Fact Friday 58 - Southern Manufacturers Club
Happy Friday everyone!
As Charlotte grew into a prosperous New South metropolis in the late nineteenth century, its wealthy elite decided they needed a place to congregate. D. A. Tompkins and other prominent businessmen in the city responded in 1894 by establishing the lavish headquarters of the Southern Manufacturers Club on the corner of West Trade and Poplar streets. Charlotte’s richest citizens gathered at their privileged men’s club ostensibly to do business. They also organized dinner meetings, where they discussed a variety of topics, one of which was referred to as “the Oriental Question” in 1901. The members debated the imports of raw cotton from China, which threatened their interests.
Immediately to the west of the club, but not visible in this picture (above) from 1910, was the residence of Anna Morrison Jackson, widow of Confederate general Stonewall Jackson.
A postcard view from 1908 shows the Anna Morrison Jackson House to the west of the club.
This postcard depicts a front view of the Southern Manufacturers’ Club and of Mrs. Stonewall Jackson’s residence. The picture shows the street out front of the building with automobiles parked next to the sidewalk.
This image shows the interior of the club from around the turn of the century.
The elite private club remained on West Trade until the 1930s, when it was demolished. The idea was resurrected with the Charlotte City Club, which was formed in 1947 and provided a similarly distinguished atmosphere for prominent men to discuss financial and social business.
The City Club still exists today, located just a bit further east on West Trade St., although it has widened its membership to wealthy women, as well. The former site of the Southern Manufacturers Club became a filling station in the 1940s, and remained so in a variety of different incarnations until the 1990s. It then became a parking lot, which it remains today, across the street from the Mandrake.
Until next week!
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Information taken from:
Charlotte Then and Now, 2013, Brandon Lunsford.
Additional commentary added.
“We have to do with the past only as we can make it useful to the present and the future.” – Frederick Douglass