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From the I 77 Welcome Center, take Exit 3 for Arrowood
Rd. and turn right. From Charlotte, take I- 77 South and take Exit 3 for
Arrowood Rd. and turn left. From Arrowood Rd. turn right at the traffic
lights onto Nations Ford Rd. Continue on Nations Ford Rd. until it ends at
the junction with Hwy. 51. Turn left and continue into the town of
1. PINEVILLE : Before the Charlotte and South Carolina Railroad
opened in 1852 Pineville was no more than a stagecoach stop. The
railroad ensured its future as a commercial center and attracted the textile
industry here in 1890, when the Dover Yarn Mill opened. The original mill
has been expanded and has changed ownership several times, and it still
operated until recently and was the last textile mill to close in
Mecklenburg County. Most mills provided workers with rented housing, which
was often basic but better than the homes the workers had lived in before
coming to work in the mill. The Pineville mill village, which is immediately
south of the commercial district, is one of the best preserved mill villages
in the county. The rural character of early mill workers was reflected in
the use of all available land for growing food. Get out of your car and
visit the antique shops and other stores in Pineville.
Pineville and turn right at the traffic lights at the intersection of Hwy 51
and Hwy 521. The Polk Museum is .5 miles further on your left.
JAMES K. POLK BIRTHPLACE MEMORIAL: This site contains reconstructed
buildings that mark the 1795 birthplace of 11th U.S. President James K.
Polk, who won the White House in 1844 with the slogan "Fifty-Four Forty
or Fight." Log house and log outbuildings, visitors center, exhibits and
film of the life and times of President Polk and life on the Carolina
frontier are available. Guided tours. Free admission. Operated by North
Carolina Department of Archives and History as a N.C. Historic Site. For
information, phone (704) 889-7145.
On leaving the
Polk Museum, turn right onto Hwy 521, and then left onto Hwy 51. Drive back
through Pineville. Continue on Hwy 51, and follow signs for I- 77. Head
north on I-77 and then take Exit 9 for Wilkinson Blvd. West. After you pass
the junction with Morehead St. look out for Monument St. on your right. Turn
right and stop in front of the first house on your left.
3. JAMES C. DOWD HOUSE: This sturdy, Victorian farmhouse, built by
J. C. Dowd in 1879, commanded a fine view from its high knoll west of
Charlotte. As headquarters in 1917-18 for World War army training camp,
Camp Greene, it overlooked the sprawling 2,600 acre site where 60,000
men trained before shipping out to Europe as Allied troops. Open by
appointment only. For information, phone (704) 398-2260.
Wilkinson Blvd. and make a U-turn at the next intersection to head east on
Wilkinson Blvd. Follow the signs for I-77 North. From I-77 North, take Exit
10B for Trade St. Turn left onto Trade St. and drive up the hill to a
five-way junction. Take a very shallow right turn onto Beatties Ford Rd.
Johnson C. Smith University is on your right. The campus is best seen on
foot; please inform the guard of the purpose of your visit.
4. JOHNSON C. SMITH UNIVERSITY: Historic campus founded in
Charlotte in 1867 for black students. Moved to this site during the early
1870s. Original buildings include
Biddle Hall, the fine Romanesque revival centerpiece of the campus
built in 1884 ; and
Carter Hall a Victorian Gothic building erected by students in 1895.
The campus also has an original
Carnegie Library built in 1912 with funds from the Andrew Carnegie
foundation. You may drive onto campus to view the buildings. For further
information phone (704) 376-1000.
Biddle Hall, RIGHT:
Turn left out of
the campus and return to Trade St. Follow Trade St. towards the center of
Charlotte. Just after Poplar St. you will see First Presbyterian Church on
FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH: Charlotte's first church was not
organized until 1815, when the town purchased land here and constructed an
interdenominational church. The Presbyterians paid off the existing loan and
took control of the church in 1845. They built a Victorian
Gothic structure here in 1857, but only the front entrance remains of
this early building. During the Civil War the steeple of First
Presbyterian Church was hidden to save it from being melted down for
guns and bullets. A new steeple was built in 1884. The present sanctuary was
constructed in 1895. Behind the church is
Settler's Cemetery, with graves dating from the 1770's.
First Presbyterian Church
Continue on Trade
St. for another block until you reach the junction of Trade and Tryon
Streets which is the center of Charlotte.
6. CROSSROADS OF TRADE AND TRYON: Thomas Polk made his home here
at the crossroads of two ancient Indian trading paths in 1755. His energy
and leadership led to the choice of Charlotte as Mecklenburg's county seat;
the town of Charlotte was incorporated in 1768. Charlotte's courthouse sat
in the middle of the crossroads until 1845. According to local legend, here
on May 20th, 1775 the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence was proclaimed
from the courthouse steps. During the Revolutionary War this was the scene
of the Battle of Charlotte, when a small band of armed patriots
concealed themselves beneath the courthouse and behind rock walls and held
British General Charles Cornwallis's 2000 troops and cavalry briefly at bay.
Continue on Trade
St. for six blocks. On your right look out for the Charlotte City Hall and
7. CITY HALL AND
OLD COURTHOUSE: This civic plaza was created during the 1920s and
represented a move away from the center of the city for local government.
Charlotte's noted architect C.C. Hook designed City Hall along Neo
Classical lines in 1925. To the front of the building the war memorial
features a cannon cast in 1769, a Confederate marker, and statues of First
World War soldiers trained in Charlotte's Camp Greene 1917-1918. The
courthouse next door was erected in 1928; the architect, Louis Asbury,
Sr., designed it to complement the City Hall.
