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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

 

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

 

Not quite so lost sites around town

Instead of talking, I thought I would show some remnants of some of the things that we as a city have let go; although a couple of places are still around and being used in one way or another.

Dilworth Elementary School located on Euclid Avenue near Latta Park still has part of the original building that was not torn down when the 1960’s portion of the building was added.  The old building is still being used and an addition added in the 2000’s comes complete with a fish pond in the lobby and is attached to the Tom Sykes Recreation Center:

Dilworth Elementary School - part of the original building.  Picture taken by the author.

Dilworth Elementary School – part of the original building. Picture taken by the author.

Another building that is still being used is the old McCrorey YMCA at the corner of Caldwell and East 3rd Street.  Currently used by the United Way of Central Carolinas this was in the old neighborhood known as Brooklyn which was destroyed by Urban Renewal in the 1960’s which after 50 years still echoes in the minds and hearts of its former residents.

McCrorey YMCA currently being used by the United Way of Central Carolinas.  Photo taken by the author.

McCrorey YMCA currently being used by the United Way of Central Carolinas. Photo taken by the author.

Last, but by no means least, is the remnants of the old Piedmont and Northern (P & N) Railroad trestle located on South Graham Street near the Bank of America Stadium.  As the area near the stadium and the BB&T Ballpark was the old rail yard, it was natural that trestles would be built across the gullies and ridges that the city was built on.  If you think about it, if the trestle was still in use, it would be lower than the “Canopener” bridges in Durham and Raleigh (you may have remember me talking about them in a previous entry!)

Old P&N Trestle located on South Graham Street near Bank of America Stadium.  Photo taken by the author.

Old P&N Trestle located on South Graham Street near Bank of America Stadium. Photo taken by the author.

I will be doing some more looking around for more buildings and old sites that are not quite “lost” but may not be quite all there either.  Enjoy!

 
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Posted by on May 16, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

TBT – Piedmont and Northern Passenger and Freight Station

You may not believe this but the site of the current BB&T Stadium used to house the old Piedmont & Northern Passenger and Freight Terminals.  If you were living in Charlotte back in the early 2000’s, you may have noticed the old Chesapeake Paper warehouse and some concrete surfaces that resembled a station platform.  Well by the time that the stadium was conceived and built, the railroad tracks had been taken up and the old station had been razed.  I found this old photo of the old station:

Mint Street Terminal of the Piedmont & Northern Railway Station 1945.  Photo by Steve Meyer

Mint Street Terminal of the Piedmont & Northern Railway Station 1945. Photo from the S. David Carriker Collection

You can probably see the Federal Courthouse (which is still there and is famous for several federal cases involving Jim Bakker of the old “PTL” scandal and the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh)

This is what the area looks like now:

The site of the Mint Street Terminal of the Piedmont & Northern Railway 2015.  Photo taken by the author.

The site of the Mint Street Terminal of the Piedmont & Northern Railway 2015. Photo taken by the author.

While looking for some information about the old railroad, which also had stations at Thrift, Belmont, the old Lakewood Park and a yard at Pinoca I found the following two sites, if you are into railroad history I can recommend both of these:

http://wvncrails.weebly.com/piedmont–northernyesterday-and-today.html by Dan Robie.  He also talks about other railroads in North Carolina and West Virginia but has done his research into a topic that a lot of people don’t know about.

http://www.pwrr.org/nstation/charlotte.html.  This website for the Piedmont and Western Railroad Club also has some good information on not only the P & N, but the Southern Railroad and Seaboard Airline Railroad which also had terminals here in Charlotte.

Happy Reading!

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

TBT- Myers Park

Hi! I hadn’t done a TBT article in a couple of weeks, so I thought I would get back into the habit with a puzzle that stumped quite a few people on Facebook a couple of weeks ago.

On the page “Charlotte, NC the Past and Present” frequent contributor James Allen Peacock posted this picture and asked the page members where they thought this was.  He did give the hint that this was one of the first paved streets in the Myers Park Neighborhood:

Queens Road in the early 1900's.  Picture courtesy of James Allen Peacock via Facebook.

