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Interview with Charles H. Boney,  May 7, 2010 | UNCW Archives and Special Collections Online Database

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Interview with Charles H. Boney,  May 7, 2010
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May 7, 2010
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Interviewee: Boney, Charles H. Interviewer: Seapker, Janet / Parnell, Jerry Date of Interview: 5/7/2010 Series: SENC Notables Length 70 minutes

Seapker: Okay. My name is Janet Seapker, I'll be interviewing Charlie Boney, Charles H. Boney, former member of the architectural firm of Leslie N. Boney. We are in the LS3P Offices on Independence Boulevard, and our videographer this morning is Jerry Parnell with the University of North Carolina. Wilmington. And Ashley Wiles, pardon me, is helping with the images. So Charlie, I've been wanting to do this interview for a long time, because I feel like this architectural firm has played such a huge role in the built environment of Wilmington, but also the environment of--built environment of North Carolina, and surrounding states as well, so it's a privilege to be doing this, this morning. Tell us a little bit about the history of the Boney family and how you came to be in Wilmington.

Boney: Basically, my father went to North Carolina State University, which was A and M, Agriculture and Mechanic Arts and he took drafting, and he sort of got into that business with very little training. But he was from Duplin County, that's where all the Boneys come from, and they owned a good bit of land, from Wallace all the way down to Pender County border. They had--when he graduated from North Carolina State, he went to work--he graduated in textile engineering, and he went to work in a textile factory over in Rockingham, and he breathed that lint for about six months and decided that wasn't for him, so he went back home to Wallace, and got a job in a bank, and started planning people's residences and designing of banks and churches and that sort of thing. After a while, he decided he would come to Wilmington and work for the J.D. Wilkins Company, in the design and construction of New Hanover High School. So that's the way he got into Wilmington, and he joined the firm of Gause, and when Mr. Gause died in 1922, he took over the office, and so that's how he got started in the business.

Seapker: I had read that he had worked for a short time, I think 1904 to 1906, for Charles McMillen, who was a Minnesotan who came here to design and build the Masonic Temple on Front Street. And I hadn't realized that he'd worked with McMillen. I've been doing some studying on that man for a little bit. So that was an interesting insight.

Boney: So he moved back and forth from Wallace to Wilmington.

Seapker: Do you know if Wilkins--I know he's identified as being from Florence, South Carolina, did he actually have an office here?

Boney: No, I don't think he ever had an office here. But my dad sort of took the place of an office. In other words, wherever Dad was, it was probably where the office was.

Seapker: It was pretty easy to set up an office in those days.

Boney: That's right.

Seapker: Get your drawing board, and . . .

Boney: Well I think what's interesting to note about the New Hanover High School, that the people objected so much to a location of that. They said, "Why are you putting the high school so far out in the country, 13th Street. Of course they were used to it being down at the corner of 6th and Anne.

Seapker: But do you feel as though your father was chiefly responsible for the design of that building, New Hanover High School?

Boney: I'm not sure, but I'm sure he had a lot to do with it. It looks like one of his buildings.

Seapker: Mm-hmm, and I know that the firm has been noted for designing and building schools, all over creation. How many counties do you have schools in, in North Carolina?

Boney: I don't know, at one time, we had 500 schools that we had done, and additions and so on. But my father, back in the 1920s, was designing schools all over the state of North Carolina. I mean, from the mountains to the sea. And things were going real great, until 1929, when the bottom dropped out, and nobody was building anything, and most particularly they didn't need an architect. So at a point, Dad didn't have two jobs to rub together, as they say, so he had to pull in from the Murchison Building, where he had lots of draftsmen and architects, and give up the office there. And I have a picture of him with a drawing board in our dining room on 5th Street.

Seapker: Oh, no kidding.

Boney: And that was his office. And he would call in his secretary every now and then to do specifications for a small job. And hooray for the WPA, you know, people talk about subsidizing folks and of course the post office was one of the WPA jobs, the downtown post office. And they hired artists to do the murals and so on down there. But Dad struggles through the depression, with some help from the WPA work.

Seapker: Do you remember anything in particular that WPA funded, that--

Boney: One of the additions to the hospital.

Seapker: To James Walker?

Boney: James Walker Hospital, right. And some additions to schools and then, of course, came 1940, and 1941 and 1942 and so on, when everybody--20,000 people descended on the city and needed schools and residences and so on.

Seapker: Now you are one of five children. Two girls--

Boney: Right, two sisters, and three boys.

Seapker: And will you enumerate their names, please?

Boney: Mary Boney-Sheets she was the oldest of the children, and them came Leslie Junior, then Bill, and then Charles, and then Sue, and Sue was born in 1930, so she was a depression baby.

Seapker: And you all, except for Mary, were involved in the firm.

Boney: Yes, mm-hmm. Sue was the secretary for 30-some years.

Seapker: Not like a secretary who took dictation, necessarily, but the secretary of the company.

Boney: Yes, right.

Seapker: And what role---

Boney: She was a little bit of everything. She was the secretary of the company, doing mimeograph machine work and so on.

Seapker: And what role did each of you boys play in the firm?

Boney: Well, Leslie was in the marketing end of the business, and he was good at it, and so then Bill came along, and he handled mostly the engineering and construction aspects of it, and when I graduated from School of Design, I came here into the firm, and took care of the design, and site planning for the firm.

Seapker: And each of the three boys went to what became North Carolina State.

Boney: Yes, right.

Seapker: It was School of Design when you were there?

Boney: Well I had one year before World War II, when I went in the army. I had one year at the School Of Engineering. It was called Architectural Engineering, at that time. And when I got back from the service in 1946, there was a new school of design formed by (inaudible) and it was a completely different situation. It had nothing to do with engineering, and so I was into that school for five years, a five year bachelor of architecture degree.

Seapker: And your siblings would have graduated from the old school, or from the old architectural engineering.

Boney: Architectural Engineering, yes, Leslie and Bill. Leslie graduated in 1940, and he was 20 years old. He was in ROTC, and couldn't get a commission because he wasn't old enough. And he also passed the architectural examination when he was 20 years old, and he couldn't get his license. So he was young for his time. So--and then Bill came along, and he got his license, too. And so we all melded with my father, in the architectural firm.

Seapker: What was your first building to design?

Boney: The first project I had anything to do with in the office was the citing of the USO building at the corner of Second and Orange Streets. Dad had the commission to do the citing of this prototype building. They built this same building all over the world. And so Dad called me in and said, "I want you to draw the site plan for the building, and site it on this piece of property, so I did.

Seapker: And was another one of your early projects Taylor Homes?

Boney: Yes, Taylor Homes was the first low rent housing project, they called it. It was also called a slum clearance project, and it was the first project of its type in the state of North and South Carolina, and so my father really guinea pigged this low rent housing project, and he was going back and forth to Washington, to make sure he dotted all the I's on it. But that was one of the projects that brought my father out of the depression, and picked up his office on the sixth floor of the Murchison Building, and began hiring different architects again.

