McDowell Street Stop
East of Tryon Street, Trade Street divides Charlotte's First and Second Wards, areas with a past full of racial and economic diversity. The outbound shelter honors the history of Second Ward, formerly known as Brooklyn, which was a lively center of activity for Charlotte’s African American citizens in the early 20th Century. First Ward, featured in the inbound shelter, was once called Mechanicsville because it was home for workers from the Confederate Naval Yard across Trade Street.
Both of these neighborhoods were demolished during the midcentury period known as Urban Renewal. Today Second ward is home to most of the city’s government and public service agencies, while First Ward has been redeveloped into a rapidly growing mixed use area with multi family residences, schools, parks, museums, and the UNC Charlotte Center City Campus.
McDowell Outbound Windscreen Key
(click on the image for a closer view)
The background for each panel is a Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from 1929. The text throughout the Outbound panels is from Plum Thickets and Field Daisies by Rose Leary Love, who spent most of her life in the Brooklyn Neighborhood of Charlotte, which was demolished by the city shortly after her death during an urban renewal program. Copyright Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.
1. Cornus florida (dogwood) drawn by William Bartram, whose journey through the American South from 1773-1777 led him through a nearby region in North Carolina. While traveling he made detailed drawings of native flora and fauna and took descriptive notes to accompany them. Courtesy of American Philosophical Society.
2. Statue of Martin Luther King, Jr. in Marshall Park. King visited Charlotte by request of Kelly Alexander, then President of the the North Carolina State Conference of NAACP Branches, and spoke at Charlotte Park Center on September 23, 1958. of Kelly Alexander, then President of the North Carolina State Conference of NAACP Branches
photo by Jane Faircloth.
3. Photograph of Varick Building, which housed a publishing company and other businesses. The building has since been demolished. Courtesy of Second Ward H.S. Foundation.
4. S. Brevard Street before Urban Renewal, showing J.T. Williams' home, Grace Church, and Mecklenburg Investment Company (MIC) building. The MIC still stands at 223-227 S. Brevard Street and was constructed from 1921-1922. Its historical importance lies in the fact that it was the first building in Charlotte built exclusively for African Americans professionals and businesses. It is one of the few buildings that was not demolished during Urban Renewal. Photo courtesy of
Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.
5. Savoy Theater, the African American movie theater located on McDowell St. It open in 1935 and was home to films and live acts until 1963. Courtesy of Second Ward H.S. Foundation.
6. Second Ward High School. This school, established in 1923, was the first for African Americans in Mecklenburg County, and served grades 7-12. Courtesy of Second Ward H.S. Foundation.
7. 1950s cotillion. Coutresy of Second Ward H.S. Foundation.
8. Second Ward H.S. diploma. Courtesy of Second Ward H.S. Foundation.
9. Second Ward H. S. track team with trophies. Courtesy of Second Ward H.S. Foundation.
10. Second Ward H.S. band. Courtesy of Second Ward H.S. Foundation.
11. Myers Street School, circa 1880-1890, an African American public school. Approximately 16 teachers taught at the school, which students called "Jacob's Ladder" because of the unique exterior staircase. Photo courtesy of Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.
12. Tree from photo of the Martin Luther King, Jr. statue at Marshall Park. Photo by Jane Faircloth.
13. Boys watching demolition of Second Ward H.S. After plans to renovate the building fell through because courts began ordering desegregation, the school was closed on July 31, 1969. Photo courtesy of Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.
14. Brooklyn street scene. Courtesy of Second Ward H.S. Foundation.
15. S. Brevard Street Library with Shriners. This was the first library for African Americans in Charlotte. Photo courtesy of Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.
16. The MIC building as it stands today. Courtesy of Second Ward H.S. Foundation.
17. Myers Street School teachers. Photo courtesy of Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.
18. Second Ward H.S. cheerleaders. Photo courtesy of Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.
19. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Charlotte. Courtesy of Second Ward High School Foundation.
McDowell Inbound Windscreen Key
(click on the image for a closer view)
The background for each panel is a Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from 1929. The text throughout the Inbound panels is from the Patterson Family Papers, circa 1858. The Patterson family owned a plantation near Davidson, NC and these papers mainly concern their business activities and family correspondence. Courtesy of Special Collections at UNC Charlotte.
1. Cornus florida (dogwood) drawn by William Bartram, courtesy of American Philosophical Society.
2. Belk’s department store. The store was founded in 1888 by William Henry Belk in Monroe, NC, and is still owned by the Belk family. Provided by Belk Foundation.
3. ImaginOn, a center for childhood learning within the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library umbrella. It enages children with theater and performances and children's theater. Provided by ImaginOn.
4. Charlotte drum corps detail, with “Watch Charlotte Grow.” Photo courtesy of Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.
5. Street scene from First Ward. Photo courtesy of Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.
6. Detail from Bell South building, built in 1929. Photo by Tom Hanchett. 1950s cars on Trade, Brevard to Caldwell, photo courtesy of Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.
7. Photo of the Carolina Theatre with tickets. The Theatre was build in 1927 and is now in disrepair, though efforts have been established to renovate the theater as of April 2013. Courtesy of Carolina Theatre Preservation Society.
8.North Tryon Street, circa 1900. Photo by James Van Ness, courtesy of Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.
9. First Ward Graded School. Photo courtesy of Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.
10. Hotel Alexander, which served African American guests during segregation. Photo courtesy of Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.
11. UNC Charlotte Center City building, design by Gantt Huberman Architects and opened in 2011. Photo courtesy of John Bland, Director of Public Relations at UNC Charlotte. Photo by Wade Bruton.
12. 1904 aerial view of Charlotte from the Tompkins Tower looking toward South Tryon Street. The top of the Buford Hotel is visible at center left, and on the far right is the dome of the county courthouse. Photographer unknown, donated by Cliff Hoover, courtesy of Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.
13. Basketball at First Ward Recreation Center, September 21, 2005. Jean Grayson, 3rd from right, 67, puts up a shot against Nancy Frady (far left) 67, during their team’s basketball practice. Photo courtesy of the Charlotte Observer.