
    222-226 N. Front St., Wilmington, NC
    Status:
    Altered
    Type:
    Commercial
    Note:
    Designed by the Savannah architect who planned the New Hanover County Courthouse, Rheinstein's store building was a 4-story, brick and stone edifice in Romanesque Revival style which was called in 1902, "the most imposing mercantile structure in the city." It was altered extensively in the 20th century.

  • First Baptist Church

    Contributors:
    John C. Stout, architect
    Dates:
    1914
    Location:
    Nashville, Nash County
    Street Address:
    E. Washington St. at S. Alston St., Nashville, NC
    Status:
    Standing
    Type:
    Religious
    Images Puslished In:
    Richard Leonard Mattson, The History and Architecture of Nash County, North Carolina (1987).
    Note:
    The illustration shows a perspective drawing that was probably done by Stout.

  • First National Bank

    Contributors:
    D. J. Rose, builder; John C. Stout, architect
    Dates:
    Ca. 1912
    Location:
    Rocky Mount, Edgecombe County
    Street Address:
    106 S. Washington St., Rocky Mount, NC
    Status:
    Standing
    Type:
    Commercial
    Images Puslished In:
    Kate Mearns (Ohno), Central City Historic Buildings Inventory, Rocky Mount (1979).

  • Frank S. Spruill House

    Contributors:
    John C. Stout, architect and builder
    Dates:
    Ca. 1908-1912
    Location:
    Rocky Mount, Nash County
    Street Address:
    462 Falls Rd., Rocky Mount, NC
    Status:
    No longer standing
    Type:
    Residential
    Images Puslished In:
    Richard Leonard Mattson, The History and Architecture of Nash County, North Carolina (1987).
    Note:
    The massive house with full-width, full-height portico was one of several mansions of similar character that once stood on Falls Road.

  • James Cox House

    Contributors:
    John C. Stout, attributed builder
    Dates:
    Ca. 1900
    Location:
    Elm City, Wilson County
    Street Address:
    NW corner Main St. and Parker St., Elm City, NC
    Status:
    Standing
    Type:
    Residential
    Images Puslished In:
    Kate Ohno, Wilson County's Architectural Heritage (1981).

  • James W. Keel House

    Contributors:
    John C. Stout, architect and builder
    Dates:
    1914
    Location:
    Rocky Mount, Nash County
    Street Address:
    Nash St., Rocky Mount, NC
    Status:
    Standing
    Type:
    Residential
    Images Puslished In:
    Richard Leonard Mattson, The History and Architecture of Nash County, North Carolina (1987).

  • John C. Stout House

    Contributors:
    John C. Stout, architect and builder
    Dates:
    Ca. 1910
    Location:
    Rocky Mount, Nash County
    Street Address:
    422 Western Ave., Rocky Mount, NC
    Status:
    No longer standing
    Type:
    Residential

  • Judge W. T. Bannerman Cottages

    Contributors:
    John C. Stout, architect and builder
    Dates:
    1899
    Location:
    Wilmington, New Hanover County
    Street Address:
    Walnut St. between Front St. and 2nd St., Wilmington, NC
    Status:
    No longer standing
    Type:
    Residential

  • Nash County Courthouse

    Contributors:
    John C. Stout, architect
    Dates:
    1921
    Location:
    Nashville, Nash County
    Street Address:
    Washington St., Nashville, NC
    Status:
    Standing
    Type:
    Public
    Images Puslished In:
    Richard Leonard Mattson, The History and Architecture of Nash County, North Carolina (1987).

  • Phillips Building

    Contributors:
    John C. Stout, architect and builder
    Variant Name(s):
    Bulluck-Phillips Building
    Dates:
    1907
    Location:
    Rocky Mount, Nash County
    Street Address:
    126 NW Main St., Rocky Mount, NC
    Status:
    Standing
    Type:
    Commercial

  • Ricks-Strickland House

    Dates:
    Late 19th century; 1915 [remodeled]
    Location:
    Nashville, Nash County
    Street Address:
    W. Washington St., Nashville, NC
    Status:
    Standing
    Type:
    Residential
    Images Puslished In:
    Richard Leonard Mattson, The History and Architecture of Nash County, North Carolina (1987).
    Note:
    A late 19th century Queen Anne style house was expanded and given a 2-story portico designed by John C. Stout and built by local contractor Harvey Smith.

  • Robert C. Merritt House

    Contributors:
    John C. Stout, architect and builder
    Dates:
    1899
    Location:
    Wilmington, New Hanover County
    Street Address:
    Chestnut St. between 4th St. and 5th St., Wilmington, NC
    Status:
    No longer standing
    Type:
    Residential

  • Rocky Mount Municipal Building

    Contributors:
    John C. Stout, architect and builder
    Dates:
    Ca. 1900
    Location:
    Rocky Mount, Nash County
    Street Address:
    NE corner Main St. and Thomas St., Rocky Mount, NC
    Status:
    No longer standing
    Type:
    Public

  • S. A. Woodard House

    Contributors:
    John C. Stout, architect and builder
    Dates:
    Ca. 1900
    Location:
    Wilson, Wilson County
    Street Address:
    604 W. Nash St., Wilson, NC
    Status:
    Standing
    Type:
    Residential
    Images Puslished In:
    Kate Ohno and Robert C. Bainbridge, Wilson, North Carolina, Historic Buildings Inventory (1980).