Seapker: So he went back to the Murchison Building.

Boney: That's right.

Seapker: I guess that was the only prime office space in town, wasn't it, or just about it.

Boney: It was, yeah, it had all the doctors and the lawyers and everybody in the Murchison Building. But he kept that office until after World War II, and he then--we had the house at the corner, at 120 South 5th Street, and we had the basement there, and we gradually started moving the drawing boards into the basement, because Leslie and I lived upstairs, and so we had--it was very easy for us to go down and do a little work at night down there. And gradually, we abandoned--we kept the office at the Murchison Building, and we'd go down there two or three days a week, and then we'd come back to the office at the house. And gradually we decided it's foolish to have an office downtown when we've got all this space in the house, and it was so much more convenient for my father. So we moved into that office, and stayed there for 40 years, at 120 South 5th Street.

Seapker: Is it the--was it the WPA projects that really got the Boney Architectural Firm going on schools, or--I mean, I know he had been involved in designing New Hanover High School before then.

Boney: But he built a prototype school all over the state of North Carolina. It was very similar to the Topsail High School, very similar to Forest Hills, and he had I don't know how many schools he built, but they were just at least 100 schools all over the state. Many were in Columbus County, Williams Township, Saratoga, all those places. But he specialized in schools, and that's where he got his start.

Seapker: I guess most firms have a specialty, but I think, for instance, when y'all worked on what became New Hanover Regional Medical Center, New Hanover Memorial Hospital, you had said that your father had put a wing on James Walker, but hospitals, by the 1960s, were so much more detailed and intricate and technologically advanced, how would you work out buildings of that specification where you have such . . .

Boney: Well, of course, New Hanover Regional Medical Center in the 1960s, we were interviewed for that job, and we brought in a consultant from New York, named Joseph Blumenkranz, and my brother Leslie had worked with him during war days, when Leslie was down at the Corps of Engineers here in Wilmington, as a Second Lieutenant, and he was in charge of some of the medical facilities that were being built. Also he watched this man--they built several veterans hospitals at that time and Joseph Blumenkranz from New York, was the consultant for the US government on those hospitals, and Leslie had a chance to talk with him, and mentored by him, and so when this hospital project came up in 1964--1963, he said, I'm going to get this one man who is an expert in hospitals, to be my consultant, so he brought in Joseph Blumenkranz, and he was a consultant for the hospital. So you bring in talent of various sorts in order to take care of it. My dad also did hospitals, in Brunswick County and Dosher Memorial was one of them, and also Columbus County Hospital, so in addition to James Walker.

Seapker: In--well I guess both in building buildings here and elsewhere in North Carolina particularly, who was your stiffest competition?

Boney: Here in North Carolina, or in Wilmington?

Seapker: Both.

Boney: Well, we didn't have a whole lot of competition back in the early days, in the 1920s. There were no architects. Now in Wilmington, I guess we've got 100 architects, but greatest competition, state wide would be a fellow named John Ramsey, in Salisbury. He did all the schools in Rowan County for ten years, I suppose, and he was right there. But one of the things, Janet, that I'd like to point out, is that so many architects specialize in one facet of architecture. Some architects say that they want to be only residential architects, and others say, "I want to do nothing but schools, I want to do nothing but education buildings, or I want to do medical buildings." Well, it was fortunate for us during the hard times that we could switch from one to the other. In other words, there was a time when I was designing banks all over, starting with Cooperative Bank and then Waccamaw Bank, and then Whiteville, and so on, but so we could move from medical work when nobody was building schools, switch over, and then when people were running out of work in the school building business, we would switch over to the housing, and we did dormitories, and so on, and then we also, when there was a slow time in the medical business, we moved into the community college business. We designed the--out of the first ten community colleges in the state, we designed six of them from start, from scratch. We studied the community college business from California, that had started it, the community college business. We studied what they were like in California, and all over the country, and so we did our homework, and got, fortunately, many of the community colleges. Then from there on, we designed probably 20 community colleges. We just finished a building--the firm just finished a building up in New Bern, Craven? The Siemens building, and it--we had a shop for the--a designed shop for the Siemens Company there on the campus of the community college and this particular shop designed the dishwashers for the Siemens Company.

Seapker: Oh for heaven sakes. That's pretty specialized, isn't it?

Boney: That's right. So my father said that, years ago he said, "Boys, you can count on, in this business, a dip about every seven years. He said, the business is like a sine curve, it will just--you'll be riding high, and then all of a sudden, you have to hit a low. Well fortunately, because, as I said, we were diversified, we didn't go through those low times, you know? We had, of course, a few dips, but basically we could shift from one thing to another. The thing we didn't shift to was the residences.

Seapker: That, I think would be maddening, to have to try to please every homeowner.

Boney: Well, of course, each one of us, as architects, design kitchens for friends, you know, but we don't depend on that for our livelihood.

Seapker: You designed your own homes.

Boney: That's right.

Seapker: Did Bill design his?

Boney: He put a lot of additions onto his home in Magnolia, but Leslie and I designed our houses, over on Gillette.

Seapker: Well let's talk about some of your favorite buildings.

Boney: Well, my starship is Cooperative Bank, at Second and Dock, which is now First--which is now First Bank, and--if I can get it on this thing here--this is Cooperative Bank, this is a picture of the sculpture out in front, and when I was given the commission to do this building, I wanted to do things different for this building, I wanted to have some streetscape sculpture, I wanted to bring trees back to downtown Wilmington, and so that was my--one of my thrusts for the building. The building itself was designed somewhat in the Mies van der Rohe era, less is more, and the rigid facade of bronze curtain wall. The--I was searching for the bronze curtain wall for details, and so I called the General Bronze Company in New York, and asked them what they had in the way of details for a curtain wall. And they said, "Well, we have the dyes for the Seagram Building in New York. And I said, "Well that's going to be too expensive." He said, "Well, you have a couple of stories building, and this one was 20 stories, and you don't need the heft in it, so they said, "Well take the dyes from the Seagram Building, and reduce the thickness of the metal, and keep the same exterior. So when you see the curtain wall here, it is the same dyes as the Seagram Building. And I went to Mr. Willis with this bronze wall, and I gave him two prices for aluminum and bronze, and immediately, he said, "We're going to do it in bronze, period." So, the black granite came from Cool Springs, Minnesota, and very stark sort of a building.

Seapker: And that was built in 1960 . . .

Boney: 1950.

Seapker: 1950 wow, okay.

Boney: Wait a minute, 1959, 1959. My daughter was born the day we had the opening for it.

Seapker: Well, you'll never forget her birthday, will you?

