1888 Mecklenburg County Map by Thomas J. Orr

1888 Mecklenburg County Map by Thomas J. Orr
By Jeffrey Houser

The borders of Mecklenburg County were formed over a period of 80 years, started in 1762 and finalized in 1842 when the southeastern portion was split off to create Union County. Although maps of various parts of the county were…

Bank of America

Bank of America
By Paul Kurzeja

When thinking of financial centers, cities like New York and London immediately come to mind, as do names like Citibank and Goldman Sachs.  However, another city and another name should also come to mind – Charlotte and Bank of America. …

Biddleville

Biddleville
By Brandon Lunsford

The Biddleville neighborhood emerged two miles northwest of center Charlotte in 1871 on land purchased by the Reverend Stephen Mattoon, first president of what was then called Biddle University. The university was founded in 1867 by white Presbyterian ministers as…

The Briarhoppers

The Briarhoppers
By Daniel Coston

WBT Radio began operations in Charlotte, NC in 1920. By 1933, the wattage of WBT Radio increased to 50,000 watts, making it one of the most powerful radio stations in the United States. That same year, announcer Charles Crutchfield joined the…

Captain Jack’s Ride to Philadelphia

Captain Jack’s Ride to Philadelphia
By Scott Syfert

Whether you believe that the people of Mecklenburg made a full-throated declaration of independence on 20 May 1775 or merely anti-British resolutions of less importance on 31 May 1775, what is not in dispute is that in the summer of…

Catawba Indian Nation

Catawba Indian Nation
By Richard Carney

The Catawba Indian Nation is one of the indigenous Indian tribes that settled the Carolina Piedmont over 10,000 years ago.  They hunted and farmed their ancestral lands in the Piedmont area of North Carolina and South Carolina. The Catawba were…

Charlotte – The Queen of Finance

Charlotte – The Queen of Finance
By Paul Kurzeja

How did Charlotte, a small southern city become the second largest financial center in the United States?  The answer is found in a mix history, industry and legal quirks. Charlotte’s earliest financial boom started with gold.  In 1799, just outside…

“Churn Turners”: The Outen Pottery Story

“Churn Turners”: The Outen Pottery Story
By Paula H. Lester

The mid-nineteenth century saw potters migrating from South Carolina to North Carolina.  Thomas Gay arrived in Union County in the 1850s and probably trained his brother-in-law Nimrod Broom.  Broom then trained his brother-in-law William Franklin Outen, who moved from South…

The Confederate States Navy Yard

The Confederate States Navy Yard
By Jeffrey Houser

The beginnings of the Confederate Navy Yard in Charlotte started in 1860 when a foundry was established at the intersection of East Trade Street and the North Carolina Railroad. John Wilkes, a prominent Charlotte citizen, owned a majority of the…

European Immigrants to Mecklenburg County, North Carolina

European Immigrants to Mecklenburg County, North Carolina
By Hugh Dussek, Ph.D.

In the mid-eighteenth-century, numerous Europeans immigrated to the area of the Carolina Piedmont that became Mecklenburg County. Most of these settlers were Scots-Irish and Germans. The Scots-Irish originated from the Scottish Lowlands, the area between England and the Scottish Highlands.…

The Evidence Against the Mecklenburg Declaration

The Evidence Against the Mecklenburg Declaration
By Scott Syfert

The single biggest piece of evidence against the existence of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence – or put differently, the lack of evidence in its favor – is the fact that no original copy of the document exists. The original…

The Evidence in Favor of the Mecklenburg Declaration

The Evidence in Favor of the Mecklenburg Declaration
By Scott Syfert

The decisive piece of evidence that would settle the Mecklenburg Controversy once and for all – an original copy of the declaration itself – has never been produced, as all the originals were lost in a fire in 1800. Therefore,…

Faith and Conviction: Billy Graham’s Legacy

Faith and Conviction: Billy Graham’s Legacy
By Ken Garfield

In 1934, Billy Graham, the son of Charlotte dairy farmers, answered the altar call at a tent revival in Charlotte put on by traveling evangelist Mordecai Ham. Improbably, he grew up to be one of the world’s most famous religious…

The Formation of Mecklenburg County

The Formation of Mecklenburg County
By James H. Williams

In the colony of North Carolina, new counties developed as more and more settlers moved into unoccupied western parts. The area that is now Mecklenburg County was originally Bladen County, which was formed out of New Hanover in 1734. As…

First Union National Bank

First Union National Bank
By Paul Kurzeja

Charlotte, a landlocked, mid-sized southern city, is an unlikely candidate for a world-class financial center.  However, despite these hurdles, Charlotte is the second largest banking center in the United States, largely because of the First Union National Bank. First Union’s…

Good Samaritan Hospital

Good Samaritan Hospital
By Brandon Lunsford

Good Samaritan Hospital was the first private hospital in North Carolina built exclusively for the treatment of Charlotte’s black citizens, and is one of the oldest of its kind in the United States. Located in Charlotte’s Third Ward neighborhood between…

