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IN HIS History of Mecklenburg County and the City of Charlotte, D. A. Tompkins gives biographical sketches of eighty men who were prominent in Mecklenburg during and shortly after the Revolution. The most frequent phrase in these sketches is, "he was educated at . . . ," and among the eighty, four were graduates of the College of New Jersey, later Princeton University.
Further proof that the people of Mecklenburg were well educated for that period can be seen in early letters, diaries, wills, and public documents written by people of Charlotte. To forestall contradiction based upon fragmentary evidence, it must be admitted that some local documents are as illiterate as any to be found, but generally speaking, the people of Mecklenburg were well educated and, furthermore, understood the value of education. Nearly all early wills contained a provision for the education of children or, in some cases, the apprenticing of children so that they might become proficient in some trade.
Mr. Tompkins, or perhaps his principal research assistant, Mr. C. L. Coon (later to become one of North Carolina's best known and most progressive educators), sized up the situation thus: "People in those days had practical ideas about everything. It was deemed important that children be taught the rudiments of education, and some were sent North to college, but the things most highly considered were religious and industrial training. Parents believed it essential their children be given instruction in the Bible, Catechism and religious doctrines, and that each be trained in some trade."
With the unfolding of Charlotte's history, it will become more and more apparent that in education, as in everything else, the guiding spirit has been "practical ideas about everything," or "first things first." Elementary schools there had to be, and the ability to earn an honest living, but higher education could wait.
Mecklenburg County schools of 1800 and of 1860 were about the same. All schools were privately owned and conducted, largely by ministers who had space in their homes for classes. Sometimes members of the family were able to assist with teaching. There were also teachers who went from home to home on a more or less regular schedule.
Something resembling today's public school system began just prior to 1840, when $750,000 was received by the state of North Carolina as her share of funds which had been accumulated through the sale of public lands. In 1839 the legislature divided counties into school districts and each county voted whether or not to have public schools. In Mecklenburg the vote was 950 for and 578 against schools and in Charlotte, 314 for and 51 against.
The county school tax was six cents on the poll and three cents on $100 property valuation, which supplemented the income from the state fund. In 1849 Mecklenburg's portion of the public money, together with the amount raised from tax, was $2,149 and in 1850, $3,449, the second largest county fund for education in the state. When the schools were first opened in 1841 the salary of teachers ranged from $15 to $30 monthly, and the leading textbooks were Webster's Blue Back Speller, Davie's Arithmetic, and Smith's Grammar.
During the War Between the States, the income from county taxes was donated to the use of soldiers, but the state funds were used for the support of schools. There were no secondary schools other than privately owned "academies," conducted form time to time in various sections of the county. The most prominent was Bain Academy in the Mint Hill section, a name that is perpetuated in the publicly owned school of today.
By 1874 there were 46 white schools in the county with 1,702 children, operated at a cost of $4,346, and 34 Negro schools with 1,814 children, costing $2,948. In those days the schools were governed by a Board of Education, and the teachers applied to a county examiner. The Board of Education still exists, but the position of examiner has evolved into a county superintendent of education. Teachers in 1873 were paid $25 or $30 per month or, if the number of pupils was small, $1 per month for each one in attendance. Except in a few larger schools, teachers taught all subjects to pupils of all ages.
There were few changes in the field of elementary education until after the turn of the century when the constructive efforts of such men as Governor Charles Brantley Aycock, Charles Duncan McIver, and others began to be felt. Even then the progress was slow in Mecklenburg. Very gradually some of the one and two room schools were consolidated into two, three, and four teacher elementary schools. A few years later some of these were further enlarged to become Union Schools, some of which had high school grades. By the early 1920's there were a number of these Union Schools in Mecklenburg, but even as late as 1944 there were still a few one and two room schools in locations where the parents were loath to lose the convenience of a neighborhood classroom or the services of a favorite teacher.
The school consolidation movement necessitated the use of school buses, which came into use in this county in the 1920's. The problem of housing a concentration of teachers in one locality began to be solved in the fall of 1923 when Mecklenburg County opened its first Teacherage at Huntersville with Mrs. James T. Comer as matron in charge. Because of the success of this experiment, similar provisions were made for the comfort and convenience of teachers in a dozen or more locations throughout the county.
In 1950 Mecklenburg was the first county in the state to consolidate several Union Schools into one large educational plant. Today there are four of these magnificent institutions, prosaically yet wisely named North Mecklenburg, East Mecklenburg, West Mecklenburg, and South Mecklenburg high schools. Distinguished educators have headed Mecklenburg county schools and contributed their talents toward bringing the system up to its present state of excellence. The superintendents were Joseph M. Matthews, Frank A. Edmondson, Edward L. Best, John C. Lockhart, and, since 1944, J. W. Wilson.
The first graded public school in North Carolina was opened in Charlotte October 21, 1873, by Reverend J. B. Boone. This school replaced the one room county school which had served Charlotte. Support for the new school came from $1,700 which was Charlotte's share of the county fund, $600 from the Peabody Fund, and a few private contributions. This school was continued for eight months, with an average attendance of 175 and total expenses amounting to $2,901.75. Lack of funds forced its closing. There were six teachers and a board of directors consisting of General Rufus Barringer, Captain John Wilkes, and Major Clement Dowd.
Among those who attended this first school were Mrs. W. W. Hagood, Sr., and Mrs. C. C. Kennedy, who sat together at the quaint little desks built from two, and both of whom grew up to become leaders in the religious and cultural life of Charlotte. A fellow classmate was James Northey, who became Charlotte manager of the Southern Bell Telephone and Telegraph Company.
Mr. Boone's school served to demonstrate the value of the public graded school. A bill to provide a special charter and levy a tax was introduced in the General Assembly, passed and ratified March 22, 1875. This act stipulated that before becoming effective it should be voted upon and a majority of registered voters should vote in favor of it. With their usual cautiousness, or should it be called callousness, the citizens of Charlotte refused to authorize the "luxury" of public schools. A similar step that must regretfully be reported was taken in the summer of 1939, resulting in the closing of the public library. There was to be no public school before 1882, just as there was no public library service from June 30, 1939, to July 1, 1940.
On the first Monday of January 1880 another election was held. The vote was 815 to 1 in favor of public, graded schools. There were 1,679 names on the registration books, but before announcing the result the board disqualified 133 names and then declared the necessary majority obtained. A taxpayer carried the matter to court. The act of the aldermen was sustained by the lower court, and finally by the Supreme Court at the fall session in 1881. And thus, with the same travail that has characterized the beginning of many of today's finest possessions, the public school system of Charlotte was born.