Boney: That's right, that's right. The sculpture out front was designed and executed by Roy Gussow, who's a sculptor of some fame, and this building and the sculpture were entered in the New York architectural gold medal program. Didn't win an award, but it was a part of that program. This is a stainless steel sculpture, and the owner of the bank wanted to have an eagle spread against the wall. And I said to him I had a different idea about this business of the eagle, and so he said, "Well you tell me what you want." I said, "I want a sculptor to do a piece here." And so he--the sculptor did a 12 inch model of it and I took it to him at his house to show him the model of what this thing was going to be like, and he had wanted an eagle. And I said, "Well, we'll sort of see what we can do." So as I showed him the model of this particular piece of sculpture, he said--he walked around it, and he said, "Well, Charlie, that's certainly not an eagle." I said, "Well, it's close, it had the wing-like situation, you know." He said, "Charlie, if that's what you want, we'll do it." So that's how that particular thing got done, stainless steel sculpture by Roy Gussow.

Seapker: Can you spell Gussow, please?

Boney: G-U-S-S-O-W. Roy Gussow. I had another bank, the Waccamaw Bank, in Downtown Whiteville, The Waccamaw Bank and Trust Company headquarters building, and I've got a picture of it somewhere, I guess. Right. And so I told Roy Gussow, I called him up in New York, and I said, "Roy, I've got another project for you." And I said, "What--do you have some time to do another piece of sculpture for me in front of this bank I'm doing in Whiteville?" And immediately he said, "Charlie, you know, I've hit the big time." I said, "What do you mean?" He said, "Well, I just got a commission for 20,000 dollars to do a piece of sculpture in front of the Xerox Headquarters in Arizona, or wherever it is." And I said, "Well, what have you got that we could use there?" And he said, "Well, I'm afraid I don't have anything. I've got a 16 inch piece of sculpture you can put in the main lobby." So I said, "What am I going to do?" He said, "Well, I've got a protege, a fellow that was a student of mine at NC State, Victor Pickett, and he's now up at the University in Richmond, and you might call him." So Victor Pickett did this particular piece here. He--you can't tell an artist what to do, and so I said, "Victor, I'm not going to tell you what--I just will tell you that I want this piece of sculpture in the middle of a pond here. I can't tell you what to do, but Waccamaw is an old Indian name." And from that point on, he came up with this Indian thing, you know, and so that's how he developed that particular piece of sculpture. The bank has changed hands several times, and they have done away with this particular piece of sculpture there, and has bulldozed that whole area, and we found out that the sculpture, what had happened to it. We found it was over in a yard of the man who was the landscape fellow, and he had just picked it up and put it in his yard. And so Leslie and I discovered where it was, and so Leslie went over and bought it from the man, and now it's in front of his house on Gillette Drive.

Seapker: Talk to us some about the design of this building, and what sort of stylistic inheritance it has and carries.

Boney: Well one of the things that is something to remember about basic architecture, you don't use more than a couple of materials on the exterior of a building. The least number of materials you have, the better the architecture is going to be. If you ride down--go out to Mayfair, and on that road to Mayfair, you'll see all these banks and so on. And I'll bet you that every one of those banks and buildings has at least ten different materials on the exterior. They have brick, and the brick will be of several colors, and strong architecture is just not there.

Seapker: Are they harking back to the Victorian antecedents, where more is better, and just pile it on?

Boney: Color, yeah. No, I think there's just not much thought that goes into the architecture these days. There's one building out there on Military Cutoff, that's a brand new bank, and it was designed by a local architect, and he used two materials, and it's head and shoulders above the rest of the buildings out there that have so many things going on, so many materials. He used two materials, one was a tan stone, and the other was a tan brick, and that was the architecture.

Seapker: Well this Waccamaw Bank and Trust Headquarters, to me is so classical, you know, it's got straight lines, it just is a very rational, classical design. Is that pretty much--

Boney: Well it has a rigid sort of a structural frame, and that's expressed in those columns, and then the windows alongside the columns are--I hate to say that it was of an era of the slits, the architecture now are going into a slits mode. But it has a rigid sort of a feel to it, and here again, there's one material on the exterior, that is precast stone.

Seapker: And that heavy cornice, that reminds me of classical buildings as well.

Boney: Right.

Seapker: Okay, what other buildings do you like? You had mentioned--

Boney: UNC Charlotte, the dormitories there, we designed those in four quadrants per floor, 12 students per side, and this was the--because we had a lot of interior space, we had to have it air conditioned. And the state of North Carolina said, "No, you can't air condition these dormitories." We said, "Why?" And they said, "Because no other colleges have air conditioned dormitories." And we said, "All right, what we'll do is just take an off bid on air conditioning." So because the building was so crisp, and, pardon the expression, so well designed, it--the bids came in well under the budget, and with air conditioning, and so that then said to the state of North Carolina, the rest of our dormitories are going to be air conditioned.

Seapker: Well I remember working for the state in the early 1970s, and they would buy state cars on mass bids. The cars with the lowest bids would come in with air conditioning, and they would yank the air conditioning out. So I think they just had a bias against air conditioning in general. What folly.

Boney: Yeah, right, but that's one of the nice projects that I designed and liked. And Alderman School, is another one right here in Wilmington. And that school was--we were given the commission to design that building in January of the year. We finished the plans in--this was out in the middle of the woods. We had to create a road to get all the materials in to this school. And we designed it and took bids on the project in March, and moved into the school in September. That's how fast it went.

Seapker: Holy smokes.

Boney: Holy smokes is right. And that building was an award winner within the state of North Carolina, award of merit, and at the same time, another architect had a school that was designed-- I've forgotten what school it is now, but at any rate, it was an award winner also, and so one of the members of the school board said, at a meeting, that, when they awarded other school projects to architects, he got up and he said, "I'm telling you right now, we're not having any more award winning schools," indicating that if it's an award winning school, it's got to be expensive. So he said we're just not going to have any more award winning schools.

Seapker: Of course, you wouldn't know it was an award winner until after it was built.

Boney: That's right.

Seapker: So good luck trying to figure that out. Get your crystal ball out. Alderman, I believe has some sort of colored panels. Are they blue, underneath the windows?

Boney: Blue porcelain panels under the windows, and they haven't changed their color over the years.

Seapker: So they're porcelain.

Boney: Blue will fade--yes, blue will fade if it's paint or whatever, but these panels are porcelain, and they've never faded. They've stayed pretty much as they are.

Boney: Was it sort of revolutionary to introduce color into a building such as this? I remember my junior high school having some kind of color panels on them.

Boney: Well, of course, the Georgian schools didn't have a whole lot of color, except for the red brick. But we introduced a lot of color, but here again, we tried to reduce the number of materials. See, all in the--the only materials we have on this building are the precast stone and the tan brick, and the porcelain panels, and there were three materials, and the porcelain panels are not too outstanding, but I enjoyed doing this building. It was fast.

Seapker: Another building that you had talked about was the Kinston High School.

