While the town of Davidson is small, it’s history is large. While we could not find a lot written about the history of Davidson, we did find the Davidson Historical Society which not only provided us a lot of information on Davidson, but it also provided a Davidson Walking Tour online!
Helper Hotel, 1848
215 N. Main St
The Helper Hotel is on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Site Registry. The Helper Hotel is one of Davidson’s oldest buildings and was initially built as a store but soon became a hotel.
1920’s and 1930’s – The Helper Hotel was a weekend rooming house for women who attended college social events.
1865 – The porch over the sidewalk was added.
1870’s – The widow’s walk was added.
1946 – Davidson College purchased the building and is now used as the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies.
Oak & Elk Rows 1836
The low one story building along Main St. and facing the campus is Oak Row, one of the original dormitory rows. Another, Elm Row faces it across the quad.Each had four rooms for four students each and each room had a fireplace. After the building of Chambers in 1858, the rows gave overnight shelter to Confederate soldiers returning home after the Civil War. Faculty wives nursed and fed them.
The President’s House, 1837
408 N. Main
The Davidson College President’s home was originally a two story brick building and was only 22 x 32. It was deemed unsuitable for a president so from 1897 – 1912 the presidents lived elsewhere.
1912 – Dr. William Joseph Martin, a faculty member who was living in the house at that time, was elected president, and it once again became the President’s House.
1859 – The house was enlarged.
1959 – The house was enlarged again.
1998 – The house was enlarged once again.
Two row houses, similar to Oak and Elm, once stood on the now spacious front lawn.
Mrs. Vinson’s Boarding House, 1898
519 N. Main
“This house is typical of many houses built to board students. Ten brackets besides the door on the side porch held the hats and coats of hungry students. An excellent example of a classic Queen Anne house, it is a celebration of the machine woodwork made possible by the new mechanical saw and wood lathe. Restored in 1988.”
These are just some highlights we saw on the Davidson Walking Tour provided by the Davidson Historical Society. Be on the lookout for other highlights from the Davidson Walking Tour.
For more pictures on our Davidson Walking Tour, check out our Davidson, NC Walking Tour Part 1 photo album.
For more information on the history of Davidson, or to print your own Davidson Walking Tour, check out the Davidson Historical Society.