1401 Shirley Street
1401 Shirley Street
Erected in 1922 within the shadow of the Powell family’s Prairie style estate immediately east, this Craftsman style American Four Square residence has experienced a host of changes in occupants and formats over its 100-year history. Upon purchasing their home in April 2022, Mandy and Matthew Storm became the steward of one of the neighborhood’s larger and among its oldest houses. Like others before them, the Storm family has made their own tweaks to the residence, such as turning the den into a master bedroom; removing spray “popcorn” coatings from ceilings, and installing tile in their kitchen.
What the Records Tell Us
The use and ownership of this Melrose Heights landmark, much like that of other houses throughout the Melrose-Heights/Oaklawn architectural conservation district, have varied over the past century. The greatest information concerns that of the property’s original owners. Interestingly, the property’s initial use as a single-family home proved short. In fact, only two households—Fay & Velle Toney—believed to be sisters—(1922) and the family of W. Julian Clark (1923), lived here before the home underwent a major alteration.
Of the two, greater information exists regarding Clark, a Lakeview, SC native who, during his service as superintendent of the Columbia Hospital was injured when his automobile’s brakes failed at the bottom of Shirley Street at its intersection with Trenholm Road. The harrowing event placed Clark, and two children and a matron with Epworth Children’s Home in the hospital. A few months after recovering from his accident, Clark moved his family from this address to their new home at 904 Woodrow Street in Shandon.
Following these occupancies, Mrs. J. Davis Powell [nee Catherine Keller Piez] of 1410 Shirley Street—a former nurse turned property manager—personally oversaw the residence’s subdivision and remodeling in 1925 into two 5-room apartments—one upstairs, the other downstairs—after her family’s Melrose Development Company acquired property.
Before Matthew and Mandy Storm became owners, Roberta Kennedy bought the property three times for $5 in 2021, 1998, and 1997!
Other owners include:
- Roberta Kennedy (1998)
- Raymond and Roberta Kennedy (1977, 1997)
- Ronald Schoenherr (1975)
- Melrose Realty Company (1937)
- Robert Patten (1935)
- George M. Thayer (1932)
According to local newspapers:
- The property was home to a couple of newlyweds; Mr. and Mrs. Faurer occupied “an apartment” at 1401 Shirley Street April 8, 1927, and Charles and Elaine Harvey resided at “1401 ½ Shirley Street” on January 5, 1954.
- Dr. H.W. Monroe resided at 1401 Shirley Street with his wife and two-year-old son in 1946. The Clemson graduate and decorated Navy lieutenant commander also opened a pediatrics office at 1318 Lady Street that same year.
- Someone was selling a brand-new Browning Patent Savage (an automatic 12-gauge shotgun) with a 26” barrel for a whopping $80 on Dec 14, 1947. This was likely Dr. H.W. Monroe.
- Listed for sale as a 9-room brick home, 2 baths, oak floors, garage, appraised at $31,000 in The Columbia Record on February 12, 1977.
- Listed for open house several times in The State in 1983; “Charm of the old, renovated like new! 4 bedrooms, apt. Or studio over garage, 2 fireplaces. Pat McClean will greet you.”
- Suzannah Kennedy (11) of 1401 Shirley featured in The State, June 10, 1984, in article “Children win Cappy Dick puzzle contest”, a Cappy Dick circus performers’ puzzle contest.
Sharing Craftsman style traits such as exposed rafter tails and brackets with other homes nearby, 1401 Shirley Street is a two-story, American Four Square with an asymmetrical façade and wraparound porch that features a central stair flanked by decorative concrete plateaus. The masonry veneer exterior is comprised of red wire cut brick with yellow brick inlay on the porch columns, chimney, and façade gable. The second story of the west, or rear, elevation features an enclosed sleeping porch with tripartite groupings of six-over-six light windows, and the northwest corner features an enclosed rear porch with the same infill as the sleeping porch. The majority of the house’s windows are paired ten-over-one asymmetrical lights with painted concrete sills. The front entryway is an original single-pane double door featuring a Colonial Revival entablature with two pilasters and a one-light transom.
In keeping with its original status as one of the finer residences in the neighborhood, this corner -lot property also boasts an architecturally significant, Craftsman style, one-and-one-half-story, brick two-car garage and apartment unit with a clipped front-gable roof. Like the main house, the brick veneer exterior is highlighted through yellow brick accents.
Historic Visual Reference
At the time Dr. H.W. Monroe’s family lived in this house, they would have been able to walk to neighborhood amenities such as Sunshine Cleaners, located at the corner of Woodrow and Kirby streets, just a few blocks away.
Sunshine Cleaners, ca. 1945