Boney: Yes, the Kinston High School was--there were two or three things unique about it. Number one, it was back in my geometry days, and every one of the buildings, the cafeteria, the administration building, the classroom building, were triangles, juxtapositioned together, and they--the construction of the building also was unique, in that I wanted to have no overhangs, no soffits of plaster, no special eave strips and that sort of thing. And I designed all of the exterior walls with one panel of precast stone. It went from the ground all the way up to the top, and we had no projections, no eaves, no vents or anything in it. So that entire building was--it was designed that way, and every building was either a trapezoid, you can see it here, or a triangle. And one of the comments that I had from the school--the state government, the Board of Education school, when they criticized the construction here, the critic, who was a funny guy, sent me a crit of this particular plan, and he sent it to me on a triangular piece of paper. His letter was a triangle, and he was joshing with me about it. But I am very proud of that building. You can see that it has no overhangs on it. The main classroom building is the one in the foreground, with the strip windows. And I got another crit from this man up in school planning, and he said, "I think it's interesting that you had to get away from the triangles and the trapezoids in your plan, because you couldn't play basketball in a gymnasium that was a trapezoid." So it is a rectangular building.

Seapker: And do you remember what year this was done?

Boney: Back in about 1968.

Seapker: That's pretty revolutionary design. Do they still like it?

Boney: Oh yeah, in fact, they liked it so much that they called me in not too long ago, to design a new performing arts center, and--you got a picture of that, Ashley? Ashley Wiles: I do.

Boney: That was in 2001. There it is. And the basic concept was a circle, sticking with the geometry and you can see a little bit of the beginning of the circle. The-- that's a sketch that I did up top, one of the original sketches. Here is a floor plan of the performing arts center, and it has--you can see the circular situation here.

Seapker: So it got in the--okay.

Boney: Here's the stage here. And these are the ancillary facilities in here.

Seapker: So the ancillary would be, like storage rooms, classrooms?

Boney: Classrooms, yeah.

Seapker: Okay, and that would probably serve the community as well as the school system.

Boney: Yes, right, mm-hmm. This is similar to the Brunswick Community College Auditorium, but it's not used that way. In other words, they are not bringing in New York shows and that sort of thing, but the fly loft and so on, are designed so that we could bring in quite a number of performing arts things, and New York and wherever.

Seapker: Let's see, staying with the school theme here, you had also mentioned Hoggard High School.

Boney: Yes. I designed Hoggard High School and it was designed and then immediately we added an addition onto it. One of the things I wanted to do there was to provide a student forum type of thing. You can see there in the foreground, where all those people are, this covered terrace, and that was designed to give the school a student forum sort of an attitude, covered place. Here again, I designed the building with very few materials, so all we have there is a tan brick and precast stone.

Seapker: And what are the various pieces of the building? On the left--

Boney: On the left is the gymnasium and a stage in the gymnasium there. And the library is in the rear of that quadrangle type of place. On the far side are the shops and the lunchroom. Here again, this particular school was designed when air conditioning was just coming in to where we could afford it, and the school boards would provide it. Everybody thought, at the time, that air conditioning was a luxury. In fact, one of the members of the school board said that he would not vote to air condition our schools until 50 percent of the people in New Hanover County had air conditioning in their homes. That was a quote I can remember. So you see in the building here are the classroom building, in the center, you see those--what looks like little balconies there. Well, those were designed so that it would hide the vents from the air conditioning system. We used sort of a motel-like air conditioning unit, and we--here again, we took an alternate on the building to eliminate the compressor that goes in these air handling units. They had heat in them, but they didn't have air conditioning. We took an alternate bid on those to satisfy those people who said we can't air condition this building. And the bids came in so that we could air condition the building, so--but that was a precast stone piece that hid those big louvers in the--for the air conditioning.

Seapker: The baffle.

Boney: The baffle, yeah.

Parnell: What year was this?

Boney: Oh, it was done in the late '60s, I think.

Parnell: Isn't this the same design as Laney?

Boney: Yes, right. Same as Laney.

Parnell: Why don't school boards do that more often, repeat the design of schools?

Boney: They are. They are.

Parnell: They are now?

Boney: We're doing prototypes all over. We've done several here in Wilmington, I recall. I don't remember exactly which ones they are, but we are using prototypes all over the state of North Carolina. Sometimes you can't do a prototype, but many times we can do that, and we've saved a lot of money.

Seapker: And you wouldn't be able to use prototypes in what situations, maybe the topography is very different.

Boney: Well, we have offices up in Charlotte, and Raleigh and so on, and sometimes you get a site that just will not allow you to have the same flat type prototype.

Seapker: Is anybody going to multi-storey schools, or are they sticking with--

Boney: We have done one in downtown Charlotte that was designed for special education students, and it's a two or three storey building.

Seapker: Such a much more efficient use of space.

Boney: Yeah, but the law says you can't put children in kindergarten and grammar school in a building above the ground. So--and of course it's very inexpensive. When you run out of site on a campus, you know, you had to go up. But it's particularly-- this is particularly of concern on community college campuses somewhere, where the initial people bought a piece of land with 20 acres on it, and gradually you've added so many buildings you run out of space, you've got to go up.

Seapker: I don't know when UNCW is going to run out of space, do you, Jerry?

Parnell: No, I don't.

Seapker: Seems like that's an awfully spread out campus.

Boney: When they bought the 50 acres for the New Hanover Regional Medical Center. They said, "That's too much space, we'll never use all that space." Now look at it.

Seapker: Yeah, they're really packed in there. Let's see. You had mentioned also Cape Fear Memorial Hospital.

Boney: Cape Fear Memorial Hospital? Yes, that's one of my favorites. I was the architect for Cape Fear Memorial Hospital for 25 years, and designed various things. That's a unique plan. When they asked me to put an addition onto Cape Fear, I said, "I don't want an addition going out toward Wrightsville Avenue, that's going to be a big block. I think I'd like to have a softer plan, a softer building. And so I designed a circular building, and so I put a half a circular building there, This was a building that was done in the year 2000, no, excuse me, 1991, and I know that because we called it Project 90. This particular building here, is the main entrance now into the hospital. Stairway on the right, a concourse down the middle, and then I call it a Mussolini balcony up there that is in the main boardroom. Then there is a community auditorium to the left of that on the upper floors. The lower floor here is a radiology part of the building, and here you will notice that we have used only two materials on the exterior, precast stone, white, and the ceramic tile in the little bowed out section there.

Seapker: Now that's not the view that I think of when I think of Cape Fear Memorial Hospital.

Boney: You see it as you drive down. Well, I don't know whether--Ashley, do you have a copy of that circular building? Well over here on the left, is one piece of it. Yes, that's right. All right, so as you drive down, Wrightsville Avenue, you see this round building over on the right. We had a lot of criticism about that building because everybody said it was going to be too expensive to build, because of the circular situation. That building had the simplest structural frame of any building I've done recently. Every beam was the same in a circular situation, and very inexpensive to do it. And it draws attention when you drive down Wrightsville Avenue. This, on the lower level, is surgery and the ancillary facilities for surgery, and on the upper floors are the bedrooms, the patient rooms. After that building was done, then we built the one that you just saw a minute ago.

Seapker: Seems like geometry plays a major role in your designs, and you've had the sort of classical boxes, we've had the triangular school, and now the round buildings.

