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Charlotte wishlist - scorecard

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I was born and raised in Indy. Pure grid plan from the get-go in 1820's. Numbered streets to the north of the Circle, named streets to the south. From 10th to 20th is one mile and so forth. All square turns. Flat terrain, nearly unlimited sight lines. House numbers follow perfect pattern. I assumed every city was like this when I was a child. Um, no. Not at all.

Circle Theatre is building on right part of Circle with pedimented two story front. Now symphony home. Columbia Club, the oldest line men's club (now women too) has the copper roof peeking behind the monument. State Capitol is two to three blocks to the left of this photo and many office buildings thereto surrounding. The 23 story building straight behind the Circle Theatre (in this perspective) is the City-County building. Indianapolis and Marion County are unified. The glorious old building on a street that heads away from the CIrcle at about 2'oclock in this photo is a former bank building converted to hotel. I stayed there for a high school reunion visit.

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23 hours ago, ricky_davis_fan_21 said:

oh to have been a major city in the early parts of the 20th Century :-(. I'm literally jealous of EVERYTHING in Cleveland. Their government district, Public Square, their old buildings. EVERYTHING. Being a state capital helps a lot too.

Yes, it does. See Raleigh, the site of museums, symphonies, major research university all paid for by the state, not the city of Raleigh. And Columbus, Ohio which has become Ohio's best city.

It is what it is. Life ain't fair.

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5 hours ago, Dale said:

Yes, it is what it is. Charlotte was just a small town until it exploded in, what ? The 1950's ?

I have that Charlotte became North Carolina's largest city in 1920, although I saw 1910 cited recently with 34,000 people and I have not had time to research it.

Charlotte reached 100,000 people in the 1940 census and 200,000 in the 1960 census.

So the growth has been going on since the early 20th century in any case. 

But sure, the 1950s were important. The first Charlotte Coliseum (now Bojangles' Arena) opened in 1955. So were the 'Roaring' 1920s: much of Myers Park was either built or planned, early skyscrapers on Tryon Street, the Federal Reserve branch. So were the 1960s, with relatively peaceful integration of public facilities like stores and restaurants (schools were another matter.) The 1970s saw the passage of the bonds that built the CLT we have today. It opened in 1982. The first bank acquisitions were in the 1980s. And you likely know the rest.

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My point is that Charlotte was not a large enough city at the time that the grand edifices (we so covet) were being built in other cities. It's why we don't have many.

Put another way, Charlotte was Tiny Town until around WWII.

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It still irks me that Charlotte got shafted with its universities. All other major cities in NC got their state universities in the late 19th century or early 20th century, but UNCC did not come to be until the mid-20th century. Not to mention that both the Triangle and Triad each ended up with three state universities, and the Fayetteville metro with two, but Charlotte only ended up with one, even though the city, county, and metro have been the largest in the state for several decades now. That also goes without saying that we are one of the few state universities in the state that is not located near the city's downtown.

It would never happen in today's political climate, or even the next, but if NC ever charters a new four year university, it needs to be in the Charlotte region. Having it in one of the outlying counties could help with some of the growth and brain-drain issues that have been occurring in the Charlotte metro's rural communities  for the past few years now. Several states have created new universities in the 21st century, so creating a new one for the region isn't impossible. Investment in UNCC should also continue, and also become a flagship university for NC, like how NC State and UNC Chapel Hill are.

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On 12/25/2015 at 8:19 PM, Third Strike said:

It still irks me that Charlotte got shafted with its universities. All other major cities in NC got their state universities in the late 19th century or early 20th century, but UNCC did not come to be until the mid-20th century. Not to mention that both the Triangle and Triad each ended up with three state universities, and the Fayetteville metro with two, but Charlotte only ended up with one, even though the city, county, and metro have been the largest in the state for several decades now. That also goes without saying that we are one of the few state universities in the state that is not located near the city's downtown.

It would never happen in today's political climate, or even the next, but if NC ever charters a new four year university, it needs to be in the Charlotte region. Having it in one of the outlying counties could help with some of the growth and brain-drain issues that have been occurring in the Charlotte metro's rural communities  for the past few years now. Several states have created new universities in the 21st century, so creating a new one for the region isn't impossible. Investment in UNCC should also continue, and also become a flagship university for NC, like how NC State and UNC Chapel Hill are.