Queens Road in the early 1900’s. Picture courtesy of James Allen Peacock via Facebook.

Well, the answers ranged from Queens and Radcliff near what is now Queens University of Charlotte to somewhere near the future Freedom Park.  The answer was, Queens Road at Edgefield Road across from Edgefield Park.  Well, Mr. Peacock (along with James Jack have given me a lot of ideas for this blog – I love them both!) provided the answer, and this same intersection now looks like this in 2015:

Queens Road at Edgefield Drive 2015.  Photo taken by the author.

Queens Road at Edgefield Drive 2015. Photo taken by the author.

A big thanks to James Allen Peacock for his idea and his picture for this article.  Enjoy!

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Abe Lincoln’s Assassination

It was 150 years ago this evening that President Lincoln, along with his wife was at Ford’s Theatre watching “Our American Cousin” when John Wilkes Booth shot him in the back of the head, which proved fatal the next morning.

I was wondering how Southern newspapers treated the news of the assassination, as the war ended just days earlier.  I found this article in the April 16, 1865 New York Times which shows the depth of the feelings that the nation felt when the news of his death came out:

April 16, 1865 New York Times.  Image via ProQuest Historical Papers via the UNC Charlotte Murray Adkins Library.

April 16, 1865 New York Times. Image via ProQuest Historical Papers via the UNC Charlotte Murray Adkins Library.

But because this was after the war, the materials needed to print a newspaper was in short supply, some Southern newspapers were only twice weekly or once a week.  Now in Charlotte,  the Observer and News would be a couple of decades away from starting publication but I was able to find on digitalnc.org copies of the Western Democrat which was being published at that time.  The April 18, 1865 edition only discusses the surrender at Appomattox and not the assassination.

This could be a result of telegraph lines still in the rebuilding stages from the destruction of the war or there was not enough paper that was saved to be scanned into a digital format in the 21st century.  But, the May 29, 1865 edition does talk about the attempted capture of John Wilkes Booth (he was killed in a shootout at Garrett’s Barn in Virginia on April 26, 1865) President Johnson’s orders regarding the property of the former Confederacy including the former Navy, ordering the Postmaster General to reestablish postal routes and any acts and proceedings of the former Confederate government is null and void.

This author is not saying that Charlotte did not mourn the late president, but feelings may still have been raw about the surrender of General Lee and the Confederate Army, the passing of a way of life that was comfortable for most people.  If you want to read more about this time period, you may want to find America Aflame by Dr. David Goldfield (Bloomsbury Press) 2011.  This can be ordered from any bookstore (although for my Charlotte readers you may want to try Park Road Books in the Park Road Shopping Center)

Where did I get my information today?

The Western Democrat, May 29, 1865 edition. Page one, http://newspapers.digitalnc.org/lccn/sn84020712/1865-05-29/ed-1/seq-1/print/image_420x817_from_0,1447_to_3659,8560/ accessed on April 14, 2015

New York Times, April 16, 1865 edition. Page one. via ProQuest Historical Papers.  Accessed through the Murray Adkins Library of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte on April 14, 2015.

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Thrift Community

Before Charlotte started swallowing up its neighboring unincorporated communities with names such as Paw Creek, Sharon, Newell, Clear Creek and Dixie these little crossroads and sometimes actual towns had their own post office, grocery or general store and regular mail service.  Now, what’s left of them has been incorporated into the Charlotte city limits and sometimes the only way to find out that they did exist are street signs for the streets that have been named for them or memories of our older residents.

One of these towns located in western Mecklenburg County was the town of Thrift.  Located on Mt. Holly Road going towards the town of Mt. Holly (NC 27) they could boast of having a nearby train station, the Piedmont and Northern station at Paw Creek as well as a regular post office.

1972 Highway Maintenance Map showing the township of Thrift.  Courtesy of the NC Maps Collection of the Wilson Library of the University of North Carolina.

1972 Highway Maintenance Map showing the township of Thrift. Courtesy of the NC Maps Collection of the Wilson Library of the University of North Carolina.

