Satterfield, Howard E. (1877-1944)
Fairmont, West Virginia, USA
- Raleigh, North Carolina
Styles & Forms:
Craftsman; Georgian Revival
Howard Ernest Satterfield (May 11, 1877-May 27, 1944), who began his career in Raleigh as a professor in mechanical engineering at present North Carolina State University, was a popular and respected builder whose “Satterfield Built” residences in Raleigh and other communities represented high quality work. His most prolific building era came in the 1920s; of the numerous Satterfield commissions listed by family members, only a few have been identified with certainty. Although some sources cite Satterfield as an architect, he identified himself as a builder and a “home designer.” Satterfield did some commercial and industrial construction, but he is best known for his residences, especially the stately Georgian Revival houses that appealed to prosperous clients in Raleigh and in eastern North Carolina and did much to define the character of Raleigh’s Hayes Barton suburb in the 1920s.
Howard E. Satterfield was born in Fairmont, West Virginia, to Carrie and Jonathan M. Satterfield. Howard’s father taught in the public schools and engaged in “house building” and acquainted young Howard with the fields of education and construction. Jonathan died of typhoid fever in 1892 when Howard was aged fifteen.
In 1904 Howard was graduated from Purdue University with a B. S. in mechanical engineering (he received a master’s degree from the same institution in 1909). He married Grace Braham on May 28, 1904, and the young couple moved to Pittsburgh, where Howard worked for the American Window Glass Company and the Standard Sanitary Manufacturing Company. He then became head of the engineering department at Winona Technical Institute in Indianapolis.
In 1908, Howard and Grace Satterfield made a lasting move to Raleigh, where he became a professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the college founded as the North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts and known for many years as State College (now North Carolina State University). Initially the Satterfields lived downtown on Edenton Street, and he took the streetcar out Hillsborough Street to the college, but they soon moved to Maiden Lane across that Hillsborough Street from the college. By 1913 he and his family were living in the newly developing suburb of Cameron Park, which extended lay of Hillsborough Street a few blocks east of Maiden Lane; here he built and lived in houses at 201 and 203 Groveland Avenue.
According to Satterfield family accounts, Howard was soon asked to build houses for other faculty members. In about 1914, he began part time contracting work to supplement his income from the college. His personality, professional approach, and style of building appealed to prominent Raleighites in Cameron Park and elsewhere. In 1920 local builders objected to the competition and petitioned that professors at the college be prohibited from outside jobs.
This incident prompted Satterfield’s resignation from the college in that year, and he became a builder full time. His business stationery described him as an engineer, builder, mechanical engineer, heating engineer, and home builder. An advertisement he placed in a Raleigh newspaper (undated clipping) identified him as a “Home Designer and Builder” and promised “There Will Be No Vain Regrets If Your Home is Satterfield Built.” “Satterfield Built” was a job sign that older Raleigh residents remembered seeing at many building sites. Howard’s son, Boydston, recalled, “He did some engineering type drafting, but at times there was a draftsman in his small office (a former sunporch of his house) doing architectural drafting. Later he built from architect’s plans. He really was a builder, working on his own, using local hardware and millwork companies.”
An article in the Raleigh Times of November 30, 1925, headlined “Establishes Reputation as Builder,” stated that Satterfield had begun his business in 1914 building “better class homes.” He did “the designing and planning on many of his contracts, and many people have looked to him for advice in this respect.” The account reported that between 1914 and 1920 he had built 30 “high class residences,” and between 1920 and 1925 he had built more than 100 more. Among those cited were the Dr. Hubert B. Haywood House (on Raleigh’s prestigious N. Blount St.) and residences of E. B. Crow, Dr. H. A. Royster, W. D. Briggs, and Dr. Carl C. Taylor (locations still to be determined).
The timing of Satterfield’s move into fulltime construction was propitious, for it was in 1920 that the carefully planned development and marketing of the elite Hayes Barton suburb got underway, coupled with the construction of its handsome and costly residences that continued through the flush 1920s. Satterfield’s expertise in dignified colonial revival styles, his ability to meet his clients’ social and esthetic expectations for their homes, and his stature and manner as an educated man and college professor perfectly suited the new neighborhood’s clientele, which included several wealthy widows.