Boney: I'm a nut for geometry, I guess, as testimony by the Kinston High School. But geometry plays a great part in architecture, and so many times we don't pay any attention to it. This Belleville School is in Brunswick County, and one of the things I like about it is, our interior designer's use of color. When we finished this building, and they had been using it about six months, I went over and talked to one of the classroom teachers, and this man said, "Mr. Boney, please don't ever put patterns in your floor in a school." I said, "Why is that?" He said, "When I bring my class out to take them to the lunchroom, they all skip on those things." It's sort of like a hopscotch situation. So I thought that was an interesting comment. But I like this shot, and we've used this a great deal in our public relations.

Seapker: It's a colorful one. We talked briefly about New Hanover Memorial Hospital, but let's see if we can find a photograph of New Hanover.

Parnell: Original tower.

Seapker: Yeah, there we go.

Wiles: That one?

Seapker: Yes.

Boney: New Hanover Regional Medical Center was designed with seven stories, and then we added another three stories on top of that. This was a design that the total project cost ten million dollars, and we just finished two projects there, the Cameron Women's Center, and also the surgical suite, and both of those cost 200 million dollars. So--

Seapker: Give me those figures one more time. The original cost.

Boney: Ten million dollars.

Seapker: And the two new additions.

Boney: Were 200 million.

Seapker: Ooh, each. Wow.

Boney: Of course you've got the surgical suite, which is a very intense--

Seapker: Heavy technology in there, I'm sure.

Boney: Very heavy, right. Here again, you will notice that I'm using only two materials on the exterior of the building, tan brick and precast stone.

Seapker: And this was out in the absolute boondocks when it was built. Sits high on a hill.

Boney: Right, this is the highest point in New Hanover County, where this hospital is. I remember, I have a picture of my brother Leslie, and the head of the hospital before this was built, crossing a creek to get to this place. That was before 17th Street was built, and, like you said, this was out in the suburbs, I mean, nowhere. The oak trees that you see over on the left, I have another photograph of the oak trees that are little spindly things that are about three inches in diameter. It's amazing to see them now. Here again, we talked about the consultants. Joe Blumenkranz was our consultant for this particular, the man from New York.

Seapker: And on one of the additions, I remember seeing an architectural firm named, and I'm not going to get it right, but it was something like Shedley, Butan and Coolidge. [ph?] I mean there was--

Boney: Shepley Bulfinch, yeah, and they were in--that was the addition, the Zimmer addition.

Seapker: Okay, and were they out of Boston?

Boney: Yes, right. Old firm, one of the oldest.

Seapker: I was going to say, Bullfinch, you can't get hardly any older than that.

Boney: One of the oldest firms in the country. They designed that, and we designed the original building, and I did several additions to the hospital before the Shepley Bulfinch group came in.

Seapker: Having worked a lot on the history of the hospital and medicine in this area, I remember seeing photographs of old James Walker which had been added onto, and added onto, and added onto and added onto and not maintained well. It must have been such a miraculous thing for the community to welcome this hospital into their lives.

Boney: It's amazing. It took a couple of glitches and bond issues before we finally passed a bond issue. But it was one of the greatest things that ever happened to us.

Seapker: Interestingly, one of your competitors, Herb McKim, had been the co-chair.

Boney: He was the prime mover for the bond issue, he really was. He was a hero.

Seapker: Indeed, he was totally special. Another building that you had mentioned, that you were particularly fond of is Little Chapel on the Boardwalk.

Boney: Yes. That was one of the first buildings that I ever did, and The Little Chapel on the Boardwalk was located down south of what I would say is the water tank, the south water tank, down below the Carolina Yacht Club. The hurricane wiped it out, and we talked about putting a new--

Seapker: Is that, Hazel? Was it Hurricane Hazel? '54.

Boney: Hazel, yeah. And we talked about putting a new church back there on that same site. We had a survey, had two surveys done. One was done by one man who started up at station one, and surveyed the land, and then we had another man who came from Lumina and surveyed the land, and when you put the two together, we wound up with 20 feet, you know, there was some concern about where the property line was. So Dr. B. Frank Hall, who came here, retired from St. Lewis, one of the native men, native ministers of Wilmington, took over, and said, we must have a new site for The Little Chapel on the Boardwalk, so he found a site up on Oxford Street, up on the northern end of Wrightsville Beach, and so we began planning the church. And I was given the commission to do that, and so I--this is the pictures you see here. The interior photograph that you see, there's a cross there in the center, and that cross, I didn't want a standard cross of wood, so I designed this cross and built into the glass. In other words, there were four pieces of glass, and I had a piano wire, and hung it in the center of one of the breaks in the glass, and hung that cross there. Another hurricane came along, and took that cross away. It was a little loose in there, but the point I would like to make in this particular thing that was interesting, I had clear glass in that center piece, and the first Sunday we were there, the most beautiful ladies in bikinis walked down Oxford Street, so the next Sunday--that Monday morning I went out there and sprayed that part, you know, in blue. So--

Seapker: And it, today is still in that same configuration.

Boney: Since then, we have added pieces to the right-hand side and the left-hand side of it, and that whole area where the cross is, is stained glass windows by the folks up in Philadelphia.

Seapker: We have about five minutes left, and what was the public reaction to a lot of your modern buildings?

Boney: Well we got a lot of bad telephone calls. One man said that, "Why did you build this filling station and call it a church?" And he said-- this other man said, "I can see a jazz band up here on the main place where you put the sanctuary," the main sanctuary up on top. Then a lot of folks really didn't like it. They were looking for a Georgian church with a steeple, and so on, but--

Seapker: Well I guess people would probably be more inclined to cut you a little slack on modern buildings when they're hospitals, or some function that would imply technology and innovation.

Boney: But churches are either gothic or Georgian, you know.

Seapker: Traditional, that's right.

Boney: Well, I was real proud of this church. The dean of the school of Architecture in Raleigh, I was one of his students, and he said, "Charlie, we've got the South Atlantic Regional Meeting coming up, and I'm going to submit your Little Chapel on the Boardwalk for an award." And I said, "That's fine, go to it." So he did, and it was-- received an award, and we're grateful for that, and I'm real happy about it, and it's had several additions to it.

Seapker: When did you retire from the firm?

Boney: About ten years ago.

Seapker: So about 2000.

Boney: Mm-hmm, right.

Seapker: Okay, well I certainly thank you for doing this interview. I think this is long overdue, and--

Boney: Well thank you very much for making me a part of this.

Seapker: We wouldn't have had any interview if it hadn't been for you. Thank you, Jerry, and Ashley as well.

(Tape Change)

Boney: Janet, one of the things I wanted to tell you about my father was I was looking through some records and, in the newspaper one time, it said, "In 1920, L.N. Boney, architect and engineer, formerly with WJ Wilkens and Company, will be associated with James F. Gause, architect, in the Murchison Bank Building after July the first. Mr. Boney is a graduate of State College and has had 15 years of experience in the architect profession. His friends will be glad to learn that he is not to leave the city."

