Historic preservation

When downtowns come alive again

Uptown Shelby alley that a Boy Scout restored. Photo: Mary Newsom If you’re thinking downtowns are dead, you haven’t been paying attention. I recently got an earful of downtown success stories from across the state. Commentary.

Can Charlotte learn these lessons in time to save lower South End?

A refurbished corner store building in Des Moines, Iowa. Photo: David Walters Can lower South End survive the large-scale cookie-cutter development now ravaging South End and NoDa? David Walters offers a way forward, based on lessons from Des Moines. Yes, Des Moines. Commentary.

With mill preserved, new effort saves Loray’s village

Brian Miller with the house he bought as is in Gastonia's Loray Mill village. Photo courtesy Preservation North Carolina. Gastonia’s huge Loray Mill held its grand opening in March 2015, showing off the adaptive reuse of the building. Now the nonprofit Preservation North Carolina aims to restore many of the houses in the nearby mill village.

George E. Davis – Rosenwald agent extraordinaire

Sketch of a Rosenwald community school. Photo: HistorySouth.org Charlotte's George E. Davis, a tireless advocate for education and one of the leading advocates for the building of Rosenwald schools, was a major reason that a number of these schools were built in North Carolina.

Aging Rosenwald Schools recall long-ago optimism

Historic Rosenwald School in Newell. Photo: Silver Star Only a fraction of the Rosenwald Schools remain, reminders of a remarkable early 20th-century partnership of rural black communities in the South and a Jewish philanthropist from Chicago. Those remaining in Mecklenburg range from lovingly restored to painfully dilapidated.

Bringing back the bus

Bus 1074 - Photo: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission Bus 1074, one of GM's “New Look” buses that debuted in Charlotte in 1972, has found new life, thanks to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission.

More N.C., S.C. cities eye downtowns for development potential

Downtown Kannapolis. West First St., Gem Theatre. Photo: Google Street View The efforts vary from city to city. Kannapolis, for instance, bought 50 acres of downtown property. Initiatives to revitalize downtowns across the Carolinas range from renovating aging buildings to building museums to trying to lure private hotel developers. 

In preservation win, landmark west Charlotte depot to be moved

P&N Depot at Thrift on Old Mount Holly Road, Charlotte, to be saved. Photo: Dan Morrill In what local preservationists call a major victory, a century-old depot—the deteriorating relic of a lost era of Charlotte-Gastonia passenger rail—will be moved a short distance and repaired.

South End area with unique history wants new, unique zoning

Sign on Summit Avenue in South End highlights gold mine history. Photo: Mary Newsom A proposal working its way through the city zoning process could create something new for Charlotte: a special kind of zoning designed specifically for one neighborhood, in this instance a part of South End that's touting its gold-mining history.

Can Plaza Midwood save the places that matter? 4 tools that might help

Tommy's Pub on Central Avenue in Plaza Midwood. Photo: Google Maps A torrent of development in some older Charlotte neighborhoods is wiping out more and more of the small, older buildings. This creates a significant, if little-recognized, problem for an entrepreneurial economy. Why is this happening, and what can be done? Commentary