Fact Friday 352 - Charlotte, "The Friendly City"
Did you know that the Charlotte Observer used to refer to Charlotte as "The Friendly City"? Well it did... at least back in the 1930s, as can be seen in this newspaper ad from Sunday, March 20, 1938. Not only were they branding the city in this way, but to drive the message home, they would also literally welcome the newcomers who had just moved to Charlotte that week... by name and address, and also list where they'd relocated from.
As an aside, I also thought it was interesting that the Observer branded itself as "The Foremost Newspaper of the Two Carolinas," as seen at the top of the page.
It's clear from this ad that being pro-business and pro-economic development has been in the Queen City's DNA for quite some time, as the ad states, "We are the business concerns listed below. Many good or bad impressions of a city are gained through business transactions, and we promise to do our part by making your dealings with us nothing but pleasant. If you don't need us now, come in and see us (The Observer) anyway -- We'll be glad to meet you." This section, the Business Section, is geared towards business owners, who they invite to "Meet the businessmen of Charlotte in these columns. Acquaint yourself with Charlotte's business activities," demonstrating an understanding of the role that business connectivity plays in economic development and commercial and residential retention. It was also undoubtedly a great way to get businesses to place ads in the paper highlighting their location and products/services. Newspapers, after all, were the precursors to Google. Above the ad, businesses are instructed to "Phone 7121 for the "Headline Editor" to write up your business."
If you're like me and enjoy time down memory lane and are just generally curious as to what types of businesses adorned our city streets around this time, take some time to look through some of the ads. You might be surprised at what you see!
Until next week!
Charlotte Observer, Section Four, March 20, 1938, page 19.
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“History is not the past, it is the present. We carry our history with us. We are our history.” - James Baldwin