Seapker: (laughs) Well, I also had him, in 1920, working with James Lynch, James B. Lynch.

Boney: I don't think he ever worked with James Lynch.

Seapker: No?

Boney: Lynch and Ford Architects.

Seapker: Uh-huh, right.

Boney: I don't think he ever worked with them. But he did work with James F. Gause, and Mr. Gause died shortly after he became part of the firm. And my dad took over his firm, and that's how he got started. It was license and so on.

Seapker: I remember when we were trying to put a plaque on at New Hanover High School. The records were so confusing in terms of who the architect really was, because it was this--was it Gause or was it Wilkens?

Boney: You're talking about the New Hanover school?

Seapker: Uh-huh.

Boney: It was Wilkens.

Seapker: Okay. And . . .

Boney: And Gause, I don't think, had anything to do with it.

Seapker: But then Wilkens died and your dad took over.

Boney: Mm-hmm.

Seapker: But we couldn't tell exactly how far along the design was before your dad took over.

Boney: Mm-hmm, yeah.

Seapker: And we finally decided something.

Boney: It's sort of tough. Yeah.

Seapker: I don't remember how we did it. Yeah, that was not easy.

Boney: Back in the days of the 1920s, there was Boney Harper Milling Company, and some of the pieces of Boney Harper Milling Company are still now down in the Cotton Exchange, the building. But Herbert Boney was one of the owners of the-- along with Gabriel Boney, owners of the Boney Harper Milling Company. And at the same time, he was--Herbert Boney was supervising some of the schools that my father did. He would go out to near Charlotte and around those areas.

Seapker: So he actually worked with your father in the firm?

Boney: Yes. Right. And also, his brother, Bruce Boney, who lived in Wallace, was also on the payroll.

Seapker: Okay. So it was your father, Leslie, and then Herbert and Bruce were his brothers.

Boney: Right, mm-hmm.

Seapker: Both of whom worked with the firm. That's interesting.

Boney: Right.

Seapker: I'd never known that.

Boney: Then there was another brother, Gus, who had no part in the operation, but Augustus Boney. But Boney Harper Milling Company--it was interesting to read somewhere that the Boney Harper Milling Company went bankrupt in September of 1929 when the stock market.

Seapker: Just before the crash.

Boney: Yeah, that's right. At that time, there's an article in the newspaper about Herbert Boney taking over as president of the Chamber of Commerce. He took over from Walker Taylor, who said that he had to retire because he didn't have time to dedicate to the Chamber of Commerce.

Seapker: Yeah. That was almost a fulltime job, I think. I mean . . .

Boney: I think so too.

Seapker: . . . it was a very prestigious position.

Boney: Yeah. Then there are, of course, a lot of articles about Gabriel James Boney and the memorial down at Third and Dock Streets.

Seapker: And he, Gabriel Boney, gave the money for that memorial?

Boney: Yes. That was a part of his will, and the Daughters of American Revolution took over the money that was designated for this. And . . .

Seapker: Daughters of the Confederacy or the American Revolution?

Boney: Confederacy.

Seapker: Okay.

Boney: Excuse me. Not the DAO. (laughter)

Seapker: They'd probably like to take credit for it. (laughs)

Boney: Got my wars mixed up. But that was a part of his will. Here's an article about it. "Lawyers clear up one of requests in Gabriel James Boney's will. After delving into the matter thoroughly, local attorneys that had the matter in hand have announced that they construe that a portion of the will of the late Gabriel James Boney, referring to the erection of a memorial to the soldiers of the South who battled for the lost cause, to mean that he wished a monument erected at some suitable place in Wilmington. And the committee, headed by Charles Taylor of the Wilmington Savings and Trust, are making plans to have the memorial monument erected at the earliest possible date."

Seapker: Well, that's a splendid memorial, I must say.

Boney: That was 1921.

Seapker: Because that's--oh, gosh, now I can't remember the sculptor's name.

Boney: Packer.

Seapker: Packer. Francis Packer.

Boney: Right.

Seapker: Nationally known.

Boney: "Mr. Taylor, chairman of the committee, states that there is approximately $20,000 available for the shaft."

Seapker: Wow.

Boney: This monolith that was put up there. One interesting aside is that the Packer monument has this confederate soldier's rifle pointed out, and it goes beyond the monolith, because the bayonet is there, and it goes beyond the monolith. And on several occasions, a truck or something has hit that bayonet and knocked it away. Not too long ago, I called up the mayor--I mean the city manager, and I said, "The bayonet is gone. Do something about it." He said, "I'll take care of it." So he put a bayonet there that was a World War II bayonet.

Seapker: (laughs)

Boney: And somebody said, "Look, that's not proper." So they put another bayonet back up there. And yesterday, I rode by and the bayonet's gone. So . . .

Seapker: (laughs)

Boney: Sticks out too far.

Seapker: They need to make them out of Styrofoam or something.

Boney: Something that'll wiggle.

Seapker: Resilient.

Boney: Yeah.

Seapker: I think about the number of times that the Canaan plaza has been hit by trucks and . . .

Boney: Oh, yeah.

Seapker: . . .I mean not just the fountain, but the et cetera, the benches and balusters.

Boney: Yeah. One anecdote about it is, there was a famous lawyer here in Wilmington, who was famous for going to parties and getting a little bit snockered. And we had a party down on Fifth Street, and we were standing on the porch. And when this man got in his car and took off, he was in no position to drive. But he, instead, went down to the corner and, in making the turn, didn't quite make it and piled into that bench that's there on the northeast corner. And he backed off with his Cadillac and went ahead again and hit it again.

Seapker: (laughs)

Boney: He didn't correct for it, so- he finally got away. But . . .

Seapker: Charlie, we had talked about your father's history and your history, to some extent. In essence, you, Bill and Leslie passed the firm on to the next generation.

Boney: Right. That's right.

Seapker: Do you have to sign a pledge in the womb that you'll be an architect if you're born a Boney? (laughter)

Boney: I think so. I think so. Paul Boney came in first. He's brother Bill's son. And he graduated from State and came into the firm and has been CEO of the firm. And then we merged with LS3P in Charleston. But my son, Charles, came in, and then several years after that, Christopher. Charles got his master's degree at the University of Pennsylvania and worked with several architects up in the Philadelphia area. Then . . .

Seapker: Who's that famous one? Begins with a V.

Boney: Robert Venturi?

Seapker: Venturi, there we go.

Boney: Robert Venturi, yeah.

Seapker: That must have been an interesting experience . . .

Boney: Right. And so he worked up there in the Philadelphia area for a couple of years, working for Venturi. And he called me up one night and said, "Dad, it's too cold up here. I want to come home." (laughter) So he came home and started working in the Charlotte office for a while. Christopher came along and went to University of Virginia for his master's degree, came back.

Seapker: Where'd he go for his undergrad?