Old Mecklenburg County Courthouse
courthouse, turn left onto McDowell St. After three blocks turn left onto
7th St. The Afro-American Cultural Center is one block farther on your
8. AFRO-AMERICAN CULTURAL CENTER: Art gallery, theater, classes,
exhibits, resource and research of Charlotte's black heritage are presented
in this historic edifice built as
Little Rock A.M.E. Zion Church in 1911. Church was designed by
James McMichael, influential regional architect. For information, phone
Little Rock AME Zion Church
Continue on 7th
St. Recross Tryon St. and take the next left onto Church St. Look for the
brick building on the opposite side of the next intersection.
NORTH CAROLINA MEDICAL COLLEGE BUILDING: This building opened in
October, 1907, as the home of the North Carolina Medical College,
which had been established in the northern Mecklenburg County town of
Davidson in 1893. 732 students attended the college, and 340 Doctor of
Medicine degrees were awarded before it closed in 1914. The architect was
James McMichael, the designer of the Little Rock A.M.E. Zion Church.
Church St. approximately two blocks to Trade St. Turn right and follow the
signs for I-77 North. From I-77 North, take Exit 16B for Sunset Rd. West. At
the junction with Beatties Ford Rd., turn right. Continue on Beatties Ford
Rd and follow the signs for Latta Plantation Park. Hopewell Presbyterian
Church is on your right opposite the entrance to Latta Plantation Park.
HOPEWELL PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH:
One of the seven original Presbyterian churches in the county.
Congregation organized ca. 1760 in an area which became dominated by tight
knit plantation families. By 1840 this was the richest church in the area.
The brick sanctuary is at least the third building on the site. It was built
in 1833 and extended in 1860. The plain style is typical of meeting house
architecture. The interior of Hopewell Presbyterian Church is still
much the way it was in 1860. Notice the gallery, which would have been used
by slaves originally. Local Revolutionary War hero, General William Lee
Davidson, is buried in the graveyard.
To get to Latta
Plantation Park, turn down Sample Rd. that intersects Beatties Ford Rd.
across from Hopewell Church.
LATTA PLACE: Catawba River plantation house of merchant James
Latta, built circa 1800. Two-story frame Georgian/Federal
transitional style. Furnished house museum with barn, smokehouse, animals.
Kitchen garden, cotton field in season. For information, phone (704)
Beatties Ford Rd. and turn left. Turn right onto Hambright Rd. and then left
onto McCoy Rd. Oak Lawn is about one mile farther on your left.
OAK LAWN: Oak Lawn is the Federal style plantation house erected ca.
1820 for Benjamin Davidson and Betsy Latta. Both were the descendants of
pioneer Mecklenburg planters. A mile long avenue of oaks and cedars used to
mark the entrance.
Continue on McCoy
Rd. Turn left at the next junction onto Gilead Rd. After 1.2 miles you will
see Cedar Grove on your right.
13. CEDAR GROVE / TORANCE HOUSE AND STORE: Cedar Grove is the finest
ante-bellum mansion in the county. The impressive brick Greek Revival style
house was built between 1831 and 1833 as a plantation home for James G.
Torance. On the same site is the Torance House and Store, the
original log home of James's father, Hugh Torrance. It was built ca. 1779
and later extended to include a four room frame addition. In ca. 1805 a
store was built on to the east side of the original log house. This is now
the oldest store building in the county. It is open to the public, Sun.
2-5pm. Nominal admission.
LEFT: Cedar Grove, RIGHT: Torance Store
Gilead Rd. for one mile and then turn left onto Bud Henderson Rd. After
almost one mile you will see Ingleside on your right.
INGLESIDE: Scottish for "fireside." Ingleside was built by
Dr. William Davidson, a prominent physician and planter. His ancestors
were among the most successful local pioneer families. Ingleside was built
just after the Civil War and is the finest surviving example of the
Italianate Style in the county.
Continue on Bud
Henderson Rd. to the junction with Beatties Ford Rd. Turn right, and after
one mile, you will pass a Victorian farm house on your left.
J. M. ALEXANDER HOUSE: The J. M. Alexander House is a good
example of Victorian vernacular architecture in the county. It was built by
John Alexander between 1873 and 1874. He was a local "jack of all
trades," who ran a cotton farm and gin as well as a blacksmith's shop and
sawmill. Notice the sunburst motif on the front gable and the sawnwork
brackets on the eaves.
Ford Rd. to the intersection with Hwy 73. Turn right and follow Hwy 73 along
the side of Lake Norman and then into Cornelius. In Cornelius, turn left
onto Hwy 115 and drive into Davidson.
16. DAVIDSON COLLEGE AND TOWN: Davidson College was founded in 1837
and dedicated to Revolutionary War hero General. William Lee Davidson.
Original college layout and buildings were influenced by Jeffersonian
tradition. Note two Greek Revival student debating halls,
Philanthropic Hall and
Eumenean Hall, built 1848. Also two early dormitories,
Elm and Oak Rows. The charming town maintains many nineteenth century
homes and stores. Tours of collage, arboretum and town are available from
the Visitor's Center, located in the Copeland House, 305 N. Main St. Open
Mon. - Fri., 9:00am. - 4:00pm. For further information phone (704) 892-2477.
Philanthropic & Eumenean Halls
Elm and Oak Rows
To return to I-77
and Charlotte, drive north on Main St. and turn left onto Griffen Rd. This
will take you to I-77. Take I-77 south to Charlotte.