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Route II: South & East Charlotte

Route IIis approximately 18 miles long. Allow about one and a half hours driving time to accommodate frequent stops.

REMINDER: Route II is divided into several sections.


Click on the map to browse

Once considered outlying country suburbs, Charlotte's "New South Neighborhoods" are now close to the center of the city. Typical of Charlotte's history from the 1880s to the 1930s, they reflect the city's rapid growth and thriving economy at a time when many other Southern cities were experiencing economic malaise. There were a variety of reasons for this. Unlike other Confederate cities, Charlotte was spared during the Civil War. General Sherman and his Yankees marched to the east, and the closest vestige of warfare was the burning of a bridge over the Catawba River by Stoneman's Raiders. In fact, the Civil War stimulated Charlotte's economy, for in 1862 the Confederacy located one of its Naval Yards here. This somewhat unlikely choice was made because Charlotte was a safe location at the crossing of two major railway lines. The shipyard brought in many skilled craftsmen who, along with the numerous Civil War refugees, doubled Charlotte's population from 2,265 in 1860 to 4,473 in 1870.

From this base, Charlotte was able to recover and prosper under the guidance of the New South leaders: industrialists, businessmen, and developers like Edward Dilworth Latta, James B. Duke, George Stephens, J. A. Jones, and D.A. Tompkins. These leaders were responsible for providing capital, power, transport, and communication, for stimulating commercial and real estate development, and for introducing new industries into the city, particularly cotton mills and cotton-seed oil processing plants. The overall effect was impressive. The stagnation of the last thirty years of slavery gave way to a boom that lasted well into the twentieth century. Between 1880 and 1930, for instance, Charlotte's population grew by over 1,000 percent!

One result of this boom was a pressing need for expansion. Until the 1880s, Charlotte was a small town of about one mile in diameter, ringed by fields whose farms were less than ten minutes walk from the intersection of Trade and Tryon Sts., locally known as the Square. Fine residences lined its main streets, and more modest houses were tucked away on side streets. Transport within the city was invariably by foot, for despite the notoriously muddy roads, walking was still the easiest way to get around what was still a small city.

It was into this scene that the New South Neighborhoods were born. The first was Dilworth, the brainchild of Edward Dilworth Latta, a South Carolina native and great-grandson of the man who built Latta plantation (see Route V). Latta saw the potential for a new suburb to house Charlotte's growing population and set about building one. He bought Charlotte's existing small horse-drawn streetcar business, electrified the line, and made it one of the attractions to lure new homeowners to Charlotte's first streetcar suburb. Charlotte's growth showed no signs of slowing down in the years that followed. Other New South Neighborhoods emerged. Cherry, Elizabeth, Plaza-Midwood, Myers Park, and Eastover are all parts of Charlotte's expansion out of the uptown district. The tour will take you through these suburbs in chronological order and will give you a feel for how the New South suburbs evolved.


The "New South Neighborhoods" tour begins on East Boulevard at the intersection with Park Rd. You should be facing northwest.

  • From I-77 take the exit for 74 East / John Belk Freeway. Take the exit for South Blvd. Turn left at the traffic lights onto East Blvd. Continue down East Blvd. until the traffic lights at Dilworth Rd. West. Now reverse your direction by driving around the block. To do this turn left onto Dilworth Rd. West. Take the first left onto Park Ave., then the next left onto Park Rd. Turn right when you get back to East Blvd.

  • From Charlotte, take S. Tryon, turn left onto West Blvd. and then proceed across the railway tracks where it becomes East Blvd. Continue down East Blvd. and follow the instructions above in order to reverse your direction.



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    This site was created using a Macintosh Performa 6290 by Bruce Schulman. This site is maintained for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission by Bruce R. Schulman.