MC 00383 Guide to the Charles Parker Papers, 1924-1929

Organized by subjects of drawings.
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Parker, Charles Newton, 1885-1961


1.0 Linear feet

General Physical Description note

6 flat folders.


For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Special Collections Research Center Reference Staff external link.



Acquisitions Information

Donated by Annette Sechen in 2008 (Accession no. 2008-0213)


Processed by: Claire Ruswick;machine-readable finding aid created by: Claire Ruswick

Scope and Content Note

The Charles Parker Papers consist of architectural drawings, notes, and correspondence. All of the architectural drawings (except for a select few) are Parker’s designs, 1924-1929, of the Grove Arcade. The few that are not of the Grove Arcade are Parker’s designs of area homes in the 1920s. The Grove Arcade architectural drawings fall into several different types of architectural drawings. These are: sketches, design development drawings, working drawings, and presentation drawings. The subjects of these drawings are the completed building, the exterior façade, floor plans, exterior detail elements (such as engravings), and structural engineering. In terms of material composition, the Grove Arcade architectural drawings are either graphite on tracing paper, brown prints, or watercolor on heavier paper. Besides architectural drawings, there are handwritten notes by Parker and architectural supply lists. There are also several letters written by one of Parker’s clients, and a newspaper clipping advertising a Grove subdivision.

Biographical Note

The Charles Parker papers are a collection of architectural drawings for the Grove Arcade in Asheville, North Carolina. In 1924, Charles Newton Parker (1885-1961) was hired to be the architect in the construction of the Grove Arcade, a shopping center commissioned by local multi-millionaire, E. W. (Edwin Wiley) Grove (1850-1927).

E. W. Grove made his money in the pharmaceutical business, and moved to Asheville in 1898 on doctor’s orders. During his time in Asheville, Grove found an interest in civic planning and urban development. Asheville became the outlet for his new hobby, and Grove had with aspirations of improving its downtown life and transforming it into a thriving city. As his first urban development project Grove built subdivisions. These started in 1905 with Grove Park, a subdivision on the north side of town. The centerpiece of this development was the Grove Park Inn, completed in 1913. It was a high class resort, with celebrity guests such as F. Scott Fitzgerald. Other projects of Grove’s included: Grovestone (a quarry and gravel factory), Grovemont (a housing community in Swannanoa), and Battery Park (a hotel).

One of the architects working on the Grove Park developments was Charles Parker. Parker was born in Hillsboro, Ohio, but moved to Asheville, North Carolina after his older brother found a job in the area with E. W. Grove. Parker never went to formal architecture school, but found his calling working at various architecture firms. Parker is known for his work designing residential homes, mostly in the revival Tudor style. After working on the Grove Park subdivision, Parker was hired by E.W. Grove to construct the Grove Arcade in 1924. Originally the structure was designed to be a five-story shopping center with a 14-story tower spanning an entire city block. For Grove, this type of building was essential to the reviving of downtown Asheville by eliminating the seedy downtown areas, and moving all the boutiques into one location. Architecturally, Parker designed the building with gothic and Tudor elements. The building is covered in glazed terra cotta and decorated with detailed engravings, and façade embellishments.

In 1927 E.W. Grove died while the Grove Arcade was still in the midst of construction. Walter P. Taylor bought the construction project and finished it in 1929. Charles Parker stayed on the job as chief architect, but alterations had to be made to the original building plan. The 14-story tower was never built due to financial reasons. Throughout the 1930s the building thrived as a shopping center set in the midst of Asheville’s Golden Age. In 1942, while the United States fought in World War II, the federal government took over building and closed the shops, mandating that Grove Arcade be used for overflow governmental offices. After the war ended, the building continued to be used for office space, this time by the National Climate Center. In 1985, Asheville started plans to restore Grove Arcade to its original purpose as a shopping center. This project was completed in 2002.

Access to Collection

This collection is open for research; access requires at least 24 hours advance notice.

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Box 7111
Raleigh, NC, 27695-7111


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(919) 513-1787

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Charles Parker Papers, MC 00383, Special Collections Research Center, North Carolina State University Libraries, Raleigh, NC

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