Monday, April 18, 2011

History of My Building

My building was built in 1928 by Dave Dermon as The Carolina Apartments.  Mr. Dermon, an immigrant from the Ukraine, has amassed a substantial real estate portfolio  by that time.  He was instrumental in laying the foundation of converting Union from a residential street to a commercial street by developing the first automobile dealerships on that thoroughfare in the early 1910s.  Beginning in the 1920s, he turned his attention to single-family subdivisions, and perhaps most famously, apartment buildings.  He relied on prominent Memphis architect W.C. Lester for the design, as he had done with many other apartment buildings prior to 1928.  Below is the original rendering by Mr. Lester for the building.  Although it appears the building was set back from the street with a substantial front yard, this was artistic license.  Madison had been widened some 20 years prior to the construction of the building.

And here is the original advertisement from the Sept. 2, 1928, edition of the Commercial Appeal:

A photo of the newly constructed building:

Here's an ad from the July 17, 1938, Commercial Appeal.  Note the fact that the Depression caused Mr. Dermon to lower the rents at the Carolina (listed here as "1791 Madison") by $10 in a ten year-time span.

From the 1952 Sanford Atlas:

In 1985, the units in the building were combined with the intent of converting the structure to condominiums.  Although the units were doubled in size at this time, the conversion did not occur until 2005.  Here is a story from the January 20, 1985, edition of the Commercial Appeal:

A photo of the building in 1994:

And a shot from the summer of 2009.  The condominium owners' association in early 2009 constructed a retaining wall along the front facade and installed new landscaping.  Note the crepe myrtles' growth since 1994 and the absence of the Bradford pears.

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