According to Dr. Alexander Graham, in an address delivered March 13, 1900, when the cornerstone was laid for North School at Ninth and Brevard Streets, "The white school opened for the reception of pupils on September 11, 1882, and thus was organized the school for whites in the barracks of the Carolina Military Institute. . . . The colored school opened September 25 . . . first conducted in an old tobacco barn in Ward I."
For a period of nearly 75 years following Dr. Graham's arrival Charlotte has had only three public school superintendents. Dr. Alexander Graham became superintendent February 14, 1888, following ten years of teaching at Fayetteville. He became superintendent emeritus in 1913, when he was succeeded by Dr. Harry P. Harding, who had been a Charlotte school principal since coming from Goldsboro on October 3, 1904. Dr. Harding, in turn, was succeeded upon his retirement June 30, 1949, by Dr. Elmer H. Garinger, who came to Charlotte in 1921 as principal of Alexander Graham School and later became principal of Central High School.
Under these three distinguished educators, the Charlotte Public School System developed rapidly. In 1904 when Dr. Harding arrived, there were two white schools, known as North School and South School, with a total enrollment of 1,984 pupils, and one Negro school with an enrollment of 1,111. In July 1960, when the schools of the city and county were merged, there were 92 partially integrated schools, with a capacity of 58,594 pupils. The statistical details of this amazing growth are available in annual reports of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education. An informal record of incidents and personalities has been preserved in a manuscript by Dr. Harry P. Harding entitled History of the Charlotte Public School System 1882-1949. Dr. Harding's manuscript records an event that occurred in 1880, which illustrates the tense emotionalism which has always characterized the people of Charlotte when differences of opinion develop. At the time the city officials wanted to buy the old North Carolina Military Institute building for $15,000, a step opposed by a sizable segment of the population. The opposition was so strong that members of the board of aldermen were afraid that, if they issued a check in payment, an injunction would be sought to stop payment before the bank opened on Monday morning. The whole amount, therefore, was paid in cash, including a considerable amount of silver.
In a lighter vein, but nevertheless characteristic of the city's reputation for charting its own course, is the story of the plans of the North School, opened in 1900. Among a number of plans for the school submitted by architect Frank P. Milburn of Washington were some for a new hospital building to be built in Texas. When Superintendent Graham saw the hospital plans with a large bay window in each room and other windows on the side, with space for an office, rest rooms on each of the four floors, wardrobes in each room, play room in the basement, modern heating and ventilation system, he said to the Board of Education, "That's the building we want." As of 1960, it may still be seen, still a fine school building after a half-century of use.
The consolidation of the city and county public school systems under one governing board and one superintendent in 1960 is nothing much more than the final step in a process which has been under way virtually ever since public schools were established. Specifically, the original part of the present Dilworth School was once a Mecklenburg County school and, had Central High School been built in 1904, it would have been just outside the city limits. Many other schools have been changed from county to city institutions as the city limits have been extended from time to time.
Growth of the Charlotte public school system, an orderly process from 1882, was not only halted but many gains were obliterated by the great depression which dealt its hardest blow in 1933. The seriousness of the educational situation at that time will be apparent if one contemplates the effects of a budgetary reduction from $882,912 in 1931-32 to $336,813 in 1933-34, a decrease of about sixty-one per cent. For the first time since 1882, the term was barely eight months. The twelfth grade, added in 1924, was discontinued. Fifty-four classroom teachers were eliminated and all special supervisors dropped, as well as the school dentist, six nurses, one special attendance officer, one secretary, one truck driver, and several janitorial helpers. The salary of all school employees was sixty per cent below 1930-31. The maximum annual salary for a teacher with an "A" certificate was fixed at $720, and eight years experience was needed as a requisite for obtaining that sum.
Restoration of the school system began after an election April 16, 1935, authorizing a special tax of 25 cents on the $100 valuation. On April 15, 1946, the tax for school purposes was doubled. This action was followed a week later by an election which authorized bonds in the sum of $3,980,000 for the purchase of sites and the building of schools that first led Charlotte to national prominence in the field of modern public education on both elementary and secondary levels.
Among the more significant accomplishments in the development of public school education in Charlotte, the most far-reaching was undoubtedly the establishment of "electives" shortly after the beginning of the twentieth century. A milestone, especially from the standpoint of the student body, was publication of the first high school annual, Snips and Cuts, at Central High School at the close of the 1908-9 season.
Compulsory school attendance became effective in Charlotte in 1919. The 6-3-3 plan, providing six years of elementary schooling and three years each in junior and senior high schools, was adopted in 1923 when the twelfth grade was added. The D. H. Hill School, which had occupied the old North Carolina Military Institute building since 1882, was abandoned as a school in 1937.
The first school cafeteria was located in the Alexander Graham High School on East Morehead Street and opened about 1921. Subsequently, space for cafeterias was provided in nearly all new school buildings. Until 1948, when management was taken over by the Board of Education and Miss Rosa Spearman engaged as director, all cafeterias were operated separately.
As for modern developments, the earliest appropriation for visual education was made in 1946 in the sum of $3,000. Charlotte high school pupils received their first television instruction in 1957.
During the eighty years that public schools have been operated in Charlotte, hundreds of men and women teachers and officials have contributed immensely to the city's intellectual life, endearing themselves in the process to thousands of pupils. The few mentioned here have been selected form the hundreds described in Dr. Harding's unpublished history.
Miss Hattie Alexander was variously teacher, principal of Highland Park School, Wesley Heights School, and Elizabeth School. Uhlman S. Alexander was principal of First Ward Grammar School, then principal of Piedmont Junior High School, and later became a successful Charlotte lawyer. Dr. Harvey P. Barret, one-time member of the Charlotte School Board, is best remembered for organizing the Central High School track team in 1923 and coaching it, without pay, for seven years. Miss Sallie Bethune was a member of the original school faculty in 1882, and was later principal. Bethune School was named for her. Mrs. Essie Blankenship was principal of Wesley Heights School and Wilmore School. Miss Ursula Blankenship, seventh grade teacher in 1907, was principal of Dilworth School in 1913. She was a constant advocate of progressive education. Miss Dorothy Boone has been the head of the distributive education program for Mecklenburg County since about 1950, capably assisted by Miss Miriam Blair and others. Miss Ellen Brice succeeded Mrs. Blankenship at Wilmore School and supervised the growth and development of that school. Mrs. W. J. Bryan, first teacher of Bible in the Charlotte Public Schools, was a "magnetic teacher whose classes were full from the beginning." Miss Cornelia Carter was first supervisor of elementary education. Miss Willie Choate was first principal of Myers Park Elementary School and later, as Mrs. W. D. Hampton, teacher at Eastover School. Miss Gertrude Coward was first director of school libraries. She was appointed after having served as librarian at Harding High School.
