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Carol Wolhford Mesrobian and Caroline Mesrobian Hickman [1], 2013 May 10

Identifier: OH-ME0570

Scope and Contents

In this interview, Carol Wohlford Mesrobian and Caroline Mesrobian Hickman, the widow and daughter of Charlotte architect Ralfe Mesrobian, share Mesrobian family history beginning with Ralfe's parents Mihran and Zabelle Mesrobian. They recount Mihran's career as an architect in Turkey and his service in the Turkish army in World War I, including family lore concerning Lawrence of Arabia's role in rescuing Mihran from execution as a prisoner of war. Other topics include the family's immigration to the United States, family dynamics and involvement in the Armenian church, the effect of Turkish deportation of Armenians on the family, and Mihran's architectural work in Washington, D.C. In shifting the focus to Ralfe, Carol and Caroline share about his interest in and talent for athletics, his education, including how he came to attend Duke University, his service as a Marine pilot in World War II, and his marriage to Carol. They explain the factors that led to his becoming an architect and starting his first job in Charlotte and discuss his relationship with his employers and clients, the scope and style of his work throughout his career, his transition to being an independent architect, and specific projects in Charlotte, including the original Charlotte Airport terminal, private residences, the Spaugh Building at Little Church on the Lane, the Mecklenburg Furniture Store, and the Strawn Apartments in Dilworth.


  • Creation: 2013 May 10

Biographical Note

Carol Wohlford Mesrobian was an 86-year-old woman at the time of interview, which took place in her home in Charlotte, North Carolina. She was born in Charlotte in 1926. She was educated at Myers Park Elementary School, Eastover Elementary School, Alexander Graham Junior High School, and Central High School in Charlotte, at Salem Academy in Winston-Salem, and at Queens College in Charlotte and worked as a homemaker and assistant to her husband in his architectural business. Caroline Mesrobian Hickman was 59-year-old woman at the time of interview, which took place in her mother's home in Charlotte, North Carolina. She was born in Charlotte in 1953. She was educated at Duke University (BA), Tulane University (MA), and UNC Chapel Hill (PhD) and was employed in the Carolina Room at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Public Library, with the Mecklenburg Historical Commission, and as an independent art and architecture historian.


118 Minutes

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English

From the Collection: English

Repository Details

Part of the Oral Histories, J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections and University Archives, UNC Charlotte Repository

Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte
9201 University City Blvd
Charlotte NC 28223 United States

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