We love Charlotte roofs: 10 unique Queen City crowns

We’re new to Charlotte, North Carolina. Like any newcomer, we find ourselves drawn to what’s familiar – and in this case, it’s Charlotte roofs.

As it turns out, the Queen City has its share of notable crowns. These remarkable Charlotte roofs protect their occupants from the elements while reflecting the design trends of their day.

From towering spires to quirky gas stations, there’s a lot on top of Charlotte for a roofing aficionado to enjoy. Here’s our 10 favorites.

How did we make the list?

Our friend Christa Gala, a writer in the Tarheel State, checked in with a trio of experts:

Our top 10 favorite Charlotte roofs

1. Victoria on the Plaza in Plaza Midwood

1600 The Plaza
Charlotte, N.C. 28205

Charlotte roofs

The ultimate wedding gift! The Victoria was built in the late 1890s by prominent businessman R.M. Miller for his son. Still a private residence, it’s known as one of the city’s best-preserved Victorian homes.

“It’s that complicated roofline that Victorian people loved, with multiple gables and the turret,” says Dr. Hanchett, who chose Victoria on the Plaza for its intricate lines and unique roofing composition. “The slate roof was very expensive back then. You don’t see it much now, but it was very indicative of that period.”

Fish scale shingles are used on the tower and attic gables. Originally located at North Tryon and Seventh Streets, the home was moved to its current location in the early 20th century.

2. Fuel Pizza

1501 Central Avenue
Charlotte, N.C. 28205

Charlotte roofs

Built in 1935 as a Pure Oil Station, the blue shingles and the high cottage roof were hallmarks of the company’s brand. As Dr. Hanchett notes, “It functioned informally as a Pure Oil billboard.”

Today, people fill up on pizza and nostalgia. The old-time atmosphere is enhanced by antique gas pumps and vintage metal signs.

 “It pretty much looks the same then as it does now,” says Ed Currie, general manager at Fuel Pizza. “We’ve been in this location for 18 years.”

Although the casual observer may believe Fuel Pizza is covered by an A-frame roof, Dr. Hanchett explains that it’s actually a Tudor revival. Think Old English cottage.

The cozy, inviting style is replicated today in new construction all over the region. It’s a prototype of what became a popular style in Charlotte roofs.

“If you look at the new houses being built in the suburbs, probably every twentieth one is some kind of Tudor revival,” Dr. Hanchett says. “You can see in the front gable what looks like exposed timbers. That half timber, as its called, is part of the Tudor revival.”

3. Biddle Memorial Hall

100 Beatties Ford Road
Charlotte, N.C. 28216

Charlotte roofs

Biddle Hall is the centerpiece of Johnson C. Smith University. This 40,000-square-foot building was built in 1884 and is the school’s oldest building. Biddle Hall comes complete with an elegant clock tower and is detailed with slate spires and roof.

It’s a pristine example of Victorian architecture among Charlotte roofs.

“There are many different kinds of roof shapes, from a central tower with the pointed roof tips and all the old dormer windows around the side of the building,” says Dr. Hanchett. “It’s an exuberant example of the roofer’s art.”

The university was founded by white Presbyterian ministers, but in 1891, Rev. Daniel J. Sanders became its first African-American president. Since that time, all of its presidents and the majority of the faculty have been black.

4. The Violin Shoppe

2112 East 7th Street
Charlotte, N.C. 28204

Charlotte roofs

This spacious brick bungalow was built in the 1920s and is known more today for its music than its green glazed tile roof.

“The tile is made out of glazed clay,” Dr. Hanchett says. “It’s basically pottery.”

Located in Charlotte’s historic Elizabeth neighborhood, aspiring musicians take lessons under this roof. A talented mix of artists gather constantly for collaboration, including recording pros, touring artists and members of the Charlotte Symphony.  Grab a bag of popcorn from the popcorn maker in the foyer – it’s free!

5. St. Peter’s Episcopal Church

115 West Seventh Street
Charlotte, N.C. 28202

Charlotte roofs

Built in 1894, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church is one of Michael Welton’s Charlotte roof picks. He calls St. Peter’s a “little Victorian Gothic gem – an interpretation of Richardsonian Romanesque architecture in the Queen City.”

Located on the corner of North Tryon Street and West Seventh Street, it’s one of the best-preserved examples of Gothic architecture in the city,

“It’s built of Seveep red brick,” Welton says, “with architectural features like a half-round, one-story turret front at its front elevation, with a slate roof curving all the way around its curving top.”

A cross perches at the peak of its distinctive roof, a reminder of its mission and purpose.

Organized as a parish in 1844, the church founded St. Peter’s Hospital and Good Samaritan Hospital.  

