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ChiefJoJo

Charlotte's history

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Couldn't find a better place to put this, so I created a new topic...

I was watching a show on PBS called Exploring NC, and came across a piece of history I never knew about. A young British exploreer named John Lawson sailed from London to Charleston at the dawn of the 1700s to explore the new world. At the time, there was no SC or NC, it was only "Carolina." His journey through the inland/piedmont of the two states brought him up the coast from Charleston, inland to Camden, SC, and up the "Catawba Trading Path" north to Charlotte. He went on through towards Spencer to Hillsborough, Durham, Raleigh, Greenville, New Bern, and finished his route at the cost, where he established NC's first town, Bath in 1705.

According to historians, his journey was nearly as signfiicant to the Carolinas' history as Louis and Clark were to the western states of the Louisiana Purchase 100 years later. One of the most interesting things about this journey to me is that many of the old trading routes Lawson took over 300 years ago are in existence today (albeit in a much different form), including the old Catawba trading path, which is today Tryon St in Charlotte and continues as US 29 up to Cabarrus County. As many of you may know, the intersection of Trade and Tryon was a significant settler/Native American trading post well before the city was chartered many years later.

So you see, more than just known for modern banking, Charlotte has been a well established center for trade and commerce for over 300 years...

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Interesting. I'd like to see that show -- I'll have to make sure I catch it!

Not a lot of people know Charlotte was a gold mining headquarters before San Fran and the California Gold rush by a couple of decades. It is why we had a Mint here. There were mines all over the Carolina's, the best known today is Reed Gold Mine in Cabarrus County, but two of the highest producing mines were located around where we now have BofA Stadium and the Southend/Wilmore area.

Sort of makes it appropriate to be a banking HQ now.

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Hey, what if we turn this thread into a "Charlotte fact-of-the-day" thread... similar to the picture of the day thread. It would be a wealth of knowledge to make us look smart at the bars and in meetings when you need small talk. You know, like a quick post where you don't have to search for an hour for all the information...?

Here's my contribution:

It took TWO FULL years to fill Lake Norman when it was created in the 60s.

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Carson McCuller's famous novel "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter" was written in a boarding house on East Blvd.

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Charlotte was the location of a Confederate naval yard during the War of Northern Agression.

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"Harper's Weekly" did a story on the 100th anniversary celebration of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, and noted that over 40,000 visitors camped on the outskirts of town for the occasion-this in a town whose population in 1875 was between 5000 and 6000 inhabitants. That would be the equivalent of 5.2 or 5.3 million coming to town today. To me, those numbers are amazing! However, since the city workers were given the King holiday, they no longer get May 20th. I think the city could afford to give this day once again and allow the citizens of Charlotte to celebrate this date, which appears on our NC state flag. The full page story in "Harper's" also reported there was a series of cockfights between birds from North and South Carolina. Don't let Nancy Grace know this or there will be hell to pay!

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It was also the reason the prior generation of NC license plates had "First in Freedom" on them. It's also the reason that we have Independence Blvd and Freedom Drive. (and probably some others that I don't remember)

These would not be unusual numbers for Charlotte's population in the next few decades because the city's population swelled once the discovery of gold was made here.

Most people don't pay much attention to it, but there is a plaque downtown that marks the location where the Declaration of Independence was made.

107_0709.jpg

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Carson McCuller's famous novel "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter" was written in a boarding house on East Blvd.

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Here is a little known tidbit of historical information I uncovered back in the early 1990's while going through micro-film in the public library researching Charlotte's old Lakewood Park.

This is an exact quote from the newspaper clipping in 1910. The largest carousel in the country opened on July 9th, 1910 at Charlotte's Lakewood Park amusement park. It was 44 feet in diameter, with 3 rows of horses and chariots.

Also, on the same date, Charlotte's first roller coaster opened at Lakewood Park. Although small by todays standards, it was the largest model currently available by the prolific coaster builder, The Cincinnati Amusement Company.

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Losing Lakewood Park was another huge blow. Would be nice to have that still around.

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I'm sure y'all probably know about this site, but its a new discovery for me, and its a great resource for Charlotte history (which is something that this city does have, apparantly).

The best part about that site is this historic maps GIS server. Its really fascinating to look at the city even in the 60's and how much its changed since then.

This is a great resource for historic photos too.

I've had some friends tell me about this book: Sorting Out the New South City by Thomas W. Hanchett (of the Levine Museum). It apparantly goes into a lot of detail about how and when Charlotte has developped over the years, and why some things are the way they are. I'm looking to get a copy as soon as I can find one (its been sold out of all the bookstores I've tried so far).

Charlotte was the location of a Confederate naval yard during the War of Northern Agression.

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We were actually the location of the naval yard because of our strategic location pretty much in the center of the Confederacy with rail lines running through the city that could access the coast since all of the ports were at risk of being attacked by the Union, if they weren't already in their control or blockaded.

Sorting Out the New South City is available at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, or at the public library and there are actually two editions. One is Sorting Out the New South City: race, class, and urban development in Charlotte, 1875-1975 while the other is Sorting Out the New South City: Charlotte and its neighborhoods.

