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Category Archives: Places

Places that are gone, still here or still here but not looking the same as it did when it was built.

10th and Graham Streets – Then and Now

North Graham looking towards 10th Street.  (Photo courtesy of the Robinson-Spangler Collection Charlotte Mecklenburg Library)

North Graham looking towards 10th Street. (Photo courtesy of the Robinson-Spangler Collection Charlotte Mecklenburg Library)

I’m sorry that I haven’t put an entry in for a couple off weeks – I have been busy with some other stuff including school, but I’m back now!

While surfing the web on one of my favorite sites  www.cmlibrary.org, I was looking at this photo taken circa 1950 that is in the collection of the Robinson-Spangler Image Collection of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library.  This is about five minutes from my house and in located in the Fourth Ward area of Uptown Charlotte.  The neighborhood has changed a lot since this photo was taken, if you don’t believe me, here is a picture taken this year.

Photo taken by author

Photo taken by author

I hope that everyone has a great weekend and enjoy the great fall weather!

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Posted by on October 5, 2013 in History, Places, Transportation

 

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Boundary Street – Where did you go?

Among the things that Charlotte has lost because of growth are its streets.  Some roads have been altered or cut off, others may have had their named changed to honor someone or a community (an example is Thrift Road in West Charlotte which becomes Tuckaseegee Road at the Fifth Street Extension) or erased entirely like Spring Alley, or the Fourth Street Alley.  Today, I will be talking about Boundary Street which was erased from the map when the John Belk Freeway (also known as I-277 or the Uptown Loop) was created.

Located south of Stonewall Street, it was the southern boundary for the Brooklyn neighborhood which was also called the Second Ward or Log town.  Bordering on what would be the neighborhoods of Myers Park and Dilworth, it seemed logical that most of its residents worked “in service” to the white families in those neighborhoods.

Map of Boundary Street 1911 - Courtesy of the Robinson-Spangler Room Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.

Map of Boundary Street 1911 – Courtesy of the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina

But, with progress comes change.  The growth in automobile travel and Charlotte’s population along with the Urban Renewal projects of the 1960’s and 1970’s spelled doom for the street and its residents.  Today, nothing remains of this street and a lot of other streets in the old Brooklyn neighborhood but the memories are still there.

Present Day location of Boundary Street - Image via Google Earth

Present Day location of Boundary Street – Image via Google Earth

I hope that you will read more about the old Brooklyn Neighborhood, Myers Park and Dilworth and how these neighborhoods help shape Charlotte to the city it is today.  Some good books (both electronic and hard copy) that are available from the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library are:

An African-American Album Vol. 1 (Currently out of print, you can read it at the Main Branch in the Carolina Room).  Volume 2 can be viewed via the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library at http://www.cmlibrary.org/cmstory

Plum Thickets and Field Daisies by Rose Leary Love.  This is a memoir of Ms. Love, who grew up in the neighborhood and later became a teacher at Biddleville Elementary School.

Historic Charlotte: An Illustrated History of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County by Dan Morrill.

Charlotte, Its Historic Neighborhoods by John R. Rogers and Amy T. Rogers (This is also available at your local Barnes and Noble in Charlotte or by special order if you live outside of Charlotte and Park Road Books in Charlotte)

Happy Reading!

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2013 in History, Places

 

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Cedar Grove Cemetery – Neglected Treasure

Image

Picture taken by the author

This cemetery, located at the end of Hildebrand Street off Beatties Ford Road near University Park Elementary School is an old African American Graveyard that has been neglected and allowed to fall into disrepair. According to the PLCMC Cemetery Database, there are records of approximately 73 burials but these records are not complete due to information being lost, funeral homes changing names, merging or going out of business.

According to the Mecklenburg County Tax Database, the current owners of the cemetery is the Cedar Grove Cemetery Association.

