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John Douglas House









Local tradition holds that Rev. John Douglas was mindful of the local strife when he decided, ca. 1867, to purchase land and erect his home immediately behind Steele Creek Presbyterian church in Christie Lane in the Steele Creek Community or southwestern portion of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.


Rev John Douglas was the minister of Steele Creek Following John and Susannah's death, the property was inherited by James P. Walker and Fannie Walker , children of John Douglas's nephew, William A. Walker. The new owners resided in Chester SC, and, consequently, rented the John Douglas House to tenants. They sold the property in December 1921. The house passed through several hands until September 27, 1950, when Sterling J. Foster, Jr., and his wife, Alma K. Foster purchased the property and established their residence there. After the death of her husband, the former Mrs. Foster married William Staiger. Again the John Douglas House became rental property. In the mid-1960's James Marshall Stallings and his wife, Nancy Brigmon Stallings, lived there. On September 3. 1969, Mr. and Mrs. Stallings purchased the John Douglas House, where they continue to maintain their residence.  


The John Douglas House is located on Christie Lane in the Steele Creek Community of Mecklenburg County. Although at one end of the long lane leading to the house there is a large subdivision of houses, the Douglas House itself is set on a rise in the land in the center of fields and wooded areas so that it retains its rural atmosphere.

The Douglas House is a simple, one and a half story frame cottage in the late Greek Revival style. It is three bays wide and two bays deep and has a one-story ell on the left rear. There is a one-bay wide entrance porch on the front (south side) and screened porches across the rear of the house and along the inside (east side) of the ell. The house is covered with weatherboarding, except for the small area of the front porch, which is covered with flush boarding. The corners of the house are accented by plain vertical stiles. The gable roof is of medium pitch and the cornice is boxed. Two interior brick chimneys with corbelled caps are symmetrically placed within the main body of the house, while an exterior, single stepped shoulder brick chimney is positioned at the rear of the ell. Most windows, including those in the gable ends, are 9/9 sash, while others are 6/6. The batten shutters appear to be replacements. The house is set on a brick pier foundation, the interstices of which have now been in-filled with brick.

Five steps with ironwork balustrade of recent vintage lead to the front entrance porch, which covers only slightly more area than the doorway itself. The porch is covered by a hipped roof which is supported by plain wood Doric posts at each corner. Plain balustrades connect these posts to the front wall of the house. Resting directly on the posts is a rather crude, though vaguely classical, tripartite architrave formed by weatherboarding. The double leaf front door has octagonal panels in the upper halves and is surrounded by sidelights and transom.

The screened porches on the rear of the house appear to have been built at two different times. The porch along the east side of the ell has a hipped roof, while the one along the rear of the main body of the house has a shed roof and may date from a later period. Both porches have a plain Doric post at each corner and both have a solid wood balustrade. However, the two are joined in a rather awkward manner.

The interior of the Douglas House displays a center hall plan with two rooms on either side and auxiliary rooms in the rear ell. The upstairs half story contains one room on either side of the stair landing.

The stairway to the second floor is located at the rear of the wide center hall. In order to fit the available space, it runs seven risers from the front, then turns on a straight landing and returns on a fourteen-riser run to the center of the story above. The balustrade is somewhat unusual, in that it combines rather Victorian bulbous (though not especially heavy) newel posts with a delicate rounded handrail reminiscent of the Federal period. The balusters are plain and square in section.

Four-panel doors open from the center hall to the rooms on either side. On the right side are the dining room and kitchen with back-to-back fireplaces. On the left side are the parlor and sitting room, again with back-to-back fireplaces. The mantels in the downstairs rooms, except for in the kitchen, are transitional between the Greek Revival and Italianate styles. The molding on door and window surrounds and baseboards is all very simple. Paneled aprons below the 9/9 windows add a decorative element. The walls in the four major rooms of the house are plastered, and picture molding is positioned about one foot down from the ceiling. The floors are composed of floor boards approximately five inches in width.

The ell on the left rear of the house is made up of a short hall with bathroom and closet on either side and a rear bedroom. The walls of this bedroom are covered with flush boarding rather than plaster.

In the upstairs half story, the walls and ceilings of the two bedrooms are also covered with flush boarding. To accommodate the available space, the upper front and back walls of these rooms slant inward to meet the ceiling. The large 9/9 sash windows in the gable ends run almost floor to ceiling in the loft rooms, providing an unexpected amount of light. As in the downstairs rooms, the doors leading to each room have four flat panels. The interior chimneys pass through the center of these rooms, breaking up the space. Here there are no fireplaces, and instead, the chimneys are covered with plaster.



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Last modified: Tuesday, 01 February 2022