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If you're interested in seeing what Charlotte was like before the scourge of urban renewal, I recommend visiting Winston-Salem. Downtown (4th Street, primarily) has a lot of older mid-rise buildings that feel very dense. Trade street has low-rise buildings with a more NoDa-ish feel. Unfortunately, those are pretty much the only interesting areas of the city...

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Thought y'all might like to see my little comparison shot of uptown from the same vantage point, 1986-2019

Bonnie Cone, founder of Charlotte's university. A remarkable and rare person. How many universities are started by women?  I hope every UNCC student knows they stand on her legacy. I met her once

This church was founded by freed slaves and this building is from 1896.   Today a beautiful church uptown.  Corner of 7th and N College. 

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Long time lurker here (about 10 years)!!  I lived in Charlotte for 5 years while attending UNCC and I love the place.  Moved around a bit for work until ultimately settling down in Winston Salem (there are more interesting places in the city than just 4th and trade streets as mentioned above!!).  It's very unfortunate that Charlotte lost a lot of its history but it has made great strides at fixing its past mistakes. I have great hope that the current projects in the works will only further the its progress.  Best of luck with everything going on in Charlotte and hope you guys share more photo updates for people like myself!!  I'll try to do the same and share things going on in Winston Salem.

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It might be worth while checking www.arcadiapublishing.com.  I have purchased several historical books (paperbacks) about Mecklenburg and surrounding counties. they have many pictures and begin with the settling of the piedmont area by its original pioneers, Scots-Irish, German, Irish, and French. These books can be published at Books a Million.

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Really cool link that shows the growth of cities over the past 60 years.  Charlotte's is obviously a drastic change..

 

http://iqc.ou.edu/2014/12/18/60yrssoutheast/

 

 

I actually like most of the changes for Charlotte though.  If anything, it shows how we were much smaller.  Obviously, we went through some urban renewal like all the other sun belt cities.  But looking at the stock of density in cities like Nashville, Bham and Louisville compared to what is there now is just depressing.  We just didn't really have that much to begin with.

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So, I've lived here for four years now and until today, I had never been to Green's Lunch.  The food was pretty meh, but they do have some neat old press clippings on the wall.  Crazy that this place has been open for almost 90 years.  Anyways, they have an old charicature map of Charlotte from 1975 hanging on the wall.  I'm sure many of you have seen it, but I figured I would snap a few picks and upload anyways.  Album can be found here (http://imgur.com/a/qZvJi).

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I recently found out that Rama Road in South Charlotte was actually named after a small and thriving community that existed in that area as recently as the 1970s. What was really interesting was that this community actually had its own railroad station/depot!

 

rama144.jpg

 

The area in question is around the wooded area on Rama Road near the CSX tracks. If you were to past by there today, you wouldn't have even guessed that anything of significance ever existed there. Here's some info I found:

 

Railroad brought life to a small villageshoes, was also a social hub for residents.

The trainno longer stops at “Rama, NC,” as an old rail sign once touted. And only a few of the thousands who drive by each day are probably even aware that a thriving village existed along the railroad tracks a century ago.

Rama Road got its name because it ran through the Rama farming community, located on the rail line between present-day
McClintock Middle School and Rama Road Elementary.

Originally, the village was called Sardis, but because that stop was so often confused with another Sardis stop on the Seaboard rail line, the railroad asked for a change. Residents settled on Rama, a name synonymous with God in the Hindu religion. How nineteenth-century Mecklenburg farmers came up with the name of a Hindu God for their village is open to speculation.

In the late 1800s, Rama boasted a cotton gin, freight depot, post office, general store, and residences. The community’s social and business hub was the two-story brick store
built in 1898, the second on that site.

The Rural Free Delivery Act of 1896 marked the end of Rama’s post office, but the store, cotton gin, a coal business, freight depot, blacksmithing, and general commerce continued well into the early twentieth century.

