The Merritt-Hoyle house is a fine example of the Colonial Revival style that was popular in the early twentieth century. It was built for May Crouse Merritt and her husband John, a railway conductor, right after their marriage in 1900. Dr. William L. Crouse, for whom the Community of Crouse is named and a member of the North Carolina legislature in the 1880s and 1890s, gave his daughter and her husband the funds to build the house as a wedding gift. It is thought that C.C. Hook, a noted Charlotte architect, was responsible for the design of the house.
Notable on the outside of the house are the large front porch and two “sleeping porches” on the side on both the first and second floors. A Steward and Company iron fence is original to the house and surrounds the lot. The house is known for its woodwork in the stair hall and living room. There are several light fixtures in the house that are original having been converted from kerosene to electric. The house has four bedrooms, a ‘crib room”, and six fireplaces.
The Merritts had four children, Annie, John, Martha and Flora, but unfortunately only Flora survived past infancy. Perhaps this is the reason that the house has long been rumored to be haunted. There have reportedly been sightings of figures floating in the stair hall and music seems to come from one of the bedroom closets. The door to the upstairs “crib room” refuses to stay open and the family dogs seem to bark at things unseen. Perhaps the strangest incident happened once when a glass of water mysteriously moved from a bedside table to the middle of the bed without a drop being spilled. There is no evidence, however, of Christmas spirits.
John Merritt passed away in 1915 and May continued to live in the house until her death in 1943. At that time the house was purchased by Hal Hoyle and his wife Marie. The Hoyles added the rear ell addition to the house in 1944. The Hoyles continued to live in the house until Marie’s death in 1991. Since 1999 the house has been owned by Dr. John and Mary Lassiter