Dr. Harding's list includes Miss Bertha Donnelly, mathematics teacher; Miss Minnie Downs, head of the English Department of the city high schools; Aubrey M. Elliott, principal of Alexander Graham Junior High School; Mrs. Cornelia Wearn Henderson, principal of Parks Hutchison School and specialist in nursery school operations; Miss Cornelia Fore, teacher of history in Central High School, and later head of the History Department; Miss Florence Jamison, first principal of Zeb Vance School, later principal of Myers Park Elementary School; Miss Sara Kelley, head of the Mathematics Department, city high schools; Mrs. Ransom McMahan, secretary to the superintendent; Miss Mary Armand Nash, who in 1915 was assigned to teach art in the high school after some years of elementary teaching; Dr. John Otts, principal of Central High School (1946), later assistant superintendent of education; Miss Janet Robinson, teacher of Bible at Central High School; Forrest T. Selby, principal of Tech High School; Miss Sally Sutherland, director of physical education for elementary schools; Miss Florence Thomas, head of the Home Economics Department of the city schools; Miss Isabella Wyche, principal of Myers Street School, for whom Isabella Wyche School was named.
Some of these teachers, and many others not mentioned here, will feel amply repaid for their labors as they contemplate the contributions of their students to various fields, not only in Charlotte as shown abundantly in these pages, but throughout the world. William Joseph Eudy (Billy) Arthur became a successful newspaperman and legislative authority of Chapel Hill. Dr. Julian Parks Boyd, a South Carolinian by birth, spent his school days in Charlotte. He became the librarian and historian of Princeton University. Frank Porter Graham rose to the presidency of the University of North Carolina and, later, became a United States Senator. Currently he is serving the United Nations. Herschel V. Johnson, born in Georgia, regarded Charlotte as home while holding high diplomatic posts throughout the world. Edward Herman Little, a North Mecklenburg boy, became chairman of the board, Colgate-Palmolive-Peet Company of New York. Hugh Murrill graduated from West Point and attained the rank of colonel before becoming an advertising executive. James Orr became minister of a large Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh; Will W. Orr, president of Westminster College. J. Calvin Reid is pastor at Mount Lebanon Presbyterian Church of Pittsburg; Charles Sylvanius Rhyne rose to the presidency of the American Bar Association; Walter Spearman is professor of journalism at the University of North Carolina; Reed Surratt became a successful newspaperman and head of the Southern Education Reporting Service of Nashville, Tennessee; Will S. Tillett is a noted physician and medical college faculty member in New York; Erskine Wakefield Smith is professor of accounting, University of Delaware; Walter Reece Berryhill is dean of the School of Medicine, University of North Carolina; Algernon Reese is an ophthalmologist in New York City.
Fortunately for Charlotte, every generation has produced a few people who demanded institutions of higher learning in keeping with the city's needs. For nearly two hundred years their hopes have been kept alive in the face of every obstacle. There is now some chance their hopes are to be more fully and permanently realized.
Discouragements go back to 1773 when word was received that King George had disallowed the charter for Queen's College which had been established in Charlotte two years earlier. Apparently the principal reason for this act was that the college, being in a Presbyterian stronghold, would tend to encourage more dissenters from the established Church of England.
Despite this determined opposition of the Crown, Charlotte changed the name of the institution to Queen's Museum, an appropriate name since Webster gives the derivation of "museum" as "a temple of the muses, hence a place of study." After operating successfully for three years, this unchartered college had its name changed to Liberty Hall Academy, in keeping with the revolutionary spirit of the people of Mecklenburg. Liberty Hall was located on the southeast corner of what is now Tryon and Third Streets and did well when first opened, but as the Revolution progressed, patronage was reduced and the end came when Cornwallis invaded Charlotte, September 26, 1780.
According to C. L. Hunter in his Sketches of Western North Carolina, "Liberty Hall Academy . . . was used as a hospital and greatly defaced. The numerous graves in the rear of the Academy, visible upon the departure of the British army after a stay of 18 days, bore ample evidence of their great loss in 'this rebellious country, the hornets' nest of America.'" Following the war, the building was used for some years as a school. Washington's diary mentions that it was "formerly a college."
From about 1800 until 1835 Charlotte and Mecklenburg were apparently without educational facilities except for small, privately conducted schools and some tutoring in individual homes. One such school, Charlotte Female Academy, was opened in 1838 by Susan Davis Nye Hutchison. There was also a Charlotte Male Academy at this time, though little remains on record concerning it. It was during this period that the population of Mecklenburg was either static or decreasing. The frontiers to the west and south were drawing off whole families.
But even during this period, there were few who never abandoned hope of having an institution of higher learning in the county. The subject was much talked about at a meeting of friends of education in Lincolnton, September 22, 1820. The legislature of that year granted a charter for Western College, asked for as a result of this meeting because "more western counties of the state are distant from Chapel Hill, which renders it inconvenient for their youth to prosecute their education there."
Western College failed to materialize. It was, according to one writer, "an endeavor to unite too many discordant interests." It was said that "other denominations were unwilling to do much for a college which, when founded, would almost certainly be manned by Presbyterians . . ."
This assumption, made some years afterwards, was evidently correct because on March 12, 1835, Concord Presbytery voted to establish an institution of higher learning in western North Carolina. This resolution bore fruit in the establishment of Davidson College. The site selected was the plantation of William Lee Davidson, in upper Mecklenburg. The presbytery agreed to pay him $1,521 for the 469 acres. Whether he accepted or not is not known as there is no record of gift or sale. From records preserved at the college, it is known the William Lee Davidson subscribed $2,000 for the endowment of a professorship shortly after the opening of the college and willed it $10,000 at the time of his death. The college bears the name of his father. The resolution, passed August 26, 1835, for naming the college reads:
"That the Manual Labor Institution which we are about to build be called Davidson College, as a tribute to the memory of that distinguished and excellent man, General William Davidson, who in the ardor of patriotism, fearlessly contending for the liberty of his county fell (universally lamented) in the Battle of Cowan's Ford."
