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CENTER CITY: THIRD WARD
Significant Structures and Sites

INDUSTRIAL LOAN AND INVESTMENT BANK, 1929-30
124 S. Church St.

 

The booming textile economy of the 1910s and 1920s brought a rise in the number of banks in Charlotte. This 1907 structure was massively remodelled by Charlotte architect Martin Boyer in 1929 for its new owner. Boyer gave the structure a delicate Greek temple facade of carved limestone, complete with classical columns and a pediment. Terra cotta medallions highlight the front. Only two banks of this type exist in Mecklenburg County.

 

LOEWS/MGM FILM EXCHANGE, 1941
303 S. Church St.

This is the most elaborate building of "Film Row," the string of buildings in the 200 and 300 blocks of South Church Street that handled film distribution for the Carolinas from the mid 1920s into the1970s. Until recently, every major U.S. movie company had offices on the row. The Loews/MGM building is a striking Art Moderne design that features industrial sash windows, yellow brick, and black glazed terra cotta trim.

 

CHARLOTTE SUPPLY COMPANY, 1924
500 S. Mint St.

 

One of the most important components of the textile economy that turned Charlotte into a city was machinery sales to the mills. D.A. Tompkins and inventor Stuart Cramer are among the Charlotte leaders involved in this endeavor. The Charlotte Supply Company, founded in part by Tompkins, is believed to have been one of the major suppliers of mill machinery to the Piedmont textile region.

The imposing six-story warehouse was designed by mill engineers Lockwood-Greene. Perhaps the best preserved of the industrial highrises that dot Charlotte's industrial corridors, it is today a strong visual landmark in Third Ward.

GOOD SAMARITAN HOSPITAL BUILDING, 1888
600 S. Mint St.

 


By many accounts this was the first privately-run hospital exclusively for blacks in the United States. It was begun through the efforts of Mrs. Jane Wilkes and the Episcopal Church. The Episcopal congregation in Charlotte provided most of the town's first social service institutions, including white Saint Peters Hospital, black Good Samaritan, and also the Thompson Orphanage. The building has been greatly remodelled and added to over the years, but its original front is still visible.

 

SOUTHERN REAL ESTATE, LOAN, & TRUST BUILDING, 1913
102 S. Tryon St.

The upper floors of this three story structure are an excellent example of architectural terra cotta work. The facade, actually a remodelling of an early-nineteenth century building, is the work of Charlotte architect Louis Asbury. It features Neoclassical pilasters with Ionic capitals, and a modillion cornice.

Charlottean W.S. Alexander's Southern Real Estate firm was an important force in the development of the city around the turn of the century. It is best known as the developer of the Elizabeth neighborhood, among other early suburbs.

FIRST NATIONAL BANK TOWER, 1926
112 S. Tryon St.

 

This twenty story bank and office tower is an important symbol of Charlotte's emergence as a major Southern financial center during the 1920s. President H.M. McAden was a relative of prominent Carolina textile manufacturers, and himself was active in cotton warehousing and underwriting, illustrating the textile base of Charlotte's financial community.

Louis Asbury provided the design for the Neoclassical skyscraper. The grand stone arch, with its beehives and other carved symbols of thrift and industry, was uncovered during a recent renovation after being hidden behind concrete panels for years. The structure is now known as One Tryon Center.

CHARLOTTE NATIONAL BANK, 1918
128 S. Tryon St.

 

Alfred Bossom, a noted New York City architect, designed this ornate bank building. The temple-like design is the city's finest Neoclassical commercial structure. The massive columns of Carolina granite, each one weighing twenty-six tons, were carved by the master masons of Charlotte's John J. Morton and Company. Oversize bronze replicas of ancient coins decorate the terra cotta entablature. The interior has been much remodelled, but a large golden glass dome is said to still exist, hidden by false ceilings.

Charlotte National was one of the major banks of the textile boom years, and later became part of Wachovia Bank and Trust. Architect Bossom, by the way, eventually emigrated to England where he was knighted for his efforts to foster ties between the architectural communities of England and the United States.

JOHNSTON BUILDING, 1924
212 S. Tryon St.

 


This sixteen story tower was erected for R. Horace Johnston, the textile magnate who did much to develop the North Charlotte mill community in the city. Johnston hired New York City architect W.L. Stoddard to create a conservative, limestone-clad structure in the Neoclassical style. Along with a handful of other early skyscrapers, this building dominated the Charlotte skyline for nearly half a century before being surrounded by newer towers. A recent renovation by Little Construction Company has highlighted the elegant marble lobby with its barrel-vaulted ceiling.

WILSON BUILDING, 1927
300-06 S. Tryon St.

George Wilson, Sr., was a textile executive, head of Continental Maufacturing (earlier known as Victor Mills). When he died about 1926, his son George Wilson, Jr., and Annie Wilson inherited his residence here on South Tryon, and commissioned this handsome Neoclassical business structure in its stead. Probably designed and built by Lockwood-Greene, an early upstairs tenant, it features decorative stone and stamped metal work. Annie's section of the building is four stories tall, and is in good original condition except for new windows and shopfronts in recent years. George's section has three floors and is topped by a parapet with a carved "W". It is in outstanding condition thanks to the efforts of Jack Wood, Inc., occupants for the last two decades. Early tenants included Sears-Roebuck, Pound & Moore office supplies, and Brown's, Inc. menswear,
 

LATTA ARCADE AND BREVARD COURT, 1914
320 S. Tryon St.

 


Latta Arcade


Brevard Court

This two-story space surrounded by shops and offices is Charlotte's finest public interior. The design by William Peeps featured a plain brick exterior, now hidden by a recent remodelling. Once inside, however, the building is breathtaking, especially when sunlight streams through the skylights that make up the roof. The building was designed for Edward Dilworth Latta, the city's leading developer and owner of the streetcar system, and his office was at the front of the second floor. The Arcade was recently renovated by architect Harry Wolf.

To the rear of the Arcade is Brevard Court, a collection of narrow, two-story brick buildings lining a pedestrian way. This area was a center for the cotton buyers of the Piedmont, and many of the offices still retain their characteristic skylights, which provided natural light for cotton grading.

HOTEL CHARLOTTE, 1924
231 W. Trade St.

In the early twenties a group of business leaders became convinced that Charlotte needed an impressive meeting place and hotel to accomodate the wholesale buyers, cotton producers, and others upon whom its economy depended. They hired New York hotel architect W.L. Stoddard to create this grand brick and terra cotta edifice. Among those who used its rooms was RCA Victor, which regularly rented a tenth floor suite for recording sessions in the late 1930s and early 1940s. Among the musicians who recorded in the hotel was Bill Monroe, who is credited with popularizing Bluegrass music and providing its name.

 

OLD UNITED STATES POST OFFICE, 1915 & 34

 

This grand Neoclassical structure is the work of pioneer architect C.C. Hook, whose somewhat similar Charlotte City Hall dominates the other end of Trade Street. The many-columned limestone design was greatly expanded in 1934, necessitating the demolition of the old United States Mint, which was rebuilt as an art museum in the Eastover neighborhood. Like the County Courthouse and City Hall, the Post Office is set back from the street to provide a "civic plaza."