T.A. Carter

T.A. (Trever) Carter was born in 1927 in Bluefield, West Virginia 1927.  Growing up in the depression forced T. A. to be a survivor, having attended 13 different schools in West Virginia, Ohio, and Virginia before graduating from high school.  Given the times his father moved often to seek employment that would allow his family a decent living.  T. A. graduated with the class of ’45 from Jefferson High School.   T. A. attended Virginia Polytechnic Institute for two semesters studying electrical engineering.  WW II interrupted his education when he enlisted in the U. S. Navy and had the opportunity to work with radar, the newest military technology of the time.  This tour of duty included electronics boot camp in California and the base was Hotel Dumonte and the USS Sperry submarine.  Once the war was over, T.A. was stationed in San Diego as a tender and his main task was to get rid of spare parts.  At the end of his tour T. A. returned to VPI and changed his mind about his degree and enrolled in the school of architecture to graduate in 1951.

His first job out of college was with Hayes, Seay, Mattern & Mattern and he was charged with refurbishing the Radford Arsenal in preparation for the Korean War, the K&W Cafeteria and WSLS Channel 10 studios.  The offices of HSMM were in the Coulter building where he worked on multiple projects including a home for Cabell Brand, these experiences would give him the knowledge base along with his architecture degree to obtain his license.  His very first project as a professional was the construction of the Stuart-McQuire Company headquarters in Salem.  The multitude of projects completed for HSMM, and the recent acquisition of his architect license stirred his vision and desire to go out and create his own architecture firm, T A Carter Architects, housed in the Patrick Henry Hotel.  He and a fellow architect Byrd Barksdale worked with Stover Barton, a realtor, to set their prospects for the New River and Roanoke Valleys.

As a new businessman T.A. relied on his network of friends and acquaintances, and one of the most fruitful partnerships occurred with T. D. Steele that led to years of vision, profit, and a fierce work ethic.   These two gentlemen were responsible for the design and development of Crossroads Mall, the second enclosed mall, but the first on the east coast, Tanglewood Mall and the apartment complexes that are adjacent to each shopping area. T. A. desired to build structures that blend into the environment, and he created a diverse portfolio of his designs for the Stonegate community, Southside Hills, Chapel Forest, Hunting Hills, Braxton Heights developments in the Roanoke Valley.  Additionally, T. A. single-handedly designed, built, and owned interest in the first franchises of the Marriott Hotels adjacent to the Roanoke Airport and on Prices Fork Road in Blacksburg.  T.A. together with George B. Cartledge, Sr. and John W. Hancock, Jr. were on the committee that developed Explore Park to capture the rich history of the valley. 

Besides creating beautiful structures for business and pleasure, T. A. has served as a board member for Roanoke Electric Steel, Virginia Western Community College, and the Explore Park. T. A.’s commitment to education and the work ethic is apparent in his creation of scholarships for children that inhabit the island of St. John, assisting VWCC college grads with transferring into architecture at Roanoke College and endowing the professorships for the VT School of Architecture.

T.A. Carter was inducted into the Southwest Virginia Business Hall of Fame in 2006.

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