Carver Inn

Image of the family home prior to it being made into the Carver Inn.

Home before being an inn from Agnes Cross-White's book.

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A photo of the Carver Inn with signage.

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Known Name(s)

Carver Inn


701 Preston Ave. Charlottesville, VA

Establishment Type(s)


Physical Status



Per Sandra DeKay at the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society, the Carver Inn was a large, stately white house demolished decades ago. The first photo on the left is the house as presented in the book, “Charlottesville – The African American Community” by Agnes Cross-White who described the Carver Inn that was located at 701 Preston Avenue as the “premier hotel for blacks in the 1940s and 1950s”.

In the book “Charlottesville”, by Eryn S. Brennan and Margaret Maliszewski, it was noted that the building was originally constructed in 1919 as a home for the owner of King Lumber Company and was intended to be a model of the company’s “high-quality work”.

The second photo on the left, courtesy of the family of Mrs. Beatrice Fowlkes, is a circa 1950 image of the Carver Inn that hosted such distinguished guests as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Hattie McDaniel, as well as individuals and families seeking a rest stop during segregation. The hotel, which housed a private club, also served as a local event space. It offered fine dining, a snack bar, and a beauty parlor.

While not physically located in the Vinegar Hill neighborhood, the Carver Inn was demolished in the 1970s as part of the large-scale urban renewal of the majority African American Vinegar Hill neighborhood.

Detailed History

In an article that appeared in the November 21, 1971 Charlottesville Daily Progress newspaper (shown at left), Mr. Theodore W. McLeod related that he and Mrs. Beatrice Fowlkes purchased what had been a family home and turned it into a 10-room hotel known as the Carver Inn. Mr. McLeod, who had experience in dining facilities at The Homestead and on railroads, served as primary chef at the Inn. Mrs. Fowlkes ran the hotel business and the in-house beauty parlor. After Mrs. Fowlkes died and Mr. McLeod retired, Mrs. Fowlkes’ sister, Mrs. Annabelle Irving, operated the Inn.
In several City Directories of the 1950’s, the beauty parlor was listed as the Apex Beauty Parlor. However, in the 1959 city directory it was listed as the Carver Inn Beauty Parlor. Those directories sometimes listed Mr. McLeod as Theo W. McCloud.
Mrs. Fowlkes died on February 22, 1969 and was buried at Lincoln Cemetery in Albemarle County, Virginia. Mr. McLeod died on April 30, 1986 and was buried in Hampton, VA.  
Many thanks to Jane Smith for the Daily Progress newspaper article and to Edwina St. Rose for the biographical information for Mrs. Fowlkes and Mr. McLeod.

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