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News DateNews Items
March 1999
  • Charlotte's Newest Streetcar
  • Alexander Plantation Slave Cemetery Project
  • Thies House Plans Made
  • Postwar Architecture Survey Funding Sought
  • February 1999
  • Blakeney House Update
  • Trolley Keeps Rolling
  • Dr. Hanchett's Visit
  • Activities at Afro-American Cultural Center
  • Renovations Complete
  • January 1999
  • Patterson Street Houses
  • Statewide Significance Sought
  • Interim Director Named
  • December 30's Big News
  • Ratcliffe Flowers Building Bulletin
  • South Tryon Street

  • MARCH 1999

    Charlotte's Newest Streetcar

    Charlotte Trolley, Inc. has brought another vintage streetcar to Charlotte. It is a Birney car, built in 1922 by the J. G. Brill Co. It operated in Richmond Va. until 1945 and then spent a few years in Fort Collins, Colorado. It is new decorated as a Charleston, S.C. car. Congratulations to Charlotte Trolley!!!

    Alexander Plantation Slave Cemetery Project

    On February 26th Dan Morrill visited the Alexander Plantation Slave Cemetery with an official of the International Network To Freedom Association. This organization is working to identify and preserve the remnants of human bondage in the United States. As sad as the institution of slavery was, it is part of our nation's history and should not be forgotten. Mecklenburg County was about 40 percent slave in 1860, among the highest in the Carolina Piedmont. The developers of apartments at this site are working with the Historic Landmarks Commission to preserve the Alexander Slave Burial Ground. It is one of the largest slave cemeteries in Mecklenburg County. Over 70 graves have been identified. A historic highway marker will be placed on nearby Mallard Creek Road. The National Park Service will be assisting the Historic Landmarks Commission in determining how the site itself should be designed. A fascinating project!

    Thies House Plans Made

    This is Joe Mann of Mann Contractors. He restored the James A. Blakeney House for the Historic Landmarks Commission. He is standing beside the Thies House at Ardsley Road and Providence Road in Charlotte. He will be moving the house for the Lynnwood Foundation to the side of the lot facing Ardsley. The Thies House will be restored as offices for the Lynnwood Foundation, thereby freeing up four bedrooms for use at the James B. Duke Mansion. The Commission realizes that a lot of people might be upset that Eckerd's Drugs will be building a large store just north of the house and taking down many of the old trees on the property. However, you have to understand that the property was already zoned for business use. If the Historic Landmarks Commission had not intervened, the Thies House would have been torn down. Also, the neighbors of the Thies House deserve an enormous amount of credit for the fact that the house will be saved. They raised the money that will be used to move and restore the Thies House.

    Postwar Architecture Survey Funding Sought

    The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Preservation Foundation is seeking donations to assist with funding a comprehensive survey of postwar architecture in Mecklenburg County. This endeavor is similar to that which created Dr. Tom Hanchett's New South Neighborhoods essays featured on this site. If you are interested in making a tax-deductible contribution, please contact the Foundation.

    FEBRUARY 1999

    Blakeney House Update

    Now is the time to buy the Blakeney House. Painting will start next week, and we have received an offer and hope to receive another offer this week. Get in touch with us NOW if you want to buy this magnificent home.

    Trolley Keeps Rolling

    The Trolley continues to be a rousing success. Look at all the people on the car on February 6th, including a little conductor.

    The trolley never turns around. Passengers just flip the seats over at the end of the line. These folks are getting the hang of it.

    Dr. Hanchett's Visit

    Dr. Thomas W. Hanchett visited the Commission office over the Christmas holidays. He conducted an extensive inventory of Charlotte's older neighborhoods in the 1980's. You will see many of his essays on our site. It was great to see him.

    Activities at Afro-American Cultural Center

    Listed below are events scheduled at the Afro-American Cultural Center as part of their observance of Black History Month.
    WORKSHOPS: Feb. 2 and Feb. 17 African-American Folktales, Feb. 3 and Feb. 12 Jazz Tales, Feb. 4 and Feb. 11 African-American Ghost Stories, Feb. 5 and Feb. 25 The Gospel of Sacred Music, Feb. 9 "Old Wives' Tales" and More, Feb. 11 and Feb. 24 Beautiful Blues, Feb. 18 Passport to Customs, Feb. 19 Science Exploration.
    EXHIBITS: African Artifacts, Willie Little "Juke Joint", Afro-American Cultural Center Permanent Collection.
    SHOWS: "Flying West" - Feb. 19, 20, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27.

    Renovations Complete

    The restoration of the Ratcliffe Otterbourg House is complete. The house, designed by Charlotte architect William H. Peeps and the home of florist Louis Ratcliffe, houses the offices of the Historic Landmarks Commission and the Historic Preservation Foundation. We are raising money to erect a more appropriate sign for the house. It now has a big plastic sign that looks like it belongs in front of a medical clinic. We will list all our contributors.

    JANUARY 1999

    Patterson Street Houses

    The 3 Patterson St. houses in historic North Charlotte are now for sale. Buyers will have the opportunity to shape the renovation of these houses and obtain tax credits of 30 or 40% on the amount they spend on a rehabilitation that meets the appropriate standards. In addition, the Foundation has complete plans drawn up that meet these standards. Interested parties can contact Catherine Browning at First Charlotte Properties or us.

    Statewide Significance Sought

    At its meeting on January 11th the Historic Landmarks Commission voted to seek a determination of State-wide signficance for the Ratcliffe Flowers Building at 431 South Tryon St. If granted by Dr. Jeffrey Crow, Director of the North Carolina Division of Archives and History, this determination would enable the Commission to prevent the demolition of the Ratcliffe Flowers Building. Of course, the Commission would prefer to work with the owner, First Union, to develop a preservation strategy for the building.

    Interim Director Named

    Grier Martin, a Charlotte native and UNC Chapel Hill Law School graduate, has become the Interim Director of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Preservation Foundation. Martin brings great energy and enthusiasm to the Foundation's work.

    Over the next several weeks he will be examining such issues as the possible expansion of the Board of Directors, enhancement of the website, and greater levels of community support. We are excited about having Grier on board and look forward to an exciting future for the Foundation and its work.

    December 30's Big News

    Two important events occurred on December 30th.

    First, the Historic Landmarks Commission finalized the purchase of the Thomas Gluyas House on Mt. Holly-Huntersville Road. The oldest part of the house is a two-story log structure that pre-dates the Civil War.

    The Commission is offering the house for sale. It would make a fine home, not only because of the house but also because it includes over two acres of land. The house will be listed in the National Register of Historic Places and will become a local historic landmark. Contact us today about details.

    Second, the Crosland Group has donated a preservation easement on the Latta Arcade to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Preservation Foundation. This will assure that this magnificent structure will survive for generations to come.

    Ratcliffe Flowers Building Bulletin

    The Harris Group has sold the Ratcliffe Flower Shop on South Tryon St. to an "undisclosed party." We have learned that the Carpe Diem Restuarant, which occupies the building, has not been told to vacate the Ratcliffe Flowers Building in April. The lease is being renegotiated. However, there remains the distinct likelihood that there will be a new occupant. Stay tuned.These developments suggest that change is in the air. Keep in touch, and we will let you know what is happening.

    South Tryon Street

    South Tryon Street has lost most of its historic buildings. The landmark Masonic Temple was demolished in 1987. The Federal Reserve Bank Building was demolished last year. We hope this doesn't happen to the Ratcliffe Florist Building.

    Federal Reserve Building, being demolished

    Masonic Temple