6. The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art

420 S. Tryon Street
Charlotte, N.C. 28202

Charlotte roofs

Just six years old, the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art is only one of two structures designed by Swiss architect Mario Botta (the other is in San Francisco). Botta used steel, glass, wood and black granite. Both Williams and Welton named it for a Top 10 pick.

“A key design element for the four-story structure is a glass atrium that extends throughout the museum’s core and diffuses natural light throughout the building,” Welton says. “Its open atrium and vaulted skylight system in its roof allows for visual interplay between spaces.”

7. The Bank of America Corporate Center

100 N. Tryon Street
Charlotte, N.C. 28202

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We couldn’t leave Charlotte’s tallest building off the list! The Bank of America Corporate Center reaches toward the heavens at 871 feet tall. It’s the king of Charlotte roofs.

Sometimes called the “Taj McColl” after BOA CEO Hugh McColl, who oversaw construction, this 60-story building was designed by Argentinian architect Cesar Pelli in 1992.

“It offers a crown-shaped glass spire at its very top – one that’s been illuminated by spotlights at night,” says Welton. “After the Carolina Panthers won the NFC championship in the 2003-04 season, the color of that glowing crown changed from white to blue.”

8. The Duke Energy Center

400 South Tryon
Charlotte, N.C. 28202

Charlotte roofs

Not quite as tall as the Bank of America Center- about 95 feet off at 786 feet – this skyscraper made the list for its undeniably cool triangular sloping roofline.

Made mostly of steel and glass, the Bank of America Center has another thing going for it: exterior lighting that makes a statement and keeps that roofline visible just about every single night. The building literally stands out among Charlotte roofs.

People can actually make requests for how the building should be lit each night. Send your recommendations to charlottespecialevents@wellsfargo.com.

The building even has its own Twitter handle: @wflightsclt.

It’s an interesting example of how architecture can make a community connection, says Welton.

“Its façade – including its subtractive, angular roofline – is illuminated by hundreds of programmable, color-changing LED luminaires, used during key moments of sporting events played at the Bank of America Stadium nearby,” he explains. “For the 2011 ACC Championship game, the building displayed orange and purple lighting for Clemson University and red and orange for Virginia Tech.”

9. Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Culture

551 S. Tryon Street
Charlotte, N.C. 28202

Charlotte roofs

The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Culture sits on the site of Charlotte’s historic Brooklyn neighborhood, which was razed in the 1960s. Its exterior was patterned after the old Myers Street School, featuring an intricate exterior stairstep design often referred to as “Jacob’s Ladder.”

The stair design represents advancement for African-Americans in both education, hope and cultural awareness.

A central atrium brings natural light into building. Collections of fabrics, wood carvings, paintings and a variety of art showcase the history and culture of the African-American community.

10. First Presbyterian Church

200 W. Trade Street
Charlotte, N.C. 28202

Charlotte roofs

This Gothic revival roof has been a Charlotte landmark since 1857.

But the 185-foot steeple isn’t original.

“That was added in 1883, replacing an older, unstable, earlier tower that was 20 feet shorter,” says Welton. “The Charlotte Observer noted on Nov. 10, 1883 that ‘it will be the handsomest in the South … it is to have windows all the way to the top, and is to be covered with slate, which will be capped with galvanized iron ornaments.’”

When the weather turns cold in the Queen City, the church opens its doors to the homeless two nights a week through a program it calls “Room in the Inn.”

About our Charlotte roof experts

Dr. Tom Hanchett recently retired as the staff historian at Levine Museum of the New South. Now an independent community historian working on special projects, he runs the website historysouth.org.

Michael Welton writes about architecture, art and design for national and international publications, including Dwell, The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Huffington Post. He is an architecture critic for the News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C. and editor of a digital design magazine at architectsandartisans.com. He is also the author of “Drawing from Practice: Architects and the Meaning of Freehand” (Routledge: 2015).

Darrel Williams is an award-winning architect and principal of well-known firm Neighboring Concepts in Charlotte.

Additional sources include the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission, Historic Charlotte, the Charlotte Museum of History and the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Culture.

Long Roofing now serves the Charlotte, North Carolina, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and Richmond, Virginia metro areas.

Maybe your roof is not as elaborate as some of the styles we’ve shown in this post. Regardless, the shape of every roof is unique – you need an expert to complete a quality roof replacement.

Good news: we’re here to help replace Charlotte roofs.

Call the roofers you can trust to bring you peace of mind. We can even offer you some tips for selling your home! Contact Long Roofing at 1-866-328-1187 or visit us online to get a price, schedule a free, in-home consultation or find answers to any home roofing questions.

Long Fence & Home also provides roofing, windows and doors in the Washington, D.C. metro area.

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