The property at 511 North Church Street was bought by Vinton Liddell in 1891 for $3,000. The house that stands on that lot now was built by Mr. Liddell and was the residence of the McNinch family for most of its history.
Mr. Samuel Sylvanus McNinch (1867-1929), the first of four Sam McNinches, served as Mayor of Charlotte from 1905 to 1907. At his invitation, President William Howard Taft visited in the house when he came to Charlotte to participate in the celebration of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, May 20, 1909.
Political involvement had become a tradition in Sam McNinch’s family, beginning with his father, Franklin Alonzo McNinch (1841-1893), a South Carolina native who fought in the Civil War. Mr. McNinch served three terms as Charlotte’s chief of police, and he was a highly respected trial justice for fifteen years. The old Pioneer Fire Company elected him as its first chief, and later he was elected chief of the Volunteer Fire Department.
In 1929, S.S. McNinch (Sam the First) passed away and was survived by four children, one of whom, Miss Mattie McNinch, never married and resided in the home until 1978. As part of the Fourth Ward revitalization effort, the home was purchased by an enterprising Ellen Davis, who has operated several signature businesses, helping to fund the ongoing restoration.
The Liddell-McNinch House is of the authentic Queen Anne/Shingle style. Participants of the Fourth Ward Preliminary Survey, sponsored by the Mecklenburg County Landmarks Commission in March 1975, felt that it was possibly the finest representative of that style in North Carolina. The house currently stands on the National Historic Register. The exterior of the house is covered with shingles on the upper portion, clapboards on the lower portion, and patterned slate on the roof. Tower, wings, gables, and porches are massed together and topped with an eyebrow window. The interior has fine, richly molded woodwork upstairs and down, created by Victorian craftsmen led by world-famous architect Mr. Karl Bitter, who duplicated many of the designs at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, including the beautiful coffered ceiling in the Library. The 10 fireplaces are all tiled and there is a three-way fireplace opening into the foyer, library, and dining room.