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tozmervo

Charlotte's Urban History

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In reading an article in the recent edition of Uptown Magazine about the Cherry area, I realized how much I still don't know about Charlotte. I came here last June from Knoxville, where I had, over time, become fairly well steeped in the history of the neighborhoods and campus (the University of Tennessee is a very urban campus and has had a huge impact on how the city has grown). I kinda miss knowing that stuff about where I live.

In the case of Cherry, I hadn't known about its relationship to Meyers Park - ie, it was the working stiff neighborhood built by the Meyers family. Its a dynamic that explains much of what we see there today.

In general, I was wondering if anyone here has recommendations for resources about Charlotte's urban history? In Knoxville I could just mosey over to the East Tennessee Historical Society. As far as I know, there is no such institution here (although I could be dead wrong). Things like streetcar maps, mill developments, etc. I don't even know where to begin!

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Visit the Carolina Room at the main library. My favorite place to crawl through photos, maps, etc...

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hmm ill have to check out the charlotte museum of history. I am writing a research paper about just that, the history and development of charlotte from the turn of the 20th century

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Ah, very nice. I had no idea there was a Charlotte history museum. I shall also have to give the Carolina room a go.

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Atherton Mill in South End has a nice little display on the milltown history of the district; you have to look for it because it's worked into the design of the retail area.

I would also recommend the Carolina Room at the main branch of the library; they have a really excellent website that will provide a lot of the information you're looking for.

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Ah, very nice. I had no idea there was a Charlotte history museum. I shall also have to give the Carolina room a go.

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Perhaps more can be learned about Charlotte's history including urbanization through the StoryCorps project. This is a project that is traveling around the country, recording the oral histories of Americans. It began in 2003 and all of the histories are stored in The Library of Congress. They will be in Charlotte at the main library downtown, starting Thursday and lasting for three weeks. Their website is www.storycorps.net

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The Levine Museum of the New South is pretty cool with a good bit of Charlotte history. There is also a book called 'Sorting Out the New South City' by Thomas Hanchett...

About the book:

'One of the largest and fastest-growing cities in the South, Charlotte, North Carolina, came of age in the New South decades of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, transforming itself from a rural courthouse village to the trading and financial hub of America's premier textile manufacturing region. In this book, Thomas Hanchett traces the city's spatial evolution over the course of a century, exploring the interplay of national trends and local forces that shaped Charlotte, and, by extension, other New South urban centers.'

'Hanchett argues that racial and economic segregation are not age-old givens, but products of a decades-long process. Well after the Civil War, Charlotte's whites and blacks, workers and business owners, all lived intermingled in a "salt-and-pepper" pattern. The rise of large manufacturing enterprises in the 1880s and 1890s brought social and political upheaval, however, and the city began to sort out into a "checkerboard" of distinct neighborhoods segregated by both race and class. When urban renewal and other federal funds became available in the mid- twentieth century, local leaders used the money to complete the sorting out process, creating a "sector" pattern in which wealthy whites increasingly lived on one side of town and blacks on the other.'

I hope it is OK to put that quote -- it really was a great read for me to see what set up many of the patterns our city deals with today and what created them.

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The Levine Museum of the New South is pretty cool with a good bit of Charlotte history. There is also a book called 'Sorting Out the New South City' by Thomas Hanchett...

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I did make it to Levine a month or two ago. My relatively low expectations were blown away by a really well designed, highly informative exhibit. While I really enjoyed learning about the mills and Charlotte's role in the civil rights movement, Levine generally lacked diagrammatic information like maps. So while it gave me a great overview, there really isn't enough to get into the grit of the city.

edit: That book looks great - I believe I'll swing by the main library and pick up a copy. Perhaps Dewey will lead me to a couple of other good books.

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I was about to make the same recommendation. I am currently reading this book, and it really goes into a lot of detail about how and why things are the way they are. Particularly with Dilworth, North Charlotte, and Myers Park but using many other examples as well.

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The Mint Museum has a small exhibit about the role of gold in our history. Many people do not realize how big it was in putting Charlotte on the map. I would love for their to be a larger exhibit somewhere downtown about the U.S. Mint in it's original location downtown, the discovery of gold over in Cabarrus County, the placement of the Federal Reserve here, etc. etc.

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The Mint Museum has a small exhibit about the role of gold in our history. Many people do not realize how big it was in putting Charlotte on the map. I would love for their to be a larger exhibit somewhere downtown about the U.S. Mint in it's original location downtown, the discovery of gold over in Cabarrus County, the placement of the Federal Reserve here, etc. etc.

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I wrote a paper for a liberal studies on the NC Gold Mining era, the first in the US. BofA Headquarters actually sits on a mining shaft that had to be filled with concrete before it was built to structurally handle the structure.

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I wrote a paper for a liberal studies on the NC Gold Mining era, the first in the US. BofA Headquarters actually sits on a mining shaft that had to be filled with concrete before it was built to structurally handle the structure.

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I wrote a paper for a liberal studies on the NC Gold Mining era, the first in the US. BofA Headquarters actually sits on a mining shaft that had to be filled with concrete before it was built to structurally handle the structure.

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You could say our streets are, literally, paved with gold.

Perhaps UNCC could change the '49ers' to the 29ers or 39's instead....or to the closest date of our gold rush. That way they could retrain the mascot.

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Gosh, I didn't mean to restart the thread about Charlotte's gold mines that can be found discussed in depth here. I was just saying that the Mint can be another resource on Charlotte's growth and that I'd like to see a larger presence downtown.

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Gosh, I didn't mean to restart the thread about Charlotte's gold mines that can be found discussed in depth here. I was just saying that the Mint can be another resource on Charlotte's growth and that I'd like to see a larger presence downtown.

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I know this is not truly about urbanism but I saw a show last night on History HD about gold rushes. The show started in Charlotte and ran down the history of the discovery of Gold in 1799 at what became Reed's Gold Mine. They found this giant chunk of shiny stuff that they used as a door stop for three years before anyone figured out that it was gold.

The part that I found telling about Charlotte was the fact that they had to take the chunk to Fayetteville in order to have it positively identified and to do anything with it. (In 1802 hey sold it for $3.50, it was worth $3,600. D'oh...)

Anyway, just a tidbit.

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There was a gold rush here in the Charlotte area. There was another one in Georgia. Both areas claim to be first and within each area there is dispute as to where it actually started. However what is important is that gold was mined in the Charlotte area for a long time and there was so much gold mined here that the Philadelphia mint opened a branch here to make gold coins. (This is why we have a Mint Museum) That mint operated until the Civil War at which time the Confederates took control over it and used the gold to fund the war effort. After the war had concluded, the Charlotte mint was not reopened as the need for it had pretty much disappeared. (not because there still wasn't gold in the area, but because improved transportation made it unnecessary)

If you ever take a tour of the US Mint in Philadelphia, it's worth going into the museum there to see gold coins on display that were minted in Charlotte. They have a "C" on them denoting Charlotte as the mint location. If I am not mistaken, the only place in the USA where gold coins are minted today is at the small mint branch in West Point. Despite that, Charlotte had an interesting role in the history of the nation's money supply.

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However what is important is that gold was mined in the Charlotte area for a long time and there was so much gold mined here that the Philadelphia mint opened a branch here to make gold coins. (This is why we have a Mint Museum)

Despite that, Charlotte had an interesting role in the history of the nation's money supply.

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