The newspaper article of 1925 emphasized that “In the Hayes-Barton addition alone, [Satterfield] has built fifteen houses and is now completing a home for Mr. Henry Wilson.” Besides the Henry Wilson House, Hayes Barton houses identified in the 1925 account included the Josephus Daniels House, the John A. Park House, and the Wade Marr House. Other Satterfield projects in Hayes Barton include such architect-designed houses as the red brick Georgian Revival style Jolly-Broughton House from plans by Atwood and Nash (see Arthur C. Nash) and the Julian Rand House from designs by Nelson and Cooper; for the Rand residence, contractor John W. Coffey and Son was also involved. Hayes Barton contains an exceptional collection of beautifully proportioned and well-crafted examples of the Georgian Revival style and other revival modes, typically in red brick and occasionally in frame or stone. Some were designed by architects, others primarily by their builders in collaboration with their clients. Satterfield’s residences, along with the work of such builders as Coffey and James A. Davidson and various architects, took a central role in shaping the architectural character of the neighborhood.
In addition to his Raleigh work, the 1925 article announced that Satterfield was “prepared to handle out-of-town contracts.” His approach comes through in a letter he wrote on March 18, 1927, to Mrs. W. H. Pleasants in Louisburg, requesting a meeting with her to discuss the possibility of constructing her house—”as I am a builder and always looking for more work.” He explained, “I have been building fine residences in Raleigh for the past ten or more years and am prepared not only to build your house but to make the plans for it as well, thus reducing the number of persons with whom you would need to deal, and the cost of the whole operation.” Construction of the Mrs. W. H. Pleasants House , an example of his red brick Georgian Revival style, also involved Louisburg carpenter William Edens. Other out of town projects included two residences in Warrenton, the Julius Banzet House (1931) and the Carr-Jones House (ca. 1931), classic examples of his red brick Georgian Revival style; the latter was designed by architect James A. Salter. Farther east he constructed the tan brick Mrs. Matt W. Ransom House in Littleton and the especially elaborate red brick Quentin and Nell Gregory House near Halifax.
The Satterfield family papers (copies in Charlotte V. Brown Papers) include a list of about 170 Satterfield projects, including remodeling work, executed between 1920 and 1931. Most of these are minimally identified—”Fire Station,” “Evans Job,” or “Godfrey Cheshire”—without further details. A few, including some of those outside of Raleigh, give the name of the town: work for a Dr. Gaines in Wake Forest and a filling station and work for W. H. Gaither and Miles Clark in Elizabeth City; further research may identify specific projects more fully. Besides the buildings he constructed, Satterfield also contracted for several renovations and additions, including those at such Raleigh landmarks as Christ Church (see Hobart Upjohn), the Hugh Morson High School (1924, Christopher Gadsden Sayre, architect, no longer standing), the Raleigh Woman’s Club (1915, James Matthew Kennedy, architect, no longer standing), and unspecified work at St. Mary’s School, St. Augustine College, and St. Agnes Hospital.
Family members recall that Satterfield worked with his clients to develop designs from plan books and sketches, and Grace advised on colors, finishes, and interior details. For the Ransom House in Littleton, Howard and Grace met with the client and the Ransom family visited Raleigh to see examples of houses there. Mrs. Ransom’s daughter, Martha Ransom Johnston, recalled, “We looked at several homes in Raleigh,” and commented that in the contract for the Ransom House, “Mr. Satterfield speaks of Mr. Haywoods house. We must have gone there.” The specifications prepared by Satterfield for the Ransom house described some elements in detail but stated that the main stairway “will be designed to suit the owner, selection to be made from photographs, magazine cuts or from actual stairways.”
When the Great Depression reduced opportunities in the building business, Satterfield returned to teaching at State College in 1931, where he continued except for a period in 1935-1936 he served as regional chief of the Engineering and Architectural Division of the Resettlement Agency, later the Farm Security Administration.
