Fact Friday 150 - Dilworth Neighborhood
The Dilworth neighborhood was developed as Charlotte's first "streetcar suburb" in 1891. The driving force behind its creation was Edward Dilworth Latta and his partners in the Charlotte Consolidated Construction Company, which purchased 442 acres just south of the city for their venture. They planned a mixed-income suburb for the growing population of Charlotte that would be connected with the city using Latta's recently installed electric streetcar system. The arrival of the Atherton Cotton Mill just south of Dilworth in 1892 stimulated the emergence of an industrial district around the neighborhood, and both prospered. The unpaved streets were arranged in a grid that intersected at right angles, with the East and South Boulevards being the major arteries. The main photo (above), taken in 1950, shows Morehead Street looking east toward the intersection of McDowell Street and Dilworth Road.
A shot of East Boulevard and some of Dilworth's earliest homes are pictured in this image from around the turn of the century.
This photo from 1904 shows a cluster of mills that defined Dilworth along the 1300 block of South Boulevard, including the Charlotte Trouser Company and the Mecklenburg Roller Mills.
In 1911 Latta commissioned the Olmsted brothers, the designers of New York's Central Park to plan the neighborhood's expansion. Today the streets off the wide main boulevards still bear the mark of their design, and Dilworth remains one of the premier sections of the city. A large part of the industrial district, such as the Atherton Mill and the D. A. Tompkins Machine Shop, has been renovated and readapted as residential and commercial properties as part of the South End historic district to give modern Dilworth a new twist on its industrial past. The grand houses on South Boulevard have been razed for commercial development, but some of Charlotte's finest old Victorian residences still remain on East Boulevard. The tree-lined traditional entrance of the neighborhood looks much the same today. The Gothic English spire of Covenant Presbyterian Church, completed in 1953, rises to the right in the picture below.
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