Survey and Research
Long Creek High School
Gymnasium, Grandstand and Concession Stand
1. Name and location of the
property: The property known as
Long Creek High School Gymnasium, Grandstand, and Concession Stand is located at 9213 Beatties
Ford Road, Huntersville, N.C. 28078. To see a brief
video of the property go to
http://officialcharlottehistory.ning.com and click on "Video" at the top
of the page.
2. Name, address, and telephone
number of the current owner of the property:
600 East Fourth Street
Charlotte, N.C. 28202
Telephone: (704) 336-2472
Also contact Mike Raible of the
Auxiliary Services Department of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Schools.
3. Representative photographs of
the property: This report
contains representative photographs of the property.
4. A map depicting the location
of the property: This report
contains a map depicting the location of the property. The coordinates
property are: Gymnasium 126.96.36.199N 188.8.131.52W. Grandstand 184.108.40.206N 80.53.25.02W.
Concession Stand 35.21.03.05N 220.127.116.11W
5. Current Tax Parcel Reference
and Deed to the property: The tax
parcel number of the property is 023-063-11. The most recent deed to
this property is recorded in Mecklenburg County Deed Book 23401 page 417.
6. A brief historical sketch of
the property: This report
contains a brief historical sketch of the property prepared by Dr. Dan L.
7. A brief architectural
description of the property:
This report contains a brief architectural description prepared by Stewart
8. Documentation of why and in
what ways the property meets the criteria for designation set forth in
a. Special significance in terms of
its history, architecture and/or cultural importance:
The Commission judges that the property known as Long Creek High School
Grandstand and Concession Stand
possesses special significance in terms of Charlotte-Mecklenburg. The
Commission bases its judgment on the following considerations:
1) The Long Creek High School Gymnasium
and Grandstand are the only surviving structures from the initial phase of
Federally-assisted school construction in Mecklenburg County.
2) The Long Creek High School
Gymnasium, Grandstand and Concession Stand were among the first structures funded by New Deal
relief programs to which the Mecklenburg Board of Education also committed
3) The Long Creek High School Gymnasium, Grandstand
and Concession Stand, because they were the first publicly-owned
recreational buildings in the immediate neighborhood designed to serve
substantial numbers of people, are tangible reminders of how the New Deal relief programs
changed rural life in Mecklenburg County.
b. Integrity of design, setting,
workmanship, materials, feeling and/or association: The
Commission contends that the architectural description prepared by Stewart
Gray demonstrates that the property known as the Long Creek High School
Gymnasium, Grandstand and Concession Stand meets this criterion.
9. Ad Valorem Tax Appraisal:
The 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 "historic landmark." The current appraised
value of the improvements on the site is $4,176,700. The current
appraised value of the 22.04 acres of land is $555,000. The total
current appraised value is $5,163,500. The property is zoned R. The property is
exempt from the payment of Ad Valorem Taxes.
10. Portion of the
Property Recommended for Designation. The Gymnasium, the
Grandstand, the Concession Stand, and the ground upon which each sits.
A Brief History of
the Long Creek High School Gymnasium, Grandstand, and Concession Stand
1947 Long Creek Boys
the 1947 Souvenir Yearbook
1947 Long Creek Girls Basketball
From the 1947
Long Creek High
School opened in 1923 as part of a program of comprehensive school
consolidation in Mecklenburg County.1 The Long Creek High
School Gymnasium and Grandstand were constructed in 1934 initially under arrangements
approved by the Mecklenburg County Board of Education on January 1, 1934.
" . . . actual work on the various gymnasiums will be started as soon as the
material is placed on the grounds," reported the Charlotte Observer.3 The
Civil Works Administration, a Federal agency established in 1933 to create
temporary construction jobs for the unemployed, provided the wages for the
project; and the local community donated the building supplies. "The
Board enthusiastically approved the proposition," stated the Board minutes,
"commending the fine spirit and initiative of the local communities in
providing the necessary material to complete the work on these gymnasiums."4
The Long Creek High School Gymnasium was one of eight facilities of its
general type constructed in Mecklenburg County under the arrangements
outlined above, the others being at the high schools then in the local school
districts of Huntersville, Paw Creek, Pineville, Sharon, Oakhurst, Berryhill,
Only the Long Creek Gymnasium survives from this initial round of
|The Paw Creek Gymnasium, like six
other County School gymnasiums built in 1934, has been destroyed.
The Long Creek Gymnasium is the sole survivor.
can only speculate as to why the Mecklenburg County Schools refused at first
to contribute money to the building of the Long Creek High School Gymnasium
and the nearby rock rubble Grandstand.
Perhaps it was simply the disinclination to raise taxes in the harsh years
of the Great Depression. Not to be discounted is the fact that considerable skepticism
did exist among the business and political leaders of North Carolina concerning the "make work"
programs of the Roosevelt administration. According to the Charlotte Observer, some believed that such initiatives represented unwarranted
"paternalism" and threatened to undermine local and State control of public
Conservative Democrats, including Governors O. Max Gardner and John
Eringhaus, pushed for North Carolina to establish its own programs to deal
with the social dislocations associated with the Great Depression.
