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Now this is not in Charlotte, but looks like…

The hubby and I are on vacation in the land of unsweet tea, no grits and drivers that make their own lanes.  While up here we wanted to tour the United States Military Academy at West Point located in Highland Falls, New York.  A very picturesque town going up the Hudson River,  it sits at the bend and widest point of the Hudson.

While on the tour we went through the Cadet’s Chapel, which is the large Gothic Style Chapel on post.  Built in 1910, it had held weddings, funerals and is an active chapel used on a weekly basis by those on post.  It also boasts the largest pipe organ used by a church in the United States as well as the “Bride’s Escape Door” which was designed for brides with cold feet (never used!).  Each of the windows were gifted by each of the classes that graduated starting in 1911.  Now if you look at it, it may remind you of a church in Charlotte that was designed by Mr. Louis Asbury:

Cadets Chapel_West Point_2017  Photo taken by the author

Now, doesn’t this look like Myers Park United Methodist Church?

I am really enjoying myself up here, but I wish I could find a place that served a good fried chicken dinner (no not Popeye’s – a place like Price’s Chicken Coop!)

I am attaching some pictures that I took inside the Chapel – enjoy!

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Posted by on August 3, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Anyone remember this building before the State took it over?

This lonely building at the corner of West Trade and South Graham Streets sits in the shadow of BB&T and Bank of America Stadiums serves as a reminder of Charlotte in its small town days.  Serving as a full service Buick dealership, it was owned by C. C. Coddington (the first C standing for Charles) it was a showcase in its day.

The Coddington Building. Picture taken January 2015 by the author.

Built in 1925 it served as his Buick Dealership (one of his officers was Lee Folger, who would go on to establish his own Buick dealership later) which was one of the first in the Carolinas.  When it was completed in 1925 at the west end of Center City Charlotte near the Southern Railway station on West Trade Street it was considered one if the finest buildings in the City. This building also housed WBT Radio (1110 AM), which Mr. Coddington brought in 1925 and used the call letters to help promote his dealership (Watch Buicks Travel).   I found this picture of the almost completed building on the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Website:

Coddington Building, 1925.  Picture courtesy of the Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library

After it was sold to the State of North Carolina and renamed the Polk Building for President James K. Polk of Pineville it was used for various state agencies until they moved out to the suburbs in the early 1990’s.  According to the Charlotte Mecklenburg Real Estate Lookup database, it was sold by the state to Trinity Capital Partners in 2006 which turned around and sold it to the Crosland Company and one of their subsidiaries in 2008. in It has stood as a lone symbol on West Trade Street of what the City used to look like; deteriorating with scaffolding that has been there for at least a decade it is a shame that the current owners try to rehab and bring it back to its glory it like they did with the old Charlotte Cotton Mills just one block over on West Fifth Street.

 
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Posted by on May 13, 2017 in Buildings, History, People

 

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Confederate Memorials – Stay or go?

I’m sorry that I haven’t done a blog entry in a couple of weeks – I hope that this will get you to think.

I normally don’t get into current events on this blog, but with the events in Charleston last week and the current debate about the Confederate Battle Flag and Confederate monuments and its place in public spaces I thought I would weigh in on the debate.

Charlotte, along with many other Southern cities has their monuments to the war in many places.  If you remember my Memorial Day entry I showed the one at Elmwood Cemetery:

The Confederate Monument at Elmwood Cemetery. Photo taken by author.

The Confederate Monument at Elmwood Cemetery. Photo taken by author.

There are some small ones in the Center City – one talks about where Jefferson Davis was when he heard about the assassination of President Lincoln and another one designates the location of where the Confederate Cabinet had their last meeting before Appomattox. Both of these are on private property on South Tryon Street.  The ones that are raising a stink here are located on City and County property.

This monument located on the grounds of the old City Hall was placed there in 1977:

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Confederate Soldiers Monument on the grounds of the Old City Hall. Photo taken by Tom Vincent

This one is located near Central Piedmont Community College and was erected in honor of the 1929 veterans reunion, please note the bottom part of the inscription:

Confederate Veterans Marker at CPCC.  Photo taken by the author.

Confederate Veterans Marker at CPCC. Photo taken by the author.

All of these monuments are on either city owned or county owned property which is owned by the public and paid for with tax dollars.  Now the current debate is whether or not they need to stay on public property or not.  While I feel that they do not need to be in places such as the Old City Hall and Central Piedmont Community College, they don’t need to removed all together.

In my opinion, the perfect place for these monuments is Elmwood Cemetery which is owned by the city, but has an established Confederate Memorial at the graves of those who fought in the war and was buried there.  This way, it is out of sight of those who really don’t need to be reminded of slavery and the war and has easy access for those who feel the need to honor a time where brother fought brother. And if you really think about it, those that voted for succession were really traitors to the United States and because of the war and its aftermath, an entire region was decimated both politically and economically and an entire generation of men were killed or wounded.