Rev. Robert Hall Morrison, pastor of Sugaw Creek Presbyterian Church, was chosen for the first president of Davidson College at an annual salary of $1,200. He accepted notwithstanding the hesitancy expressed in this personal letter to a cousin: "am still in great perplexity by the election of President of our college having fallen upon me. I used much effort to prevent it and gave all my influence to obtain some suitable appointment beyond our bounds. I am well situated, have a fine congregation, pleasant people, good location and a family of girls. On the other hand, I know not how to get over the solicitation of friends, and the overthrow of our institution which might result from a failure to secure officers."
Teaching at Davidson began May 12, 1837 with 65 students who paid a total of $820 for tuition for five months. There were three teachers. The first complete term began in September 1837 and the first graduation class was that of 1840. Textbooks included Day's Algebra, Gibson's Surveying, Adams' Latin Grammar. Studies included English grammar, writing, arithmetic, geography, plane and spherical trigonometry, mental and moral philosophy, astronomy, logic, rhetoric, and politics.
The story of the school's origin and development is told in Davidson College, by Cornelia Rebekah Shaw (1923). Its beginnings, she says, were "typically American. The consecrated idealism of its founders, its long and losing battle with poverty and indifference, its rescue by an overruling Providence, the accumulating momentum of recent years, its present stability and far-reaching usefulness constitute a thrilling panorama of Divine Providence and human heroism." The impact of Davidson upon the region and the nation has been unbelievably greater than indicated by its modest enrollment.
Thomas Woodrow Wilson, 28th President of the United States, attended Davidson in 1873, at the age of 19, remained for one year, and ever thereafter gave evidence of fond memories of his alma mater. Miss Shaw devotes several pages to incidents in the student life of this distinguished alumnus.
North Carolina Medical College
In 1886 the Presbyterian women of Charlotte equipped a small infirmary for the use of Davidson College students under treatment of Dr. Paul B. Barringer, the college physician, who also had some private classes in anatomy and physiology which were attended by students preparing for northern medical schools. When Dr. Barringer left in 1889 to become associated with the University of Virginia, he sold his "Medical School," as it had come to be known, to Dr. John Peter Munroe, who had succeeded him as college physician.
Though never a member of the faculty of Davidson College, Dr. Munroe had long been identified with it as a student (1882) and physician, and his pre-medical classes became an important part of the village activities. These classes formed the basis for the North Carolina Medical College, chartered in 1892. In 1903 the upper classes of the Medical College were removed to Charlotte where the students could take advantage of the facilities offered by the newly-organized Presbyterian Hospital. In 1907 the entire student body of the Medical College came to Charlotte where it occupied its own building on the southeast corner of Sixth and Church Streets, a building known since 1913 as the Churchill Apartments.
During its lifetime, the North Carolina Medical College had on its faculty many of the leading medical men of Charlotte, who were instrumental in awarding the degree of Doctor of Medicine to 340 men. A complete history of this institution, listing faculty members and students, is contained in The North Carolina Medical College, written by Dr. Robert H. Lafferty, published 1946. When it became evident that the college could no longer meet the increasingly exacting demands of modern medical training, the college suspended operation. The entire student body was transferred in 1913 to the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond where they were entered in the regular classes and the diplomas conferred in the name of the North Carolina Medical College.
With Davidson supplying the need for a college for the men of Mecklenburg and surrounding counties, it was not long before plans were under way for a similar institution for women. By early 1856 a group of Charlotte citizens organized a stock company and erected an attractive building at the corner of College and Ninth Streets. Rev. Robert Burwell and his wife, Margaret Anne, came to Charlotte from Hillsboro and took charge. The school was named Charlotte Female Institute. Although there have been a number of changes in ownership and name, and one inoperative period of several years, the Institute is considered the ancestor of today's Queens College.
Dr. and Mrs. Burwell headed Charlotte Female Institute until 1872, when they were succeeded by Robert Hett Chapman and Stephen Taylor Martin, jointly, and then by Dr. Martin alone. In 1878 Dr. William Robert Atkinson bought the school and conducted it until 1891, when it was closed.
Charlotte would have been left without a school for girls had not Miss Lily Long, with the aid of Mrs. Tinsley Junkin, Mrs. Bessie Dewey, and Miss Rose Franklin organized the Charlotte Seminary for Girls which was located on 510 North Tryon Street. Some of Charlotte's best known women attended Charlotte Female Institute and Charlotte Seminary for Girls, including: Mrs. John VanLandingham, Mrs. Margaret Springs Kelly, Mrs. J. P. Durant, Mrs. Bessie Myers, Mrs. I. W. Faison, Mrs. C. C. Kennedy, Mrs. w. A. Zweier, Mrs. C. M. Carson, Mrs. George Fitzsimmons, Mrs. W. H. Twitty, Mrs. J. A. Durham, Mrs. H. A. Murrill, and the Misses Alice Springs, Sallie Phillips, Laura Orr, and Charlee Hutchison.
The Charlotte Seminary for Girls continued until 1896, at which time the Presbytery of Concord and Mecklenburg established the Presbyterian College for Women, acquiring and enlarging the building once used by Charlotte Female Institute. When the college was ready to open, Dr. J. R. Bridges was chosen as president. With Miss Lily Long as lady principal, the good will and records of the Seminary which she had organized were taken over by the new college. Thus, with the establishment of Davidson College and the Presbyterian College for Women, the Presbyterians, affiliated with the Presbyterian Church in the United States (Southern), opened the first two lasting institutions of higher learning in Mecklenburg.
The Presbyterian College for Women served Charlotte and surrounding territory well until 1912 when the name was changed to Queens College and the institution removed to the site of the present campus. The land was a gift of the Stephens Company, Mecklenburg Farm Company, Dr. William Haines Wakefield, and Mr. W. S. Pharr. Citizens of Myers Park subscribed $8,000 and this, with the proceeds from the sale of 100 acres of the original gift, provided funds for beginning the erection of Burwell Hall, Atkinson Hall, Ninniss Hall, Lily Long Dormitory, and Mildred Watkins Dormitory.