Also critical of Roosevelt's New Deal relief efforts was U.S. Senator Josiah
Senator Josiah W. Bailey
end these protestation of opposition could not stem the flow of Federal
money to assist the poor and unemployed. Between 1932 and 1935
communities throughout North Carolina, including Charlotte and Mecklenburg
County, benefited from a broad array of public works funded primarily by
Washington. These included the reconstruction in Eastover of the
former United States Mint Building, the building of a grandstand in
Independence Park, the placement of a baseball field in Huntersville, the
extension of a section of Queens Road to connect with East Morehead Street, the
construction of American Legion Memorial Stadium, and
soil erosion control along Wilkinson Boulevard, to mention just a few.9
Reconstructed and Relocated
S. Mint Building
Baseball Field in
It is reasonable to
assume that the baseball field at Long Creek High School was built at
approximately the same time and under the same program. The baseball
field at Long Creek High School most likely qualifies for historic landmark
designation and could be processed for designation at a future date.
Queens Rd. -
E. Morehead St. Connector
On Wilkinson Boulevard
Carolina school authorities were especially interested in using the
unprecedented Federal relief programs of the early New Deal to build school
gymnasiums for indoor sports and as community gathering places.
Designs varied according to the skills of the local labor force, the desires
of the community, and the type of materials the residents could provide.
The State Board of Education and the State Insurance Commission approved
|Illustrations of various
gymnasium designs: 1-Pender County, 2-Northhampton County,
3-Goldsboro in Wayne County, 4-Woodland in Northampton County,
5-Richlands in Onslow County, 6-New London in Stanly County.
|interior of gymnasium in Apex,
Interior of Long Creek High School
today do not realize that Mecklenburg County was overwhelmingly rural in the 1930s.
One can imagine how excited the hard-working farm families were to
have a place where their children could hold dances, play basketball, volleyball, and
other indoor sports, and where neighbors could readily assemble in a publicly-owned building.
No doubt many rural residents were therefore pleased when the Mecklenburg
County Board of Education voted on September 28, 1934, to participate directly in paying part of
the bill for the eight gymnasiums then under construction. ". . . upon
motion made and carried, it was agreed to allow $1200 toward completing the
eight gymnasiums," proclaimed the Board minutes.11
The Charlotte Observer reported the next day that the County Board of
Education "threw the weight of its indorsement (sic.) toward completing the
eight gymnasiums."12 The Long Creek High School
Gymnasium and Grandstand are the sole extant reminders of this significant
building program to improve school facilities in Mecklenburg County between
1932 and 1935 and therefore, in the opinion of the Historic Landmarks
Commission, have special significance.
Farmers At Work.
Farmer's Wife Making Axe Handles.
Dr. Dan L. Morrill and Stewart Gray
The Mecklenburg Times
(February 12, 1925). The original school building has been
demolished. J. W. Wilson, "Mecklenburg County Schools 1944-1960,"
an unpublished manuscript in the collection of the Carolinas Room of the
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Library.
2. "Minutes of the Mecklenburg County Board of Education," January 1,
1934. There is no documentary evidence
that the grandstand and concession stand were built at the same time as the gymnasium.
The proof is inferential. The foundation of the gymnasium is
composed of the same material as that of the grandstand. Federal
relief efforts funded several rock edifices in Mecklenburg County, including a
grandstand at Independence Park and a wall bordering a cemetery. For
a comprehensive presentation of Federally relief projects in North
Carolina from 1932 to 1935 see Emergency Relief in
North Carolina. A Record of the Development and the Activities of the North
Carolina Emergency Relief Administration, 1932-1935. North Carolina
Emergency Relief Commission, State administrator, Mrs. Thomas O'Berry.
Edited by J.S. Kirk, Walter A. Cutter [and] Thomas W. Morse.
Hereinafter cited as Kirk, Cutter, and Morse. Online
3. Charlotte Observer, January 2, 1934.
Minutes of the Mecklenburg County Board of Education (January 1,
Charlotte Observer, January 2, 1934. The schools at Cornelius
and Newell already had gymnasiums, neither of which survives.
6. Telephone Interview of Mike Raible of
the Auxiliary Services Department of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools by
Dr. Dan L. Morrill, September 25, 2008.
7. Charlotte Observer, September 29,
8. Milton Ready, The Tar Heel State.
A History of North Carolina. Columbia: University of South
Carolina Press, 2005, pp. 323-327. Other Federally-assisted public
works in Mecklenburg County included the following.
Filtration System for the
"Negro Public Swimming Pool."
Bridge across creek.
9. Kirk, Cutter, and Morse.
10. Kirk, Cutter, and Morse, p. 221.
11. "Minutes of the Mecklenburg County Board of Education,"
12. Charlotte Observer, September 29,
1934. The Civil Works Administration was disbanded in March 1934.
Thereafter, Federal funds for the eight gymnasiums came from the Works
Progress Administration (W.P.A.).