In a 1974 newspaper interview, J. Lightsey Wallace, son of general store proprietor I.G. Wallace, recalled that horses and mules were sold at the store when he was a boy. “We sold Star Brand shoes shipped from St. Louis and ladies’ shoes that you buttoned with a little hook on a wire. And we sold overalls, ol’timey straw hats, and boots for the farmers.”

If you wanted to catch the train at Rama Station, you pulled the flag in front of the general store and the train stopped and let you on.

The small village slowly faded away as suburban neighborhoods sprouted along the road. However, the old general store was renovated and converted into a convenience store in the 1970s. It was demolished in the mid-1990s, leaving nothing but memories of "Rama, NC." —Joe Goodpasture

 

http://www.charlottemagazine.com/Charlotte-Magazine/August-2006/Down-the-Line/

 

It's a shame that the area became quickly forgotten, and the general store was demolished. I hope that if there is future passenger rail along the CSX, that this area could be resurrected as a TOD.

 

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Oh, yes. I remember that store in just about the exact condition as photographed in the 1970's when I was in that area with some regularity. When the train came past the store vibrated. It sold no gasoline. The SW and CS Davis store beside the 115 highway and railline north of Harris Blvd has some of the same appearance and survives today.

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Someone needs to stand up against the chain stores that are building retail with parking in the front!

 

Hmmm.... alright. I see your point, sort of. It was these stores though that were sort of the harbinger of sprawl related development. Definitely look more charming though than the strip centers today.

 

Here's a new development with parking in the front and it kill's the street.

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I think in most cases, those stores existed prior to the auto era. They converted the space in front of their stores to font-in parking in the 1950s-1970s because the was city banning on-street parking as a means to improve vehicle speed and flow. 

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I don't think so...  These buildings were built in 1935 and the 1935 newspaper article is touting the automobile friendly features: "...has a driveway feature with guard rail in front of the window."  I think that a lot of the stores that we think of as being pre-auto are actually just pre-four-lane-road, and orignally had front in parking in the front.  If you remember, it wasn't that long ago that the building at the corner of Pecan and Central... one of the neighborhoods oldest,  had a front-in parking lot down the side facing Pecan.  I think that in the past stores simply needed fewer spaces, and parking in front or down the block along a sleepy two lane road was no big deal.  I think that if you were to map out pre-auto era retail (pre 1930), outside of uptown, you would have a real hard time finding much.  Belmont Neighborhood has some, but the city tore alot of it down that was at the streetcar terminous on Parkwood.   The Mecklenburg Farmers market on Roland is probably pre-auto...  most of NoDa ?(because it was walkable to the Mill...  Shops in Cherry maybe.

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I don't think so...  These buildings were built in 1935 and the 1935 newspaper article is touting the automobile friendly features: "...has a driveway feature with guard rail in front of the window."  I think that a lot of the stores that we think of as being pre-auto are actually just pre-four-lane-road, and orignally had front in parking in the front.  If you remember, it wasn't that long ago that the building at the corner of Pecan and Central... one of the neighborhoods oldest,  had a front-in parking lot down the side facing Pecan.  I think that in the past stores simply needed fewer spaces, and parking in front or down the block along a sleepy two lane road was no big deal.  I think that if you were to map out pre-auto era retail (pre 1930), outside of uptown, you would have a real hard time finding much.  Belmont Neighborhood has some, but the city tore alot of it down that was at the streetcar terminous on Parkwood.   The Mecklenburg Farmers market on Roland is probably pre-auto...  most of NoDa ?(because it was walkable to the Mill...  Shops in Cherry maybe.

 

I think it would be interesting to see that map. The challenge is that before the 1930s, there wasn't a whole lot outside of what we consider uptown today where there would be significant retail, and the majority of retail was concentrated in the CBD.

