North Charlotte Historic District
The North Charlotte Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [†] Adaptation copyright © 2011, The Gombach Group.
The North Charlotte Historic District in Charlotte is a particularly well-preserved early 20th century textile mill district with approximately 438 resources, consisting primarily of former textile mills, associated mill villages, a collection of middle-class dwellings reflecting nationally popular styles, and a small business district. The North Charlotte Historic District clearly reflects the emergence of textile manufacturing in the Piedmont South during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when Mecklenburg County and the city of Charlotte were becoming leaders in the region's burgeoning, railroad-related textile industry. The North Charlotte Historic District's contributing architecture ranges from about 1903, when the first textile mill opened here, to the middle 1930s, when the Great Depression drastically curtailed North Charlotte's development. The great majority of buildings and structures date between 1903 and ca.1915, the period when the district's mills and mill villages developed. The North Charlotte Historic District is eligible for the National Register as an embodiment of the textile industry that had a major effect on the social, cultural, and economic fabric of Mecklenburg County and the entire Piedmont South during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. North Charlotte, furthermore, played a pivotal role in the emergence of Charlotte as a textile center in this period. The North Charlotte Historic District boasts three textile factories: the 1903 Highland Park Mill No.3; the 1905 Mecklenburg Mill; and the 1913 Johnston Mill. The district also comprises two basically intact mill villages and a compact commercial zone. The villages, in particular, neatly reflect in the arrangement and forms of houses other mill villages in the county and the region, representing the efforts of mill owners to establish self-contained communities for their work force. The North Charlotte Historic District thus provides graphic evidence concerning the textile manufacturing process as well as the organization of the affiliated labor force at the height of Mecklenburg County's textile boom. North Charlotte has excellent representations of early 20th century cotton mills and mill housing, as well as typical early 20th century commercial architecture and middle-class residences. The district's one contributing example of civic architecture, the 1936 fire station, is a remarkably intact example of fire stations erected in Charlotte during the 1920s and 1930s.
North Charlotte took shape at the northern outskirts of Charlotte amidst tremendous textile industrial development in Mecklenburg County and throughout the Piedmont region. While cotton mills first appeared in the county in 1852, and in Charlotte in 1881, textile manufacturing increased dramatically during the 1890s and early 1900s, when major mills arose in Pineville, Davidson, Cornelius, and Huntersville, as well as in and about Charlotte (Hanchett 1986; Morrill 1979; Gatza 1987). In their scale of operation — which usually included a related mill village — and in their orientation to railroad lines, primarily the Southern and Norfolk and Southern railroads, these mills reflected a new era in the industrial development of the South. Steam-powered machinery, and later electric power, in tandem with the railroads freed mills from traditional riverside locations. The use of electricity, which powered all three mills in North Charlotte, fostered more flexible and innovative mill designs, as machinery was no longer tied to the steam engine and its system of belts and shafts (DuBoff 1967; Kostof 1987). Furthermore, the great majority of mills appearing in the county during this period, and notably the emergence of the large North Charlotte mill district, represented small-town and "suburban" factory sites. Affording textile company owners relatively inexpensive land with access to rail lines, these two categories of mill districts proliferated during the decades before World War I (Rhyne 1930, 43).
North Charlotte contains the largest concentration of textile mills and mill villages in Charlotte as well as across the county. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Charlotte was being transformed from a trading center for cotton farmers to a premier textile center and a powerful symbol of the "New South." After the Civil War and the rebuilding and expansion of railroads in the South, Southern leaders began a drive for a New South based on urban manufacturing rather than farming (Lefler and Newsome 1954, 474-489). The South's new economic base was to rest primarily on textile production. Declares C. Vann Woodward, "The mill was the symbol of the New South, its origins and its promise of salvation" (Woodward 1951, 31). During the 1890s, mill construction accelerated around the outskirts of Charlotte and at small-town sites beside railroad tracks that crossed the county and converged on the city (Morrill 1979; Hanchett 1986). By 1900, Mecklenburg County boasted 16 mills with a combined total of 94,392 spindles and 1,456 looms, establishing it as the state's second most productive county, following neighboring Gaston County (Annual Report of the Bureau of Labor and Printing 1900). Mecklenburg County remained among the state's top three textile counties until the middle 1920s. By that time the textile belt of the Piedmont South was surpassing New England to become the world's preeminent cotton manufacturing region, with North Carolina ranking as America's number one textile manufacturing state (Mitchell and Mitchell 1930). Charlotte, in turn, had emerged as a major New South metropolis, with a population that had soared from about 7,000 in 1880, to over 82,000 by 1929, the largest urban population in the Carolinas (Sixteenth Census 1940). Fifteen textile mills operated within five miles of Charlotte, which, sang the Charlotte Observer in 1928, "is unquestionably the center of the South's textile manufacturing industry" (Charlotte Observer, October 10, 1928).
