When the Charlotte Rescue Mission bought its current home on West First Street in the 1960s, the neighborhood was known as “Blood Alley” because of its violence.
Five decades later, the nonprofit rehab center finds itself surrounded by townhouses and condos, not to mention Bank of America Stadium.
It’s little wonder, then, that the mission has decided it’s time to do some renovation on the site, parts of which date to the 1920s.
The project will cost $375,000, and all but $25,000 has been raised. The money came from anonymous donors, along with gifts from Elevation Church and the Blumenthal Foundation, said the Rev. Tony Marciano, executive director of the mission.
Work will include new flooring, ceilings, lighting, furniture, and removal of paint that sheets the windows. Why the windows were covered is a mystery, Marciano said, since the vintage blocks of glass are frosted.
“We know of one spot where they were bricked over to keep out the violence in the community,” he said. “People kept throwing stones at it. But the neighborhood has radically changed since then.”
The project should take five weeks to complete. Renovation was long overdue, Marciano said, noting broken furniture, leaking ceilings, deteriorating flooring and dim lighting.
The rescue mission’s Christian-based programs help homeless men and women overcome addictions. Women are housed at a separate facility on West Boulevard called The Dove’s Nest.
Marciano said the mission has owned the site for 53 years after purchasing it from Humble Oil, which in turn had bought the property from Standard Oil.
Parts of the building date back to 1925. The mission has a photo dated 1927 that shows the site as the Standard Oil secretarial pool that year. Marciano said the building was the company’s southeast headquarters for a time.
An addition was built in 1935 and that is today the hub for Rescue Mission’s programs, including its large community celebrations during the holidays.
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