Even with these gifts, a considerable debt remained from building costs and the next ten years were the darkest in the life of the college. In 1921, Dr. William H. Frazer began an eighteen year term as president of Queens. Each year required heroic measures to assure the survival of the college, and to raise the academic standards. A look at Queens today with its spacious, well-kept campus and many new buildings, is the best evidence of the success of these efforts. This success was due to the active and financial help of such men and women as Edwin E. Jones, McAlister Carson, Hunter Marshall, David Ovens, Mrs. Cameron Morrison, the Belk families, W. Z. Stultz, H. H. Everett, Dr. James A. Jones, and many others.
Those who used these facilities to improve the intellectual and cultural life of the community are engraved indelibly on the minds and in the hearts of students. There is space to mention only a few: Dr. Ethel Abernethy, Head of Psychology Department, 1918-1954; Miss Thelma Albright, for many years Dean of the College, currently a member of the English staff; Dr. Elizabeth Blair, Academic Dean, 1924-1935; Dr. Herbert V. Carson and Dr. Charles William Sommerville, excellent counselors as well as Bible teachers; Miss Rena Chambers Harrell, Librarian for some 30 years; Miss Sarah McKee Nooe and Miss Mary Lee Taylor, who since 1934 and 1941 respectively have made numerous and devoted contributions to many phases of life on the Queen campus; Miss Laura A. Tillett, English teacher.
North Carolina Military Institute
The short-lived, but well remembered, North Carolina Military Institute appeared upon the educational scene at Charlotte in 1859. It was the brain-child of Major Daniel Harvey Hill, then professor of mathematics at Davidson College. Convinced that a national conflict was imminent and foreseeing the necessity for training young men to be ready for it, he gave up his work and came to Charlotte to establish the school.
With a loan granted by Davidson College, Hill erected a building modeled after the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, of which he was a graduate. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Major Hill was asked to take charge of the training of the Confederate troops. His first official act was to take the 150 cadets composing the student body to Raleigh. Here they are reported to have drilled 10,000 volunteers. During the war the Institute was used as a hospital for Confederate soldiers. At the close of the war, Hill, who had been advanced to the rank of General, became president of the University of Arkansas. He later returned to Charlotte where for two years he edited and published The Land We Love, a monthly magazine.
Mecklenburg Female College
When no longer needed for hospital purposes, the N. C. Military Institute was occupied by the Mecklenburg Female College. Rev. A. G. Stacy was the founder and president during its brief existence, October 1, 1867 through the summer of 1869. An advertisement for this school states that there were 155 students from five states who paid $103 per term of 10 months for board, tuition, fuel, light, and contingent fees. The only remaining source of information concerning this college is a complete set of four issues of a magazine entitled, The Carrier Dove or Mecklenburg Female College Magazine.
Charlotte Military Institute
In 1873 Colonel J. P. Thomas opened a private school for boys in the Military Institute building and continued it for a period of 10 years as the Charlotte Military Institute. This school was highly regarded and successful, judged by such alumni as Frank Wilkes, John G. Bryce, Charles M. Carson, Harvey Orr, Latta Johnston, W. A. Bradshaw, Heriot Clarkson, and Dr. R. L. Gibbon, all of whom were among Charlotte's most prominent citizens. The building became, after 1883, a unit of the Charlotte public school system and so remained until almost the date of its demolition in 1954.
Biddle University: Johnson C. Smith University
One of the first needs to become pressing in Mecklenburg following the Civil War was for facilities for the education of Negroes. This accounts for a movement started at a Presbyterian church meeting in Charlotte April 7, 1867 resulting in the establishment of a mission school for Negroes located on the western side of the city on a campus donated by Colonel W. R. Myers. The first large cash contribution to this mission was made by Mrs. Mary Biddle, of Philadelphia, and the institution was named for her family, Biddle Memorial Institute.
The first president of Biddle Memorial Institute was, like those who organized the movement, a white man. Dr. Stephen Mattoon, a Presbyterian minister from the North, was selected for the position because of his understanding of races other than his own gained while serving as a missionary to Siam. Dr. Mattoon served from 1870 until 1884, during which time his wife taught at Charlotte Female Institute. Dr. and Mrs. Mattoon had two daughters, both born in Bangkok. Mary remained single, but Emma married Weddington Evans Thomas in the First Presbyterian Church of Charlotte and became the mother of Norman Mattoon Thomas. Norman Thomas, minister and author, was the nominee of the Socialist party in many presidential elections. Dr. Mattoon and his wife were among the first to be buried in Charlotte's Elmwood Cemetery - Mrs. Mattoon in 1885 and Dr. Mattoon four years later.
The principal support of Biddle Memorial Institute and Biddle University came from members of the Presbyterian Church, though from churches associated with the Northern General Assembly rather than those belonging to the Southern branch of this denomination. Thus, credit is due the Presbyterians for establishing the first three institutions of higher learning in Mecklenburg.
While Dr. Mattoon was president, the name Biddle Memorial Institute was changed to Biddle University and, on March 1, 1923, the name was again changed, to Johnson C. Smith University in recognition of generous gifts by Mrs. Jane Berry Smith in honor of her husband. Highlights in the recent history of Johnson C. Smith University include: large benefactions by James Buchanan Duke in 1923; the change to a co-educational institution in 1932; dedication of the Duke residential hall for women in 1940; celebration of the Diamond Jubilee in 1942; the president's home destroyed by fire, claiming the life of his wife, Mrs. H. L. McCrorey, and her nurse in 1944; retirement of Dr. McCrorey and inauguration of Dr. Hardy Liston as president, 1947; death of President Liston and appointment of J. W. Seabrook to serve as acting president, 1956; election and inauguration of Rufus Patterson Perry as president, 1957.
As this venerable institution, "bursting at the seams again" even with greatly expanded campus, nears the centennial anniversary, it seems appropriate to quote a few lines from the Jubilee address delivered by Dr. Julian S. Miller of Charlotte:
"If any silly skepticisms have persisted through the years as to the propriety and expediency, to say nothing of the common justice and democracy, of higher education for the Negro people, or to the capacity of this race to absorb and assimilate advanced learning, all such unfounded notions are quickly dissolved by the achievements of the graduates of this institution, and by the illustrious record of the seventy-five years of educational service rendered in this field by this University.
"If ever it is to come to pass that happy day in our national life when we, as races, will live alongside each other in cooperative and constructive relationships and just and impartial partnership, that consummation will be reached through the efforts and influence of men and women of both races who have been educated out of their narrow provincialism and who are capable in spiritual liberalism to magnify the point of similarity and to reduce the notes of differences to a diminuendo."
