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.
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.