Younts General Store
1. Names and locations of
the properties: The
property known as the Former Younts General Store is located at 316 Main Street, Pineville, North Carolina.
2. Name and address of
the present owner of the property: The present owner of the
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission
2100 Randolph Road, Charlotte, N.C. 28207
Phone Number: (704) 376-9115
photographs of the property: This report contains
representative photographs of the property.
4. Maps depicting the location of the property:
This report contains a map depicting the location of the property.
5. Current deed book
reference to the property: The tax parcel number associated with the
property is: 20501308.
6. A brief historical
sketch of the property:
This report contains a brief historical sketch of the property.
7. A brief architectural
description of the property: This report contains a brief
architectural description of the property.
8. Documentation of why
and in what ways the property meets criteria for designation set forth
in N. C. G. S. 160A-400.5:
Special significance in terms of its history, architecture,
and/or cultural importance: The Commission judges that the property
known as the Pineville Commercial Block does possess special
significance in terms of Charlotte-Mecklenburg. The Commission bases its
judgment on the following considerations:
The Pineville Commercial Block embodies important elements of the
culture, history, and architecture of Pineville.
The Pineville Commercial Block helps us understand the story of
Pineville’s most prominent families, who were not only the town’s
commercial leadership but were also central in the civic
cultural, and social development of the town.
The Pineville Commercial Block well represents the distinctive type of
small-town architecture that was once prevalent in Mecklenburg County,
and thus serves as a physical reminder of county's historic
b. Integrity of design,
setting, workmanship, materials, feeling and/or association: The Commission contends that
the physical and architectural description which is included in this
report demonstrates that the Pineville Commercial Block meets this
9. Ad Valorem tax
Commission is aware that designation would allow the owner to apply for
an automatic deferral of 50% of the Ad Valorem taxes on all or any
portion of the property which becomes a designated "historic landmark."
The current total appraised tax value of the land and improvements is
10. Portion of property
recommended for designation:
The interior of the building and the land included in the tax parcels are
recommended for historic designation.
Date of preparation of
August 15, 2006
Stewart Gray and Hope Murphy
Street in Pineville has been lined, for nearly a century, with the
businesses and homes of the town’s commercial, political, and civic
elite. Families such as the Yandells, Yountses, and Millers began
commercial development of the town shortly after the turn of the 20th
Century. While doing do so they also built the churches, schools, and
recreation places, that turned the town from an intersection of two
trading paths to a thriving Early 20th Century commercial
center. The economy of Pineville was based largely on the
cultivation, ginning, and milling of cotton; but many other business
interests developed in the town. Main Street, by the 1930’s, had
among its businesses: 5 grocery stores, 2 barbershops, a dime store,
drugstore, doctor’s office, blacksmith, and theater.
Retaining a high degree of physical integrity, the buildings along Main
Street are now rare and significant artifacts that can tell us much
about the town of Pineville. As an entity the 312-330 Block of Main
Street embodies important elements of the culture, history, and
architecture of Pineville. The buildings additionally relate the story
of Pineville’s most prominent families, who were not only the town’s
commercial leadership but were also central in the civic,
cultural, and social development of the town.
other Mecklenburg County town centers, once similar to Pineville, no
longer exist. The historic streetscapes of Cornelius and
Huntersville are radically altered. The structures on
Main Street Pineville, with their high degree of integrity, encompass
the distinctive characteristics of type, period, and method of
construction once prevalent in the small towns of Mecklenburg County,
and serve as a physical reminder of the town and region’s commercial
Pineville, North Carolina is located approximately eleven miles south of
the city of Charlotte. The small town, originally a cluster of log
cabins at the intersection of two trading paths, had its commercial
beginnings as a train stop when the South Carolina Railroad opened a
depot in 1852. The town, incorporated in 1873, became a busy
center for agricultural support and textiles in the next few decades.
In 1890 businessmen from Charlotte opened the Dover Yarn Mill in
Pineville. By the time the Mill had added a weaving department in
1902 over two hundred people were employed at the Mill.
1903 the population of Pineville reached 700; most residents were
involved in some way with the cotton industry. Those not employed
by the mill labored as cotton farmers. Autumn would bring farmers
to Main Street where they would form long lines in order to have their
cotton ginned. Saturdays would also bring farmers to town shop,
pay debts, or trade mules.
most of its history the south side of Main Street has been owned by the
Yandell family. W.A. “Willie” Yandell began acquiring land on the
south side of Main Street beginning in 1919. In that year he
purchased one-half acre from C.H. Griffin and his wife Rana.
