History and images have been compiled from various sources including, among others, the 1987 National Register of Historic Places, Stack & Beasley's 1902 Sketches of Monroe and Union County, Union County Public Library (Patricia Poland, Genealogy & Local History Librarian), the Heritage Room Photo Collection, North Carolina Map Collection, Rootsweb - An Ancestry.com Community and Ancestry.com family histories.

Description of the Monroe Residential Historic District

1874 Houston-Redfern House 506 South Church Street
1912 J.H. Lee House 501 South Church Street
1903 Dr. J.M. Belk 401 South Hayne Street
1901 Dr. George B. Nance House 303 East Houston St.
1900 Thomas J. Shannon House 406 West Franklin St.
1898 Gaston Meares House 110 S. College
1870 R.V. Houston House 201 Lancaster Ave.
1926 M.G. Sheppard 323 E. Houston Street

1987 Nomination to the National Register of Historic Places 

The Monroe Residential Historic District consists of an irregularly configured area of approximately 181 acres extending to the east, south and west of the city's central business district. Within the district are a variety of street patterns, influenced by the original incorporation limits, later territorial additions to the city, and the location of major roads leading out of the city. Most of the residential area of Monroe developed between 1870 and 1940 is contained within its boundaries.

These residences, varying in size from small cottages to large and imposing dwellings, include representative examples of the Italianate, Second Empire, Victorian Eclectic, Queen Anne, Tudor, Spanish Mission, Colonial Revival and Craftsman styles, and particularly, various manifestations of the Classical Revival. While wood is the dominant building material in the district, with few solid masonry buildings, there is a heavy sprinkling of brick veneer houses—mainly bungalows and Colonial Revival or Craftsman-influenced houses—dating from the 1920s and 1930s. In addition to residential uses, there are two churches in the district, one contributing and one non-contributing, a senior citizens center, a number of houses converted to commercial uses, and the three earliest sections of the Monroe Cemetery. There are
381 contributing and 90 non-contributing resources in the district.

While many of the buildings have received some alteration, individually, and as a group, they retain an integrity of design, setting, materials, workmanship and feeling. The district encompasses a portion of the grid-patterned original 75-acre town tract and sections of the city, also laid off in a grid pattern, as additions to the original area. This rectilinear grid is broken by areas whose layout was dictated by the angled route of roads to Lancaster, South Carolina (Lancaster Avenue) in the southwestern quadrant and Wadesboro, North Carolina (East Franklin Street and US 74) in the northeastern quadrant.

Like the rest of the city, the residential historic district is set on gently-rolling hills typical of Piedmont geography, with the grid system superimposed without apparent concern for topography. Although the earliest system of land division created uniform blocks and lots, almost from the beginning these were subdivided in a random manner and lot sizes vary considerably. Setbacks and distances between the houses vary widely, as does the size of individual houses. Larger houses on larger lots are generally set back farther from the street, regardless of age, but most houses in the district are set on the front half of their lot, creating a substantially uniform appearance. Most areas of the district, particularly the major streets, are lined with mature trees, providing a further unifying element. There are no planned open spaces within the district, other than the Monroe cemetery, landscaped grounds around major houses, and parking lots.

Bands of twentieth century construction, parking lots, major thoroughfares and areas of the downtown affected by urban renewal separate the central business district (a portion of which is being nominated to the National Register as the Monroe Downtown Historic District) from the residential district. The latter is overwhelmingly residential in character, with the majority of the buildings having been erected as single family dwelling units. A number of houses have been divided into two or more units, and there are some small apartment buildings, mostly constructed within the last twenty years, scattered throughout the district.

The majority of the houses remain in single family use, although some have been subdivided into rooming houses or apartments. Most of the district's buildings are in fair to good condition. Although a number have been altered, many of the alterations were carried out early in this century, while other alterations have left intact the basic form and character of the building and are reversible. Many of the residences have been maintained continuously, and there is a substantial amount of rehabilitation occurring in the area.

Most outbuildings within the district are garages, generally small, and of frame or brick construction contemporary with the main house. A few early residences, such as the Houston-Redfearn House retain complexes of outbuildings, including barns and well houses. Several large garages have been converted to apartments or offices, including those of the Belk House and the M.G. Sheppard House on E. Houston St.

Although the town was founded in 1844, there are no houses in the historic district which survive in recognizable form from this period. MORE...

