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Charlotte Talks: Happy Birthday, Charlotte! Local Historians On The Queen City's 250th Anniversary

Charlotte, 1910 - Photo courtesy of Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room - Charlotte Mecklenburg Library

Monday, December 3, 2018

Our town’s 250th Birthday.  Charlotte Town was born on December 3rd, 1768, which makes us older than the US, and several historians help us look back on our history. 

Happy Birthday, Charlotte! On this day, 250 years ago, Charlotte was founded when British Governor Tryon signed the charter on December 3, 1768. The Queen City, which is older than the United States itself, sits along two trading paths carved by the Catawba Indians. Of course, we now know them as Trade Street and Tryon Street.

Charlotte was named in honor of England's King George III's wife Queen Sophia Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

When the town was chartered, King George III and Queen Charlotte ruled the colonies. It's believed that in order to stay in the King's good graces, the locals named their new township "Charlotte Town" in honor of the Queenand the county after her German homeland Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

Little remains from Charlotte's early days as the city has grown into a bustling 'New South' metropolis, but there's still some history to be found if you know where to look. On the Queen City's 250th anniversary, we'll talk with local historians about our city's story, where you can find our history and the importance of preserving it. And we'll answer some of your questions.

Credit WFAE/Jennifer Worsham
Tom Hanchett and Adria Focht in Charlotte Talks' Spirit Square studio.


Tom Hanchett, Community Historian, former staff historian at the Levine Museum of the New South. He writes about history and culture at HistorySouth.org

Adria Focht, President and CEO, The Charlotte Museum of History

Related event:

The city is hosting an anniversary celebration in uptown at the Square at Trade & Tryon on Monday Dec. 3rd 11:30am – 1:30pm. Details on this and other CLT250 happenings

Independence Square looking south on Tryon Street, postcard circa 1920s. Photo courtesy of Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room - Charlotte Mecklenburg Library

Related reading:

Charlotte History - 10 Things to Know by Dr. Thomas W. Hanchett

A History Of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County by Dr. Dan L. Morrill

The Growth of Charlotte: A History by Dr. Thomas W. Hanchett

QCityMetro: 8 moments in Charlotte’s Black history as we celebrate its 250th birthday

Charlotte Observer: Charlotte began on a big gamble - and a loss

More pictures from Charlotte's early days from the Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room Image Collection of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library.

North Tryon in the mid-1920s. Photo courtesy of Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room - Charlotte Mecklenburg Library

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Erin Keever is Senior Producer of WFAE's Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. She has been with the show since joining the station in 2006. She's a native Charlottean.