Charlotte’s Myers Park neighborhood was the city’s first planned suburb. It emerged on a thousand acres of rural farmland off Providence Road belonging to John Springs Myers, a local businessman who initially used it as a cotton farm. Myers found a partner in banker and investor George Stephens, who had helped finance the Piedmont Park suburb and the city’s first public park. The designer would be Boston architect John Nolen, who was commissioned to turn the Myers farmland into a community designed to lure Charlotte’s wealthy leaders from their downtown enclaves. The neighborhood was planned as a mix of humble bungalows and grand mansions, with small areas of development and a tract for Queens College. The earliest houses were built in 1911 off Queens Road, and some recently finished products are seen here (above).
This postcard from 1920 shows the Myers Park villa of James B. Duke, founder of the Duke Power Company, and later C. C. Coddington, a leading businessman in Charlotte and the owner of WBT Radio Station. Completed in 1918, the house still stands in the neighborhood today, known as the Duke Mansion.
The sparse farmland was quickly transformed into pleasantly curving boulevards and byways lined with trees, which were carefully planned at a level seldom achieved at the time. By the 1920s, the streets were filled with homes of some of Charlotte’s wealthiest citizens and many of the textile, banking, and utility leaders responsible for the city’s development. In 1922 the community was briefly incorporated as a village with no tax rate and its own mayor, but in 1924 Charlotte annexed the suburb so that it would receive city services. Today, Myers Park remains a model for early suburban design in the Southeast. The tree-shaded roads and pristine lawns have survived various rezoning plans, and it largely appears as the architects intended. Myers Park is still one of Charlotte’s most prestigious neighborhoods and the only one to have steadfastly retained so many of its original homes and designs.
Until next week!
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Information taken from:
Charlotte Then and Now, Brandon Lunsford, 2013.
“We have to do with the past only as we can make it useful to the present and the future.” – Frederick Douglass