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Piedmont and Northern: Charlotte's interurban Railroad

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I've been doing some research on the old Piedmont and Northern, an interurban electric railroad that ran from its passenger station at Mint and Fourth to Gastonia from 1912-1951. Some of the parallels between the two electrified lines (The P&N and the Lynx Blue Line) are interesting. The Charlotte News editorialized on April 3, 1912 about the new interurban "The building of the new Interurban will not only bring many new inhabitants to the City of Charlotte ... it will enhance the value of property all along the line, regardless of distance from the central point ... and will bring the people of the entire section covered into closer relation, commercially, socially, and otherwise, which can but result in benefit to the whole.... [in] Indiana and Illinois ... the electrical interurban system has attracted thousands of new inhabitants who have brought millions of dollars of new capital ... Yesterday afternoon, while on a trip of inspection over the lines ... Charlotte businessmen spoke of the ease by which the city can now be reached from any point along the tracks of the Interurban and many pointed out most excellent building sites along the line, upon which handsome homes, convenient to the city ... are to be had. The building of the interurban is a mark of confidence in the future of the affected community in the minds of those who are putting up the financing for the development. And in this instance, Charlotte and the entire Piedmont ... should view with pride the accomplisnment of the Duke syndicate in the building of this electric railroad ... the opening of the Interurban will .... bring about a development along all lines which would not otherwise be possible."

Meanwhile, on opening day of the Gastonia to Charlotte service, May 20, 1912, the Interurban sold the 1,500 people who came in on the rail combination tickets which included rail fare to Charlotte, car fare (on the trolley) and a ticket to that days Charlotte Hornets vs Spartanburg Carolina League baseball game. The attendance of 4,800 set not only a Charlotte attendance record, but also a Carolina League record to that time.

Interesting parallels between the Lynx South line rationale, transit oriented development, etc, as well as the big crowds using it to get to sporting events, and the reported interested in CATS in offering combination LYNX/Bobcats/Panthers tickets.

The passenger station of the Interurban stood where the new Charlotte Knights ballpark is to be built.

BTW, you can see the tunnel for the old Interurban which is still there under the NS Main line if you extended First Street west near Bank of America Stadium.

I've been communicating with John Agresti, director of medial relations for the Charlotte Knights, who told via email this morning

"Thanks for getting in touch with me. This is all very interesting. We've heard several ideas as to what may lie underneath the ground there. With all the changes going on uptown, its nice to know the history of the sites ... I'm surprised no one in the media has looked into this."

I've offered him my copy of "Piedmont and Northern: Great

Electric System of the South", a 175 page hardcover published in 1974, along with the catalogue numbers for the UNC-C library special collection on the P&N, which is 15 linear feet (ca. 27,000 items, including 32 volumes and photographs). I'm sure the UNC-C library has some photos they could use, old documents, schedules, etc.

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I ran across a book in Joseph Beth Booksellers called "Historic Photos of Charlotte," a hardback 216-page coffee-table book which had some just incredible photos. I'm kicking myself for not purchasing it, but it was right before Christmas, I was in a hurry, and the lines were long. I wasn't in too much of a hurry sit and flip through the pages, though. The reason I'm posting this in this thread is because the photos that really stuck out to me were the ones of the rail and trolley system. The infrastructure was much more than I'd ever pictured in my head before. You just have to wonder who made the decision to make it all disappear one day. It was sad for me to see all the hustle-and-bustle along the trolley and rail lines in these pictures of Charlotte, then look at at those same places today. Even though it's quickly changing and we are getting that feeling back, it's just sad that Charlotte had to destroy what it had going and then rebuild it years later. I guess that's what we do here, though...right?

Here's the link to the book: http://www.turnerpublishing.com/detail.aspx?ID=1332

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I ran across a book in Joseph Beth Booksellers called "Historic Photos of Charlotte," a hardback 216-page coffee-table book which had some just incredible photos. I'm kicking myself for not purchasing it, but it was right before Christmas, I was in a hurry, and the lines were long. I wasn't in too much of a hurry sit and flip through the pages, though. The reason I'm posting this in this thread is because the photos that really stuck out to me were the ones of the rail and trolley system. The infrastructure was much more than I'd ever pictured in my head before. You just have to wonder who made the decision to make it all disappear one day. It was sad for me to see all the hustle-and-bustle along the trolley and rail lines in these pictures of Charlotte, then look at at those same places today. Even though it's quickly changing and we are getting that feeling back, it's just sad that Charlotte had to destroy what it had going and then rebuild it years later. I guess that's what we do here, though...right?

Here's the link to the book: http://www.turnerpublishing.com/detail.aspx?ID=1332

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