Unfortunately, nothing remains of the community today, not even the post office. I have even gone down Highway 27 in an effort to find any traces of the old community except for the name of a short road named Thrift (which is off of Freedom Drive)

Thrift Road 2015.  Image courtesy of Google Earth.

Thrift Road 2015. Image courtesy of Google Earth.

If anyone who used to live out that way before the tank farms were built wants to talk with me, please let me know – I will be happy to help you record and save your memories.

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Wearn Field

While we are waiting for 2015 Major League Baseball’s opening day, let me take you back to a time in which baseball was America’s game and Saturday afternoons could be spent at the ballfield watching the Charlotte Hornets play.

Wait a minute you ask me, the Charlotte Hornets playing baseball?  Yes, before the city got its NBA team in the late 1980’s, our minor league team from 1901 to 1973, which served as a farm team for various Major League team from the Washington Senators to the Minnesota Twins was named the Charlotte Hornets.  They played Wearn Field, which was built and owned by the club owner J. H. Wearn who owned a lumber mill of the same name located in the old Brooklyn neighborhood between Third and Fourth Streets near the Fourth Street Alley.

His baseball field, however was located just inside the city limits at the corner of South Mint and Dowd Road, according to the 1922 Charlotte City Directory,  the field keeper was Henry Petty:

1935 Charlotte Chamber of Commerce Map_Shows location of Wearn Field

1935 Charlotte Chamber of Commerce Map. Arrow shows the approximate location of Wearn Field. Image courtesy of the Spangler-Robinson Carolina Room of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.

What threw me in trying to find the location was that the street name like so many others here in Charlotte has changed over the years.  Dowd Road was changed to West Summit Avenue sometime in the 1960’s:

Summit and South Mint_2015

Location of Wearn Field 2015. West Summit Avenue in 1923 at this point was called Dowd Road.

When I finally found the location, of course I had to find out what was there now:

Office complex on the site of Wearn Field.  Picture taken by the author.

Office complex on the site of Wearn Field. Picture taken by the author.

Here is a picture of a game day at the field, courtesy of James Jack:

Game at Wearn Field, date unknown.  Picture courtesy of James Jack.

  Game at Wearn Field, date unknown. Picture courtesy of James Jack.

After World War II, it was supplemented by Clark Griffith Field built in Dilworth which was later destroyed in an arson fire.  I don’t have any information about when the park was finally closed and demolished, I hope someone can help me out.

I hope that you will explore more about the Charlotte area’s sports history.  You can start at the Carolina Room of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Public Library or the Levine Museum of the New South both of which are located within a couple of blocks from each other on North Tryon and North College Streets. If you know of anyone who may have more information, please let me know.

My sources for today’s entry are:

Picture showing a game day is courtesy of James Jack date unknown is via Facebook from the Charlotte, NC Past and Present Page.

Map showing location of Dowd Road at South Mint Street from the online maps collection of the Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Library.

Information on J. H. Wearn and Wearn Field from the 1922 Charlotte City Directory, page 660.  This was downloaded from digitalnc.org on November 17, 2012.

1911 Sanford Fire Map showing the location of J. H. Wearn Lumber Yard was courtesy of the North Carolina Maps page of the Wilson Library of the University of North Carolina located at http://www2.lib.unc.edu/dc/ncmaps/sanborn.html

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

TBT – Cecil Drive

In 1955 what we now know as Kings Drive looking towards 7th Street looked like this:

Cecil Street looking towards 7th Street just above the Grady Cole Center 1955.  Picture courtesy of the Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library.

Cecil Street looking towards 7th Street just above the Grady Cole Center 1955. Picture courtesy of the Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library.

Now, this is what that same intersection looks like:

Kings Drive towards Seventh Street_2015

Kings Drive looking towards Seventh Street 2015. Picture taken by the author.

The house on the right is long gone, that site is now a parking lot for Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC).  The Kayo is also gone, and the site is now the overpass for Independence Freeway near the I-277 split and where the billboard was located is now Van Emery Building which is also a part of CPCC.

I encourage everyone who is interested to check out more images of old Charlotte on the Charlotte Mecklenburg Story website which is a service of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library (www.cmstory.org).  Enjoy!

 
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Posted by on March 12, 2015 in Uncategorized