Excelsior Club

SARAH DELIA / WFAE

A deal to buy the historic Excelsior Club has fallen through.

Sarah Delia / WFAE

The fate of Charlotte’s historic Excelsior Club remains uncertain. A one-year moratorium on demolishing the building expired on Wednesday, June 12. The Excelsior opened in 1944 and became of hub of African-American social and civic life in Charlotte – and hosted the likes of Nat King Cole, Louis Armstrong, and James Brown.

I went to the Excelsior Club a few times back in the ‘90s, and it wasn’t much to look at even then. Now it’s even more rundown. If you just drive by the club, off of Beatties Ford Road, you might wonder what’s worth saving. But that’s only if you haven’t heard the stories.

Sarah Delia / WFAE

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.

Sarah Delia / WFAE

In west Charlotte, the Excelsior Club was important to cultural life in the African-American community for more than 50 years. 

Initial plans to save the site as a historic landmark fell apart in October when the Mecklenburg County Commissioners rejected the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission's bid to buy the club. 

Sarah Delia / WFAE

The Excelsior Club, Charlotte’s first African American-owned club, is officially in foreclosure. It opened in 1944, and at one point it was a center for African American social and political activity on Charlotte’s west side.