Baird's School for Boys
Chronologically, the school founded by Captain W. A. Barrier in 1870 follows the establishment of Biddle University. Captain Barrier operated his school for boys under the name of Macon School until his death in 1890. Then, while arrangements for the sale of the school were being made, it was "held together" by Rev. C. E. Todd and Mr. E. L. Reid, father of Virginia Reid Johnston (Mrs. Rufus) and Dr. Graham Reid of Charlotte. The interest of a former student, Major J. G. Baird of South Carolina, was aroused and he bought the school property, a large wooden building on the corner of Sixth and Poplar Streets. Major Baird introduced military tactics and, for a while, called his school Charlotte Military Institute. Later, he erected a brick building and changed the name to Baird School for Boys.
Major Baird, kindly gentleman and strict disciplinarian, was one of Charlotte's finest educators, as many senior citizens of 1960 will recall with pleasure. His school was highly rated, well patronized, and continued for about 40 years.
Charlotte Commercial College
The first business school was opened in Charlotte in December 1891 and called, by its owners L. H. Jackson and R. F. Day, Charlotte Commercial College. A period of severe financial depression began shortly after its opening, but the new business college moved bravely ahead and was well attended. In 1896, it was moved to the Y.M.C.A. and for many years was one of the important activities of that association.
Though Elizabeth College lasted less than 20 years, it holds numerous and pleasant memories. Even now, after nearly half a century, alumnae meet occasionally to relive the old days at Elizabeth.
The college was the fulfillment of a dream of Dr. Charles Banks King to establish a grade "A" college under the auspices of the Lutheran church. He had the good will and financial support of his father-in-law, Mr. Gerard Snowden Watts, wealthy tobacconist of Baltimore. There was great elation, according to the Charlotte Observer for May 28, 1896, because of the selection of Charlotte as the site of the new college. Charlotte people provided $9,332 cash as an inducement, and the Highland Park Land and Improvement Company donated $3,600 and twenty acres for a campus, to top the offer made by Columbia, S. C.
In an article about "Early Schools and Education in Charlotte" in the Charlotte Observer for June 18, 1933, Mrs. J. A. Yarbrough recalled that "In the fall of 1896, the doors of Elizabeth College, under the presidency of Dr. Charles Banks King, were opened. A Board of Trustees composed of Messrs. Charles Duls, C. Valaer, Dr. C. A. Misenheimer, and George Watts of Durham, brother of Mrs. King, aided the establishment of this school which was the first 'A' grade college in this section."
The same board of trustees served the institution throughout the twenty years of its existence. The efforts of administration and faculty met with a ready response in the hearts and minds of parents of young girls. The handsome Gerard Conservatory of Music was presented by Mrs. King's father, Mr. Gerard Snowden Watts King, the son of Dr. and Mrs. King. Ill health influenced Dr. King to move the college to Salem, Virginia (1915) where its name was retained after consolidation with Roanoke College for Women. In 1921 Elizabeth College in Virginia was burned to the ground and all records destroyed.
The property occupied by Elizabeth College in Charlotte was acquired by the Presbyterian Hospital, the original college buildings forming the nucleus for the present larger buildings required to house that institution.
Horner Military Institute
From Oxford, North Carolina, where it was founded in 1851, the celebrated Horner Military Institute removed to Charlotte in 1914. Under Col. Jerome C. Horner, son of the founder, the institute occupied a building especially erected for its use on what was then the outer edge of the Myers Park residential section of the city. When the school closed in 1920, the building was remodeled and has since been known as the Rockledge Apartments, adjacent to the Myers Park Country Club, which uses the campus for a part of its golf course.
Charlotte and Carver Colleges
In the summer of 1946, North Carolina colleges anticipated an unprecedented increase in enrollment because of returning veterans entitled to educational benefits. The North Carolina College Conference and the North Carolina Department of Education met this challenge by sponsoring college centers, providing first year college work, in Charlotte and eleven other communities. Operation of these twelve units was to be under the Directorate of Extension of the University of North Carolina. In 1946-47, the Charlotte College Center was the largest in the state. With the addition of a second year of college work in the fall of 1947, the enrollment reached 304, making it larger than all other similar college centers combined. In the same year the Charlotte School Board organized the Second Ward Extension School, with a similar program for Negroes.
By 1949 most of the college centers were discontinued. However, the board of school commissioners of Charlotte, prompted by the continued need, and encouraged by a group of citizens led by Woodford A. (Woodie) Kennedy, absorbed the Charlotte Center and made it a tuition-paying part of the public school system. This action applied also to the Second Ward Extension School which had, by then, been named Carver College. On April 26, 1958, the value of these institutions having been clearly demonstrated, the people of Mecklenburg voted a tax of two cents on the $100 property valuation for the support of the Charlotte Community College System. The voting of this tax brought these colleges under the North Carolina Community College System and gave them their first board of trustees, members of which assumed office May 11, 1958.
From their inception these colleges have held classes in Central High School and Second Ward High School respectively. The current co-educational student body of Charlotte College is 1,500 and of Carver College 400. Miss Bonnie E. Cone became director of Charlotte College on August 1, 1947, and president in the summer of 1961. Dr. E. H. Brown served as director at Carver College for the first years of its existence.
The passage of the two-cent county-wide tax levy qualified the two institutions for grants-in-aid and capital funds from the state of North Carolina. These funds are supplemented by tuition fees. On November 4, 1958, the citizens of Mecklenburg authorized bonds in the sum of $975,000 to match a $575,000 grant from the state and to provide $400,000 with which to acquire sites for the two colleges. Of the total amount authorized by the legislature for the North Carolina Community College System during the 1959-61 biennium, the two Charlotte colleges were awarded $700,000. The trustees of the Charlotte Community Colleges acquired a tract of 262 acres on U. S. Highway 29, just north of the city, to serve the future campus needs of Charlotte College. A tract of fifty acres on Hoskins Road was purchased for Carver College.
Private and Parochial Schools
Prior to the advent of public schools and state supported colleges, all educational institutions were privately conducted by individuals or groups. That they have continued to exist, and in some cases to flourish, indicates rather clearly that there will always be a need for the non-public school.
The oldest privately conducted school in Charlotte is O'Donoghue School, established on August 27, 1887, by the Sisters of Mercy, a Roman Catholic religious order, as St. Mary's Seminary. The present name was adopted in 1905 in honor of Dennis O'Donoghue, whose bequest made possible the large building at 531 South Tryon Street, home of the school for many years.