Images courtesy The Heritage Room, Monroe, NC.


  1. I recently purchased the property at 500 South Church St. I've heard different stories about the home, would you know anything about it? Thank you

  2. Here's how the National Register of Historic Places described the house when the nomination of the residential district was done in the 60s.

    500 S. Church Street - McKenzie-Sikes House; Built ca. 1890, probably for Ellie J. McKenzie, this one-story, gable-roofed frame Victorian eclectic cottage has an L-shape with paired, gable-roofed rear wings. In 1907 it was purchased by Faye Bennett Sikes, and it was later occupied by v. Dixon Sikes of the Sikes Company, mayor of Monroe during the 1940s. The Sikeses apparently added the present brick and concrete deck that runs from the front door around the northeast corner, as well as the sunroom at the southeast corner of the house. Original features of the house include the Eastlake gabled window surrounds and vents and the wave-pattern gable clapboards. The rafter tails are exposed but covered at the verges with molded boards. The main chimneys have decoratively-corbelled caps.
    Garage; rear of 500 Church Street; ca. 1910; c Hipped-roofed garage of rock-faced concrete block, shared with 502.

  3. I am purchasing the house on 607 S. Church St. I know the house was built in 1901, but I can't find any information on who built it and who lived there. Also where would I find the original floorplans for the house? Was there ever a garage or another structure at the rear of the property? Any additional info would be helpful. Thanks!

  4. Here's how the National Register of Historic Places described the house when the nomination of the residential district was done in the 60s.

    607 S. Church Street - Jerome-Green House circa 1895 - In 1899 Thomas J. Jerome purchased a house at this corner from J.W. Bivens. An attorney, Jerome was elected to the State senate in 1898 and in 1900 ran for state attorney general. Jerome sold the house in 1907 to S.H. Greene for several times what he had paid for it, and the present appearance of the house no doubt reflects additions made by Jerome. S.H. Greene, a railroad conductor, lived in the house through the 1920s. The two-story frame house has a single-pile main block with a two-story, gabled wing extending at the front. This front wing is semi-octagonal on both floors. A hipped porch with tall, turned posts and turned baluster railings runs around the front three elevations of the building, following its lines.The front entrance is off-center, next to the two-story bay, and has a leaded glass transom. At either side of the second floor facade are rectangular oriel windows. The front portions of the house have exposed rafter tails and triangular brackets. Across the rear of the house is a hipped wing from which extends a gabled wing. These two wings have cornices with Victorian brackets. There is also a three-sided bay window on the north side of the first wing. Except under the front porch, the house has two over two sash. The rear wing has a chimney with corbelled cap, but there is an unusual angled interior chimney on the front portion.

    I’m not sure about J.W. Bivens. You might check the Union County Library historian to make sure. I did find John W. Bivens – Bransons Business Directory 1890: Treas. I.O.H. Lodge; Farmer: J.W. Bivens, P.O. Monroe; NC Booklet 1912: Register of Deeds and also Representative in State Legislature.

    Thomas Jefferson Jerome (1859-1921) was born in Union County (P.O. Richardson Creek) to farmer Eber Alexander Jerome and Eliza Blithe Bivens. In 1891 he married Cara Ross. Three children: Edward C., Vance and Mary K. Jerome. In the home in 1900 were: T.J., Cora, Edward 8, Vance 6, boarder Anne Williams and servant/cook Ella Covington.

    Solomon Henry Green (12 Sept 1865-10 May 1948) was son of Dr. James E. Green and Sarah Marsh. Solomon married Mary Ann “Annie” Kirk (1869-1947) in 1890.
    --In the home in 1910 were: S. Henry, Mary A., Lena 19, Essie O. 17, Ruth 15, Wilma K. 13 and sister/teacher Mittie Green 24.
    --At home in 1940 were S.H. 74, Annie 71 and Ruth 45. By 1940, Solomon 74, Annie 71 and daughter Ruth 45 were in the house; at that time, it appears railroad agent John T. White 59, wife and son were renting part of the house.
    --Solomon’s 1948 death certificate noted 607 S. Church as residence. Retired S.A.L. Passenger Conductor. He died at Ellen Fitzgerald Hospital and was buried at Sun Crest Cemetery in Monroe.

    1. Thank you so much for the detailed history, I am looking forward to restoring this home to it's former beauty!