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Charlotte Talks: Local Historians On Charlotte's Early Beginnings, 250th Anniversary

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

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Our humble beginnings. Charlotte Town was born 250 years ago this year, which makes us older than the US. Historians help us look back on our history.

This show originally aired December 3, 2018.

Charlotte was founded 250 years ago 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 Queen and 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. We talk with local historians about our city's story, where you can find our history and the importance of preserving it.

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

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

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.