If you want to read more about why the monuments were built and placed, please check out:

Still Fighting the Civil War and America Aflame by Dr. David Goldfield.  Both of these can be ordered on-line via Amazon or locally at Park Road Books.

Monuments to the Lost Cause – Women, Art and the Landscapes of Southern Memory by Cynthia Mills.

Ghosts of the Confederacy – Defeat, the Lost Cause and the Emergence of the New South by Gaines F. Foster.

Now, back to your regular programming…

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2015 in History, People

 

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Lakewood Park

It is Sunday afternoon, you went to church that morning and you and your family are looking for something to do.  If it is between 1910 and 1933, your thoughts would turn to maybe taking a streetcar to Lakewood Park where you and your family could ride the boats on the lake,visit the other attractions or listen to a band in the pavilion located next to the lake.

Built in 1910 after the Southern Electric Company (one of the predecessor companies to today’s Duke Energy) to  built a dam and lake to cool electric turbines in nearby Chadwick Mill it soon became a recreational destination for those living in Charlotte and the surrounding area.  Of course due to the Jim Crow laws on the books at the time, Blacks were not permitted to visit the park and ads of the period made sure that Whites were the only ones who could visit the park:

Lakewood Park Ad for May 29 1915.  Photo courtesy of the Lakewood Park website.

Lakewood Park Ad for May 29 1915. Photo courtesy of the Lakewood Park website.

During the First World Way when Camp Greene was in full swing, soldiers were encouraged to visit the park, as the streetcar line ran right next to the camp; during this period Liberty Park was built for those soldiers but did not have all of the attractions that Lakewood had (like a lake!)

Unfortunately the park was closed in 1933 due to the Great Depression when people could no longer afford to visit.  The lake was drained in April 1936 when the dam holding the water in broke.  Another amusement park on this scale would not be seen in Charlotte until Carowinds opened up in 1973.  If you want to learn more about Lakewood Park, and of course where I got my information from, please check out:

http://www.lakewoodparkcharlotte.com/.  This site gives the history of the park with photographs and postcards of the era.

The Charlotte Mecklenburg Story at http://www.cmstry.org this site, sponsored by the Charlotte Mecklenburg Public Library is a great resource for local history with images, copies of documents and links to other history sites.

 
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Posted by on June 1, 2015 in History

 

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Memorial Day Musings

Today (May 25, 2015) is Memorial Day.  Today is when we celebrate those that made the ultimate sacrifice to defend our country both at home and abroad.  If you want to see some more facts about this day, please check out “Rookie Notes”, which had an entry about how the day got started – it is really good reading.

Here in Charlotte we have memorials to most of the wars that Mecklenburg County has sent their sons and later their daughters to fight. Here are the ones that I found on a road trip across the county:

The American Revolution

I didn’t get a chance to take a picture of the Battle of Charlotte memorial, I did find this one on Beatties Ford Road just north of Sunset Road.  This commemorates the Skirmish at McIntyre’s Farm, which I am not too familiar with but will explore for a future blog post:

Plaque commemorating the skirmish at McIntyre's Farm.  This was erected by the Mecklenburg Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1901.  Photo taken by the author.

Plaque commemorating the skirmish at McIntyre’s Farm. This was erected by the Mecklenburg Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1901. Photo taken by the author.

The Civil War

Of course we have to memorialize the Civil War, after all we are in the South.  Unlike a lot of towns our Civil War memorial is located in Elmwood Cemetery.  Maintained by the Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp # 1423, they have also included a plaque commemorating the Confederate Navy Yard that I thought was lost when they tore down the old convention center:

Plaque commemorating the Confederate Navy Yard.  Photo taken by the author.

Plaque commemorating the Confederate Navy Yard. Photo taken by the author.

At the entrance of the Confederate monument at Elmwood Cemetery.  Photo taken by the author.

At the entrance of the Confederate monument at Elmwood Cemetery. Photo taken by the author.

The Confederate Monument at Elmwood Cemetery. Photo taken by author.

The Confederate Monument at Elmwood Cemetery. Photo taken by author.

World War I

As we come up on the centennial of America’s entry into the war in 1917 and the building of Camp Greene on the city’s westside it is interesting that the memorial to the “Doughboys” has been moved several times since its dedication in 1923.  First located near Central High School (now Central High Building at Central Piedmont Community College) it was moved to Cecil Street (now Kings Drive) near Memorial Stadium and moved to its current location in the 1960’s. This is a monument to a war that a lot of people in the United States have forgotten but marked the beginning of the country’s exit from the isolationist stance that it held since the Monroe Doctrine of 1823:

World War I Memorial dedicated in 1923.  Photo taken by the author.

