Ellington, Royster, and Company (1878-1894)

Residences:

  • Raleigh, North Carolina

Trades:

  • Manufacturer
  • Contractor

Styles & Forms:

Colonial Revival; Queen Anne; Second Empire

Ellington, Royster, and Company (1878-1894) was a contracting and building supply business established in 1878 by Leonard H. Royster (1840- 1912), a native of Raleigh, and William J. Ellington (1849-1919), originally from Chatham County. Their partnership became one of Raleigh’s largest contracting and building supply businesses during the post-Civil War period. Royster, who began his career as a carpenter, was the “architect” and superintendent of construction projects, while Ellington was the business manager. Other individuals involved in the company included Benjamin Parks (who managed the factory shops) and Jacob S. Allen, a builder who superintended some projects. The firm was the successor firm to Betts and Allen, in which Jacob Allen had been a partner. Ellington and Royster ended their partnership in 1894, but each continued to work with other partners, Ellington joining William J. Hicks in manufacturing and Royster as a contractor. See Leonard H. Royster for a fuller account of the firm’s building operations and list of buildings.

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  • Centennial Graded School

    Contributors:
    A. G. Bauer, architect; Ellington, Royster, and Company, contractors; Leonard H. Royster, contractor; Samuel Sloan, architect
    Dates:

    1883-1885

    Location:
    Raleigh, Wake County
    Street Address:

    South St. at S end of Fayetteville St., Raleigh, NC

    Status:

    No longer standing

    Type:

    Educational

    Note:

    The commission for Raleigh’s Centennial Graded School was awarded to architect Samuel Sloan on August 1, 1883, and construction began in November. After Sloan’s death in 1884, the project was completed by his associate A. G. Bauer in 1885. The public school opened in 1876—thus the name—in the old Governor’s Palace (see James Calder) that stood in a prominent position “at the foot of Fayetteville Street.” Notable as an early graded school in the state, Centennial encompassed primary grades through high school. It marked the beginnings of Raleigh’s public school system. After the Governor’s Palace was torn down, the new school was built in 1883-1885, reusing bricks from the previous building. The 1880s school was razed in 1931 and replaced by Raleigh’s Memorial Auditorium (see Atwood and Weeks). See Harold N. Cooledge, Jr., “Samuel Sloan, Architect of Philadelphia” (1986); William B. Bushong, “A. G. Bauer, North Carolina’s New South Architect” (1983); and Murray and Johnson, “Wake: Capital County of North Carolina, Vol. II: Reconstruction to 1920” (2008).


  • Charles Upchurch House

    Contributors:
    Dates:

    Ca. 1879

    Location:
    Raleigh, Wake County
    Street Address:

    NW corner of Fayetteville St. and Lenoir St., Raleigh, NC

    Status:

    No longer standing

    Type:

    Residential

    Note:

    Detailed specifications for the house for Charles Upchurch dated 1879 are in Wake County Miscellaneous Records, because of a lawsuit over the workmanship of the building. It is not known who the “architect” mentioned in the specifications might have been.


  • Durham County Courthouse

    Contributors:
    Dates:

    1887-1889

    Location:
    Durham, Durham County
    Street Address:

    Durham, NC

    Status:

    No longer standing

    Type:

    Public

    Images Puslished In:

    Joel A. Kostyu and Frank A. Kostyu, Durham: A Pictorial History (1978).
    Claudia P. Roberts (Brown) and Diane E. Lea, The Durham Architectural and Historic Inventory (1982).

    Note:

    The Manufacturers’ Record (July 16, 1887) reported that Ellington, Royster, and Company of Raleigh had received the contract to build the courthouse in Durham for $12,000. Their role was confirmed in the Durham Tobacco Plant’s account (November 23, 1887) of the cornerstone laying. The courthouse, designed by architect Byron A. Pugin, was a large brick structure with a tower.


  • Gray-Fish-Richardson House

    Contributors:
    Dates:

    Ca. 1881

    Location:
    Raleigh, Wake County
    Street Address:

    530 N. Blount St., Raleigh, NC

    Status:

    Standing

    Type:

    Residential


  • Lea Laboratory Building

    Contributors:
    Dates:

    1886-1888

    Location:
    Wake Forest, Wake County
    Street Address:

    Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (Wake Forest College) Campus, Wake Forest, NC

    Status:

    Standing

    Type:

    Educational

    Images Puslished In:

    Catherine W. Bishir, North Carolina Architecture (1990).

    Note:

    Wilson drew plans for Lea Laboratory late in 1886 in collaboration with Dr. James R. Duggan of the Wake Forest College chemistry department. Originally it contained lecture rooms, offices, and, in the wings, chemical and biological laboratories. It was named in honor of Sidney Lea and his wife Fannie; Sidney Lea was a Baptist from Caswell County who donated generously to the college. The contract was let to Ellington, Royster, and Company of Raleigh in March 1887, and the building was ready for occupancy by October 1888. It was constructed principally of “penitentiary brick,” meaning the bricks manufactured at Central Prison in Raleigh; other edifices of penitentiary brick included the North Carolina Executive Mansion (see Samuel Sloan) and Holladay Hall (see Charles L. Carson) in Raleigh. This is the oldest surviving building on the campus.


  • North Carolina Agricultural Experiment Station Farm Buildings

    Contributors:
    Dates:

    1886

    Location:
    Raleigh, Wake County
    Street Address:

    2714 Vanderbilt Ave., Raleigh, NC

    Status:

    Standing

    Type:

    Agricultural

    Images Puslished In:

    Annual Report of the North Carolina Agricultural Experiment Station, 1886 (1887).

    Note:

    The Experiment Station later became associated with present North Carolina State University. Most of the complex has been lost, but the picturesque, gabled 2-story “cottage” still stands and is a private residence.


  • Pender County Courthouse and Jail

    Contributors:
    Jacob S. Allen, superintending builder; Ellington, Royster, and Company, contractors; Leonard H. Royster, contractor; Lyndon Swaim, architect
    Dates:

    1882-1883

    Location:
    Burgaw, Pender County
    Street Address:

    Courthouse Square, Burgaw, NC

    Status:

    No longer standing

    Type:

    Public

    Images Puslished In:

    Bill Reaves, History of Burgaw, N. C., Centennial Edition (1979).


  • W. C. Parker House

    Contributors:
    Dates:

    1878

    Location:
    Raleigh, Wake County
    Street Address:

    Raleigh, NC

    Status:

    Unknown

    Type:

    Residential


  • W.G. Upchurch Store

    Contributors:
    Dates:

    1886

    Location:
    Raleigh, Wake County
    Street Address:

    206-208 Fayetteville St., Raleigh, NC

    Status:

    No longer standing

    Type:

    Commercial

    Note:

    The Raleigh News and Observer of August 18, 1886, reported that W. G. Upchurch had contracted with Ellington and Royster for “a store building of pressed brick and three stories in height occupying nos 206 and 208 Fayetteville St. Norris and Carter will occupy it.”


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