Hezekiah Alexander Home Site reaches 240 Year Milestone

Hezekiah Alexander Home Site reaches 240 Year Milestone
By Kay Peninger

This year the Charlotte Museum of History is celebrating the 240th year of the Hezekiah Alexander Home Site. To celebrate these 240 years, The Charlotte Museum of History is launching Charlotte 240, a multi-media exhibit exploring the Charlotte- Mecklenburg Region’s…

Hugh Morton: North Carolina’s Photographer

Hugh Morton: North Carolina’s Photographer
By Hannah Kiefer

Hugh MacRae Morton (1921 – 2006) looms large in recent North Carolina history. Over the course of his life, he took on many roles in his native Old North State – owner and commercial developer of Grandfather Mountain, conservationist, tourism…

James C. Hemphill, Jr., FAIA

James C. Hemphill, Jr., FAIA
By Jack Hemphill

James C. Hemphill, Jr. is remembered by the architectural community as a pioneer in the practice of architecture not only for the significant buildings for which he was responsible, but also for mentoring other architects and for shaping fundamental guidelines…

Jane Renwick Smedberg Wilkes

Jane Renwick Smedberg Wilkes
By Shelia Bumgarner

Jane Renwick Smedburg, Jeanie to close friends and family, was born 22 November 1827 in New York City. No one in her social circle imagined that the sixth child of Charles Gustavus and Isabella, a prominent merchant family, would eventually reside in…

John Wilkes, an Industrious and Enterprising Citizen

John Wilkes, an Industrious and Enterprising Citizen
By Jeffrey Houser

When Charlotteans think of the most prominent male figures in their city’s early beginnings, names such as Hezekiah Alexander, Ephraim Brevard, Andrew B. Springs and Edward D. Latta immediately come to mind. Along with those stately figures of the Queen…

King Hagler, Catawba Chieftain

King Hagler, Catawba Chieftain
By James H. Williams

King Hagler (ca. 1749-1763), as the English called the tribal Catawba chieftain, was a powerful ally to the English and much respected among the Piedmont tribes along the Catawba River. He was wisely courted by the early Colonial officials in…

LaCa: Latin American Contemporary Arts Projects

LaCa: Latin American Contemporary Arts Projects
By Neely Verano

Latin American Contemporary Art Projects, or LaCa, opened in Charlotte, North Carolina in March 2013 in the FreeMoreWest neighborhood, a rapidly growing and transforming area just west of Uptown. LaCa has a bold vision to become an international resource for…

The Mecklenburg Controversy: Adams & Jefferson Debate

The Mecklenburg Controversy: Adams & Jefferson Debate
By Scott Syfert

The story of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence could have quietly faded away, becoming at best a local curiosity, except for some incredible developments around 1819.  Around that time, Dr. Joseph Alexander, son of John McKnitt Alexander, found among his…

President James K. Polk

President James K. Polk
By Ed Williams

Nov. 2 is birthday of James K. Polk, born in 1795 in a log cabin in what is now Pineville. The first of 10 children of Samuel and Jane Knox Polk, he would go on to become governor of Tennessee…

Randolph Scott

Randolph Scott
By Brandon Lunsford

Born Randolph Crane on Jan. 23, 1898, the actor Randolph Scott was born to a very prestigious family in the Queen City. Scott’s father George was a city alderman, Chairman of Charlotte’s Finance Committee, and CEO of an accounting firm…

Rock & Roll in Charlotte

Rock & Roll in Charlotte
By Daniel Coston

By the time Elvis performed in the Charlotte Coliseum in 1956, the seeds of Rock & Roll were already planted in the Queen City. Nappy Brown, a Charlotte native, hit the national Rhythm & Blues (R&B) charts in 1954 with…

Sonia Handelman Meyer

Sonia Handelman Meyer
By Daniel Coston

Sonia Handelman Meyer worked alongside the greats of photography during the 1940s, creating quiet masterpieces. As the lone employee of the Photo League, Meyer was on the front lines for the cultural upheaval sweeping through America during the late 1940s. When the…

St. Peter’s Hospital, Charlotte’s First Civilian Hospital

St. Peter’s Hospital, Charlotte’s First Civilian Hospital
By Jeffrey Houser

Health care facilities are commonplace in modern day Charlotte. However, in the early days of the Queen City, medical services were not as prevalent. Rather than going to a hospital, townspeople accessed medical care through doctors’ house calls. The predecessor…

William Richardson Davie, 1756–1820

William Richardson Davie, 1756–1820
By William Lee Anderson III

William Richardson Davie was one of North Carolina’s most influential citizens. He fought bravely during the American Revolution, helped start the first state university, was elected governor and rose to national prominence as a statesman who helped the United States…