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Category Archives: Buildings

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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