Happy Friday everyone!
Running parallel to Tryon Street to the east, College Street was named for the Presbyterian College for Women, founded in 1857 and located at College and Ninth streets. The college filled the entire block. With the emergence of the railroads in the mid-1800s, an area around the rail corridor near South College Street became a cotton district full of warehouses, sales facilities, and a cotton compress. Charlotteans called this district “the Wharf” for its similarity to the waterfront district in Charleston, South Carolina. As the cotton trade boomed following the Civil War, property near the Wharf skyrocketed in value and local merchants raced to open stores there to trade with visiting farmers. By the 1890s, the huge Charlotte Cotton Press, installed along the Southern Railway on North Brevard Street, had supplanted the Wharf district as Charlotte’s main hot spot for cotton production. Pictured in this shot from around 1913 is the College Street Garage, the 1st Ford garage in Charlotte, which opened at 225 N. College Street in the early 1900s, a time when telephone numbers were much simpler (and area codes, including 704, didn’t exist yet).
College Street looking north from E. 4th Street (1904)
By the turn of the century, College Street was no longer an important cotton district but was still filled with several manufacturing businesses. In 1914 the Presbyterian College moved to the Myers Park area and became Queens College, but the area continued to develop around the center of downtown. The building itself became College Apartments and operated as such for many years. College Street originally dead-ended at Stonewall, a few blocks south of this intersection, and Second, Third, and Stonewall streets terminated at College. The roads were extended in the 1950s, and College was eventually incorporated into the Interstate 277 beltway that loops around the city. Today all that remains of South College’s once-substantial manufacturing district is a lone warehouse, and the street is now home to the headquarters of Wells Fargo Bank and the Charlotte Convention Center. The site of the College Street Garage is now occupied by the uptown Charlotte campus of the Wake Forest University School of Business, which was formally dedicated in January 2012.
Until next week!
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Information taken from:
Charlotte: Then and Now; Brandon D. Lunsford, 2013.
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