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1974: Welcome to uptown Charlotte's ‘Great Disc’

Grande Disco twirls rapidly in blustery winds. Then-Observer photographer Steve Perille left open the camera shutter one second to capture this effect.
Grande Disco twirls rapidly in blustery winds. Then-Observer photographer Steve Perille left open the camera shutter one second to capture this effect. The Charlotte Observer

The public art “Grande Disco” has anchored the Square since Oct. 2, 1974. Retro Charlotte takes a look back at an Observer editorial that ran the day after it was unveiled:

“The ‘Great Disc’ that NCNB had installed at Charlotte’s Independence Square this week is a fitting addition to the heart of the city. It is a revolutionary piece of art to commemorate a revolutionary event: Mecklenburg’s Declaration of Independence.

“The disc makes a powerful statement. People stand to view it in awe. It looks as if the layout of a city were etched across its polished face, with streets and buildings radiating outward from a central core.

“Its sheer size (six tons, 15 feet in diameter) suggests a great strength ... The fact that the disc will swivel at the touch of a hand or a change in wind direction seems to symbolize the changing moods, responses and independence of a changing, dynamic city.

“This is a welcome departure from the clutter and sterility that too long have marked the focal point of Charlotte. As the birthplace of Charlotte, Independence Square should symbolize what the city is and hopes to become. The installation of Italian sculptor Arnaldo Pomodoro’s ‘Grande Disco’ brings us closer to that.”

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