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What Charlotte, NC looked like in the 1920s Through Stunning Historical Photos

Charlotte emerged as a major trade city for the textile industry during the 1920s. From the countryside, people began moving into mill towns like Belmont, Mount Holly, and Charlotte. Charlotte was only the state’s second-largest city in the 1920 census, behind Winston-Salem with 48,395. A few years later, Charlotte overtook it.

In 1928, the city expanded its boundaries to encompass a total of more than twenty square miles. As suburbs grew, they became more segregated based on economic class. During the 1890s and 1910s, a grand boulevard of wealthy homes was usually accompanied by side streets for the middle class. As an example, Piedmont Park has beautiful Central Avenue and modest Jackson Avenue. Dilworth had both an impressive road and a homey street in the Olmsteds. Myers Park had bungalows on Dartmouth Road as well as mansions on Hermitage Road and Queens Road.

In contrast, the suburbs of the 1920s were all the same. Rozells Ferry Road off Roslyn Heights was developed in the 1920s-25s and was mainly populated by middle-class residents. Only the city’s wealthiest lived in Eastover, which landscape architect Earle Sumner Draper designed during the 1920s.

Below are some stunning historical photos that show what Charlotte, NC looked like in the 1920s. Also check some stunning historical photos of Charlotte in 1900s and 1910s.

#1 Old science building, 1920s

Old science building, 1920s

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#2 Tryon (North) Street at night, 1926

Tryon (North) Street at night, 1926

Night scene of North Tryon Street in the twenties. City Hall can be seen on the right as well as a sign for Ivey and Kress. A trolley is coming down the middle of the street.

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#3 Uptown Charlotte, 1925

Uptown Charlotte, 1925

Wonderful view of North Tryon Street in the mid-1920s. Image features businesses, including the Kress and Ivey's, cars, people, and streetcars.

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#4 Charlotte Pawn and Loan, 1920s

Charlotte Pawn and Loan, 1920s

Raphael Malever, third from the right, opened his business at 9 E. Trade Street (now Founders Hall) in 1909. The former occupant of this building, Independence Trust, left a large safe which Malever used to store his jewelry. "Rafe", whose family came from Russia, was in the jewelry business in Savannah before coming to Charlotte.

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#5 Carnegie library mounted on plain paper, handwritten caption reads “Carnegie Library”, 1920s

Carnegie library mounted on plain paper, handwritten caption reads "Carnegie Library", 1920s

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#6 Vail Apartments, 1928

Vail Apartments, 1928

Located at Caswell and Vail Avenues, these apartment buildings were built in 1928 by W.P. Smith.

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#7 Dr. E. French Tyson Home, 1920

Dr. E. French Tyson Home, 1920

Dr. E. French Tyson practiced medicine in Charlotte from 1913 to 1950. His home was located at 907 South Brevard Street.

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#8 Thaddeus Tate House, 1920

Thaddeus Tate House, 1920

The Tate family lived in this elegant home at 504 East 7th Street. Thaddeus Tate opened a barber shop in 1882 which prospered for over sixty years. He co-founded several of Charlotte's leading black businesses, including the Afro-American Mutual Insurance Company and the Mecklenburg Investment Company.

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#9 H.D. Dennis Apartments at Hopedale and Granville Roads, 1928

H.D. Dennis Apartments at Hopedale and Granville Roads, 1928

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#10 Aerial view of Charlotte looking west, 1921

Aerial view of Charlotte looking west, 1921

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#11 Meyerson’s Department Store, 1920

Meyerson's Department Store, 1920

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#12 Charlotte Branch of the United States Mint, 1920

Charlotte Branch of the United States Mint, 1920

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#13 Charlotte Parade Float, 1920

Charlotte Parade Float, 1920

This float for a 1920 parade was sponsored by J&D Tires, a Charlotte company.

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#14 Gas Station, 1926

Gas Station, 1926

J.M. Haralson and Keely M. Grice Service Station No. 2 was located on the northwest corner of Morehead and Mint Streets in the 1920s.

