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Charlotte’s Excelsior Club Listed As One Of Nation's Most Endangered Historic Places

Sarah Delia
Excelsior Club

Charlotte’s historic Excelsior Club was named Thursday as one of the nation’s 11 most endangered historic places by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The club has a long history of being an important icon in Charlotte’s African-American community but fell into disrepair in recent years.

The Excelsior opened in 1944 on Beatties Ford Road as a private black social club, and quickly became a central meeting space for many African Americans in Charlotte. It was listed in the Green Book, and hosted musicians like Nat King Cole and Louis Armstrong.

[Related: Unless Someone Steps Up, Historic Excelsior Club Likely Gone For Good]

In recent years, attempts have been made to renovate the club but those efforts failed and the Excelsior closed in 2016. Two years ago, state Rep. Carla Cunningham, who holds the mortgage to the club initiated foreclosure proceedings. Paperwork was later filed to demolish the building.

Preservation officials and locals who recall the club’s heyday years are hoping the national endangered designation will save it.

More than 300 places are on the list and National Trust preservation officials say over the past 32 years, fewer than 5% of the listed sites have been lost.

Gwendolyn is an award-winning journalist who has covered a broad range of stories on the local and national levels. Her experience includes producing on-air reports for National Public Radio and she worked full-time as a producer for NPR’s All Things Considered news program for five years. She worked for several years as an on-air contract reporter for CNN in Atlanta and worked in print as a reporter for the Baltimore Sun Media Group, The Washington Post and covered Congress and various federal agencies for the Daily Environment Report and Real Estate Finance Today. Glenn has won awards for her reports from the Maryland-DC-Delaware Press Association, SNA and the first-place radio award from the National Association of Black Journalists.