ABOUT WADSWORTH ESTATE

 

 

Local businessman, George Wadsworth, commissionedprominent North Carolina architect, Louis H. Asbury, to design and buildthe George Pierce Wadsworth House.  The house was designed in 1910 and construction was completed in 1911. 

George Wadsworth was born in 1879 to John Wadsworth and Margaret Cannon Wadsworth, sister of J.W. Cannon, founder of Cannon Mills. After college in Virginia and Baltimore, George Wadsworth returned to Charlotte to assume the presidency of Wadsworth Sons Company in 1902. George Wadsworth soon began diversifying the family business interests, a necessary step as automobile travel began replacing horsedrawn conveyances. In 1912, he organized Smith-Wadsworth Hardware Company, and in 1914, he helped establish the Carolina Baking Company, which later was subsumed within the Southern Baking Company. In 1925, Wadsworth Sons Company was liquidated, ending seventy years of local livery and livestock operations. Wadsworth continued his business interests with the Wadsworth Land Company and the Wadsworth-Seborn Company, a sales operation for Reo cars throughout the Carolinas. 

The George Pierce Wadsworth House sits on a corner lot at the junction of South Summit Avenue and West Second Street in Wesley Heights community, just two blocks north of the West Morehead Street thoroughfare. Facing Summit Avenue, the House is sited off-center on its lot with a curved drive and porte cochere on the West Second Street side, and a circular drive between the rear of the house and the servant's quarters. 

The servant's quarters/carriage house is located directly to the rear of the main house. An original walkway runs along the front of the house with a walkway and steps connecting the front walk with the rear drive. The house was originally built with two bedrooms, one bath, a kitchen, a sitting room and an attached garage. The original gardens and yard are found on the south and southwest sides of the house. 

The Wadsworth family continued to live in the house after the sudden death of George Wadsworth in 1930 at the age of 51. James Dallas Ramsey, an officer of the Textron-Southern Company, and his wife, Pearl Shelby Ramsey bought the house in 1936. 

The Ramseys converted a portion of the west side of the second floor to an apartment and adapted a small sleeping porch as a kitchen, probably during the late 1940s. The Ramseys moved in 1967 during the height of the Civil Rights era and the house stood vacant for two years. 

In 1969, Mrs. Ramsey sold the property to prominent businessman, Worthy D. Hairston (1902-1969) and his wife, Marie S. Hairston. Hairston was a funeral director who moved his business from its Beatties Ford Road location to the Wadsworth House in 1969.  He used the upstairs of the house as his family residence and downstairs for his funeral business.  Worthy Hairston lived less than a year after moving the funeral home to the Wadsworth House, and the Hairstons' daughter, Marie H. Pettice, operated the business until her death in the mid-1970s. In 1977, Mrs. Hairston's nephew, Charles McClure, bought the Wadsworth House property. McClure continued to operate Hairston's House of Funerals, changing the name to Northwest Funeral Home, Inc. McClure’s family operated the business after his death until 2001 when the property was sold to then Superior Court Judge Shirley L. Fulton.

Judge Fulton changed the name to Wadsworth Estate to incorporate the main house and carriage house. She now operates the property as a special events venue for weddings, receptions, business meetings and social gatherings.  She has added some parking in the rear in part of the garden area on the southwest side of the property.  The remaining yard areas are now serving as gardens where events can also be held.