Howard and Grace Satterfield were highly regarded citizens of the growing capital city. He was an active member and Sunday school teacher at Edenton Street Methodist Church and was active in numerous professional organizations on and off the campus. Grace was a charter member of the Raleigh branch of the American Association of University Women and the State College Women’s Club and a member of Raleigh’s Woman’s Club. In 1940 the couple was living at 201 Groveland, and he was an associate professor at the college, where he continued until his death. After a funeral in Raleigh, Howard’s body was interred in Woodlawn Cemetery in Fairmont, West Virginia.
- Charlotte Vestal Brown Papers, Special Collections Research Center, North Carolina State University Libraries, Raleigh, North Carolina.
- “Hayes Barton Historic District” (Raleigh, North Carolina), National Register of Historic Places nomination (2002).
- “Obituary of Howard E. Satterfield,” News and Observer, May 28, 1944.
- Variant Name(s):Adele Jones HouseDates:1931Location:Warrenton, Warren CountyStreet Address:S. Main St., Warrenton, NCStatus:StandingType:ResidentialNote:The prominent Georgian Revival red brick residence embodies an extensive remodeling of an existing antebellum house associated with the Elias Carr family.
- Variant Name(s):Bishop Joseph B. Cheshire HouseDates:late 1910s; ca. 1924Location:Raleigh, Wake CountyStreet Address:1618 Ambleside Dr., Raleigh, NCStatus:StandingType:ResidentialNote:Attorney Joseph B. Cheshire, Jr., son of the Episcopal bishop of the same name, appeared in the city directory of 1917 as residing on Hawthorne Road, and from 1918 onward had the address of 1618 Ambleside. (The property is located at the corner of the two streets.) It is believed that Satterfield built a moderate sized house for Cheshire at first, and then expanded or rebuilt it about 1924 as the present columned residence from designs by Atwood and Nash. Satterfield's building list includes a job for Joe Cheshire.
- Dates:1916Location:Raleigh, Wake CountyStreet Address:634 N. Blount St., Raleigh, NCStatus:StandingType:ResidentialNote:The substantial brick house influenced by the Prairie style was built for a member of a long established Raleigh family.
- Dates:late 1920sLocation:Raleigh, Wake CountyStreet Address:1700 St. Mary's St. (Hayes Barton), Raleigh, NCStatus:StandingType:ResidentialNote:The Dutch Colonial style house was built by Satterfield for Capps, a librarian at present North Carolina State University (Hayes Barton National Register nomination). Frank Capps was cited in Satterfield's building list.
- Dates:1925Location:Raleigh, Wake CountyStreet Address:208 Pine St., Raleigh, NCStatus:No longer standingType:ResidentialNote:Documents listing construction costs for the "Little Residence" in Raleigh survive in the Little-Mordecai Papers at the North Carolina State Archives; George Little resided at 208 Pine St., a street (now gone) that was located east of and perpendicular to the 800 block Harp St. north of Peace College. Possibly the house was relocated.
- Contributors:Howard E. Satterfield, probable builderDates:late 1920sLocation:Raleigh, Wake CountyStreet Address:1610 St. Mary's St. (Hayes Barton), Raleigh, NCStatus:StandingType:ResidentialNote:The house, built of stone said to have come from the quarry at the site of present Glenwood Village on Glenwood Ave., is said to have been a Satterfield project. It is probably the "Miller job" in Satterfield's building list.
- Dates:1925Location:Raleigh, Wake CountyStreet Address:1903 St. Mary's St., Raleigh, NCStatus:StandingType:ResidentialNote:According to the Raleigh Times of Nov. 30, 1925, Satterfield had the Wilson house, a 2-story frame Georgian Revival residence, under construction at that time.