World War I Memorial dedicated in 1923. Photo taken by the author.

World War II

In the years between 1918 and 1941 Charlotte and the rest of the country enjoyed the roaring 20’s and endured the Great Depression after the Stock Market crash of November 1929.  After we entered the Second World War in December 1941 we again sent our sons and daughters this time to “Make the World Safe for Democracy”.  And again, some of our sons did not make it home.  This time the Gold Star Mothers came together in 1949 to create the World War II memorial that would be located in Evergreen Cemetery which at that time was on the eastern edge of the city:

Plaque to the World War II Memorial at Evergreen Cemetery.  Photo taken by the author.

Plaque to the World War II Memorial at Evergreen Cemetery. Photo taken by the author.

World War II Memorial at Evergreen Cemetery.  Photo taken by the author.

World War II Memorial at Evergreen Cemetery. Photo taken by the author.

Korean Conflict

The Korean Conflict, which was fought from 1951-53 is one of those wars (but was actually a “Police Action”) that we as a nation had forgot about.  But thanks to the veterans of the conflict,  Mecklenburg County has the only memorial in the State of North Carolina to those that fought and died in that conflict.  Located in the eastern part of Mint Hill, North Carolina on Fairview Road near I-485 it is a respectful place to reflect on the sacrifices made by our troops:

Wall at the Korean War Memorial showing the number of those KIA, MIA and the deadliest battles of the conflict.  Photo taken by the author.

Wall at the Korean War Memorial showing the number of those KIA, MIA and the deadliest battles of the conflict. Photo taken by the author.

My husband at the Korean War Memorial.  Photo taken by the author.

My husband at the Korean War Memorial. Photo taken by the author.

Vietnam War

At the time that the country was involved in the war, it was thought that we should not have gotten involved and those that went over and made it back home were reviled as “baby killers” and other foul names.  Over the years however, that view of those that fought in the war has changed.  A memorial dedicated to those from Mecklenburg County was built and dedicated in 1989.  Modeled on the memorial in Washington, DC it is located in Thompson Park in view of the John Belk Freeway and beside St. Mary’s Chapel.  It is a quiet, reflective place that honors those who served and died from Mecklenburg County:

Plaque at the Vietnam Memorial.  Photo taken by the author.

Plaque at the Vietnam Memorial. Photo taken by the author.

Vietnam Memorial Wall.  Photo taken by the author.

Vietnam Memorial Wall. Photo taken by the author.

I hope that everyone has had a chance to reflect on the sacrifices that were made to maintain our freedom on this day, for as someone told me “Freedom isn’t free”.

I got my information on the World War I statue from: http://doughboysearcher.weebly.com/charlotte-north-carolina.html

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2015 in History, Places

 

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May 20 – Meck Dec Day

Current NC State Flag.  Image Courtesy of flaglane.com via Google Images.

Current NC State Flag. Image Courtesy of flaglane.com via Google Images.

On the North Carolina State flag, there are two dates that most people don’t know why they are on the flag.  One of them is May 20, 1775 and the other one is April 12, 1776.  The first date commemorates the signing of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence (some historians call it the “Mecklenburg Resolves, Charlotteans call it “Meck Dec”) which was signed in Charlotte a year before the Declaration of Independence was approved and signed in Philadelphia.  The other date commemorates the Halifax Resolves which also stated that North Carolina would no longer be subjected to the wishes of the British Crown and called for Independence, the first colony to do so again, 2  1/2 months before the Continental Congress would approve the Declaration of Independence.

But, while the a copy of the Halifax Resolves can be son NCPedia.com, any presumed copies of the Mecklenburg Declaration (“Meck Dec”) are presumed to have been lost in a house fire; but Attorney Scott Syfert who published “The First American Declaration of Independence? The Disputed History of the Mecklenburg Declaration of May 20, 1775” says he has evidence that the document actually existed.  This author is of the opinion that the document actually existed and I am also of the opinion that the document actually exists.  Here are my reasons:

1. There are too many witnesses to the reading of the “Meck Dec” on the steps of the County Courthouse by Thomas Polk who was an relative of President James K. Polk including those who signed the document including Hezekiah Alexander.

2. According to witnesses in Salem (now known as Winston Salem) they saw Captain Jack riding through their town on the way back from Philadelphia with the document in his hand.

In years past, there used to be a big celebration of Meck Dec day.  I found this on the cmstory.org site:

Military Unit participating in the 1914 Parade.  Image courtesy of the Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.

