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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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TBT – The H. D. Dennis Apartments

While I was looking around for a subject for today’s TBT entry, I ran across this photo on the cmstory.org website:

H. D. Dennis Apartments under construction 1928.  Photo courtesy of the Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Public Library.

H. D. Dennis Apartments under construction 1928. Photo courtesy of the Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Public Library.

Located at the corner of Granville Avenue and Hopewell Avenue in Myers Park it was built in 1928. the same year that Myers Park Traditional School (then known as Myers Park Public School) located about 1/2 mile to the south opened.  Well, that was then, this is now:

H. D. Dennis Apartments 2015.  Photo taken by the author.

H. D. Dennis Apartments 2015. Photo taken by the author.

Now that spring is on the way (finally!)  check out Charlotte’s historic neighborhoods, you might see something new!

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2015 in Buildings, Neighborhoods

 

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South Graded School – Throwback Thursday

Today’s Throwback Thursday article talks about a school that left us before its 100th Birthday.

Starting out as the North Carolina Military Institute by D. H. Hill and modeled on West Point, it was built in 1859 at what was that time just outside the city limits to the south on what would become Morehead Street at the corner of South Boulevard.  When the Civil War started in 1861, its facility and students took up arms and fought for the Confederacy.  During the war the building was used as  a hospital, prison and medical laboratory.  After the war, it served as the Mecklenburg Female College (1867-1869) and from 1873 to 1883 it served as the Charlotte Military Institute, a private school for boys.

In 1883 it was turned into an elementary school, known as South Graded School serving grades 1-10 (11th and 12th grades were added later) and served the growing southern suburbs of Dilworth and Wilmore .

South Graded School - 1920's.  Photo courtesy of the Robinson-Spangler Room of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.

South Graded School – 1920’s. Photo courtesy of the Robinson-Spangler Room of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.

But changing times, shifting population and the opening of schools in nearby neighborhoods including Dilworth, Wilmore and Eastover and the conversion of the building from a school to a maintenance supply warehouse spelled its doom as the building was torn down in 1954.  Now the Dowd YMCA sits on the site of the old school:

Dowd YMCA. Photo taken from Google Earth 03/05/15.

Dowd YMCA. Photo taken from Google Earth 03/05/15.

If you have a chance to go to the Carolina Room in the main branch of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library located on North Tryon Street at Sixth Street, please do as you will find a wealth of information including the story of the Charlotte Mecklenburg School System by former superintendent Harry P. Harding (Harding University High School in West Charlotte is named for him) as well as other sources for this article.  I also consulted the J. Murray Adkins Library at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (GO NINERS!) for some of my information. :

Information about the South Graded School: From the Mary Boyer Collection of the J. Murray Adkins Library of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. (http://digitalcollections.uncc.edu/cdm/ref/collection/p15483coll1/id/912)

The 1920’s Image of the school: Robinson-Spangler Room of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library (cmstory.org)

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2015 in Buildings, History

 

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Louis Asbury

People who have lived in Charlotte all of their lives may or may not have heard of this fellow Charlottean, but may have seen his work without knowing the person.  Well, let me introduce him.

Louis Asbury, born in Charlotte in 1877 and died in 1975 was one of the first full time, professionally trained architect licensed in North Carolina, holding license # 4 when North Carolina required architects to be licenced in order to practice in 1915.  A graduate of Trinity College (now Duke University) with additional training at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), he first started his practice in New York City and moved back to North Carolina in 1908.  His building style was influenced by a trip through Europe after graduating from Trinity, as evidenced by some of his work.

During his practice, he designed not only schools and churches, including Myers Park Methodist Church (he was one of the founding members) but also courthouses in Charlotte and Rutherfordton.  Here are some of the buildings that he helped design:

Parks-Hutchinson School now the Performance Learning Center.  Image courtesy of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission via Google Images.

Parks-Hutchinson School now the Performance Learning Center. Image courtesy of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission via Google Images.

Myers Park UMC.  Picture courtesy of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission

Myers Park UMC. Picture courtesy of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission.

 

Mecklenburg County Courthouse.  Picture courtesy of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission via Google Images

Mecklenburg County Courthouse. Picture courtesy of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission via Google Images

If you want to learn more about this visionary, please check out these sites (this is where I got most of my information):

http://ncarchitects.lib.ncsu.edu/people/P000449, written by William B. Bushong and Catherine W. Bishir with contribution by Dr. Dan Morrill and Charlotte Brown

http://www.cmhpf.org/ – This is the site for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission, which has a lot of information on Charlotte and Mecklenburg County history.

 

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2015 in Buildings, History, People

 

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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.

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

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 February 5, 2015 in Buildings, History, People

 

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Image

6th Street Bridge

I have been in Charlotte for over 30 years. While traveling around town, I had not always paid attention to this bridge located on 6th Street just west of Graham Street:

Southern Railway Bridge over 6th Street.  Picture taken by author.

Southern Railway Bridge over 6th Street. Picture taken by author.

