Charlotte History

Nick de la Canal / WFAE

If you visited the Bank of America Corporate Center this week, perhaps you stumbled across this curiousity: a full orchestra of animatronic bears, complete with a bear maestro.

Nick de la Canal / WFAE

The Charlotte Museum of History is trying to save a historic African American schoolhouse in north Charlotte that was one of the area's earliest schools to give formal education to black children. The museum hopes to restore the building and turn it into an exhibit for today's schoolchildren, but it's facing challenges raising funds and interest in the project.

David Boraks / WFAE

After nearly seven decades in business, Mary Jo's Cloth Store in Gastonia will permanently close by the end of August, according to a post on the business's Facebook page.

Courtesy of PLCMC, Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room, Charlotte Observer Collection.

Editor's note: A version of this story was originally published in October 2018.

Few Charlotteans may remember Earle Village, the public housing community built in First Ward just outside uptown. It was a bustling community that stretched from Sixth Street to 10th Street, roughly bordered by Myers Street and Caldwell Street. It was the place where 400 of the city's poorest families resided — until the village was condemned to demolition in the 1990s.

Nick de la Canal / WFAE

Charlotte's annual 24 Hours of Booty is this weekend. The streets of Charlotte's Myers Park neighborhood will be squeezed by packs of cyclists and walkers participating in the charity event, which raises money for cancer research and support services.

Lake Norman Mike - Real Estate / Wikimedia Commons

Editor's note: This story was originally published in December 2018.

Mooresville resident Lauren Sullivan has a boat she takes out on Lake Norman from time to time. She and her husband will cruise across the water, sometimes towing a wakeboard from behind. Like most people, she knew the lake was man-made, and that got her wondering: what might have been swallowed up by all the water, and what happened to the people who once called the area home?

Nick de la Canal / WFAE

Sharon Road, Sharon Lane, Sharon Amity, Sharon Woods Lane, Sharon Township Lane, Sharon Avenue, Sharon Chase Drive, and ... well you get the point. With so many roads named after her, it's no wonder Charlotteans are curious to know who Sharon is.

NC Department of Cultural Resources

How do you respond to tragedies? We all face them periodically over the course of our lives. Sometimes there's little we can do to remedy the situation. Other times, we're given the opportunity to fight back.

NICK DE LA CANAL / WFAE

Many Charlotte residents have long heard tales of abandoned gold mines left buried beneath uptown Charlotte. Aaron Hopping, a WFAE listener, wanted to know more. Like, where are they? What happened to them? And are any still accessible?

Edwin Augustus Osborne
Courtesy photo

If you didn't know, Charlotte has a trail of history marking some of the city’s most influential figures. Along the Little Sugar Creek Greenway, the trail runs from the heart of Central Piedmont’s campus to Freedom Park.

Nick de la Canal / WFAE

Here's a question that comes to us from WFAE listener Summer Cook. She wrote to FAQ City wondering where all of Charlotte's neighborhood names came from.

For example, who is Elizabeth? Or Cherry? What about Dilworth?

COURTESY OF THE SALLIE BINGHAM CENTER FOR WOMEN’S HISTORY & CULTURE, DUKE UNIVERSITY

Ever wondered why Charlotte celebrates Pride in August, and not in June, like most other major cities? WFAE listener Jennifer Lange did.

Nick de la Canal / WFAE

How is the relationship between Charlotte and Raleigh? Are we good? Charlotte is North Carolina's largest city, while Raleigh is the state capitol. Seems like tensions between the two have been simmering on and off for decades.

Courtesy of PLCMC, Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room, Charlotte Observer Collection.

For decades, a four-foot gold statue has stood at the intersection of Queens and Providence Road, his right index finger extended. Sometimes he's dressed up for sporting events or weddings at the Methodist church next door. Last September, he disappeared from the intersection, leaving only a few patches of monkey grass where his pedestal stood.

NICK DE LA CANAL / WFAE

Today on FAQ City, listener Mark Doherty is curious about Charlotte's Revolutionary War history, specifically, where is it?

Charlotte has long been one of the nation's largest banking hub
Nick de la Canal / WFAE

Orlando has tourism, Nashville has music, seems like Charlotte has always been defined by its banks. But have you ever wondered why?

Nick de la Canal / WFAE

Listener Jeff Moen moved to Charlotte about three years ago, and has never really figured out this one quirk of his new hometown. While nearly every city in the nation calls its central business district "downtown," in Charlotte, it's "uptown."

Gantt Museum

Many people only connect the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts and Culture to its tall upscale building uptown, its home for the past eight years. But the museum goes back to 1974, well before it was named for Gantt, a former Charlotte mayor and longtime community leader.

Courtesy of Lynnsy Logue

The year was 1978, and one man in blue tights, a cape, and interstellar space goggles ruled the airwaves on local television station WCCB. Sonic Man, as he called himself, was a peace-loving superhero from the planet Utor who hosted the station's afternoon kiddie shows, all while teaching good character, playing educational games, and gesturing his white-gloved hands about wildly.

Nick de la Canal/WFAE

Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts wants the city to rename Stonewall Street, saying Confederate monuments should not be in "places of public prominence," but up until recently, historians were unsure whether the street really was named for Confederate Gen. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson.

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