Retro Charlotte

Two ‘shotgun houses’ preserved

1986: Houses are readied for the move from W. Bland Street.
1986: Houses are readied for the move from W. Bland Street. The Charlotte Observer

The houses were on W. Bland Street, near Church ... The Block at Church townhomes are there now.

An Observer story about the move, January, 1986:

“A tiny frame house moved down Charlotte streets to the Afro-American Culture Center Monday, completing another step in its transition from eyesore to landmark. The three-room structure is one of two ‘shotgun’ houses recently designated historic properties by the Charlotte City Council.

“They are among the last examples here of a style of home that once dotted Charlotte and the South. The houses get the name, some say, because a gunshot fired through the front door could go straight through the house and out the back door without hitting any walls.

“Once prevalent in Charlotte’s Second and Third Wards, most of the houses have been torn down. Only two, at 153 and 155 W. Bland St., remained of an entire neighborhood following an urban renewal push in the late 1970s. Built in the late 1890s, they were part of a group of rental properties originally named Blandville and located just southwest of downtown. When they’re gone, only a line of trees that once shaded people’s backyards will show that Blandville ever existed.

“(The neighborhood) was very much a boiling pot of humanity,” says Dan Morrill, director of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission. “It was very congested. Lot of people in the streets, lot of people on front porches, lot of people in front yards, lots of clothes hanging on clotheslines. ...

“The center plans to restore one of the houses as a museum and use the second for storage.”