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
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
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
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.