Happy Friday everyone!
My son attends Kumon in Myers Park. So quite often, he and I crisscross the city, always taking in the sights, listening to CNN on satellite radio, getting him to and from. So naturally, I was intrigued to have stumbled upon this story as I set out to find something interesting to share with you all this week.
On May 11, 2014, Park Terrace Theater, in Park Road Shopping Center in Myers Park (across the street from Kumon-Myers Park), unearthed a time capsule that had been buried there 50 years earlier on May 11, 1964. For promo leading up to the event, Creative Loafing featured an article written by author and native Charlottean, David Aaron Moore (Charlotte: Murder, Mystery and Mayhem). The piece doubled as part of series called Question the Queen City, where David would answer reader-submitted questions about Charlotte and some quirky events in its history. In an effort to recreate some of the nostalgia, David wrote about what was happening in Charlotte at the time the capsule was buried.
Local newspapers were heavily plugging the upcoming opening of the new Park Terrace Theater, a concert at the Charlotte Coliseum featuring legendary R&B performers like James Brown, Otis Redding and Dionne Warwick and movie theaters were screening such films as Girls! Girls! Girls! starring Elvis Presley, The Stripper with Joanne Woodward and Carol Lynley and Gathering of Eagles starring Rock Hudson.
At home, most Charlotteans were likely gathered around black and white TVs watching programs on Channel 3 (WBTV) and Channel 9 (WSOC) like Mister Ed, The Dick Van Dyke Show and Petticoat Junction.
Less than a year after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson was at the helm. The world was embroiled in the Vietnam War. Schools in Charlotte were still racially segregated, and talk of integration had some white families worried and many black families enthusiastic about improved opportunities for their children. Headlines in the Charlotte Observer proclaimed things like, "Happy, Useful Life Possible For Most Mentally Retarded" and a "Communist Plot On [then-Secretary of Defense Robert] McNamara's Life Uncovered." Charlotteans were receiving the final round of a three-part injection series designed to eradicate polio, and a local gas war had knocked the normally pricey 30 cents a gallon to the bargain basement price of 15 cents.
At Elmwood Cemetery, a group of women known as the United Daughters of the Confederacy gathered to memorialize soldiers that had died in the Civil War 100 years earlier, while railroad employees were planning a strike. A daily report of Charlotte criminal activity indicated the following: eight assaults with deadly weapons, five store break-ins, two assaults, two house break-ins and three automobile thefts. (In light of recent questions surrounding government corruption, it's interesting to note that the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department was under scrutiny for supposed mismanagement and gasoline theft.)
The opening of the Park Terrace that month was a cause for major excitement. The mid-century modern building was a nice compliment to the already established Park Road Shopping Center, which had opened eight years earlier. Announcements of the event were mailed out citywide, touting the many luxury features of the theater, such as rocking chair seating, and the line-up of events scheduled for the highly anticipated evening. Beginning at 8 p.m there was a fireworks display, followed by Doris Morgan performing on the organ "Music In The Sky." A local dedication by city government officials (among them, then-Chamber of Commerce President John Belk) was topped off by the movie screening for the night: Captain Newman, M.D., starring Gregory Peck, Angie Dickinson and Tony Curtis. It was also noted on the program that the film was to be shown "in color."
A large crowd gathered to lay eyes on the items that had seemingly travelled through time.
The capsule included, among other things, a symbolic key to the city from then-Charlotte Mayor Stan Brookshire, a Duke University graduate credited as being one of the leaders that transformed the Queen City into a business hub, to Mayor Dan Clodfelter.
For more on what happened when the capsule was pulled out of the ground, hit the jump!
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:
Creative Loafing: Question the Queen City: A time capsule and May 11, 1964
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