Military Unit participating in the 1914 Parade. Image courtesy of the Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.

And that was not enough, we have this plaque not only commemorating Meck Dec, but the Battle of Charlotte in the middle of the Square at Trade and Tryon Streets, I don’t think we would have done it if it did not exist:

Plaque located on the Square commemorating Meck Dec and the Battle of Charlotte.  Image courtesy of the Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library via Google Images.

Plaque located on the Square commemorating Meck Dec and the Battle of Charlotte. Image courtesy of the Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library via Google Images.

I hope to meet Attorney Syfert and thank him for writing about a subject that I will admit is controversial because no copies can be found right now.  If you want to learn more please check out:

The Charlotte Mecklenburg Story at cmstory.org.  This is a service of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library and where I get a lot of my old images that I use in this blog.

NCPedia; this is where I got my information on the Halifax Resolves as well as  the Meck Dec (they call it the Mecklenburg Resolves).

If you want to see an interview of Attorney Syfert by D. G. Martin on North Carolina Bookwatch, please turn to UNC TV (if you live in North Carolina or get it on your cable system) Sundays at 12:00 PM with a repeat on Thursday at 5:00  PM. If you cannot get UNC TV, please go to http://www.unctv.org/content/ncbookwatch to see full episodes.  I will be DVR’ing this as I will be on the way home from work.

Happy reading!

 
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Posted by on May 20, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Elizabeth Hibbs Wheeler

At the entrance to the small playground at Myers Park Traditional School (MPTS) there is a memorial marker at the entrance to the small playground that the students don’t really pay attention to, but caught my eye when I first came to work at the school  in 2013:

Memorial to Elizabeth Hibbs Wheeler at Myers Park Traditional School.  Photo taken by the author.

Memorial to Elizabeth Hibbs Wheeler at Myers Park Traditional School. Photo taken by the author.

I asked some parents if they knew the family (they didn’t but that was okay) and of course I went on Facebook (Charlotte, NC Past and Present page) for some help from my fellow local historians.  Thanks to them I was able to track down where she lived in Myers Park, her parent’s names and what her dad did and also something about her grandfather and his connection to Mecklenburg County.

Miss. Hibbs lived with her family in Norton Place which is located just north of MPTS, which back then was known as Myers Park School.  According to the 1947 Charlotte City Directory, her dad Robert was a manager for the Wearn Company.  You may remember that name, as it was the same family that owned the old Charlotte Hornets Baseball team back in the 1920’s.  Her mom, also named Elizabeth was a stay at home housewife according to the traditions of the time.

Her grandfather was Henry C. Hibbs, an architect out of Nashville, Tennessee and a contemporary of Louis Asbury. Known for his buildings in the Nashville area, he also designed the Fine Arts building at Davidson College, which still stands today.

Unfortunately, at the age of 11 she passed away of undetermined causes according to her death certificate. She was interred in the “Community Mausoleum” at Forest Lawn Cemetery (now known as Forest Lawn West) located on the “New” Thrift Road about a mile outside of the city limits (now known as Freedom Drive).  To add to the family’s grief, her grandfather would pass away a month after his granddaughter after suffering a massive heart attack.

Mausoleum at Forest Lawn West Cemetery and the resting place of Miss. Wheeler.  Picture taken by author.

Mausoleum at Forest Lawn West Cemetery and the resting place of Miss. Wheeler. Picture taken by author.

Sixty-Six years after her passing, Myers Park School, now known as Myers Park Traditional School has grown to over 700 students and the original building has been added to over the years.  When she was a student it was just one building built in 1927 (opened in 1928), the cafeteria had not been added and would not be until 1954, another addition which would add four more classrooms opened at about the same time.  She would have entered the school by way of the front steps which are still there, but the front entrance has been closed off and made into another classroom.  I like to think that she was a bright 4th or 5th grader who would have gone on to bigger and better things including graduating from Queens College (now Queens University of Charlotte) or another institution of higher learning.  I could see her as a grandmother who may have had children and maybe grandchildren attend MPTS and living a long and fruitful life.

There are some people that I would love to thank for helping me with this entry:

Mrs. Linda Barker of Forest Lawn West Funerals and Crematory for looking up and confirming her internment site.  I realize that I was asking a strange question about a funeral that occurred in 1949 but she was very gracious and very helpful.

Ms. Gina Curry for a copy of Miss. Wheeler’s death certificate from Ancestry.com via Facebook and the Charlotte, NC Past and Present page and my fellow local historians who contribute to the page for their help and assistance.

Mr. Chris Peterson for the link to the Special Collections papers for Henry C. Hibbs from the Nashville (TN) Public Library via Facebook and the Charlotte, NC Past and Present page.

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2015 in Uncategorized