Fact Friday 30 - Ivey's Department Store

Fact Friday 30 - Ivey's Department Store

Happy Friday everyone!

Even though Charlotte has so many new and shiny edifices, there are still a few throwback structures standing as an ode to its rich past. According to a 2006 Charlotte Observer article, the Ivey’s building was one of six notable non-church buildings that survive.

Ivey’s department store on the corner of North Tryon and Fifth streets was built in 1924, the year the above picture was taken. British architect William Peeps, who was responsible for much of Charlotte’s commercial district in the early twentieth century, designed the building.

Caption: Joseph Benjamin Ivey (1864-1958) photographed in his garden with dahlias. Photo taken at Morehead at Queens Rd.

Joseph Benjamin Ivey, originally of Shelby, came to Charlotte in the early 1900s to take advantage of the booming cotton economy, and he managed to build a successful operation from humble beginnings. The devout son of a Methodist preacher, Ivey insisted the curtains be drawn on his closed store on Sundays so that consumers wouldn’t be tempted by earthly matters on the Lord’s day. Ivey’s was the third major department store in the downtown area clustered around the Square, and it competed with Belk (see picture below) and Efird’s nearby.

Ivey’s still stands today, the last of the large department stores remaining from the North Tryon commercial district of the 1920s. Most of the old stores that made up Charlotte’s retail district have been either demolished or moved to the suburbs, but Ivey’s is a survivor surrounded by modern skyscrapers. The store was renovated and enlarged in 1939, and Ivey’s opened up more stores in Charlotte and elsewhere in the Carolinas. The original store continued as Ivey’s until 1990, when it was purchased by the Dillard’s retail chain. Developers wanted to demolish the building soon after, but it was saved and converted into high-priced luxury condominiums, with restaurants and retail space on the lower floors (now a growing trend in Charlotte) in 1995. They Ivey family continued to have an impact on the city’s consumer lifestyle, as they became one of the developers of the upscale SouthPark Mall southeast of Myers Park in the 1970s. 

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: 

Charlotte Then & Now, 2013, Brandon D. Lunsford

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


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