The McEwen name is well known in Mint Hill.
It hangs on McEwen Shopping Center at the square, on McEwen Funeral Service on Matthews-Mint Hill Road and on the Carl J. McEwen Historic Village across the street.
The McEwen family has supported Mint Hill for more than 100 years, and that support will continue with an upcoming estate sale at the home of Carl McEwen’s daughter, Helen McEwen Anderson.
Proceeds from the sale will go to the Mint Hill Historical Society.
R.J. McEwen was a cabinetmaker in 1893 when his son, Carl, was born. When Carl got a little older, his father opened R.J. McEwen and Son Hardware on the town square.
The elder McEwen still made cabinets, and would craft the occasional coffin as a favor to friends and family.
That gave the younger McEwen the inspiration to open his first business: a funeral home.
McEwen Funeral Service is still active today in several locations, although the McEwen family no longer holds interest in the business.
Over a 17-year period, locals say, Carl opened a business a year in the town.
McEwen’s grandson and Helen Anderson’s son, Leslie Anderson, an optometrist with an office in McEwen Shopping Center, said his grandfather’s business model was simple. He would open a business, hire a good manager and help the business get established, then sell it to the manager and move on to the next endeavor.
As part of those efforts, McEwen founded a gas station, a clothing store, a grocery store, and a drugstore and soda shop.
“He was determined that Mint Hill would be a thriving community,” said Mint Hill Historical Society Executive Director Becky Griffin.
In addition to his string of businesses, Griffin said, McEwen also provided space or land for a number of local nonprofits, including the first Mint Hill Library, Mint Hill Fire Station and Mint Hill VFW.
In a 1989 newspaper article, McEwen’s friend B.C. Fincher wrote, “What Robert E. Lee meant to Richmond and what Winston Churchill meant to London, Carl McEwen meant to Mint Hill.”
Carl McEwen and his wife, Minnie Belle Mann, had four girls, and taught each the importance of giving back.
Helen Anderson, the last surviving sibling, died on Christmas Eve last year. Her family offered to host the estate sale at her home and donate the proceeds to the Historical Society. The society runs the Carl J. McEwen Historic Village, the collection of historic buildings and museums that bears their grandfather’s name.
Leslie Anderson said that, to his family, hosting the sale comes naturally.
“We were always taught to give back to your community. That’s just what you are supposed to do. My grandfather’s whole life was dedicated to serving and developing his community, and that’s what we will continue to do,” Anderson said.
Melinda Johnston is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Melinda? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want to go?
The Mint Hill Historical Society’s Estate Sale will be 9a.m.-3p.m. Feb.26-28 at Helen Anderson’s home at 6038 Robin Hollow Drive in Mint Hill.
▪ Details: Mint Hill Historical Society, 704-573-0726.