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The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission (CMHLC) is continuing its efforts to preserve the special character of Mecklenburg County’s outlying towns.

By preserving their historic buildings and sites, these fast-growing towns can retain their individual identities. The Commission has two upcoming projects in the Town of Matthews.​

Phillips House and Morris Barn, 131 West Charles Street, Matthews
The CMHLC is in the process of designating the Phillips House and Morris Barn as local historic landmarks.  Once designated, the HLC will purchase the property and Margaret Phillips will reside in the house as a life tenant.
The Phillips House and Morris Barn are important for their association with the Phillips family of Matthews. 
Oscar Luther “Pete” Phillips served as the postmaster for the Town of Matthews from 1933 to 1953, as a member of the Town Board and Mecklenburg County School Board, and was a prominent citizen whose efforts brought electricity and new businesses to Matthews. As the longtime director of the Carolina Room at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Library, Mary Louise Phillips, Pete’s youngest daughter, was prominent in the area of local history in Mecklenburg County.  Mary Louise and her sister Margaret Phillips became “town institutions”, living in their childhood home in the center of town, and remaining physically and socially active into their late-nineties.
While all surviving historic barns in Mecklenburg County are important artifacts of the agricultural history of the area, the Morris Barn is extremely significant as the only identified surviving “in-town” barn in the county. The dividing line between town and country was not always as distinct as it is today; people in Matthews and other outlying towns kept cows, chickens, pigs, and other barnyard animals. Once quite common, town barns are now a thing of the past, except for the Morris Barn, named after the previous property owner.
The CMHLC will offer the property for sale. Protective deed covenants will guarantee that the Phillips House and Morris Barn will be preserved in perpetuity.
R.F. Outen Pottery, 430 Jefferson Street, Matthews
The CMHLC is in the process of designating the interior and exterior of the workshop building, and approximately 1.119 acres of land associated with the R.F. Outen Pottery.
Once designated, the CMHLC will purchase the pottery and the associated parcels from Frank Outen. The Town of Matthews will then purchase the pottery and associated parcels from the CMHLC and the site will become a working pottery. The pottery will be open for adults and children to participate in the age-old craft of pottery. Protective deed covenants will guarantee that the Outen Pottery will be preserved in perpetuity.
The R. F. Outen Pottery is a rare surviving example of a workshop and pottery that produced utilitarian earthenware and stoneware for local use from local clays. Rufus F. Outen (1905-1983) was one of the last traditionally-trained potters in North Carolina. Rufus Outen’s son, Frank Outen, is the current owner of the pottery.
The Outen Pottery has the potential of being a transformative feature in the Town of Matthews. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Arts and Science Council recognized this potential and joined with the CMHLC and the Town of Matthews in funding a study of the cultural significance of the site.
For images of the Phillips House and Morris Barn or the R.F. Outen Pottery building, please contact the CMHLC below.
For more information about the projects, view the Phillips House and Morris Barn research report and Commission survey here and the R.F. Outen Pottery research report and Commission survey here.