Earlier this week, Charlotte Agenda posted an article on historical points of interest in Elizabeth most Charlotte natives don’t even know about. A couple of these fun facts are mentioned on my website page dedicated to Elizabeth, but they’re all interesting nonetheless. Here’s the rundown (along with a few extra factoids thrown in):
- The neighborhood is named for Anne Elizabeth Watts. She was the wife of Gerard S. Watts, a friend of the Duke family, and the man who bankrolled the brick building that was once Elizabeth College. The building still stands and is the old section of Presbyterian Hospital.
- Elizabeth is also home to Charlotte’s oldest municipal park, Independence Park. Charlotte Observer founder D.A. Tompkins was the person who had the concept for the park, which was designed by renowned landscape architect, John Nolen. Nolen was the official landscape architect to such municipalities as Kingsport Tennessee; Madison, Wisconsin; Montclair, New Jersey; Reading, Pennsylvania; Roanoke, Virginia; San Diego, California; New London, Connecticut; Bristol, Connecticut; Savannah, Georgia; and Schenectady, New York.
- Independence Boulevard was named after Independence Park and sliced through its western-most portion.
- Elizabeth is the second oldest streetcar suburb in Charlotte. (Dilworth is the oldest.)
- The first building in Charlotte specifically designed to be a secondary school was built there: Central High. This building is now a part of CPCC’s central campus.
- Homes in Elizabeth – specifically Clement Avenue – have recently been used as locations for Showtime’s award-winning show Homeland, a Cam Newton commercial and the Mickey Rourke movie, Ashby.
- Clement Avenue’s wide street was once intended as a streetcar route.
- Elizabeth was once home to a fire training school on 7th Street (now the Palmer Building, a meeting and reception hall). The building was designed in the 1930s, and the renovation to a meeting/reception hall was done by the Charlotte Firefighters Association.
- Memorial Stadium was built as a result of the Works Progress Administration, a program started by Franklin D. Roosevelt to spur the economy during the Great Depression. FDR dedicated the stadium in September 1936. The ceremony, which was attended by 30,000 people, was held during a rainstorm. Just as FDR began to speak, the clouds parted and the sun shined, prompting FDR to say: “My friends, I notice there is a rainbow in the sky.”
- American Jewish writer and newspaper publisher Harry Golden lived in Elizabeth from the early 1940s to the 1960s. He published a leading Jewish newspaper, the Carolina Israelite, was an early critic of segregation and counted famed poet, writer and editor Carl Sandburg as a good friend.
- The house in front of Presbyterian Hospital on Hawthorne Avenue was the home of Henry Belk, founder of Belk Department Stores. Belk owned 10 acres of land in the area and donated it to the hospital when it moved from downtown to Elizabeth.
Elizabeth is an amazing neighborhood to call home, and not just because of these interesting tidbits. When you’re ready to move to Elizabeth, give me a call and let’s explore the neighborhood together!