Roll film cameras by Kodak were first introduce in 1895. Eastman Kodak Company became one of the largest manufacturers of home cameras. This enabled families to take home pictures without hiring a professional photographer. The Van Ness Family operated a photograph studio and sold camera equipment and film from their store at 125 East Fifth Street from the 1870s to well into the 1930s. William I. Van Ness was the son of local photographer, James Van Ness who was one of Charlotte's early photographers.
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Homes & Houseware
The turn of the century marks the beginning of the Edwardian period in architecture and furniture design. Elaborate wood carvings and heavy fabrics are very popular. The Andrews Furniture and Music Store carried a wide array of futniture and organs. Most homes had an organ from the late 1800s until the 1920s when pianos became more popular. Andrews was located at 16 West Trade Street.
The availability of ice was highly prized by families living in warm climates like Charlotte. It helped preserve food longer. Businesses that sold ice also sold coal during the winter months. Coal was the major fuel source in the early part of the 20th century. It heated both stoves and furnaces.
Refrigerators in homes would not be seen until around 1913, and only in homes where the owner could afford one. Most people relied on an icebox to keep their food cold. Kept in the kitchen, an icebox resembled a piece of furniture. A block of ice was placed in the lower compartment to cool the food above. The melted ice collected in a tray underneath the icebox. Everyday, someone in the house would empty the tray. Once a week or when neccessary, the iceman would deliver a block of ice to the house.
Take a look at how inexpensive it was to rent a house a hundred years ago. This is a copy of an advertisement from the 1903 Charlotte Observer. A family could rent a seven-room house in uptown Charlotte for $25.00 a month in the early 1900s. In one hundred years, the rent for this same house will be $2000.00
Mary Anna Morrison Jackson, widow of General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, made her home in Charlotte off and on until her death in 1915. Mrs. Jackson began living in Charlotte after the death of her husband in 1863. Her first home was located at 507 West Trade Street. In 1907, she moved closer to town and purchased a home at 306 West Trade Street. Her house was near the Southern Railway Station.
The Phifer House and plantation was located in the 700 block of North Tryon Street. Reportedly, it is the site of the last meeting of the full cabinet of the Confederate States of America, which took place on April 26, 1865. Today, the property is occupied by government buildings and an entertainment complex.
The Thaddeus Tate residence once stood at 504 East 7th Street and was typical of the style of homes prevalent in Charlotte in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Some houses mixed various architectural styles because of renovations and personal taste. Most are two stories. Although air conditioning comes along in 1906, most families did not enjoy the benefits until after World War II.