Around Town

Then and now: Charlotte historic sites uptown

I wave my “born and raised Charlottean” flag as high and as often as I can. Not only does this place hold a big chunk of my heart, but it also occupies highly significant moments in history.

Whether I’m walking to work or driving through South End for lunch, I’m reminded that Charlotte’s history is rich but not always apparent.

I embarked on a little history lesson when I dug through some of Charlotte’s most notable historic sites.

Here are a few places to take note of:

(1) Pinewood/Elmwood Cemetery

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Genie Hufham, a native Charlottean and owner of Charlotte Crown Guides, told me about this gem. It stands today in the heart of Fourth Ward and it used to be a segregated cemetery with a fence separating the two areas in accordance with the Jim Crow laws of the time.

Fred Alexander Pinewood Cemetery

This was the standard from the cemetery’s opening in 1853 until 1969 when a razor-close vote by the city council favored removing the fence.

Mayor Stan Brookshire broke the three-to-three tie. The next morning, Dr. Fred Alexander, Charlotte’s first African American city councilman, oversaw its demolition.

Today, runners still use this area for a change of pace and scenery.

(2) Mayfair Manor

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Known today as The Dunhill Hotel. Built in 1929, the hotel stands at the corner of Sixth and Tryon. It offered permanent, residential rooms until 1981 when the building became uninhabited until 1987.

The hotel is rumored to be haunted by spirits of those that committed suicide here during the Great Depression.

More recently, the hotel was ranked #10 Best Hotel Breakfast in America. Any Southerner worth his salts knows a good biscuit is worth an encounter with “the other side.”

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(3) Ivey’s Department Store

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Uptown used to have a department store on North Tryon. Ivey’s was founded in 1900 and developed a reputation for being one of the region’s most visited and upscale department stores before closing in 1990.

Today, this building offers residential housing.

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(4) Old St. Peter’s Hospital

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Originally known as the Charlotte Home and Hospital, it was Charlotte’s first civilian hospital.

In 1878, the doors opened at its location at sixth and Poplar. St. Peter’s closed its doors to patients and later became a hotel after a new hospital (part of the present-day Carolinas HealthCare System) was opened in 1940.

Now the building houses condos.

(5) Latta Arcade

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Situated between South Tryon and South Church across from Romare Bearden Park, this space was developed by Edward Dilworth Latta and his Charlotte Consolidated Construction Company. The glass skylight was meant to allow sunlight to stream through the building for grading cotton.

It was built to accommodate a number of small businesses and serves the same purpose today.

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So let’s give Charlotte a little more credit for its history. You can even do that by having a beer at one of Latta Arcade’s restaurants or bars, so no excuses, class.

Photos by Nicole Brantley and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission.


Nicole Brantley
Nicole Brantley @NikkiBrantley
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