North Carolina is done investing in new UNC campuses. As it is, we'll be lucky if all campuses remain open. I suspect Midge Spellings, UNC President-in-waiting, was brought onboard to figure out to to reduce the number of physical campuses, among other dastardly deeds. 

Charlotte got a UNC campus late because Charlotte was neither big nor important enough to warrant a campus until the early part of the 20th century. Then there was (and is) a considerable amount of state-wide resentment of Charlotte because it is viewed as an upstart, particularly by people downeast. UNC Charlotte is growing rapidly but the Chapel Hill campus had a head start of nearly 175 years and NC State some 75-80 years. 

The lack of a major, well-regarded and well-known research university is Charlotte's Achilles' heel and few people are trying to do anything about it. The local indifference to this critical need is unfortunate, to say the least.

Edited by Silicon Dogwoods
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On 12/25/2015 at 7:30 PM, SgtCampsalot said:

A locally-written book of essays about Charlotte that I read says Charlotte has been comparing itself to Atlanta since after the Civil War.

Oh, that's likely true. After the Civil War, Atlanta began to grow and grow and grow. Its development was championed by Henry Grady, the part-owner of what is now the AJC. In Charlotte, industrialist D.A. Tompkins owned the Charlotte Observer and played a similar role to Grady in Atlanta.

There really was no other city for Charlotte to emulate besides Atlanta. Charlotte had much more in common culturally with Atlanta than with Savannah, Charleston or Richmond. Those older cities represented the old, defeated, plantation-owning south. Atlanta didn't even come into existence until the 1830s as the rail stop called Terminus and it represented the new south that was rising from the ashes. Atlanta and Charlotte didn't care too, too much about 'who are your people?' They didn't care about all that 'first families' crap. They just wanted to know if you had a good idea to make money and if so, you were welcomed with open arms. I think that still describes both cities today. That cutural difference is a key reason why Atlanta, Charlotte, Nashville and Raleigh are bigger cities today than the old south cities of Charleston, New Orleans, Richmond and Savannah.

Atlanta and Charlotte are pretty much bootstrapped, self-invented places. That's where you'll find their history, not in a collection of charming old buildings. They don't care all that much about yesterday, though that's sometimes to their detriment. All they really care about is what's coming tomorrow and the day after that and the year after that.

Edited by Silicon Dogwoods
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On 12/25/2015 at 7:59 PM, Dale said:

My point is that Charlotte was not a large enough city at the time that the grand edifices (we so covet) were being built in other cities. It's why we don't have many.

Put another way, Charlotte was Tiny Town until around WWII.

Well, we weren't a state capital. We were (are) in a not-so-wealthy state. We didn't have the early American industries of shipping, steel, big manufacturing, timber. So lacking all of those wealth-building tools, we were unlikely to have much in the way of grand civic edifices. 

I'd mark the 1940 census, yes, around WWII as a big milestone for Charlotte. 

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The other big boost to Charlotte (and most of the remainder of the South) since the 1970s was our absence of heavy industry. As massive factories began to obsolesce in the Midwest the decay dragged down whole cities (Youngstown, Cleveland, Buffalo, Detroit). Since we were free of the 'industrial overburden' we could grow the city to accommodate new residents much more easily than the places struggling with high unemployment, abandoned properties and local value chains that were damaged beyond repair. 

The negative of that is our lack of civic infrastructure, historic buildings and immigrant history that goes along with heavy-industry prosperity at the turn of the century.

There was certainly no single thing or event that allowed us to flourish for a half century. We have been very lucky for a long time.

Edited by kermit
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7 hours ago, tarhoosier said:

Some say that Camp Greene was the greatest thing to happen to Charlotte and a dramatic driver of growth as well as change: Economic, population, education, outlook, trade, investment.

http://www.cmstory.org/content/doughboys-and-camp-greene-echo-bugle-call-chapter-6

Yes, that was a big event for Charlotte.

Former Observer columnist Tommy Tomlinson has written the story of how Charlotte landed Camp Greene. We were not the only city that wanted it. So when the military came to town to check us out, some 8000 people showed up in the nearby grandstands to show that Charlotte wanted the military's 'bidness.' With a population of maybe 40,000 people, that meant 20% of Charlotte came out to shake the civic pom-poms. Today, that would mean over 160,000 people showing up! 