  • S. F. Craig House

    Contributors:
    John C. Stout, architect and builder
    Dates:
    1899
    Location:
    Wilmington, New Hanover County
    Street Address:
    2nd St. between Grace St. and Walnut St., Wilmington, NC
    Status:
    No longer standing
    Type:
    Residential

  • S. J. Bartholomew House II

    Contributors:
    John C. Stout, architect and builder
    Variant Name(s):
    Bartholomew-Lancaster House
    Dates:
    1918
    Location:
    Castalia, Nash County
    Street Address:
    Main St., Castalia, NC
    Status:
    Standing
    Type:
    Residential
    Images Puslished In:
    Richard Leonard Mattson, The History and Architecture of Nash County, North Carolina (1987).
    Note:
    Built for a local merchant, the large frame house features a locally unusual, monumental portico that extends across the entire front of the house. Houses of such grandeur are rare in such small communities as Castalia. This is one of Stout's largest Colonial Revival houses still standing.

  • T. A. Brinkley House

    Contributors:
    John C. Stout, architect and builder
    Dates:
    Ca. 1910
    Location:
    Rocky Mount, Nash County
    Street Address:
    Sunset Ave., Rocky Mount, NC
    Status:
    No longer standing
    Type:
    Residential

  • T. J. Hackney House

    Contributors:
    John C. Stout, architect and builder
    Variant Name(s):
    Hyman-Battle House; Hackney-Battle House
    Dates:
    Ca. 1900
    Location:
    Rocky Mount, Nash County
    Street Address:
    Sunset Ave., Rocky Mount, NC
    Status:
    No longer standing
    Type:
    Residential
    Images Puslished In:
    Richard Leonard Mattson, The History and Architecture of Nash County, North Carolina (1987).
    Note:
    Featured in a postcard as "one of the South's most beautiful homes," the immense Southern Colonial Revival style house was built for T. J. Hackney and later owned by Hyman Battle, president of the Rocky Mount Mills. It was razed in 1977.

  • W. D. Cochran House

    Contributors:
    John C. Stout, architect and builder
    Dates:
    Ca. 1900
    Location:
    Rocky Mount, Nash County
    Street Address:
    South Howell St., Rocky Mount, NC
    Status:
    Moved
    Type:
    Residential
    Note:
    Around 1921, the building was moved in three sections from its original location on Main Street.

  • W. J. Toomer House

    Contributors:
    John C. Stout, architect and builder
    Dates:
    1899
    Location:
    Wilmington, New Hanover County
    Street Address:
    S. Front St. between Nun St. and Church St., Wilmington, NC
    Status:
    Standing
    Type:
    Residential

  • William R. Long House

    Contributors:
    John C. Stout, architect
    Dates:
    1921
    Location:
    Smithfield, Johnston County
    Street Address:
    216 N. 2nd St., Smithfield, NC
    Status:
    Standing
    Type:
    Residential
    Images Puslished In:
    Catherine W. Bishir and Michael T. Southern, A Guide to the Historic Architecture of Eastern North Carolina (1996).
    Note:
    The relatively small, 1-story house has remarkable presence because of Stout's treatment of neoclassical components including the columned porch.

  • Williams-Holladay House

    Contributors:
    Fore and Foster, millwork suppliers; R. H. Grant, plumber; Wm. W. Holladay, designer; C. C. Parker, painter; James F. Post, architect; Henry D. Sampson, builder; John C. Stout, builder
    Dates:
    1889-1890
    Location:
    Wilmington, New Hanover County
    Street Address:
    117 S 4th St., Wilmington, NC
    Status:
    Standing
    Type:
    Residential
    Note:
    According to the local historical marker on the house, the Queen Anne style Williams-Holladay House of 1889-1890 was built for George W. Williams for his daughter, Maggie M. Holladay; her husband William W. Holladay, a native of Richmond, Va., designed the elevations of the house. Mrs. Holladay died before the house was completed.

  • YMCA

    Contributors:
    S. W. Foulk, architect; John C. Stout, contractor; James Walker, superintendent
    Variant Name(s):
    Brunswick Hotel; O'Berry Hotel
    Dates:
    1891
    Location:
    Wilmington, New Hanover County
    Street Address:
    301-305 N. Front St., Wilmington, NC
    Status:
    No longer standing
    Type:
    Recreational
    Images Puslished In:
    Susan Taylor Block, Cape Fear Lost (1999).
    Beverly Tetterton, Wilmington: Lost But Not Forgotten (2005).
    Note:
    The 1891 Y. M. C. A. was later used as the O'Berry Hotel and the Brunswick Hotel. Its purpose was supplanted when a "new" Y was completed in 1913. Both buildings have been destroyed.

  • Z.W. Whitehead House

    Contributors:
    Henry E. Bonitz, architect; John C. Stout, contractor
    Dates:
    1899
    Location:
    Wilmington, New Hanover County
    Street Address:
    211 S 2nd St., Wilmington, NC
    Status:
    Standing
    Type:
    Residential
    Images Puslished In:
    Historic Wilmington Foundation, http://www.historicwilmington.org.

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