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If you think Charlotte's creek system is in bad shape now, it used to be a LOT worse.

Sugar Creek used to have raw sewage dumped into it, and the smell was so bad they had 50 gallon drums of orange blossom perfume drip into it to cut the smell.

We've come a long way since then.

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In 1950 the southern border of Charlotte was Woodlawn Road. Parts of it and Selwyn Avenue were still dirt/gravel roads.

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Charlotte was home to Camp Greene WWI Training Camp ( located off West Morehead & Wilkinson Blvd. They are calling this area Bryant Park now ) it was opened the same time Fort Bragg was. It was named after General Nathanial Greene that served under George Washington in the american revolution. It covered 2000 acres and had 60000 men training there the 3rd & 4th infantry divionsions were formed there. The first charlotte airport was located there also were Freedom Mall sits on Freedom Dr. The population of the camp was twice as large as the population of Charlotte at the time.

The Commandants House still exisits on Monument St. off Wilkinson Blvd. it is the Historic James C Dowd House circa 1879. the houses original owner was the father of the founder of Charlotte Pike & Foundry & the Charlotte Observer, the Dowd family still owns the foundry. Remount Rd. was named that becauce that is were they would remount the wheels on the artillery wagons and Arty Ave. was the artillery range for the camp. go to www.historiccampgreene.com for the history links

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Here's an early view of JCSU when it was Biddle University. I think this was taken on the Beatties Ford side.

HisHBScrap07.jpg

You can see Biddle Hall and the Carnegie Library in the background.

Here's a link to a pdf of a publication called the Young Rooster: Young Rooster

It gives world and local info from 1921. There's info about the Biddleville area and my favorite part is on page four on the right. It reads:

Advertisments

Wanted - The young girls to know that there are 7 single professors at Biddle University.

These are from the Digital Archives at JCSU..

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Couldn't find a better place to put this, so I created a new topic...

I was watching a show on PBS called Exploring NC, and came across a piece of history I never knew about. A young British exploreer named John Lawson sailed from London to Charleston at the dawn of the 1700s to explore the new world. At the time, there was no SC or NC, it was only "Carolina." His journey through the inland/piedmont of the two states brought him up the coast from Charleston, inland to Camden, SC, and up the "Catawba Trading Path" north to Charlotte. He went on through towards Spencer to Hillsborough, Durham, Raleigh, Greenville, New Bern, and finished his route at the cost, where he established NC's first town, Bath in 1705.

According to historians, his journey was nearly as signfiicant to the Carolinas' history as Louis and Clark were to the western states of the Louisiana Purchase 100 years later. One of the most interesting things about this journey to me is that many of the old trading routes Lawson took over 300 years ago are in existence today (albeit in a much different form), including the old Catawba trading path, which is today Tryon St in Charlotte and continues as US 29 up to Cabarrus County. As many of you may know, the intersection of Trade and Tryon was a significant settler/Native American trading post well before the city was chartered many years later.

So you see, more than just known for modern banking, Charlotte has been a well established center for trade and commerce for over 300 years...

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- When the city was still a gold hub, the pavement for the streets often contained bits of low-grade gold and other refuse from the mines. Thus, the joke at the time was that the streets were literally paved with gold in Charlotte.

- The Square was the site of a skirmish between Cornwallis and Davie during the Revolutionary War. Cornwallis advanced up Trade St. from Waxhaw and found that Davie's men had set up behind the courthouse (the only structure of note at the time) and were prepared to fire from behind the pillars that held it up. Cornwallis himself was said to address the American soldiers from a distance -- it's startling to envision this scene while standing on E. Trade St. today -- before making a few charges and dispersing the resistance.

About 45 men died in the battle, the most significant of which involved a legendary horse chase for miles toward Sugar Creek. A little-known monument stands in the median of N. Tryon St. where the last young American soldier was run down and killed in the middle of the trading path.

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Charlotte was home to Camp Greene WWI Training Camp ( located off West Morehead & Wilkinson Blvd. They are calling this area Bryant Park now ) it was opened the same time Fort Bragg was. It was named after General Nathanial Greene that served under George Washington in the american revolution. It covered 2000 acres and had 60000 men training there the 3rd & 4th infantry divionsions were formed there. The first charlotte airport was located there also were Freedom Mall sits on Freedom Dr. The population of the camp was twice as large as the population of Charlotte at the time.

The Commandants House still exisits on Monument St. off Wilkinson Blvd. it is the Historic James C Dowd House circa 1879. the houses original owner was the father of the founder of Charlotte Pike & Foundry & the Charlotte Observer, the Dowd family still owns the foundry. Remount Rd. was named that becauce that is were they would remount the wheels on the artillery wagons and Arty Ave. was the artillery range for the camp. go to www.historiccampgreene.com for the history links

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Indian Trail in Union County was the trail that the Waxhaw Indians took from Waxhaw Waxhaw NC to what is now Trade and Tryon streets to trade with the Catawaba Indian Tribe, that is why they call in Trade St.

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