Well, I finally got around to checking this bridge out.  It turns out that this was a bridge operated by the old Southern Railroad that led to the old railroad station on West Trade Street:

Southern Railway Station and Stonewall Hotel circa 1908.  Image courtesy of the Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.

Southern Railway Station and Stonewall Hotel circa 1908. Image courtesy of the Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.

This station, designed by Frank Milburn in 1905 in the Mediterranean Style complemented an existing Seaboard Air Line train station on North Tryon Street at 16th Street.   When the station was closed in the 1960’s and the railroad tracks converted to freight traffic and raised above the street, it was thought that everything had been taken away.  Well, in two parking lots located on 5th Street on opposite sides of the street if you look hard enough, you can see the railroad tracks that they didn’t take up:

Old Southern Railway Tracks facing 6th Street.  Picture taken by author.

Old Southern Railway Tracks facing 6th Street. Picture taken by author.

And on the other side of the street, you can see one track but not the other:

Old Southern Railway Track part II.  Picture taken by author.

Old Southern Railway Track part II. Picture taken by author.

I managed to get a shot of the old Right of Way on the bridge looking north towards the silos at Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM), I cannot began to describe my excitement as I found out that this actually served the old Charlotte train station:

Old Southern Railway ROW on the 6th Street Bridge.  Picture taken by the author.

Old Southern Railway ROW on the 6th Street Bridge. Picture taken by the author.

I wish I had gone on and find out when this bridge was built, but as I was by myself and the area was deserted I didn’t want to take a chance of running into trouble.  Also, there was ample warning signs that the area was owned by the State of North Carolina:

No Trespassing Sign installed by the NC Department of Transportation.  Picture taken by the author.

No Trespassing Sign installed by the NC Department of Transportation. Picture taken by the author

If you want to learn more about Charlotte’s transportation history and see images from not only the railroad stations, but its early streetcars and other forms of public transportation, please visit http://www.cmstory.org.  This site is run by the Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library and covers Charlotte and Mecklenburg County History from its beginnings to the present day.

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2015 in Buildings, Business, History, Places

 

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Need to go grocery shopping?

Grocery shopping is easier today with all of the choices that we have.  We have stores such as Harris Teeter, Publix, and Food Lion for us regular shoppers.  For those who are looking for speciality stores we have Trader Joes, Whole Foods or Earthfare.  Back in the day when the city was smaller, we could go to our neighborhood grocer or to one of the early supermarket chains that had stores in the area.  While they were not the large stores that we are used to (and some of us expect!)  they filled a need for fresh food at good prices.

One of those early chains was Colonel Stores.  Started as Pender’s Stores in Richmond, Virginia in the early part of the 20th century they grew into the Carolinas and had several stores in the Charlotte area, including one located at 209 North College Street which was demolished and is now the Wake Forest School of Business and the Holiday Inn Center City.

Colonial Store "Rooster Logo" via rkpuma.com and Google Images

Colonial Store “Rooster Logo” via rkpuma.com and Google Images

I wish that I could have found a picture of the old store but could not find one.  I know that I will be exploring these old stores in future blog posts.  For more history about grocery stores both here in the Charlotte area and in other parts of the South, please check out the Grocerteria blog at http://www.groceteria.com.  You will not only learn about the history of familiar chains such as Winn Dixie and A&P, but also where they were located and what may or may not be there now.

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2015 in Buildings, Business, History

 

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School Days (or daze depending on your point of view!)

I work as a Teacher’s Assistant in the Charlotte Mecklenburg School System (CMS) at one of the oldest schools that is still using their original building (built in 1927, opened in the fall of 1928).  While the City of Charlotte still has a tendency to get rid of  buildings that are deemed “old”, CMS has tried to use their older buildings as much as possible.

Now while some of the older schools like North School, which was located on North College Street, Alexander Street and Myers Street Schools are long gone, there are still some school buildings still in use that pre-date the Great Depression. Several were designed by the late Louis Asbury, who was one of the first professional architects licensed in the State of North Carolina.  Two examples are the old Parks-Hutchinson School which was built in 1926 on North Graham Street (formerly known as Hutchinson Avenue), which is now the Performance Learning Center:

Parks-Hutchinson School now the Performance Learning Center.  Image courtesy of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission via Google Images.

Parks-Hutchinson School now the Performance Learning Center. Image courtesy of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission via Google Images.

A year earlier, he also designed Morgan School in the Cherry neighborhood, which is not being used by CMS, but is now a Charter School:

The former Morgan School now Community Charter School.  Image from the Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission via Google Images.

The former Morgan School now Community Charter School. Image from the Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission via Google Images.

Of course I cannot forget to show off the school that I work at, Myers Park Traditional:

Original Entrance to the school.  Image from myschoolrocks. com via Google Images

Original Entrance to the school. Image from myschoolrocks.com via Google Images

There is a high school building that pre-date the Great Depression that is still being used.  Central High School located in the Elizabeth neighborhood was built around 1923 and is now owned by Central Piedmont Community College and is used for classrooms as well as other college services.  Here is a picture dating back to the early 1950’s, when it also housed Charlotte College, which later became UNC-Charlotte:

Central High School, early 1950's.  Image courtesy of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission via Google Images.