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#15 Clayton Hotel, 1920

Clayton Hotel, 1920

The Clayton Hotel was located at the northeast corner of Church and Fifth Streets. Built in 1913, the hotel offered one hundred rooms and fifty baths. Merton C. Propst was the owner. The Clayton Hotel was demolished in the mid-1970s to make room for a parking lot.

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#16 Government Buildings, 1925

Government Buildings, 1925

Photograph of the architectural rendition by Charles C. Hook for three government facilities. The City Hall is in the center, the Fire Station to the right and the Police Station complex is on the left. The facilities were built and occupied by the fall of 1925.

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#17 Draper House, 1923

Draper House, 1923

The Earl J. Draper House was located at 1005 Queens Road. He was the resident landscape architect for Myers Park.

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#18 Ivey’s Department Store, 1924

Ivey's Department Store, 1924

The J.B. Ivey and Company was located at Tryon and Fifth Streets. Completed in May 1924, it was designed by William Peeps and cost $1,250,000. Today the building is used for condominiums and shops.

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#19 Central High School, 1923

Central High School, 1923

Central High School was built in 1923. Lockewood-Greene and Company were the architects, and J.A. Jones Company was the contractor. Located at Elizabeth Avenue and Cecil Street (now Kings Drive) the school is now part of Central Piedmont Community College's campus.

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#20 Professional Building, 1924

Professional Building, 1924

The Professional Building housed a number of offices for doctors and lawyers, hence its name. Completed in 1924, the building was located at North Tryon and Seventh Street. Louis H. Asbury (1877-1975) designed the building and J.A. Jones Company was the contractor.

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#21 Sanitary Laundry Truck, 1920

Sanitary Laundry Truck, 1920

Rowland Stewart Ferguson (1889-1966) stands by his laundry truck at 210 North Cecil Street. (The latter is now known as Kings Drive.)

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#22 Belk House (William Henry Belk), 1925

Belk House (William Henry Belk), 1925

The residence of William Henry Belk (1862-1952) was located at 120 Hawthorne Lane. It was built in 1925 by the Theis-Smith Company. Charles C. Hook (1869-1934) was the architect. Today the house is used by Presbyterian Hospital.

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#23 Industrial Loan and Investment Bank, 1929

Industrial Loan and Investment Bank, 1929

The Industrial Loan and Investment Bank was located in the 100 block of South Church Street.

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#24 Draper Home Interior Shot, 1928

Draper Home Interior Shot, 1928

An interior shot of the Earl W. S. Draper House around 1928. He was the resident landscape architect for Myers Park.

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#25 Charlotte Speedway, 1924

Charlotte Speedway, 1924

This is an aerial view of the Charlotte Speedway, Inc, when it was located nine miles south of Charlotte at Pineville and Park Roads, near the Southern Railway tracks. The actual track was a mile and a quarter long. It was made entirely of wooden planks and could seat 20,000 people. It was built in 1924 for $300,000.

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#26 The Latta-Johnston House was located at 609 North Tryon Street, 1920

The Latta-Johnston House was located at 609 North Tryon Street, 1920

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#27 Addison Building, 1928

Addison Building, 1928

The Addison Building at 222 South Church Street when it was a Parking Garage. The building later housed the offices of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce.

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#28 Efird’s Department Store, 1923

Efird's Department Store, 1923

The Efird's Department Store was located at 124-30 North Tryon Street. When it was completed in 1923, it was `The only store south of Philadelphia with escalators.` Louis Asbury was the architect and J.A. Jones was the contractor.

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#29 Vail Apartments, 1928

Vail Apartments, 1928

A.C. and W.P. Smith were the original owners of these apartment buildings that are located at the corner of Caswell and Vail Avenue.

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#30 Standard Shoe Store, 1926

Standard Shoe Store, 1926

The Standard Shoe Store was located at 32 East Trade Street. This is an interior shot of the store. People identified in the shot include Mr. Barnes, Marion Trapp, Mr. True, Ed Gallagher, and Z.C. Leonard. Second from the left is the manager, Frank N. Littlejohn. He became a police detective in 1929 and later rose to the position of Police Chief of Charlotte.

