Candoro Marble building and grounds are significant for its representation of architect Charles Barber’s design work, and for its association with the South Knoxville community known as Vestal. Charles Barber designed a number of notable buildings throughout the Knoxville area during the first half of the 20th century. Barber McMurry, an architectural firm co-founded by Charles Barber in 1915, still operates in Knoxville today.
Charles Barber is the son of the successful self-taught American architect George Barber, who settled in Knoxville in 1888, after a successful career of marketing residential home designs worldwide through a series of mail-order catalogs. At one time, George Barber’s company was known for its “catalog architecture” and headquartered in Knoxville. George Barber’s homes and designs were sold worldwide as kits. The kits had a broad appeal, because they were well-planned and moderately priced. George Barber homes can be found in practically every city in the United States.
Charles, following in the steps of his father George, became architecturally famous in his own right. In his beginnings while attending the University of Pennsylvania, Charles’s studies were heavily influenced by Paul Cret, a French architect trained at the Ecole de Beaux Arts. Charles Barber’s designs were based largely on European architecture. He incorporates Beaux Arts architectural elements on the layout of rooms. In Charles Barber designed structures, visitors easily flow through French doors onto exterior terraces and landscaped gardens. Candoro Marble Company stands as a shining example of Charles Barber’s training in the Beaux Arts style.