Muth, Frank Fred (1860-1936)

Birthplace:

Germany

Residences:

  • Edenton, North Carolina
  • Atlantic City, New Jersey

Trades:

  • Builder

Styles & Forms:

Bungalow; Colonial Revival; Craftsman; Queen Anne

Frank Fred (Frederick) Muth (1860-1936) was a German-born contractor and builder who became the most prolific builder in Edenton, North Carolina, from his arrival there until his death. Muth arrived in Edenton in 1905 from Atlantic City, New Jersey, where he had built some large resort hotels. Working with his son, Frank Otto Muth (1887-1973), he is documented or attributed to have built dozens of houses in Edenton and enlarged or remodeled others. He also constructed a number of commercial buildings. An extensive list of buildings credited to Muth is published in Thomas R. Butchko, Edenton: An Architectural Portrait, from which this account is derived. The building list here represents only a selection of these.

The United States Census of 1910 showed Frank F. Muth, 49, as a house carpenter and head of a large family that included his wife, Mary, 47, both born in Germany, and seven children aged 22 down to 5, all of whom had been born in New Jersey. He had immigrated to the United States in 1883, his wife in 1882. Why Muth chose to move to Edenton has not been established, but once there, he enjoyed the patronage of many of its leading citizens during an active construction era.

Muth’s houses in Edenton represented the popular styles of his era, including the Queen Anne, the bungalow, and especially the Colonial Revival in many robust versions. Several examples of his residences appear in the 100 and 200 blocks of East Church Street. As noted by Thomas R. Butchko in Edenton: An Architectural Portrait, his houses are notable for the use of a plan that features, instead of a passage extending the full depth of the house, a reception hall or foyer containing the stair, from which doorways lead into the other rooms. He often employed a distinctive front entrance treatment and colored glass. The sources of his designs are not certain, but it is likely that he like other builders of the day made use of current architectural pattern books.

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  • Borritz-Tredwell-Muth House

    Contributors:
    Frank Fred Muth, builder (ca. 1910s)
    Dates:

    Ca. 1787; ca. 1910s; 1968

    Location:
    Edenton, Chowan County
    Street Address:

    214 W. Edenton St., Edenton, NC

    Status:

    Standing

    Type:

    Residential

    Note:

    About 1911 Frank Fred Muth bought the property that included a very old frame house. He remodeled it extensively as the family home for himself and his wife Maria (Falter) Muth (1863-1954), and they lived here until their deaths. It was also the home of their son Frank Otto Muth (1887-1973), likewise a local builder.


  • Brown-Elliott House

    Contributors:
    Frank Fred Muth, builder
    Dates:

    Ca. 1904

    Location:
    Edenton, Chowan County
    Street Address:

    209 E. Water St., Edenton, NC

    Status:

    Standing

    Type:

    Residential

    Images Puslished In:

    Thomas R. Butchko, Edenton, an Architectural Portrait: The Historic Architecture of Edenton, North Carolina (1992).

    Note:

    The 2-story frame house typifies Muth’s four-room plan with the stair in the corner entrance hall. It shows a typical blend of Queen Anne massing with Colonial Revival detail.


  • Charles N. Griffin House

    Contributors:
    Frank Fred Muth, builder
    Dates:

    1910s

    Location:
    Edenton, Chowan County
    Street Address:

    304 N. Broad St., Edenton, NC

    Status:

    Standing

    Type:

    Residential

    Note:

    The large frame house features a full-height Ionic portico and symmetrical massing typical of the “Southern Colonial” style.


  • Edmund R. Conger House

    Contributors:
    Frank Fred Muth, builder
    Dates:

    1910

    Location:
    Edenton, Chowan County
    Street Address:

    110 W. Church St., Edenton, NC

    Status:

    Standing

    Type:

    Residential

    Note:

    The frame house is one of four large Colonial Revival houses with bold gambrel gables constructed by Muth.


  • James Woodard House

    Contributors:
    Frank Fred Muth, builder
    Dates:

    1910s

    Location:
    Edenton, Chowan County
    Street Address:

    407 Court St., Edenton, NC

    Status:

    Standing

    Type:

    Residential

    Images Puslished In:

    Thomas R. Butchko, Edenton, an Architectural Portrait: The Historic Architecture of Edenton, North Carolina (1992).

    Note:

    The substantial bungalow features an inset porch overlooking the courthouse green.


  • John W. Branning House

    Contributors:
    Frank Fred Muth, builder
    Dates:

    Ca. 1907

    Location:
    Edenton, Chowan County
    Street Address:

    305 N. Broad St., Edenton, NC

    Status:

    Standing

    Type:

    Residential

    Images Puslished In:

    Thomas R. Butchko, Edenton, an Architectural Portrait: The Historic Architecture of Edenton, North Carolina (1992).

    Note:

    Industrialist John W. Branning employed contractor Muth to remodel an existing house into an imposing, shingled Colonial Revival style residence with broad gambrel gables.


  • Metrah Makely House

    Contributors:
    Frank Fred Muth, builder
    Dates:

    1907

    Location:
    Edenton, Chowan County
    Street Address:

    202 W. Queen St., Edenton, NC

    Status:

    Standing

    Type:

    Residential

    Note:

    The large Colonial Revival frame house has a curved front bay echoed by the broad front porch.


  • Norfolk Southern Passenger Station (Elizabeth City)

    Contributors:
    Frank Fred Muth, builder
    Dates:

    1914

    Location:
    Elizabeth City, Pasquotank County
    Street Address:

    Main St., Elizabeth City, NC

    Status:

    Unknown

    Type:

    Transportation

    Note:

    The New Bern Daily Journal of February 14, 1914, reported that “Contractor Frank Muth of Edenton” had begun work on a new Norfolk Southern passenger station at the “head of Main Street” in Elizabeth City.


  • William D. Pruden, Jr., House

    Contributors:
    Benton and Benton, architects; Frank Fred Muth, contractor
    Dates:

    1927

    Location:
    Edenton, Chowan County
    Street Address:

    117 Blount St., Edenton, NC

    Status:

    Standing

    Type:

    Residential

    Images Puslished In:

    Thomas R. Butchko, Edenton, an Architectural Portrait: The Historic Architecture of Edenton, North Carolina (1992).

    Note:

    The dignified, red brick Georgian Revival residence is representative of the work of architects Benton and Benton and also fits in well with the architectural traditions of Edenton. A rear porch provides a view of Edenton Bay. It was built for attorney Pruden and his wife Mary McCann Bradham of New Bern, whose father invented Pepsi Cola.


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