Bolstered by the promise of textile-related prosperity at the turn of the century, the Highland Park Manufacturing Company in 1903 acquired about 103 acres of rolling farmland three miles north of downtown Charlotte. At this time the company owned the Highland Park Mill (No.1) near Charlotte, and had acquired, in 1898, the Standard Mills in Rock Hill, South Carolina (Mill No.2). On their new tract the company erected the massive Highland Park Mill No.3. It was, by far, the largest textile factory in Mecklenburg County, encompassing over 100,000 square feet devoted primarily to the production of gingham (Huffman 1987).
One of the first electrically-driven mills in the state, Highland Park Mill No. 3 also represented a state-of-the-art design. Its architect was Stuart W. Cramer, whose influential book Useful Information for Cotton Manufacturers (1906) showcased the plans and specifications for Highland Park Mill No.3 (Cramer 1906). The L-shaped, two-story, brick and timber main plant featured a pneumatic system for blowing cotton from the warehouse directly into the plant. Cramer arranged the huge spinning and weaving rooms at right angles, and put the machine room and smaller slasher, warping, and picker rooms in between so that the important functions of the mill would be physically integrated. For fire protection, he isolated the stairways in brick towers. Cramer situated the large powerhouse just south of the mill, next to a small reservoir (Hanchett 1986). Although the powerhouse is now gone, the surviving main plant and surrounding complex of related buildings and structures illustrate the textile manufacturing process in the early 20th century.
Also standing relatively intact is the large mill village associated with Highland Park Mill No.3 and designed by Cramer as well. This village in many ways epitomizes mill villages in Mecklenburg County and throughout the region. It represents in its plan and building types efforts by mill owners to provide "comfortable habitations" for their employees, as well as efforts to regulate behavior.
The mill villages that were developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries were "conspicuous adjuncts" to the new, large-scale textile operations of this period (Herring 1941, 8). In these years approximately 200,000 North Carolinians left farms for textile factories, seeking jobs for wages — "public work" it was called (Nathans 1983, 28-38). In the design of their mill villages, mill owners attempted to ease this tremendous relocation, while also serving their own purposes of attracting reliable labor. The most successful villages, which were used as models for subsequent mill towns, included company-owned, single-family houses set on ample lots (Glass 1978, 147; Kaplan 1981, 31). These houses could accommodate a labor force made up largely of rural households. The mill companies also found these dwellings feasible because the owners expected that nearly every family member would work in the mill. The large lots provided fresh air and space for a vegetable garden and even, on occasion, for some livestock. In attempts to create a largely self-contained community, the mill companies also often provided churches, stores, a school, and assorted other communal facilities (Hall, et al. 1987, 114-180). In his book Cotton Mill: Commercial Features (1899), Charlotte mill engineer and owner D.A. Tompkins expressed the consensus of prosperous mill owners when he instructed that mill villages should keep the general conditions of the countryside while providing the amenities of the town (Tompkins 1988, 117).
The Highland Park Mill No. 3 mill village offers physical evidence of this consensus. The great majority of dwellings are situated on spacious lots and follow simple, single-family designs that are set in parallel rows facing the mill. This functional layout of uniform housing is typical of textile mill villages across the county and the state (Gatza 1987; Mattson 1987, 296-299; Kaplan 1981, 31-37; Glass 1978, 139-142; Hood 1983, 222; Hanchett 1986). The village's ubiquitous side-gable mill house was not only functional, it was also familiar. The form represents one of the most popular vernacular house types in the region during the late 19th and early 20th centuries (McAlester and McAlester 1988, 94-95). In selecting this basic house type to be the dominant form in the Highland Park Mill village, Cramer was perpetuating a traditional North Carolina dwelling which could be found in mill towns across the county and the state, and which helped foster a familiar environment for operatives (Gatza 1987; Glass 1978, 142; Kaplan 1981, 34). The use of this house form, along with other traditional designs, state the authors of Like a Family: The Making of a Southern Cotton Mill World, gave mill villages "the appearance of a rural hamlet more than a manufacturing settlement. If the work in the mill seemed alien to the men and women fresh off the farm, at least the village offered the comfort of familiar surroundings" (Hall, et al. 1987, 115-116).
In addition to the single-family, side-gable mill house, the village includes rows of hip-roofed and gable-front duplexes and shotgun houses built between 1903 and the 1910s. These dwellings are situated on narrower lots than the side-gable houses and epitomize space-saving worker housing appearing in industrializing urban neighborhoods of the South in these decades (e.g., Mattson 1987, 291-293). The shotgun house, which was a traditional Southern worker house type occupied largely by blacks, but by whites as well, also lines the streets of the textile mill village in Huntersville, about 10 miles north of Charlotte (Gatza 1987). The shotgun house is the only mill-house design in the Highland Park Mill village that was illustrated in Tompkins' 1899 book. Among this publication's host of plans and specifications for housing cotton-mill operatives and their supervisors was the ''Narrow House, Three Rooms, $325," essentially the standard two-bay, triple-pile, frame shotgun house (Tompkins 1899, 117).