When St. Patrick's Church was erected in 1939, a large granite-faced structure was build adjacent to it for the use of O'Donoghue School. This building was greatly enlarged in the late 1950's. With the rapid increase in the number of Catholics in Charlotte, four other parochial schools and two high schools were built. Located in different sections of the city, these facilities are now used by more than 1,000 students.
King's Business College
After the Charlotte Commercial College was moved to the Y.M.C.A., there was a need for such an institution for both sexes. In 1901 King's Business College entered upon the local educational scene. This institution had an uninterrupted and successful career for more than half a century under the management of Frederick L. Riggsbee. Since March 31, 1943, it has been managed by Milo O. Kirkpatrick, whose sons, Milo, Jr., and Robert, are also on the faculty.
A pacemaker in its broadened but still specialized field, King's Business College has recently moved into its own modern college building, with equally modern dormitory space for non-resident students. King's enjoys its distinction for the length of time served by officials and faculty members. There is Mr. Riggsbee's 35 years; Mr. Kirkpatrick's 18 years; the tenure of Bernard W. Barnett of 50 years and William F. Drinkard, more than 25 years. Mr. Barnett was honored by the Gregg Publishing Company for having taught shorthand longer than any other person in the country.
Charlotte Country Day School
A much younger private school, but one which has become a valuable addition to the city's educational facilities, is the Charlotte Country Day School. It is a state chartered, non-profit corporation. The school was founded in 1941 by Dr. Thomas Burton, who became first headmaster. The Charlotte Country Day School offers the services of a highly trained faculty of wide academic experience in its strongly academic program for boys and girls of elementary and high school age. The school recently was relocated on a 30-acre suburban campus.
Private Schools of the Past
The Charlotte University School was a college preparatory school for boys owned and headed by Professor Hiram W. Glasgow. The school, founded in 1907, went out of existence in 1930. The Southern Industrial Institute, organized in 1903 by Rev. Jesse A. Baldwin, offered agricultural and industrial training to boys and girls. Many of the students were from needy homes, and at times this institution provided boarding space for 75 students and teaching space for 60 others. The school closed in 1925, when the needs were largely met by public educational facilities.
In 1960 the North Carolina Congress of Parent-Teacher Associations had 358,936 members and the two Mecklenburg councils had a combined membership of 38,773.
By 1917 there had been organized in Charlotte six Parent-Teacher Associations, composed of parents with children in Elizabeth School, First Ward School, Dilworth School, Wesley Heights School, Bethune School, and Villa Heights School, with a total membership of 333. These six associations then formed a Federation of Parent-Teacher Associations to coordinate the activities of various units. The name was later changed to that used at present. Dr. Harry P. Harding described the first meeting:
"The presidents and officials of the several PTA's of the city schools planned a meeting for April 1, 1917, to form a city Parent-Teacher Council. The meeting was to be held in the assembly room of the Chamber of Commerce. . . . Dr. P. P. Claxton, U. S. Commissioner of Education, who had a speaking engagement at Winthrop College, agreed to stop over in Charlotte for this initial meeting of the PTA Council.
"On the morning of April 1, I was asked to go with Mrs. Elizabeth Hoyle Rucker, Chairman of the Reception Committee, to meet Dr. Claxton at the railroad station. When the train arrived and Dr. Claxton stepped down from the Pullman car, immediately behind him came the former President of the United States, the Honorable William Howard Taft, and Mrs. Taft. They were stopping for the day with Dr. Claxton. Mrs. Rucker and I were greatly surprised and somewhat awe stricken at the sight of our distinguished guests, but she hastily telephoned Mr. David Ovens, the Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce, who caught a taxicab and joined us.
"President and Mrs. Taft took the rear set in my new Studebaker. Mrs. Rucker and Mr. Ovens took the 'pull-out' seats, and Dr. Claxton joined me on the front seat, and away we went to the Selwyn Hotel. At eleven o'clock Dr. Claxton and Mr. Taft addressed the first PTA Council, assembled that morning to perfect an organization.
"Mrs. John Morehead entertained our distinguished guests for luncheon and then took them to the train in the afternoon. As we waited at the station for the arrival of the train, Dr. Alexander Graham and President Taft vied with each other in telling funny anecdotes. Mrs. Taft, in the meantime, was walking back and forth on the platform as if bored with it all. Never before, since he had been President, I imagine, had Mr. Taft been so informally welcomed and entertained, and he seemed to enjoy it all."
The first year's officers of the Charlotte Council were Mrs. David S. Yates, president; Mrs. C. H. Dorsey, vice-president; Mrs. Frank F. Jones, secretary; and Mrs. W. N. Jasspon, treasurer.
A similar council was formed March 20, 1926, by parents of the children attending five schools in Mecklenburg County. This organization meeting was conducted by Mrs. John A. McRae, who was the president of the Charlotte Council. Mrs. Joseph Garibaldi became the first president of the Mecklenburg Council, having in 1919 served as the first president of the North Carolina Congress which originated in Charlotte, November 6, 1919. Subsequently the Charlotte Council supplied two other state presidents: Mrs. Ernest Hunter (1947-49) and Mrs. J. Zebulon Watkins (1957-60). On April 5, 1960, the Charlotte and Mecklenburg P.T.A. Councils were officially merged under the name of Mecklenburg Council of Parent-Teacher Associations. Mrs. Carlton Watkins, member of Sedgefield Junior High School P.T.A., became the first president of the new Council on May 24.
In his History of the Charlotte Public Schools System, Dr. Harry P. Harding, the man best qualified to evaluate the work of the Parent-Teacher Associations, has this to say:
"In evaluating the worth of the Parent-teacher Associations in Charlotte much can be written of the material aid the Associations have given the needy and under-privileged children of our schools, such as providing hot lunches, free text books, first-aid supplies, dental services, pre-school clinics, and clothing.
"Much praise is due the Associations for securing library books, playground equipment, victrolas and records, radio sets, and the like for the schools, all of which at times when school board funds were too low to provide such things.
"In almost every campaign that has been undertaken in Charlotte for the improvement of educational conditions, the leadership and the greatest support have come from the Parent-Teacher Associations. . . . But to my mind the greatest contribution of the PTA has not been in material things and cannot be measured in terms of material values. The greatest value of the Associations should be expressed in terms of cooperation, support, understanding, and sympathy."
