Fact Friday 434 - More on Uptown vs. Downtown CLT

Fact Friday 434 - More on Uptown vs. Downtown CLT

Happy Friday!

This week's Fact Friday comes to you from the UNC Charlotte Special Collections and University Archives. If you enjoy their content, please support by considering following on social media (@cltspecoll). 


Charlotte’s city center has long been referred to as “uptown,” but what is it that makes the area “up?”

During Charlotte’s settlement by Europeans, Trade and Tryon streets were built along Catawba trading pathways that intersected at the top of a hill. Early colonists in the 1700s were reported to say “I'm going up to town,” which eventually was shortened to “I’m going uptown.”

That moniker was in use through the 1920s, by which time the public had generally switched to calling it “downtown.” In the 1970s, entrepreneur Jack Wood began lobbying the city to refer to the area as uptown once more, and in September of 1974 the City Council resolved to refer to the area as “uptown.” The reason given was to uplift spirits, make the area seem upbeat and upscale, and to drive the work force towards the city.

But beyond marketing, it should be noted that Independence Square, at the corner of Trade and Tryon, is 746 feet above sea level–making it measurably higher than the surrounding areas.

#UptownCharlotte #CharlotteHistory

Louis Asbury papers, MS0145, UNC Charlotte.

“Up the Creeks,” Keeping Watch, February 10, 2017. https://keepingwatch.org/programming/creeks/up-the-creeks

For more on this topic, check out Fact Friday 382



UNC Charlotte Special Collections on Instagram, March 1, 2024. 

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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

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