Happy New Year from all of us here at 704 Shop!
I've personally been thrilled to have the opportunity to both learn and share some of our region's rich history with you all since we started doing weekly Fact Friday's in June. We'll be sure to keep the trend going in 2016, as I've invested in some resources to be able to share tons of not-so-commonly known pieces of 704 history.
Since it's the beginning of the year, what better time to highlight another fact related to the beginning of Charlotte's economic prosperity!
In Fact Friday #3 - Charlotte & Banking. Happily Married, we highlighted that the nation's first gold rush took place right here in the 704. And in recent weeks (Fact Fridays 27, 25, 24, and 22) we highlighted the impact of cotton on the region's economic boom around the turn of the 20th century.
Caption: This 1847 map of North Carolina includes an inset showing the "Gold Region."
The establishment of the railways in the region were very much predicated on the successes of both the mining (gold) and cotton industries.
But the day that everything undoubtedly changed was October 21, 1852.
Caption: Stock certificate for the North Carolina Railroad issued in 1859 and signed by NCRR president, and former NC Governor (1841-45) John Motley Morehead. Courtesy of North Carolina Office of Archives and History, Raleigh.
While the groundwork for innovation was being laid by Charlotte’s mining community, rail lines were being laid in preparation for the region’s first railroad, which would connect Charlotte to South Carolina. And on October 21, 1852, the first railroad train arrived in the Queen City.
The Charlotte and South Carolina Railroad was the first rail line into this section of the Piedmont, and the inaugural train, arriving from Columbia, was greeted by a brass band and free barbecue. The line was made possible by Charlotte’s business community and entrepreneurs arranging innovative funding, which was a region-wide effort, with farmers and townsfolk all along the route buying stock, and local governments kicking in cash as well. The railroad’s presence guaranteed Charlotte would soon forge ahead of similar surrounding towns.
Without the railroad, none of the other subsequent events in Charlotte's rich history would have happened, nor would Charlotte be the city it is today. Says Dan Morrill in Historic Charlotte, An Illustrated History of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County, “By doing so, they (Charlotte leaders) elevated resolute and imaginative leadership to the pinnacle of importance it has occupied in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County ever since.” (p. 29)
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!
Information taken from:
Additional commentary added
“We have to do with the past only as we can make it useful to the present and the future.” – Frederick Douglass