When I met Bernard Jamison a few years ago at a Meetup running group, I never thought he would be giving me a driving tour of Seversville and a history lesson on west Charlotte. But there we were, in a part of Charlotte that I barely knew existed.
Seversville, an original Ring Village, was settled in the 1800s. The Ring Villages were essentially settlements around what is now the I-277 beltway. Rozzelles Ferry Road, Wesley Heights Way, West Trade Street, and Irwin Creek and Stewart Creek Greenways mark Seversville’s borders.
The village grew around Mr. Henry Clontz Severs’ General Store. Eventually Savona Mill, a paper mill on the Piedmont and Northern Rail Line, was built and the neighborhood flourished.
“Seversville is a hidden treasure,” according to J’Tanya Adams, chairperson of West End Partners, president of the Seversville Community Board. “It is the most affordable place to start a business, renovate or buy a home or build on a lot.”
Adams, a native south Charlottean, decided to move to Seversville in 2007 to be a part of the revitalization efforts.
She remembers Seversville being a hub for African American culture and education. “While we were growing up, anything you can think of before desegregation, it was here and it was true to my heart,” she said. “It was all we had. It was the best in African American culture in Charlotte, after Charlotte’s Brooklyn.”
Adams is thrilled to see new homeowners and businesses come to Seversville.
“The neighborhood revitalization has attracted young professionals from every culture and industry,” she said. “The residents who have been here for 40 or 50 years embrace the newcomers. It is a great place to move and lend your gifts to a wonderful cause.”
The dilapidated trolleys sitting outside the Savona Mill caught my attention. I only see potential here.
I love old fire stations. Number 5’s interior was renovated recently.
I heard the passion and commitment in Adams’ and Jamison’s voices. Having been a pioneer in the NoDa neighborhood 18 years ago, I understand the excitement to see change, the appreciation of history and the desire to bring back to life what was once old and important.
With continued support from the city, businesses and active residents, Seversville could continue to transform into another vibrant and cultural community in Charlotte.
Photos: Vanessa Infanzon, Bernard Jamison