 

I can think of a bunch of locations similar to this one that have (or had) the parking in front. Your probably right that some if not many places were designed that way to begin with. That said, some of it feels more ad-hoc to me and there was a huge issue with on-street parking here in the 50s-60s. Maybe the assumption needs to be if it was built before 1950 and is setback enough to allow parking then it was intentional?

 

These are the ones off of the top of my head. I'm betting some of these were built prior to the 1930s (particularly the ones on Morehead and S Tryon).

Ed's Tavern

DIlworth Neighborhood Grill

101 W Morehead

Morehead between Church and Mint

1316 S Tryon

1320 S Tryon (spaces are there, building is not)

The row of shops at Providence & Fenton

The place next to Lunchbox Records in PM

2400 block of Central Ave

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So, my original post was just to give some historical perspective on things.  The Hero's building is thought of today as pedestrian oriented, when in fact, originally it wasn't really.  It makes me wonder if in some distant future we are talking about "interstate exit neighborhoods" the same way we are talking about "streetcar" neighborhoods. 

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OK history buffs.  Odd question, but I have always wondered about this.  Does anyone know the importance/background on such powerful street names as Providence, Freedom and Independence?  Do any of them have any ties to the George Washington quote of Charlotte being a "hornet's nest" way back when?  These particular street names (and any others that reference the same aspects of liberty) have always intrigued me.

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It likely is a reference to the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence:

Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence

Though, references to the Revolution War, and "freedom", tend to be common in some parts of the United States. Providence road might have been named after the Providence township, which is/was most of south Charlotte near and below I-485.

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Charlotte was in part settled by Presbyterians and the name of several roads were based on the end points of those roads.  So Providence was named after Providence Presbyterian Church, Sharon Road after Sharon Presbyterian Church.  Sharon Amity connects Sharon Presbyterian Church and Amity Presbyterian Church.  Then you also have Sugar Creek, etc.

I cannot speak to Independence and Freedom.

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Charlotte was in part settled by Presbyterians and the name of several roads were based on the end points of those roads.  So Providence was named after Providence Presbyterian Church, Sharon Road after Sharon Presbyterian Church.  Sharon Amity connects Sharon Presbyterian Church and Amity Presbyterian Church.  Then you also have Sugar Creek, etc.

I cannot speak to Independence and Freedom.

I think that's partly correct. Providence and Sharon were both Townships. Both are names with biblical references. Maybe Dan Morrill could tell us whether the church name preceded the township name. I think Amity was the name of that community as well.

The 'Sugar' in Sugar Creek is a corruption of the tribal name once found in that area, the Sugarees. From cmstory.org:

The confusion over the spelling and pronunciation of the name of this well-known Mecklenburg County creek is due to the difficulty of translating the sound of an unwritten Indian word into written English.
 
This creek undoubtedly takes its name from the Sugeree Indians (John Lawson's spelling) or Sugaree Indians (Douglas L. Rights' spelling). The name was pronounced Sugaw or Soogaw, according to William Henry Foote.
 
The predominant version in records of the Presbyterian Church, Colonial Records of North Carolina, and in old deeds is "Sugar," although such variations as "Suger," Shugar," "Sugercreek," and "Suga," have been found in various records.
 
In 1924 the Pastor of Sugar Creek Presbyterian Church, evidently influenced by Foote's pronunciation, had the Mecklenburg Presbytery officially change the spelling of the name of the church to "Sugaw." This action seems never to have been rescinded, notwithstanding that all historical evidence available tends to prove that the original name of "Sugar" should apply to both church and creek. The Indian word from which Sugar is derived means "group of huts."

 

Edited by Silicon Dogwoods
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OK history buffs.  Odd question, but I have always wondered about this.  Does anyone know the importance/background on such powerful street names as Providence, Freedom and Independence?  Do any of them have any ties to the George Washington quote of Charlotte being a "hornet's nest" way back when?  These particular street names (and any others that reference the same aspects of liberty) have always intrigued me.

Point of order: It was Cornwallis, not Washington.

 

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