The George Pierce Wadsworth House (1911)
400 South Summit Avenue, Charlotte, N.C.
Architect:  Louis H. Asbury
​Architectural Style:  Craftsman

A representative of the owner of the Wadsworth House contacted me by telephone late Friday afternoon.  He asked whether the Historic Landmarks Commission might be interested in considering the purchase of the Wadsworth House.  The property is for sale.  I stated that the Wadsworth House is a significant historic cultural resource and that the Commission exists to advance the preservation of such properties.  I explained that the Commission must be effective stewards of taxpayers' money and that it must take into account the economic viability of any project.  I also explained that the Commission must perform due diligence, e.g., appraisals, inspections, environmental examinations. The representative of the owner stated that he understood and accepted this process.  I estimated that it would take a minimum of three months to close on the property.

The Historic Landmarks Commission has established three criteria for evaluating projects.  They are:  1) historic and cultural significance, 2) level of endangerment, and 3) economic viability.  The Wadsworth House clearly meets Criteria One.  It is the largest and most architecturally significant house in the Wesley Heights Historic District.  As for Criteria Two, the fact that the property is for sale creates some level of endangerment.  The Historic Landmarks Commission could only delay demolition for 365 days.  Only by the owner agreeing to place preservation covenants on the property could the preservation of the property in perpetuity be assured.  Determination of whether the project meets  Criteria Three -- economic viability -- will have to await the establishment of the purchase price and completion of the due diligence process.

If the Commission decides to move forward, I would make the following recommendation:

Authorize the Projects Committee to negotiate and approve a contract to purchase the Wadsworth House contingent upon the establishment of a purchase price that assures economic viability of the project, contingent upon the receipt of acceptable findings from the due diligence process, and contingent upon the recognition of project funds by the Board of County Commissioners.

Dr. Dan L. Morrill
139 Middleton Drive
Charlotte, N.C. 28207
[email protected]
R. J. Reynolds High School - 1956
Wake Forest University - 1960 (B.A.)
Emory University -  1961 (M.A.)
Emory University - 1966  (Ph.D.)
Professor Emeritus of History UNCC
Director, Charlotte-Mecklenburg 
                  Historic Landmarks