In a 1987 interview in the Charlotte Observer Willeen Yandell, W.A.’s
daughter, recounted that when her father arrived in Pineville in 1912
Main Street was only a wagon path. The elder Yandell, recognized
that the growing town needed services like grocery stores and began to
June 1929 the business owners along the street petitioned the Mayor
of the town and Board of Alderman to “grade and pave” the road.
Property owners along Main Street agreed to pay one-quarter of the cost
of the project.
Into the 1930’s Main Street in Pineville remained only one of two paved
streets in Pineville, the other being Polk Street. By the 1930’s
Pineville housed along its two block business district: five
general stores, a dime store, a drug store, a doctor’s office, hardware
store, pool room, livery stable, blacksmith, post office, icehouse,
movie theatre, and funeral home.
Joe Griffin recounts that as a young boy in Pineville, during the
1930’s, most people who lived in or near Pineville shopped on Main
Trips to uptown Charlotte, rare in the 1930’s, became more so during
World War II when gas became rationed.
Griffin recounts that the sidewalk on either side of Main Street was
about four feet wide. Trees and grass were planted between the
sidewalk and the road. This grassy strip served as a place for the
stores to display items on nice days.
Main Street, Pineville
Tom Eubanks, who grew up in the residential section of Main Street, recounts that cotton-laden, mule-drawn carts still often lined Main
Street after he returned from the Korean War in 1954.
He recalls that the character of the business district remained intact
until the 1960’s, and changed most radically in the 1980’s. As
Charlotte grew, some of Pineville’s small-town character began to wane.
In 1972 Pineville was home to 2000 people within its one square mile
corporate limits. The erection of apartment complexes, malls, and the Carowinds Amusement Park three miles west of the city brought traffic
congestion to the sleepy business center.
Charlotte Observer article posited that the shift in the type of retail
stores located along Main Street began in 1983. In that year the W.A. Yandell Rental and Investment Co. rented 329 Main Street to Betty
Hiltz. She opened the China Connection, an antique shop.
Within five years every address on the south side of Main Street, except
two, was occupied by antique stores. Presently over half of the
store fronts on the north side of Main Street are occupied by antique
act that signaled the end of Pineville’s rural character, Tom Eubanks
helped a local farmer remove his cows from the land on which the
Carolina Mall would be erected. The massive commercial development that
followed along Highway 51 between Pineville and Matthews, the expansion
of the City of Charlotte up to and around the boundaries of Pineville,
and the completion of the nearby I-485 beltway connecting to Interstate
77, have transformed much of the area around Pineville into a largely
312-330 Main Street block, with buildings dating from the 1910’s and
1920’s, is therefore, an important historic site. Taken as a single entity,
these storefronts are critical to understanding the historic development
of Pineville. The one and two-story brick corbelled buildings form, in
total, a place of important historic and architectural significance from
Early 20th Century Pineville.
316 Main Street was originally the Younts General Store. The
business was started by Samuel Younts, a blacksmith from Davidson
County, who came to Pineville after the Civil War. A 1989
Charlotte Observer article reported that Mr. Younts was one of the
most successful businessmen in Pineville. His store, according to
the article, generated between $150,000 to $175,000, in receipts each
When the town was being incorporated in 1872 Younts served as the town’s
first mayors; and according to local lore, surveyors determined the
town’s bounds by measuring a half mile in each direction from Younts’s
In 1888, Younts was among the founders of the Pineville Cotton Mill.
The Cotton Mill, which processed much of the 6000 bales of cotton grown
in the fields nearby, was the economic backbone of the town of Pineville
from its founding to its closing in 1992.
By the 1930’s, 316 Main Street became the Howard Brothers Grocery Store.
The store like the other grocers on Main Street carried a wide variety
of products including meats and produce, hardware, and clothing.
This grocer remained open until the early 1970’s. At that time a
salvage business occupied the space. In the 1980’s the store
became an antique store.
Two-story brick storefront building laid in
The building features one large opening on the first floor. The opening
is formed with a single lintel that rests in the solid brick side walls.
Double doors centered between plate-glass display windows may be
original. A recent shingled pent roof probably replace a smaller
pent roof that was designed to cover the lintel. The side walls
are decorated with a single one-wythe-wide recess.
the first story, the building features three square vents topped with
arched lintels and deep sills. Above the vents is a thin corbelled
band. The parapet is crenellated and topped with a corbelled cap.
The outer crenellations feature recessed panels.
Click here to view photographs of
the interior of 316 Main Street