- Dates:ca. 1913Location:Raleigh, Wake CountyStreet Address:201 Groveland Ave. (Cameron Park), Raleigh, NCStatus:StandingType:ResidentialNote:Family accounts indicate that Satterfield built this 2-story frame house as his first home in Cameron Park. City directories list Satterfield on Maiden Lane in 1909 and in Cameron Park in 1913; this house is likely the 2-story frame house on Groveland on the 1914 Sanborn Insurance Map. In about 1915 Satterfield built and moved into the bungalow next door at 203 Groveland and rented out the house at 201. In 1918 and in 1920, the residents of 201 were Miss Louise T. Busbee, a schoolteacher, and her siblings. In 1926, Satterfield sold 203 and moved back to 201, where he and Grace lived until his death.
- Dates:1915-1918Location:Raleigh, Wake CountyStreet Address:1905 Park Dr. (Cameron Park), Raleigh, NCStatus:StandingType:ResidentialNote:Satterfield's building list refers to a "Pittinger" project. Pittinger, a minister who had lived downtown in the early 1910s, was living at this address in 1919.
- Variant Name(s):Park-Hudson HouseDates:1924Location:Raleigh, Wake CountyStreet Address:1535 Carr St. (Hayes Barton), Raleigh, NCStatus:StandingType:ResidentialNote:The 2-story red brick house in Colonial Revival style is part of a cluster of similar residences in the heart of Hayes Barton. It was built for Park, the president and publisher of the Raleigh Times and was cited in the 1925 article in that newspaper. In the 1930s it was the home of Karl G. Hudson, manager at the Hudson-Belk Company (Hayes Barton National Register nomination).
- Variant Name(s):Gov. J. Melville Broughton HouseDates:1928Location:Raleigh, Wake CountyStreet Address:929 Holt Dr., Raleigh, NCStatus:StandingType:ResidentialNote:The classic Georgian Revival house was built for Janie Jolly, the widow of Frank Jolly and was later purchased by Gov. Broughton. Satterfield's building list includes a project for Mrs. Frank Jolly, and he is noted as the builder in the Hayes Barton National Register of Historic Places nomination. Blueprints for the house by Atwood and Nash (held by Special Collections Research Center, NCSU Libraries), show two phases of the design, the first in 1928 and a slightly simplified version in 1929. A recent renovation carried out some of the features that were originally omitted including a kitchen wing on the left.
- Variant Name(s):WakestoneDates:early 1920sLocation:Raleigh, Wake CountyStreet Address:150 Caswell St. (Hayes Barton), Raleigh, NCStatus:StandingType:ResidentialNote:According to Lee Craig in Josephus Daniels: His Life and Times, in 1920 Josephus Daniels, then Secretary of the Navy, wrote to his son, Josephus, Jr., that Lincoln Rogers, a Navy commander who was also a "good architect," had been advising Mrs. (Addie) Daniels, about "the house she is going to build out on the hill-top." He asked Joe, Jr. to take Raleigh developer Dan Allen and architect Rogers to visit the site during an upcoming visit by Rogers. The degree of Rogers's role in the design is unknown. Satterfield is cited as "architect" and builder of the large stone residence with its imposing portico. Satterfield claimed only the role of builder, but in this instance as in others he may have helped the client develop plans from the initial concept. The family moved into the new house in 1923.
- Dates:Ca. 1931Location:Raleigh, Wake CountyStreet Address:1544 Carr St., Raleigh, NCStatus:StandingType:ResidentialNote:The architects and builder of this classic 2-story, red brick Georgian Revival house are cited in the Hayes Barton National Register nomination. A Julian Rand project is cited in the Satterfield building list. Julian and Lillian Rand, longtime residents of Ferndell Lane (near Maiden Lane and State College) first appeared at 1544 Carr Street house in the 1932 city directory.
- Dates:1931Location:Warrenton, Warren CountyStreet Address:312 S. Main St., Warrenton, NCStatus:StandingType:ResidentialNote:In a letter of April 17, 1981 (Charlotte V. Brown Collection), attorney and judge Julius Banzet stated that Satterfield built his home during the summer and fall of 1931 and that the builder had previously completed renovation of a house nearby on South Main St. for Adele Jones. Both houses are stately examples of Georgian Revival in red brick, and display excellent materials and craftsmanship. The architect has not been documented but circumstances suggest that it might have been James A. Salter.
