Development in the Downtown district dates principally from the boom period of about 1895 to 1930, with a few significant buildings dating from an earlier or later time. Beyond the boundaries of the district are buildings of uniformly later date, different uses, different densities, and some strip development.
Land & Building Use
within the district remain essentially unchanged since the principal
period of development, with most structures dedicated to commercial
uses. A few houses survive in residential use, while several others have
been adapted for use as offices.
Other land uses in the area
include light industrial and public/institutional, such as municipal
offices and post office/Federal office building.
building use over time have included the conversion of an early hospital
to rental apartments and the closing of major downtown hotels in favor
of motels further from the city's center.
For the most part, the buildings in the Downtown district are typical
of late nineteenth and early twentieth century designs with
characteristics such as:
One to three stories in height (with some taller buildings from the late 1920s and early 1930s)
Solid masonry construction
Topped by flat or stepped roofs
Buildings are generally set flush with the sidewalk and have plate
glass display windows and recessed entrances. Surviving ornamentation
consists of decorative brick and stonework, and molded terra cotta
restricted on most buildings to the upper floors.
later twentieth century infill buildings are of simpler design, and a
number of early buildings have experienced some degree of alteration,
the district retains much of the character and quality that it had
achieved by 1930. It remains the "bricky-looking town" described by Bill
one enters the Downtown district from Hawkins Street, the first
structure encountered is the Railroad House (#80, individually listed in
the National Register in 1973), the only building surviving in the
district from the period of Sanford's establishment.
Gothic Revival cottage, built by the Raleigh and Augusta Air Line for
its first depot agent in the new town, W T. Tucker, was originally
located across Charlotte Avenue from its present site. After being given
to the city; it was moved in 1962 and adapted for use as offices for
the Lee County Chamber of Commerce.
It is a fitting symbol for
a town whose establishment and early development were a direct result
of the construction of railroads, an activity which had a dramatic
impact on the entire state in the second half of the nineteenth century.