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#31 New bridge crossing the Catawba River, 1928

New bridge crossing the Catawba River, 1928

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#32 Mountain Island Power Plant, 1925

Mountain Island Power Plant, 1925

Interior shot of the Mountain Island Power Plant at Mountain Island Dam on the Catawba River, which was approximately twelve miles from Charlotte.

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#33 Ford Motor Plant in Charlotte, 1924

Ford Motor Plant in Charlotte, 1924

The Ford Motor Company Assembly Plant on Statesville Road was completed in 1924. Four hundred cars could be assembled at this facility in one day. The building was constructed at a cost of 2 million dollars. Albert Kahn designed the building. (E.C. Ball of Detroit is also given credit for assisting with the architectural design.) Charlotte contractors, MacDevitt-Flemming built the plant.

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#34 View of Charlotte, 1925

View of Charlotte, 1925

This is a more detailed view of North Tryon Street in the mid-1920s. Image features a close-up of the Independence Building, businesses, including Bon Marie's, Kress and Ivey's Department Stores, cars, people, and streetcars.

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#35 Tryon Street near the Square, 1925

Tryon Street near the Square, 1925

View of uptown Charlotte businesses and street near the Square. Features Rousso's Building, referring to Paul Rousso, a leading businessman.

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#36 Charlotte Street Scene, 1925

Charlotte Street Scene, 1925

Wonderful view of North Tryon Street in the mid-1920s. Image features businesses, including the Kress and Ivey's, cars, people, and streetcars.

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#37 Row of mill houses somewhere in Charlotte, 1920

Row of mill houses somewhere in Charlotte, 1920

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#38 Martha Auten’s Sixth Grade Class at Wesley Heights, 1923

Martha Auten's Sixth Grade Class at Wesley Heights, 1923

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#39 A&P with Mr C. F. Biggers, 1925

A&P with Mr C. F. Biggers, 1925

Claude Felix Biggers (1880 - 1937) was the manager of the A&P Grocery Store on South Church Street where the Charlotte News building was later built. - N.W. corner of Church and Fourth Street.

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#40 Trade Street as it appeared in the 1920s.

Trade Street as it appeared in the 1920s.

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#41 West Trade Street by Night, Charlotte, 1926

West Trade Street by Night, Charlotte, 1926

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#42 Hotel Charlotte, 1923

Hotel Charlotte, 1923

The Hotel Charlotte opened is doors in 1923. It was located at the corner of West Trade and Poplar Streets. The hotel was the most popular hotel in Charlotte. During the 1920s, the Hotel Charlotte was site of an early recording studio. Bill Monroe, the Delmore Brothers and other country music legends made their early recordings at the hotel. It was demolished in 1988.

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#43 YWCA Building, 1929

YWCA Building, 1929

The YWCA in Charlotte was first organized in 1902 by the Charlotte Woman's Club. Helen Sherman Ogden Liddell (1863-1961) served as the first President. This picture is of the second YWCA building that opened in 1914. It was located at 406 East Avenue, now Elizabeth Avenue.

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#44 Fifth Mecklenburg County Court House, 1929

Fifth Mecklenburg County Court House, 1929

The fifth Mecklenburg County Court House is located at 700 East Trade Street. Built at a cost of one million dollars, it first opened in 1928.A "natural finish" card made by Gray and Thompson, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

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#45 Charlotte Country Club, 1920

Charlotte Country Club, 1920

Charlotte Country Club began as The Mecklenburg Club in 1910. This first Club was located west of the city adjoining a pond on or near Stewart Creek. The activities of this early Club were confined to card games, picnics, boating, and fishing. The name was changed to Charlotte Country Club in 1917. The club moved to its present location in the Plaza Midwood neighborhood in 1931.

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#46 Autumn in Myers Park, 1920

Autumn in Myers Park, 1920

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Written by Aung Budhh

Husband + Father + librarian + Poet + Traveler + Proud Buddhist. I love you with the breath, the smiles and the tears of all my life.

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