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Roby Awarded Landmark Restoration Project

CHARLOTTE, N.C., July 31, 2013 Andrew Roby, Inc. has been selected to restore the historical former residence of Dr. George E. Davis (1862-1959), the first black professor at Johnson C. Smith University. Once restored, the house will serve as the headquarters of the Foster Village Network Center. This innovative initiative provides teens aging out of the foster care system with high school and higher education opportunities. The restoration project is a fitting tribute to Dr. Davis, whose mission was to provide access to education for all.

Built in the 1890s next to the Johnson C. Smith University campus, Davis’ once-grand house has been vacant and in disrepair for the last 30 years. This $800,000 restoration combines the expertise of two Roby companies, in conjunction with the City of Charlotte and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission. Andrew Roby is the premier custom residential contractor in the Carolinas, and Roby Commercial specializes in renovations and additions for businesses, churches and schools.

Andrew Roby has deep roots in the Charlotte community, serving the region since 1950. The company has completed historic renovations to Latta Place (built in 1800); the John Dinkins House & Lodge (built in 1800); Rosedale Plantation (built in 1815); the White Homestead (built in 1831); Chairman Blake House (built in 1861); Spring’s Guest House at The Founders House (built in 1870); and the John Price Carr House (built in 1904). The Chairman Blake House in Davidson received the Best in Show award from the Remodelers’ Council, and Spring’s Guest House at The Founders House in Fort Mill was recognized by the North Carolina chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

 “We are pleased to return the George E. Davis House to a place of prominence in the Charlotte community,” said Berg Gleason, AIA, project manager for Andrew Roby. “As the administrative center for the Foster Village Network Center, it will pay homage to Dr. Davis’ legacy.”

In 1891, Dr. Davis and his wife – Marie G. Davis, a prominent Charlotte public school principal and teacher – began building their home. For 55 years they resided in the American Foursquare-style, 3,064-square-foot house with a wrap-around porch. Andrew Roby will restore the front steps and retaining wall along Campus Street, as well as the porch, the original hardwood floors, interior trim and casework. In addition, Andrew Roby will install a new stairway, newel posts and balusters; dismantle the rear kitchen to bump-out and rebuild it as handicap-accessible restrooms; add all new ceilings and lighting; and add fresh paint throughout the home. The company will also create new public sidewalks along Dixon and Campus streets, and add a new parking lot and landscaping. Roby expects the renovations to be complete in early 2014.

Born in Wilmington, N.C., Davis graduated in 1883 from Biddle University, known today as Johnson C. Smith University, and taught at JCSU for 35 years. He became dean of the faculty in 1905 and retired in 1920. He then became North Carolina’s agent for the Rosenwald Fund, financed by Sears Roebuck President Julius Rosenwald, to build schools for African Americans. His work led to the construction of 813 mostly rural Rosenwald schools across North Carolina, with 26 in Mecklenburg County.

“George Davis and his wife were heroes in this community,” said UNC Charlotte historian Dan Morrill, the Historic Landmarks Commission consulting director. “The restoration of this house will be a monumental moment in the history of preservation in this county.” Established in 1973, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission is totally funded by Mecklenburg County and operates a multimillion dollar revolving fund. Johnson C. Smith University will repay the Commission’s investment within five years, thereby keeping the revolving fund intact.

The Roby Family of Companies includes Andrew Roby, Inc., Roby Commercial, Robee Handy.man!, Robycross and Roby Electric. The company was founded more than 60 years ago in Charlotte and has grown into the largest throughout the Carolinas. The Roby Family of Companies is known for unsurpassed craftsmanship and a commitment to customer service. Visit www.andrewroby.com.

For more information about how to support JCSU’s Foster Village Network Center and George E. Davis House Restoration, contact Sharon Harrington at 704-330-1437 or sharrington@jcsu.edu.

Founded in 1867, Johnson C. Smith University is an independent, close-knit urban university located in Charlotte, N.C. It has a growing national reputation for integrating the liberal arts with business, the sciences and technology in ways that empower tomorrow’s diverse entrepreneurial citizens and leaders. Offering 22 fields of study to more than 1,600 students from a variety of ethnic, socioeconomic and geographic backgrounds, the university’s excellent academic programs focus on servant leadership, civic engagement and global responsibility. For more information about JCSU, visit www.jcsu.edu or follow the university on social media sites FacebookTwitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram.

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