Image

Photo taken by author

J. S. Davidson Headstone.  Picture taken by author.

J. S. Davidson Headstone. Picture taken by author.

The cemetery is overgrown with weeds and other plant life.  It is a shame that this cemetery has been neglected, but with families dying out and moving out of town and the scarcity of records it has been hard to maintain the grounds.  But all is not lost.  There are some people, led by Ken Koontz, a former Public Affairs Director at WBTV (Channel 3) who are trying to save the cemetery and make sure that people don’t forget that this cemetery is still in existence.

If you know of a family member who may be buried at Cedar Grove or you would like to help in saving and preserving a part of West Charlotte history, please let me know.

 
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Posted by on August 17, 2013 in History, Places

 

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You won’t believe what used to be in this building!

In Center City Charlotte at the corner of North Tryon and Seventh Streets is a building that currently houses the Fox and Hound Restaurant.  Built in 1925 the current owners have tried to maintain that “vintage” feeling while keeping the inside updated for their customers.

This is the current view of the building. Photo obtained by Charlotte City Search via Google Images

This is the current view of the building. Photo obtained by Charlotte City Search via Google Images

This is what the building looked like in the 1930’s when it had a Fisk Tire Shop with a garage on the side and Walker’s Drug Store:

Photo courtesy of Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room Image Collection of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library

Photo courtesy of Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room Image Collection of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library

This is a great example of what a business owner can do to keep a older building in use and not let it fall into neglect or ruin.  Over the years while the building has been altered and expanded  the building has retained most of its character.  I hope that you will visit the Fox and Hound and take a look inside a building that was not always a restaurant but always a retail establishment.

Notes:

1930’s Photo of 330 North Tryon Street taken from the Image Collection of the Robinson-Spangler Room of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Library: http://www.cmlibrary.org

Current Photo of 330 North Tryon was retrieved from Charlotte City Search via Google Images August 12, 2013.

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2013 in History, Places

 

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Dr. George Davis’ House – it’s being saved!

Dr. George Davis’ House, located at 301 Campus Street in the Biddleville Community of Northwest Charlotte has been rescued by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission with help from private resources and is in the process of being restored. Here are a couple of pictures of the restoration:

Picture taken by author.

Picture taken by author.

Side of the house - Photo taken by author.

Side of the house – Photo taken by author.

According to the report written by Dr. William Huffman of the Historic Properties Commission; the house was originally built in the 1890’s as a frame structure, additions made in the early 1900’s and the brick added in the 1920’s.  After Dr. Davis’ passing in 1955, the house was sold to Johnson C. Smith University, where it served as student housing up until 1982.

Here is what the house looked like when Dr. Davis and his wife were raising their children in the house and what it will look like when the restoration is complete:

What the house looked like in the early 1920's when the brick veneer was added. Picture taken by author.

What the house looked like in the early 1920’s when the brick veneer was added. Picture taken by author.

I’ll be keeping up with the progress and write about it in another entry.

Notes:

Survey and Research Report: The Dr. George E. Davis House.  Prepared by Dr. Dan Morrill for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission March 7, 1984.  Retrieved August 7, 2013 at http://www.cmhpf.org/Properties%20Foundation%20Reports/davis.html

 
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Posted by on August 7, 2013 in People, Places

 

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Lost and Moved

If you have ever traveled to Rock Hill, South Carolina and drove into their downtown via Dave Lyle Boulevard, you may have seen these two free standing columns just before you enter the downtown area:

Photo taken by author

Photo taken by author

Photo taken by author

Photo taken by author

Well, they used to be in Charlotte.  These two columns used to adorn the Masonic Lodge which was located at the corner of Second and South Tryon Streets.  Built in the Egyptian Revival Style, it was designed by C. C. Hook and built by the J. A. Jones Construction Company in 1921 replacing an earlier lodge building that was built in 1913.