Central High School, early 1950’s. Image courtesy of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission via Google Images.

There is also Middle School pre-dating the Depression still in use.  Piedmont Middle School (at the time it was built it was called Piedmont Junior High) was built in 1925. There have been additions made over the years as the student population has grown, but the basic bones of the building are still there:

Piedmont Middle School.  Image courtesy of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission via Google Images.

Piedmont Middle School. Image courtesy of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission via Google Images.

I will be exploring more old schools in future blog entries.  Please explore with me and if you know of a school that has kept their original building or hasn’t altered it too much, please let me know.

 
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Posted by on January 25, 2015 in Buildings, History

 

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Traveling to Charlotte – 1950’s Style

While we take it for granted in 2015 that we can find a hotel that fits our budget and stay anywhere we want to regardless of race and that we can find our favorite hotel chain in any town.  But it wasn’t that way in 1950; due to the Jim Crow laws on the books travelers were restricted to hotels that catered to their race and most of the hotel chains such as Marriott, Holiday Inn and Hilton were not available here in town. But, the hotel that you stayed at also depended on how much money you were willing to spend for a good night’s sleep.

Charlotte had its upscale hotels such as the Hotel Charlotte on West Trade Street which was imploded in the mid-1980’s and the Hotel William Barringer on North Tryon Street which is currently being redeveloped after being used for years as a senior citizen’s resident facility.  For African-American travelers, they were directed via the “Negro Travelers Green Book” to the Hotel Alexander was touted in the City Directory as “The South’s Finest Negro Hotel” in First Ward or the Ebony Guest House located at 214 South Myers Street in the Brooklyn neighborhood.

Ad for the Hotel Alexander in the 1950 Hill's Charlotte City Directory (image obtained via digitalnc.org)

Ad for the Hotel Alexander in the 1950 Hill’s Charlotte City Directory (image obtained via digitalnc.org)

If you didn’t have the means to stay at the Hotel Charlotte, or you were traveling by car with your family, you have a choice between the Stonewall Hotel on West Trade Street near the Southern Railroad Train Station or the T & J Hotel Courts located on Wilkinson Boulevard.

Listing for the Stonewall and T & J Motor Court from the 1950 Hill's Charlotte Directory (images via Google Images

Listing for the Stonewall and T & J Motor Court from the 1950 Hill’s Charlotte Directory (images via Google Images

The Alexander, Stonewall, T & J or Ebony Guest House no longer exist.  The Alexander closed in the 1960’s after the Civil Rights Act desegregated hotel accommodations and was burned down by the Charlotte Fire Department in a controlled burn in 1973.  The Stonewall Hotel, which was later renamed the Travelers Hotel became a transient hotel which was later closed and torn down in the mid 1990’s.  T & J Hotel Courts became a Choice Hotel, but was condemned by the City in 2011 after years of calls to police for various things such as drug dealing, prostitution and other problems, it had also become a “rental by the week” hotel that catered to those who could not afford housing in an increasing expensive housing market.  There are no records as to when the Ebony Guest House closed and torn down, I hope one of my readers can help me out with that question.

Doing my research for this entry, I found the following web sites to be very helpful:

Motel Americana – North Carolina: http://www.sjsu.edu/faculty/wooda/motel/northcarolina/index.html

The American Hotel Blog by James Lileks: http://www.lileks.com/motels/NC/1.html

Mecklenburg County Real Estate Lookup (for the right address): http://meckcama.co.mecklenburg.nc.us/relookup/

I got my ads from the Hill’s 1950 Charlotte City Directory (via digitalnc.org)

 
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Posted by on January 4, 2015 in Buildings, History, Places

 

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I’m Back!

Well, after a hiatus due to school and work responsibilities I have come back. I could not remember my original password for this site so I had to create a new one.  I hope that you will rediscover me and come back.

I want to thank Mr. James Harrill, who is currently serving the North Carolina Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons as a District Deputy for discovering my original Lost Charlotte blog and posting one of my entries to Facebook – this was the inspiration for bringing it back.  Also a big thank you to Mr. Damajo Smith for his comments on Facebook, he currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Phylaxis Society which is the research arm for Prince Hall Affiliated Free and Accepted Masons.

There is a blog called “Retro Charlotte” that is authored by Maria David who is the archivist and research librarian for the Charlotte (NC) Observer.  While some people think that there is not enough material for more than one blogger, I have to disagree.  While Ms. David has the resources of the Charlotte Observer, which has been around for over a century (first starting off as the Charlotte Daily Observer) I have the heart and people that I can go to to verify anything that I have heard.

I hope that you will come back and take the journey with me to find out what Charlotte used to be like.

 
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Posted by on December 27, 2014 in Buildings, History, People, Places, Streets

 

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