You are here

Views of the City

Celebrating Meck Dec Day in Charlotte

Back in the day, everyone in the county celebrated on May 20th, the day the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence was signed. We have been doing so since 1825. It is to honor the men who signed the declaration in 1775. Throughout this week in May there were eating contests, races, patriotic bands and orators. This postcard captures how the town decorated during the 1908 celebration.


Working on the Railroad

The first passenger train arrived in Charlotte in 1852. The second passenger depot was the Southern Railroad Depot that was designed by Frank Milburn in the Spanish Mission style. It was built in 1905 and was located at 531 West Trade Street.  A railroad crew posed for this photograph in front of their locomotive. 

A New Invention: The Automobile

The turn-of-the-century saw the arrival of a new invention, the automobile and the truck. Some were powered by electricty  while other inventors experimented with steam power. In the end, gasoline soon became the major source of fuel for cars and trucks. Although there were just a few dealerships in Charlotte in the early 1900s, this new way of transportation quickly became popular. Soon horse driven wagons, carriages and buggies disappeared, a long with livery stables, blacksmiths, and saddle makers.

Thomas Hoover Livery Stable

 The turn-of-the century and the automobile brought about an end to livery stables as they quickly became replaced with automobile garages.  Thomas B. Hoover is driving one of his carriages. His livery stable was located at 233 Wast Trade Street. (By 1911,  the address changed to 239 East Trade Street.) Most families have their own horse and carriage or they rent them from one of the eight local stables.

Good Place To Sleep and Eat

The Central Hotel  started out as a tavern in 1840, by 1900, it was a four-story hotel with an elegant dining room.  Located at the southeast corner of the Square (Trade and Tryon Streets), it also featured the Gem Restaurant, which enabled working men to grab a quick lunch.

Drugstore & Soda Shoppe

This is an interior shot of Fitzsimmons Drugstore. There are twenty pharmacists who own their own stores throughout Charlotte. Fitzsimmons was at 126 South Tryon Street. Soda shops in drugstores were popular places for young people to socialize and enjoy handmade sodas and milkshakes.


Carnegie Library (Charlotte's First Public Library)

In 1891, the Charlotte Literary and Library Association was a subscription library located above Stone and Barringer's Bookstore. This means the library customers had to pay to use the library. After it closed, it became obvious that a city the size of Charlotte needed a public library. Alderman Thomas Franklin applied to the Carnegie Foundation and secured a $15,000 grant with the stipulation that the city had to provide the site and support the library with no less than $2500 annually.  Architects Oliver D. Wheeler and J.M.

Southern Manufacturers Club

The  Southern Manufacturers Club, an all men’s club organized in 1894. Fourteen years later in 1908, work began on this handsome building, designed by C.C. Hook,  at 134 West Trade Street at a cost of $100,000. Living quarters for the single members were located on the third floor. Some of Charlotte’s most prominent businessmen call this home.