Postcard from the Robinson-Spangler Image Collection of  the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library

Postcard from the Robinson-Spangler Image Collection of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library

According to the 1921 Charlotte City Directory, every white Masonic organization in existence at that time including the Shrine, Consistory and the Order of the Eastern Star met at the Lodge building at various times during the month.  Those organizations, including Mizpah Chapter # 36  Order of the Eastern Star and the Oasis Shrine are still in existence today.

The building was demolished in 1987 when the land was purchased by then First Union Bank (now Wells Fargo) to build their corporate headquarters.  But, the columns were saved after being purchased by the City of Rock Hill to help create a gateway to their downtown area.  If you are interested in learning more about buildings in the Uptown Charlotte area, please visit the Charlotte Mecklenburg Story at http://www.cmstory.org.  If you are in the Charlotte area, please visit the Levine Museum of the New South located at 200 East 7th Street at the corner of North College Street.

Notes

Charlotte City Directory, Page 30 Fraternal Organizations Commercial Service Company, publishers 1922. Downloaded from archives.org November 17, 2012.

Robinson-Spangler Image Collection of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library, Downloaded August 4, 2013

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2013 in Places

 

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The Great Flood of 1916

This weekend is the 97th anniversary of the Great Flood of 1916, which was caused by two Category 4 hurricanes converging over Western North Carolina over a period of six days causing massive flooding on the French Broad and Catawba River systems.  While the flooding did not affect the City of Charlotte; it did suffer damage due to the storm winds.  However, the resulting flood waters affected thousands of people from Asheville to Fort Mill, South Carolina as it washed away homes, bridges and business and killed 80 people. Among the victims were 13 members of a Southern Railway crew attempting to save a double-track railroad bridge between Mecklenburg and Gaston Counties by parking an engine on the span, but was swept away by the flood.

Asheville Flood, 1916. [From the Schandler Family Collection, UNCA Special Collections via Google Images]

Asheville Flood, 1916. [From the Schandler Family Collection, UNCA Special Collections via Google Images]

The flooding that not only washed away bridges linking Mecklenburg County with Gaston County to the west and York County, South Carolina to the South, but telegraph lines in the mountains and the Mountain Island Mill in Gaston County.  An article on the Mountain Island Mill by Dwight Frady can be found at HTTP://www.historicmountholly.com/highlighted-points/mountain-island-mill/.  The waters also damaged the dam at Lake Wylie, which was rebuilt in 1924 by the Southern Company (the forerunner of Duke Energy).

Bridge over the Catawba River at Fort Mill, South Carolina Inamge from catawbariverkeeper.org via Google Images

Bridge over the Catawba River at Fort Mill, South Carolina Inamge from catawbariverkeeper.org via Google Images

Railroad travel was not the only type of travel affected.  The burgeoning highway system, which was started as the North Carolina Highway Commission in 1915 was also affected.  Automobile bridges up and down the river was also washed away in the floods stranding motorists on their way to their vacation destinations in the North Carolina Mountains.

Bridge between Mecklenburg and Gaston Counties destroyed by the flood.  Photo by Cushman.  From the Book "The North Carolina Flood (1916) Published by William Bell via Google Images

Hwy 74 bridge between Mecklenburg and Gaston Counties wreaked during the 1916 flood. Photo by Cushman. From the Book “The North Carolina Flood (1916) Published by William Bell via Google Images

In 1916 there was no government agencies such as FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) to help with disaster relief, and the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army were just starting to send help in disasters.  There are no records that indicate if they did assist in relief efforts in the region.

If you want to learn more about the Great Flood of 1916, please check out these sources:

The Great North Carolina Flood (1916) Published by William Bell, Charlotte, North Carolina

Catawba County, North Carolina: The Great Flood of 1916 (http://www.ncgenweb.us/catawba/flood.htm)

Asheville.com: The Great Flood of 1916 Changed Biltmore Village and Family Lives Forever (http://www.asheville.com/news/flood1916.html)  This is an excellent source of first hand accounts of families that were affected by the floods.

 
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Posted by on July 14, 2013 in History, Places

 

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