Another victim of the notorious urban renewal of the 1960s and 1970s, North Brevard Street is now a pathway to the Spectrum Center, running parallel to the new LYNX Blue Line Light Rail Extension.
Just north of the elegant homes on South Brevard Street, the streets and the conditions for those who lived here were very different. The dirt roads and the shotgun houses seen here were home to the poorer residents of the 500 block of North Brevard, which was actually in the First Ward at the edge of Brooklyn. The racially integrated First Ward was mostly working class and had many streets like this one, populated by African-Americans. Outside of this block, much of the street was lined with the homes of middle-class white families, and farther north was a mill village associated with the Alpha Mill complex. This photo, showing the W. A. Simerson Grocery, was taken in the 1950s when the rapid expansion of the city ensured that such so-called blighted sections of the center city would not exist for long.
Urban renewal in the 1960s and the construction of the Brookshire Freeway loop of Interstate 277 just north of here in the 1970s removed any signs of residential use. The middle-class white homes on Brevard were not immune from government clearance projects either, and only one historic home still exists nearby. Rising in the distance (above) is the Spectrum Arena, which opened in 2005 and split Brevard into a streetscape full of entertainment venues that would form a corridor between the arena and the NASCAR Hall of Fame in nearby Second Ward. On the right side of the current shot is the Center City campus building of the illustrious University of North Carolina at Charlotte, built in 2011 and containing 25 classrooms, and 18,000-square-foot outdoor plaza now adjoined to First Ward Park, and 300-seat auditorium.
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