Fact Friday 164 - Charlotte's Got No History? Wrong. (Pt. 2)
Celebrating Meck Dec Day isn't the only way to jump into Charlotte's Revolutionary-era history. Grab your cell phone and download the Charlotte Liberty Walk app and lace up for a step-by-step walking guide of historic sites through Uptown. Plaques and monuments, accompanied by impressive art by local painter Dan Nance, mark key moments in history that helped make Charlotte the city she is today. Prefer a printed copy? Stop by the Charlotte Visitors Information Center in the Charlotte Convention Center or the Levine Museum of the New South. Both have information on Charlotte's many historic sites.
Artist Dan Nance's interpretation of The Battle of Charlotte on September 26, 1780.
Of note, in the fall of 1780, the British Army set up camp at today's Independence Square, at the intersection of Trade and Tryon streets. The marker stands in the southern section of the camp, where British Lt. Col. Tarleton's infantry and cavalry, loyalist militia and others posted up. Four cannons parked at the crossroads near the courthouse - amid a present-day display of churches and coffee shops, banks and bars.
Other tour markers include cemeteries, inns, homesites, and recollections of famed visitors deeming Charlotte "more hostile than any other" territory under British Rule. One of the city's nicknames - "a hornet's nest of rebellion" - was given by British General Cornwallis himself and shows up today on the city's NBA team, the Charlotte Hornets, who celebrate their 30th season this year.
For an extra dose of Revolutionary-era life, head over to the Charlotte Museum of History for a look at the Hezekiah Alexander Homesite. Alexander was a blacksmith and planter-turned key elected official in Mecklenburg County who served from 1774 to 1776. Originally from Maryland, Alexander was a member of the North Carolina Fifth Provincial Congress, a group that wrote North Carolina's first constitution and bill of rights and one of the original signers of the Meck Dec.
The site features the Alexanders' original two-story home, circa 1774, which is the oldest surviving structure in the county, and boasts a spot on the National Register of Historic Places. Other replica constructs on the site - a springhouse used for food storage and a log kitchen, separate from the home for fear of fire - also offer a glimpse into Revolution-era life in Charlotte.
Several Revolutionary War battle sites, too, are just an hour or less from Uptown Charlotte, including Camden, Kings Mountain, and Cowpens.
So she may be a blossoming city, still trying to make her mark in today's world, but the Queen City, chartered before the United States itself, boasts her share of history rejecting the crown - a true hornet's nest of rebellion.
Until next week!
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Information taken from:
Charlotte (wheretraveler.com), "The City With(out) History," Virginia Brown.
“We have to do with the past only as we can make it useful to the present and the future.” – Frederick Douglass