- Dates:ca. 1923Location:Raleigh, Wake CountyStreet Address:931 Vance St. (Hayes Barton), Raleigh, NCStatus:StandingType:ResidentialNote:One of the most unusual residences in Hayes Barton, the stuccoed house combines symmetrical massing and sleek, blocky forms in what has been described as a Prairie-style modernist design; it originally had a balustrade that gave it a more classical and Spanish Mission flavor. It is credited to Satterfield in the Satterfield building list and the Hayes Barton National Register nomination. The architect, if any, or published design source is unknown. It is possible that the client, Eugene McGinnis of the New England Mutual Life Insurance Company, had seen such a house in another community or in a publication and asked Satterfield to recreate it.
- Variant Name(s):Kittie Holt Drewry HouseDates:early 1920sLocation:Raleigh, Wake CountyStreet Address:815 Holt Dr., Raleigh, NCStatus:StandingType:ResidentialNote:The Raleigh Times of Nov. 30, 1925 cited the home of "Mrs. John C. Drewry" as one of Satterfield's recent works. The client was Kittie Holt Drewry, who was listed in the 1922 and 1923 city directories as Holt Drewry, widow of John C. Drewry, residing on "Cowper near Glenwood, Hayes Barton." As development in Hayes Barton continued, the western lane of Cowper was renamed Holt Drive in the mid-20s, and from 1926 onward she was listed at 815 Holt Drive. Mrs. Drewry was a member of the prominent Holt family of industrialists in Alamance County (Hayes Barton National Register nomination).The large red brick house features terra cotta roof tiles, and there is a matching garage-servants' quarters building.
- Variant Name(s):Ransom-Johnston HouseDates:1923Location:Littleton, Halifax CountyStreet Address:116 College St., Littleton, NCStatus:StandingType:ResidentialImages Puslished In:Henry V. Taves, The Historic Architecture of Halifax County, North Carolina (2010).Note:The substantial residence of tan brick with a green tile roof was built for Nettie Branch Ransom, the widow of Matt W. Ransom Jr.; the house remains in the family. Mrs. Ransom's daughter, Martha Ransom Johnston, recalled that a Mr. Elks of Weldon was the architect; Mrs. Ransom initially employed a local contractor but changed to Satterfield upon a friend's recommendation, and Satterfield subsequently altered the plans (Martha Ransom Johnston to Charlotte Brown, undated, ca. 1981). Construction had already begun when Satterfield took the job to "complete" the house, for the specifications refer to excavation already done and materials already acquired. The specifications also noted existing "original plans," and stated that the wainscoting in the front hall, for example, would be paneled in a manner "similar to that shown on the original plans" and "very much like in Mr. Haywood' s home." The porte cochere was to be "put on as shown on revised plans." (Charlotte Vestal Brown Papers, Special Collections Research Center, NCSU Libraries).
- Variant Name(s):Missouri Pleasants HouseDates:ca. 1927Location:Louisburg, Franklin CountyStreet Address:Corner of Church St. and Sunset Ave., Louisburg, NCStatus:StandingType:ResidentialNote:Satterfield's building list includes a project for Mrs. W. H. Pleasants, Louisburg. On March 18, 1927, Satterfield wrote to Mrs. Pleasants (Missouri Alston Pleasants) requesting a meeting with her to discuss building her house. Local carpenter William Edens was involved in its construction, and an estimate for materials is addressed to him. A letter of February 14, 1927, from a building supply company in Raleigh to Mrs. Pleasants refers to a Mr. Salter, which may suggest that architect James A. Salter was also involved in the project. A second letter of the same date and authorship concerning the "tapestry" brick reports that the same brick was used in other projects including Mr. A. H. Vann's house in Franklinton, designed by Salter; a Mr. Dameron's house in Warrenton, and the Woman's Club Building in Raleigh. Architectural drawings for the Pleasants house were in existence in Louisburg in 1986 (Charlotte Vestal Brown Papers, Special Collections Research Center, NCSU Libraries).