Public Library Service
The present Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County had its origin in the minds of two young citizens, Willis F. Dowd and John M. Walker, Jr. At an organizational meeting called by these two and General Rufus Barringer, J. Lenoir Chambers, Sr., and Mrs. Bessie Dewey Chambers on January 16, 1891, the Charlotte Literary and Library Association was formed, and a constitution adopted. Incorporated February 12, 1891, this association opened its doors February 20, 1891 as a subscription library with dues of fifty cents per month.
The first librarian was Mrs. Bessie Lacy Dewey, who served from March 19, 1891, until her death November 8, 1900. The library was located in the rooms over the bookstore of Stone & Barringer, 22 South Tryon Street. From 1901 until 1903, with Miss Sallie H. Adams as librarian, the library was operated from the city hall as a part of the school system and called Charlotte Public School Library.
The library was absorbed by the Charlotte Carnegie Public Library which began its official existence January 31, 1903, with Mrs. Annie Smith Ross, who began her duties November 11, 1902, as librarian. It was made possible by gifts totaling $25,000 from Andrew Carnegie, contingent upon agreement by the city to support the library with an appropriation of $2,500 annually. The charter was granted by the General Assembly January 31, 1903, the appropriation of $2,500 annually having been ratified by a vote of the people May 6, 1901. The leader in persuading Mr. Carnegie to make the gifts was Thomas S. Franklin, member of the Charlotte board of aldermen and later chairman of the board of trustees of the library. The architects were Wheeler and McMichael, and the contractors Lazenby Brothers.
The original charter provided for a public library for colored people. This library was opened in 1905 and named Brevard Street Library for Negroes. In 1929 this library was brought under the supervision of the librarian of the Charlotte Carnegie Public Library and continued as a branch of the Public Library system.
In 1909 Mrs. Ross resigned and was replaced by Miss Mary B. Palmer. In 1915 Mr. Carnegie donated another $15,000 which was used to add a Children's Department and small auditorium to the original building, which annex was opened April 9, 1915. In 1918 Miss Palmer resigned and was succeeded by Miss Anne Pierce, who had been children's librarian.
In 1925, with no official action but with no objection, since Mr. Carnegie's gifts had not been contingent upon the use of his name, the term Charlotte Public Library came into use. On June 30, 1937, Miss Pierce resigned and James E. Gourley succeeded her with the title of Director. At this time the library was just returning to normal after having had its income cut drastically because of the great depression, during which the staff was reduced form 28 to 11 members.
Early in 1939 the discovery was made that for many years there had been no legal authorization for money appropriated to the Public Library beyond the annual $2,500 voted in 1901. To correct this situation, an election was held for the purpose of voting a tax levy for the support of the library. For several reasons, but principally because the vote was against registration, as required by law, the measure failed to carry and the Charlotte Public Library closed its doors June 30, 1939. Another election was held May 25, 1940, resulting in the authorization of a maximum tax levy of four cents on the $100 valuation throughout Mecklenburg County, the vote being 10,172 for and 1,966 against.
The library reopened July 1, 1940, and on November 1 following, Hoyt Rees Galvin took up his duties as director. In 1943 the position of assistant director was created, and in August of that year Charles Raven Brockmann was engaged to fill the new position. The new administration began at once to emphasize the educational, informational, and cultural phases of library services rather than the recreational aspects. Toward this end, an audio-visual section was established to lend films, records, and projectors. The first films were loaned in April 1941, and the first record albums, in December 1947.
Following a survey of the public library needs of Charlotte conducted under the auspices of the American Library Association in April 1944, the name of the institution was legally changed to Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. On April 23, 1946, an election was held on the question of issuing $600,000 in bonds for new library buildings. Again the vote was against registration and the measure failed to carry.
When ABC stores, for the sale of alcoholic beverages, were authorized in an election, the measure stipulated that the public library was to receive five per cent of the net profits. The first check from this source was received in October 1948. This and subsequent checks made possible many improvements in library service throughout Mecklenburg that might not otherwise have been possible, notably the purchase of two mobile libraries.
On December 13, 1952, the citizens of Charlotte and Mecklenburg authorized the issuance of bonds in the sum of $1,600,000 for new library buildings and equipment. With these funds, a new main library building replaced the original Carnegie Library building at 310 North Tryon Street and was dedicated November 19, 1956. In addition, this bond issue provided funds for four branch library buildings in Charlotte and for replacing rented space with new and attractive buildings in Huntersville, Cornelius, Davidson, Matthews, and Pineville.
When completed, the new main library building was widely acclaimed as one of the most efficiently designed library buildings in America. It was pictured and described in leading architectural magazines and all American library periodicals. Architects, librarians, educators, and others from many states and foreign countries toured the building.
Children's Nature Museum
The idea of a nature museum originated with Miss Laura Owens, at the time a science teacher in the city schools. Perhaps she was influenced by the fact that her father, the Rev. R. B. Owens, was one of the city's most avid amateur lapidaries. She was the motivating force in persuading a group of prominent citizens to meet at the home of Arthur Jones for the purpose of organizing such a museum. A prospectus was prepared in May 1946. With the help of many, including members of the Junior League, Charles H. Stone, chairman of the Charlotte Park and Recreation Commission, C. W. Gilchrist, and others, the organization was formed November 11, 1947, and opened at 315 North Cecil Street. Subsequently, the present building, 1658 Sterling Road, was built with funds amounting to $68,000 raised by the Junior League of Charlotte.
Miss Owens was asked to serve as first director of the new museum but declined, though later she did serve from September 1, 1948, until June 30, 1956, when she resigned and was succeeded by James W. Manley. During its first decade the Children's Nature Museum fulfilled every hope of its originators as expressed in the original charter:
"To establish in Charlotte a Children's Nature Museum where natural science collections, literature and other training media pertaining to these collections may be housed.
"To initiate, organize and conduct programs in the natural sciences for the enjoyment and instruction of children.
"To publish and distribute pamphlets, books and leaflets to this same end.
"To increase and diffuse among children a knowledge and appreciation of natural history; to bring about a better understanding of their responsibilities in conserving the natural resources of this county; to supplement their normal school work, and to offer healthful, enjoyable, and useful occupation of leisure time."
Blythe, LeGette and Brockmann, Charles Raven. Hornets’ Nest: The Story of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. Charlotte, N.C.: Public Library of Mecklenburg County, 1961.