Thursday, February 12, 2015

E. L. Moore’s residence and The Clarabel Hotel

[E. L. Moore's residence in Charlotte, North Carolina via Google Streetviews]

"Build me a hotel for my very own," said my wife in one of her more demanding moods. This being one of the less expensive ways of appeasing her (much less than the price of a dress or shoes!) I decided to humor her. Leafing through a stack of prototype snapshots, I asked, "How about this'n?" It was a three-gable front with lots of fancy railing that I'd been intending to build for some time, and now that Grandt Line railing was available the time was ripe ... and she fell for it as I figured she might. However, when it came to building it I cheated a bit, making a two-gable front hotel.

That was E. L. Moore’s explanation for why he built The Clarabel Hotel, and what he based it on, that appeared in the February 1974 issue of Railroader Modeler. However, let me suggest an alternative for the prototype source material: he used his own residence and 19th century-ized it to get the hotel.
[The glamour shot for The Clarabel Hotel build that appeared in the Feb '74 issue of Railroad Modeler]

Awhile back I posted that E. L. Moore lived on Pine street in Charlotte, North Carolina, but nothing remained today except a parking lot and a dumpster. Recently Vince informed me of another address that an ex-RMC editor told him the magazine had on file back-in-the-day to get in contact with Mr. Moore,

525 Oakland Ave., Apt. 3
Charlotte, North Carolina, 28204

From examining the ‘evidence’ again it’s looking like E. L. Moore lived at the Pine street address until the late ‘50s or early ‘60s, and then moved to the Oakland address and lived there throughout the ‘60s and into the ‘70s.
 [E. L. Moore's place on Oakland Avenue.]
His Oakland apartment building subconsciously  reminded me of The Clarabel Hotel project – strangely, I woke up in the middle of the night with the connection.
[The side windows are visible in this Google Streetviews shot]
The residence and model share several major features: twin gables on the façade, upper and lower balconies, overall size and proportions are roughly similar, central entrance to a central hallway and staircase, similar side window organization. The Clarabel Hotel is his own residence in a 19th century disguise. – well, at least, as Yogi Berra might have said, the similarities are rather similar :-)


  1. More fascinating detective work! A wonderful revelation and I think you are spot-on. Looking at the modern shots, I wondered if the gables were plastic additions but no, there they are on the model. It displays all the slight irregularities that would plausibly be made when taking a prototype for inspiration rather than slavishly copying. Like E L, I would have decided not to make the brick piers as well...too much bother!

    1. Looking around at the houses near his in Streetviews, his seems unique with respect to older ones that are still left. His neighbour to the left has a somewhat similar structure, but it has a hip roof and a dormer instead of the gabled front - it's quite interesting in its own right.

  2. This was by far my favorite building, especially all the detail inside when the roof was removed.

    J L Dixon

    1. I agree, it was amazing. All the detail in those rooms was excellent, and a few also showed his great sense of humour!