Boney: NC State, naturally.

Seapker: (laughs) That's mandatory.

Boney: Nowhere else, right?

Seapker: Uh-huh. (laughs)

Boney: An interesting thing about Christopher was, he went to Woodberry Forest in high school. And the man sat down with Christopher, me, and Christopher's mother and talked about where he was going to college, where he wanted to go. And this man was going to help him with his getting into college. And this man said, "Where would you like to go to college?" And Christopher said, "Well, I'd like to go to North Carolina State or perhaps University of Virginia." The guy stopped him and said, "Look, you can't possibly get into University of Virginia. I mean, there's just no way. You might as well just strike that from your list." He never told us why. I was pretty disgusted with that. I said, "My son is a smart boy and he can get in anywhere." (laughter) So knowing all along that he was going to North Carolina State--there was no question about that--but when he graduated, we looked around different places for him to go to grad school. And he looked at the University of Pennsylvania, University of Virginia, Rice, and several others. And he selected University of Virginia and got in and was valedictorian of his class. I wanted to go back to that guy over in Woodberry Forest and say, "Look, guy, this--you made a big mistake."

Seapker: (laughs) Pummel him over the head with his diploma.

Boney: That's right.

Parnell: Have you all designed many of the buildings at NC State?

Boney: Yes. The first own I designed was Bragaw Dormitory. Then we designed another, Lee Dormitory. And then we designed Sullivan, which is a 14-story dormitory. I designed the agricultural building out there on Western Boulevard.

Parnell: The round building?

Boney: No, no. That was designed by a fellow named Law [ph?], who was on the staff of School of Design. That's an interesting building, and there's some discussion about tearing it down. But it's sort of confusing to a lot of people when you get inside it. I was looking at an article about Dad, and in 1925, "L.N. Boney has been retained by the Kinston School Board to design and supervise the construction of a new, $250,000 high school building to be erected in that city. Mr. Boney, only a few days ago, was selected for the Spencer High School, to cost approximately 125,000." Spencer is over in Rowan County. But he was--in 1925, he designed the Kinston High School. And 50 years later, they called up and said, "We want you to design a new high school." So that's weird.

Seapker: And I think that's the Kinston High School, isn't it?

Boney: Yes, that's it right there.

Seapker: Nice structure.

Boney: Right.

Seapker: Wow! How classical.

Boney: Another thing in this newspaper article in 1925, "F.A. Packer, noted New York sculptor, designer of the Board of Confederate Memorial Monument at Third and Dock is in Wilmington today on business. Mr. Packer also designed the George Davis Monument at Third and Market Street."

Seapker: I wonder if we can pause for a minute.

Seapker: Charlie, I know you and the firm have been involved in designing buildings for you and CW, and apparently your first design is not exactly what they had in mind.

Boney: That's true.

Seapker: Can you talk some about that?

Boney: That's one of the first sketches that we did for the campus in a contemporary fashion. And the board, some of the members of the board liked it, others didn't. And I think that the ones that wanted a more Georgian influenced campus won out, and so that's the way the campus was designed on a Georgian note.

Seapker: Maybe Ashley will show us some other of the modern buildings that you . . .

Boney: My father was very much in favor of doing a Georgian building. That was his forte.

Seapker: Did that building have a name; that design?

Boney: I don't know. I think that was the main administration building. We didn't get too far with that before we were shot down. That's a sketch I did of one of the buildings.

Seapker: So your father remained a classicist?

Boney: Oh yeah.

Seapker: Throughout his life?

Boney: Uh-huh.

Seapker: Didn't cotton to this modern stuff that you boys created.

Boney: No. I was raised in the Mies van der Rohe less is more era, but I could go both ways.

Seapker: Well, that's what drove Ed Turberg out of architecture was the Mies van der Rohe less is more.

Boney: Yeah, right.

Seapker: So the campus then wound up in a much more colonial sphere.

Boney: Yes, right. That's pretty much it.

Seapker: Now, was it your firm--I don't know that campus well enough in detail to know the first building that had the Tower of the Winds column caps on them.

Boney: That was designed by our office also with Ballard, McKim and Sawyer.

Seapker: So which firm or principle came up with the Tower of the Winds column caps?

Boney: Tower of the Winds was my father's favorite column. That's how that happened.

Seapker: Well, it's interesting because they show up--I don't know that many buildings that your father designed, but the one that comes to mind is the courthouse annex behind the red brick courthouse, and on that very classical facade he uses Tower of the Winds, which I think is Wilmington's favorite column cap. You find them on a lot of the Antebellum-houses. They were on the old customhouse on Water Street and that, I think, was the first evidence of them in Wilmington.

Boney: Yep, Tower of the Winds was my father's favorite column cap and he used them everywhere.

Seapker: And I am so glad we had this conversation. I wondered who the champion of Tower of the Winds was.

Boney: Absolutely.

Seapker: Do you have any clue as to how many buildings at UNCW you all designed?

Boney: No. We designed several dormitories back in our era of dormitories. We were designing them all over, and we designed the Belk Dormitory and several others. My favorite building that I designed was the library. I designed the original library and then doubled the size of it.

Seapker: That's a real clean classical structure.

Boney: Pretty simple continuing arches.

Seapker: Let's see. Let's talk a little about the history of the firm. When Leslie Boney's grandson--oh, good idea, these wonderful record books. This is just so amazing seeing how architects kept records. They didn't do it on cell phones and Blackberries.

Boney: This was in 1926, the Carolina Beach Corporation. I don't know what the building was, but it was done in 1926, the checks and so on. And here are the people who were working with dad. A fellow named Bloom and Harrell and McCarl. I remember those people.

Seapker: I've heard the name McCarl before.

Boney: Yeah. Mr. Harrell had an oyster roast place down on--what's the road behind Babies Hospital?

Seapker: Summer Rest.

Boney: Summer Rest Road. He had an oyster roast down there, but he worked for dad. And he would come in after 10:30 in the morning and work for three or four hours and then he would go shoot pool down at his place. When I asked dad about him one time he said, "Charlie. That man can put more lines on the paper in two hours than anybody else I've got, so it was interesting about Mr. Harrell. That's where he was paid.

Seapker: Now thinking about the technology you, obviously, and Bill and Leslie were trained in drafting, putting pencil and pen to paper. Did you ever learn the CAD system?

Boney: In a way. I haven't learned it totally. I always said that I could do it faster and quicker, but it's not true, not true. I have a CAD system myself at home now, which is not the biggest CAD in the world, but it is okay. But I remember the first CAD system that we talked about. One of the members of the firm and I went up to Raleigh to a meeting of the Intergraph Corporation. They had said, "We're going to have a demonstration of CAD system." And the man got up on the stage, and there must have been 50 of us architects and engineers there, and he had a little brochure and he said, "This is the Intergraph Company, and we are a good solid company, and we want to show you what we're doing." At any rate is cost $150,000 dollars to have one station of Intergraph CAD system done. Well, I took the brochure, went home, bought some Intergraph stock and it took off. I didn't buy the equipment. Five or six years later we bought one system and it cost $20,000 dollars. Now you can buy one for $1,500 to get started, and everybody has a CAD station.

