Retro Charlotte blog shows how Queen City got to now

Charlotteans are hungry to see what this town looked like before skyscrapers took over the skyline. Newcomers are amazed and natives get nostalgic.

The Observer’s photo collection of more than 100,000 images was recently digitized, and Editor Rick Thames asked me, as photo archivist, to find a way to share the treasure trove with readers.

So I started the Retro Charlotte Twitter page in April, sending out two or three vintage photos a day. Response was so enthusiastic – I had 1,000 followers within a month – that the Retro Charlotte blog sprang from it. Three times a week you’ll find photos based on a theme, some pegged to a current event (like Race Week), others from a category I’ve come across in the files.

The most popular blog posts so far have been about Independence Boulevard before it was widened, the Charlotte Coliseum on Tyvola Road, Carowinds and Charlottetown Mall. People’s favorite tweets were of Babe Ruth at Belmont Abbey College in 1929, the Charlotte Hornets, and Record Bar at Eastland Mall. I personally loved the “People Looking Surprised” photo because it’s campy.

A lot of people request specific photos, and I do my best to make everybody happy. With so many images at my fingertips I’d love to know what you’d like to see. Here are just a few of our favorite Retro Charlotte photos.

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