Aug 24, 2015 - Things to Do

How I plan to learn about Charlotte history

Charlotte-Book-Statue

Charlotte-Book-Statue

I’ve been transplanted in Charlotte for five years and always enjoy learning the history of this city my family and I have chosen to call home. I love digging into historical nuggets like MeckDec Day, or the Legend of Captain James Jack, or the Cherry neighborhood.

Learning these things has typically come through conversations with more tenured Charlotteans who have lived in the city much longer than I, or tidbits I pick up from reading great stories like this. But rarely have I sat down with the direct intention of learning something new about Charlotte’s history, and I decided earlier this year that’s something I’d like to change.

After all, throwing out inane ideas about shaping Charlotte’s future is an exercise in naïveté and narcissism if I don’t understand the context and history of the city I am excited to see grow.

I started my journey down Charlotte’s memory lane by getting my mitts on the cheapest book I could find, “Charlotte, NC: Its Historic Neighborhoods” by Images of America (Arcadia Publishing). It’s only $5.77 used on Amazon and worth every penny. It’s full of fascinating pictures of the city from as far back as 1890 and takes you neighborhood-by-neighborhood* through Charlotte’s history, focusing mostly on the years between 1905 and 1940.

There are a ton of interesting facts that really helped me better understand how Charlotte has changed (did you know the Second Ward used to be called Brooklyn) over the years and what used to sit on the dirt that now supports a seemingly unending supply of new apartments and commercial buildings.

Reading this book only made me want to learn more, and I’d like to invite you to join me on this journey into Charlotte’s history.

I plan to visit the Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room at the Mecklenburg County Library as soon as I can, but because it’s 2015 and I’m lazy, my first stop to look for my next book on Charlotte history was Amazon.com. A quick search turned up the five books below, and I plan to make my way through each of them. I’ve included a link to Amazon so you can learn a little more about each book, but instead of purchasing through the ARPANET, why not pick them up at Park Road Books instead? Amazon will be fine without you.

I don’t pretend to know nearly enough about Charlotte’s history, but I’m doing what I can to learn more. If you have any recommendations on how I can get Charlotte Smart, please share them with us at @charlotteagenda and @thetrolleywalk. Unlike your favorite sandwich in Uptown, I’m interested in hearing your opinion on this topic.

Charlotte-then-and-Now-book

Charlotte Then and Now by Brandon Lunsford
Price: $12.73
Hardcover: 144 pages
Publisher: Pavilion (July 1, 2013)
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #853,689 in Books, #668 in Books > Photography & Video > Architectural

Charlotte-brief-history

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Charlotte-and-Piedmont-book

Charlotte, North Carolina: A Brief History by Mary Kratt
Price: $15.83
Paperback: 190 pages
Publisher: The History Press (April 28, 2009)
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #675,664 in Books, #13107 in Books > History > United States > State & Local

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Charlotte-then-and-now-NC

Charlotte & the Carolina Piedmont by Tom Hanchett, Ryan Sumner, and the Levine Museum of the New South
Price: $19.83
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: Arcadia Publishing (October 3, 2003)
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,913,063 in Books, #43067 in Books > History > United States > State & Local

moving-to-Charlotte-book

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Charlotte (Then and Now: North Carolina) by Don Schick
Price: $19.91
Paperback: 96 pages
Publisher: Arcadia Publishing (March 2006)
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,681,536 in Books, #37489 in Books > History > United States > State & Local

——

Moving to Charlotte: the Un-Tourist Guide by Harry Hoover
Price: $21.78
Paperback: 132 pages
Publisher: Voyager Media, Incorporated; 1 edition (December 3, 2013)
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #501,221 in Books, #267 in Books > Travel > United States > South > General, #712 in Books > Travel > United States > South > South Atlantic

*Spoiler alert: there isn’t a Ballantyne chapter 🙁 🙁 🙁

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