Seapker: Do your children, for instance, who are in the architectural profession can they draft?

Boney: Oh yeah, yeah, and they had to sketch.

Seapker: So it's not a totally dead art or dead craft.

Boney: Well, they can do it as well as I did it.

Seapker: Well, good. I'm glad to hear that. Let me see. Your firm merged with LS3P in when?

Boney: In Charlestown, South Carolina.

Seapker: In what year?

Boney: This was about six years ago. LS3P was a man named Lucas and another man named Stewart, I believe, and he has died. And then there were three younger members of the firm with the name started with P. Tom Penney is the only one that's left now, but so that's how that firm came about, LS3P.

Seapker: What generated that merger?

Boney: Well, LS3P was quite anxious to get into the school business in North Carolina, and we had it quote, "sort of locked up." In other words they were great in the medical facilities down in South Carolina, quite a bit in Charleston, and we had no entree in to the medical situation, and administratively we thought it would be a good move. So that's how it happened.

Seapker: And how big a firm was that when the merger took place?

Boney: It's been said that the firm is now in the top 200 in the country in the breath and the amount of projects they have, and so.

Seapker: How many people do you have?

Boney: Last count I heard was about 200.

Seapker: Mercy.

Boney: We have offices in Charleston, Columbia, Greenville, Charlotte, Raleigh and Wilmington.

Seapker: And Greenville is South Carolina?

Boney: Right. So it's been a very good meld of the two firms.

Seapker: Well, good. I still can't get used to saying that name, so sorry. I'll muddle through it. Who were your role models in terms of designers?

Boney: Eero Saarinen was one who designed the Dulles Airport and designed the Saint Louis Arch. And that's another interesting tale about the Saint Louis Arch. You know, his father was an architect who came over from Finland and started Cranbrook College, but they had this competition out there and Eero Saarinen, the younger, designed something for the competition and his father also designed something for the competition. When they decided who would win the competition they called up Cranbrook, and Mr. Eliel Saarinen, the father, answered the telephone and they said, "You have won this award." And so he was going around saying how nice it was that he was doing it, and then suddenly later found that it was his son who had won it, the parabolic arch out there. I have a little statement in my dining room on the wall that says, "Audacity is very often a generator of good architecture," audacity. When you look at the TWA building that had Saarinen did there in New York that looks like wings, the ice-skating and hockey rink at Yale, Dulles Airport with the catenary roof, you look at all those buildings that Saarinen had did and it took audacity to do that. When you look at Frank Lloyd Wright's Guggenheim Museum in New York it took a lot of audacity to come up with that spiral, and so it takes a stroke of boldness sometimes to do good architecture.

Seapker: Certainly breakthrough architecture.

Boney: Right.

Seapker: Things that really change the world architecturally. You and I believe your two brothers were all, are all FAIAs.

Boney: Yeah, right, Fellow of the American Institute of Architects.

Seapker: What does that mean?

Boney: That means that--well, I was walking down the halls of church one Sunday after I had received my fellowship, and a friend of mine put his arm around me and said, "Charlie, isn't that something that they give you when you're old?" So fellowship is given for service to the American Institute of Architects, service to the architectural profession, and so you present yourself to this committee and they judge whether you're worthy, if you had helped the profession in many ways. My son Charles just became a fellow in February and his fellowship was based--his strong suit was based on his radio program about architecture.

Seapker: Oh, interesting.

Boney: He calls it Can We Talk, and he has a book now on his essays that he has given over the period of time on WHQR, and so that was his main thrust. He talked about architecture to 44,000 people in the area through this thing, plus his design abilities and so on, and that's how he was elevated to fellowship.

Seapker: We haven't said anything about the, aside from Sue and briefly Mary, about the women in your family, both those who may be native born Boneys or married into the family.

Boney: My sister Mary started out and she graduated from UNC Greensboro, and she immediately moved into the church work, was Director of Christian Education at a church in Knoxville Tennessee. Then she moved from there to Charleston, West Virginia, and the man who was the minister there at Charleston, West Virginia said that he didn't want her to stay in West Virginia. He wanted to move with him down to Atlanta to Druid Hill Presbyterian Church, so she went down there. And then this minister was selected to be President of Agnes Scott College in Decatur which was right down the road. And he said, "Mary, I want you to come with me and head up my Bible Department." So she stayed there until she retired in the Bible Department at Agnes Scott College, and retired and came back home to Wilmington.

Seapker: And Sue works with the firm?

Boney: Sister Sue worked with the firm as a secretary and the kind of a general manager, really, and lived up over the house, over the office there in the house. And so she did all the-- instead of having a Xerox machine she did mimeograph machine, cranking that thing, so.

Seapker: I know when I wanted attention from any of the Boneys I'd find Sue and then I knew I could get to the others. She knew where all the bodies were buried.

Boney: Yeah, right. Well, she retired from the firm about ten years ago too.

Seapker: And then you married Betty?

Boney: Betty Holland. She was an Agnes Scott girl and my sister Mary knew her down there. And my sister, when she came up to Wilmington to be Director of Christian Education at our church she said, "You go up there now, because I've got two boys. You find a wife for them," and so Betty found her husband in me, so.

Seapker: And Leslie married?

Boney: Lillian Bellamy, right. And their reception for their wedding was in the Bellamy House.

Seapker: That's right. And And they had how many children?

Boney: Three, three children. Emmett is the oldest. She's an attorney in Raleigh. And then there was Mary who is an attorney now in Washington D.C., Chevy Chase, and she is with a firm that deals in art, international art, and she flies from here to Paris quite often and checks on some of the art that they're involved with. And then Leslie Junior, I mean Leslie the third, is now with University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, the greater university, working with Erskine Bowles. And they have two little children.

Seapker: And let's see. Bill married?

Boney: Jessie Leigh Davis. Her father had a series of department stores in Winston Salem, and they had three children. William J. Junior is an attorney. And then Paul came along and then John. And John is working with the Cameron Group in the oil business and Paul is now in the Raleigh office with LS3P.

Seapker: Oh really? I didn't realize he wasn't in Wilmington.

Boney: Right.

Seapker: Okay, have we left anything out? I see Sue.

Boney: Well, that's about it. There's a picture down there, right there on the left second--take a right, one picture to the right, right there. That was taken on the steps of the church. And one Sunday we all had on our seersucker suits. None of us knew anything about it, and Leslie and Les the third on the left, and me in the middle, and then Christopher and Charles Junior we all decided we were going to wear our seersucker suits. I don't know about Leslie's baby.

Seapker: Oh, surely he had one.

Boney: Yeah.

Seapker: That's great. Okay, thank you all.

Boney: You can note that-- well, you can note how dirty that stone is over on the left, pretty bad shape.

Seapker: Okay, thank you.

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