- Dates:1924Location:Raleigh, Wake CountyStreet Address:1514 St. Mary's St. (Hayes Barton), Raleigh, NCStatus:StandingType:ResidentialNote:The red brick Georgian Revival style house epitomizes Satterfield's work in a mode that appealed to many Raleighites of the period, and appears frequently in the Hayes Barton neighborhood. Nell Battle Lewis was a well-known Raleigh writer. See Architects and Builders in North Carolina for the poem Satterfield wrote to "Miss Nellie" upon completion of her house.
- Dates:1929Location:Halifax, Halifax CountyStreet Address:US 301, 0.5 mi N of Halifax, Halifax vicinity, NCStatus:StandingType:ResidentialImages Puslished In:Henry V. Taves, The Historic Architecture of Halifax County, North Carolina (2010).Note:The imposing Colonial Revival house of red brick is described as having been planned by Nell Gregory from architectural magazines; she then consulted with builder Satterfield for completing the project. Quentin Gregory was a prominent local businessman.
- Dates:1921Location:Raleigh, Wake CountyStreet Address:924 Cowper Dr. (Hayes Barton), Raleigh, NCStatus:No longer standingType:ResidentialNote:The Dunn House, a frame Colonial Revival style residence cited in the Satterfield building list and in the Hayes Barton National Register nomination, has been replaced by a larger house.
- Variant Name(s):Howard E. Satterfield House (II)Dates:ca. 1915Location:Raleigh, Wake CountyStreet Address:203 Groveland Ave. (Cameron Park), Raleigh, NCStatus:StandingType:ResidentialNote:Satterfield built this shingled bungalow for his family as one of the earlier residences in Cameron Park. It is among the most thoroughly Craftsman style bungalows in the neighborhood, where many of the bungalows have Colonial Revival detailing. City directories list Satterfield on Maiden Lane in 1909, in Cameron Park in 1913, at 203 Groveland from 1915 through at least 1923, and at 201 Groveland from 1926 onward. In 1926 he sold the house at 203 to pharmacist Cader Rhodes, proprietor of the nearby College Court Pharmacy; Rhodes and his wife lived here until his death in 1945.
- Dates:Mid-1920sLocation:Raleigh, Wake CountyStreet Address:935 Holt Dr. (Hayes Barton), Raleigh, NCStatus:StandingType:ResidentialNote:The Tudor Revival, brick and half-timbered residence features a porte cochere on one side. It was built for Carolina Power and Light vice-president John V. Strange and cited in Satterfield's building list.
- Dates:ca. 1915Location:Raleigh, Wake CountyStreet Address:1715 Park Dr. (Cameron Park), Raleigh, NCStatus:StandingType:ResidentialNote:The 2-story, gable-fronted frame house is likely the T. E. Brown house in Satterfield's building list.
- Dates:early 1920sLocation:Raleigh, Wake CountyStreet Address:921 Holt Dr. (Hayes Barton), Raleigh, NCStatus:StandingType:ResidentialNote:The red brick house with slate roof was built for Frank E. Thompson of Thompson Electrical Co. (Hayes Barton National Register nomination).
- Dates:1921Location:Raleigh, Wake CountyStreet Address:730 N. Blount St., Raleigh, NCStatus:StandingType:ResidentialNote:According to a later owner, John Bailey, the red brick Georgian Revival house was built for General Van Metz, who had been chief of staff for General Pershing in World War I and later attorney general of North Carolina. Bailey stated that this was the last lot on prestigious Blount St. and that Metz wanted a Blount Street address, so although the house actually faces Franklin Street, its address is on Blount.
- Variant Name(s):Marr-Hunter HouseDates:ca. 1924Location:Raleigh, Wake CountyStreet Address:1543 Carr St. (Hayes Barton), Raleigh, NCStatus:StandingType:ResidentialNote:The Dutch Colonial style residence is one of several Satterfield-built houses along Carr Street. It was cited in the Raleigh Times of Nov. 30, 1925 as Satterfield's work and included in the Satterfield building list.