Charlotte has always punched above its weight and has never been afraid to go get what it wants. It's remarkable how this civic ethos has always been part of this place. 

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7 hours ago, kermit said:

The other big boost to Charlotte (and most of the remainder of the South) since the 1970s was our absence of heavy industry. As massive factories began to obsolesce in the Midwest the decay dragged down whole cities (Youngstown, Cleveland, Buffalo, Detroit). Since we were free of the 'industrial overburden' we could grow the city to accommodate new residents much more easily than the places struggling with high unemployment, abandoned properties and local value chains that were damaged beyond repair. 

The negative of that is our lack of civic infrastructure, historic buildings and immigrant history that goes along with heavy-industry prosperity at the turn of the century.

There was certainly no single thing or event that allowed us to flourish for a half century. We have been very lucky for a long time.

Yes, we had few old industries to cast off. We could start fresh, unencumbered by old businesses. It's remarkable, almost surreal how lucky Charlotte has been. But you'd have to credit multigenerational leadership for making much of that luck and taking advantage of being in the right place at the right time.

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29 minutes ago, Matthew.Brendan said:

That is what makes it so infuriating, that Charlotte is a 'new' city that gets to build and define itself..... and what we settle for is hold over 20th century suburban schlock.

Matthew, I think that's because Charlotte, being a self-invented place built on bootstraps, is afraid of changing the 'magic' formula that has always worked here. One of the key ingredients to that formula is affordability. So the fear is that insisting on things like better design standards, buried power lines and fewer stick-built apartments will make costs go up and remove affordability from our 'magic' formula.

I think we could do better and not hit affordability all that much. But getting everyone to buy into that is an uphill task,  particularly when so many on council are either funded by or work for developers.

Edited by Silicon Dogwoods
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4 hours ago, R.Talbott said:

I wish HB2 would be repealed sooner than later.

 

It may be struck down by the courts. One hopes sooner rather than later.

But it will never be repealed unless and until Democrats return to power in Raleigh.

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I wish Charlotte (and all NC towns) would help individual developers build mixed use projects on a small scale, and help set them up with entrepreneurs they could sell the finished product to, so they could then live therr, run their business rent-free, and collect rent from tenants.

Just now, SgtCampsalot said:

I wish Charlotte (and all NC towns) would help individual developers build mixed use projects on a small scale, and help set them up with entrepreneurs they could sell the finished product to, so they could then live there, run their business rent-free, and collect rent from tenants.

 

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On ‎12‎/‎24‎/‎2015 at 7:59 PM, Dale said:

My point is that Charlotte was not a large enough city at the time that the grand edifices (we so covet) were being built in other cities. It's why we don't have many.

Put another way, Charlotte was Tiny Town until around WWII.

Like Sgt/Campsalot, I'm not understanding what you mean by small town. It simply was not a "small town" in around WWII time. A town is generally a place with a population of under 10K for governmental purpose. You mean "tiny town." and it wasn't even that until before 1890. In 1940 there were over 100K people in Charlotte, certainly not a "small town." In 1920, there were approximately 50K which would make it a small to middle size city. You would have to go back before 1890 to find a population in Charlotte of under 12K. You mentioned that Charlotte didn't explode until WWII. That isn't exactly correct. Charlotte's first explosion was in 1799 with the discovery of gold and gold rush that followed. That prompted a mint to be established in the city that lasted until the civil war era,  The next explosion in population came after the Civil War when Charlotte became a major cotton processing center and the emergence of cotton mills and textile factories.  Another explosion in population occurred at the outbreak of WWI when Camp Greene was established. The final explosion was the result of banking beginning early in the 1970s. Bottom line, WWII wasn't the cause of the mother lode of population explosions in Charlotte. The population change required to be considered an explosion is relative.

Edited by caterpillar2

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Was just in Denver.  They have a place called First Draft where you pour your own beer.  They had a wall with 40 beers on tap and you get a card that keeps track of how much you pour, which I thought was more fun than getting flights of beer.  They also had good food and a nice patio.  Think something like this could do well in South End.

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2 minutes ago, Higgs Boson said:

Was just in Denver.  They have a place called First Draft where you pour your own beer.  They had a wall with 40 beers on tap and you get a card that keeps track of how much you pour, which I thought was more fun than getting flights of beer.  They also had good food and a nice patio.  Think something like this could do well in South End.

like, they let customers physically use the tap handle to pour their own?

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