It’s almost Halloween and some of you probably planned early and already picked up your holiday ensemble from Morris Costumes! The rest of you will probably just throw something together from Party City. Nothing wrong with that either… And while there will be plenty of parties and pop-up haunted houses to attend, if you’re looking for something different, dare I say more authentic, you may want to try one of three Ghost Tours offered by Charlotte NC Tours. With ghost tours on foot, bike, and Segway, there’s something for everyone. The bike tour even stops at 2 pubs! What’s not to like about that?
Read more about some of Charlotte’s most haunted places here.
All this thinking about Halloween, ghouls, and ghosts got me to thinking about some of the cemeteries here at home, and their historical significance. Here are 2 things you may not have known:
- Old Settlers’ Cemetery – The first city-owned (and still city-owned) burial ground in Charlotte and one of the oldest in the state, Old Settlers’ Cemetery contains the graves of many of Charlotte’s prominent early settlers, some of recognizable namesake, such as Davidson, Irwin, Caldwell, Alexander, and Wilkinson. Thomas Polk, great uncle of U.S. President James K. Polk, is also buried here. Thomas is credited as being the founding father of Charlotte. In 1775 he built his home at the intersection of Great Wagon Road (now Tryon St.), which extended from Pennsylvania to Georgia, and a Native American trading path (now Trade St.). The village that eventually sprawled up around this crossroad was “Charlotte Town.” How befitting that Polk is buried so close to the Square! While the majority of the grounds were dedicated to those of higher stature or from prominent families, the northwest section of the cemetery was used for the burial of African-American servants of the lot owners. The cemetery was used between 1774 and 1878 and was the only municipal cemetery until Elmwood/Pinewood Cemetery opened in 1854. Located right across the street from First Presbyterian Church, you can find a cool rotating panoramic shot of the cemetery here.
Settlers’ Cemetery in Uptown Charlotte.
Gravestone of James G. Wilkinson in Old Settlers’ Cemetery.
Credit: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library
- Elmwood and Pinewood Cemeteries - Located just a half mile to the northwest of Old Settlers’ Cemetery, between the NC Music Factory and Gateway Village, are the city’s 2nd municipal cemeteries (collectively). Both were opened around the same time, but Elmwood was reserved for whites and Pinewood for African-Americans. In the Jim Crow days, a chain-link fence was installed to separate the two, reinforcing the standards set forth by the federal courts of “separate but equal.” In January 1969, Frederick Nathaniel Alexander, the first African-American elected to Charlotte City Council, led a successful campaign to have the fence removed, but it was not without opposition. The grounds are an important reminder of Charlotte’s complex and diverse socioeconomic past.
View of Uptown from Elmwood/Pinewood Cemetery
Credit: Historic Charlotte
Until next week!
Email me at chris@704Shop.com if you have interesting Charlotte facts you’d like to share or just to provide feedback!