A quarter mile northeast of Highland Park Mill No. 3, the Mecklenburg Mill opened in 1905, and, in 1913, the Johnston Manufacturing Company completed construction on North Charlotte's third and last textile mill. These mills represented standard-sized textile operations in Mecklenburg County in these years, the Mecklenburg Mill, for example, working 14,048 spindles in 1919, while employing 175 operatives in the making of gingham (Southern Textile Bulletin, December 25, 1919). This remarkably intact 1905 mill, asserts local historian William Huffman, "offers dramatic evidence of the era when textile manufacturing was a vital component of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg economy" (Huffman 1986). The complex includes the two-story mill building with attached cloth and boiler rooms and machine shop, as well as a cotton warehouse and two small structures used to store fire fighting gear. To the south, across North Davidson Street, stands the original water tower.
The Mecklenburg Mill village also survives basically intact. Three straight streets held most of the earliest single-family cottages: Mercury Street, East 37th Street, and Herrin Avenue. Most of the dwellings (approximately 55 in 1905) followed a basic T-shaped plan, a popular single-family mill house of this era around Charlotte. Mill villages associated with both the 1901 Chadwick and the 1903 Hoskins mills west of North Charlotte are lined with versions of this house form (Hanchett 1986). The T-plan mill house was also promoted by Tompkins, who published plans, elevations, and specifications of this cottage under the title "Three-room Gable House, Cost $325" (Tompkins 1899, 124).
In 1919, the Southern Textile Bulletin published an article on the Mecklenburg Mill and its village. Its description was partly factual description and partly industry boosterism that portrayed the mill village as an ideal, rural place occupied by contented laborers:
"Each cottage has a large space for a vegetable garden and many fine vegetables are raised both in summer and winter.... There is a piggery where the mill community keep their hogs in a segregated spot, and many hundreds of pounds of pork is raised each year. There are quite a number of cows that furnish plenty of milk and butter and these are kept in perfectly sanitary stables away from the houses.... There are 53 neat, attractive cottages in the village. The management has under consideration the building of a host of new and modern cottages in a pretty grove [now Patterson, Warp, and Card street].... The employees manifest considerable civic pride in keeping their village and their homes neat and clean (Southern Textile Bulletin December 25, 1919)."
The up-beat tone of this report obscured the fact that workers in this mill, as elsewhere in North Charlotte and the South, actually spent most of their waking hours in the factory. In the early years of this century, men, women, and children under 10 years old worked 10 to 12 hours each weekday and six more hours on Saturday (Hall, et al. 1987, 44-103).
Located to the west of the Mecklenburg Mill complex, along the railroad tracks, the Johnston Mill also illustrates early-20th century textile manufacturing in its surviving buildings. Although no village was ever associated with this mill (its employees lived in housing scattered throughout the periphery of northern Charlotte), the original complex survives. The main plant where cotton yarn was manufactured retains its original form and plan, including spinning and carding areas, a boiler room, and a picker room. As with North Charlotte's other mill complexes, the site includes subsidiary buildings (e.g., cotton warehouse with attached waste house, and a storage facility) representing ancillary activities related to the textile manufacturing process.
In addition to the three mills and two affiliated villages, the North Charlotte Historic District includes a ca.1910 factory whose function was closely related to the textile industry in this period. The Grinnell Manufacturing Company, also known as the General Fire Extinguisher Company, made sprinkler systems for controlling fires in the textile mills. This large brick factory produced "Grinnell Systems" for mills across the country (Hanchett 1986). According to the 1911 Sanborn Map of Charlotte, both the Highland Park Mill No.3 and the Mecklenburg Mill contained sprinkler systems that were made here (Sanborn Map 1911).
Less directly associated with the textile industry in North Charlotte, but a reflection of it nonetheless, is the small commercial area. The business district developed and thrived primarily in the service of mill workers. It is located at the nexus of the two mill villages, focussed along North Davidson Street. This thoroughfare, running parallel to the railroad tracks, was the route of the streetcar line connecting North Charlotte to downtown. The stores were privately owned and operated, though the parcels had been owned by the Highland Manufacturing Company, who targeted this area specifically for commercial use (Hanchett 1986). In the summer of 1904, soon after the construction of Highland Park Mill No.3, the Charlotte Observer described the emergence of retailing activity: "Messrs. John M. Atkinson and W.G. Shoemaker have purchased a corner lot near the center of the settlement and will build a handsome mercantile building. The building...will contain 2 stores, while the upper stories will be used for lodge rooms and an auditorium" [to be used primarily by mill operatives] (Charlotte Observer, August 4, 1904).
By the 1910s, North Davidson Street between East 34th and East 36th streets included contiguous rows of one- and two-story brick commercial buildings. In 1929, when this area was first included in the Charlotte city directory, it held a barber shop, drug store, drygoods store, lunch room, doctor's office, and five groceries. The Hand Pharmacy Building (3201 N. Davidson Street) contained a meeting hall in the second floor, and two other buildings, notably the Lowder Building (3200-3206 N. Davidson Street), housed second-story apartments mainly for unmarried mill workers (Charlotte City Directory 1929).
Houses: Mill Housing
The mill workers' houses, which constitute much of the North Charlotte Historic District, represent-mill housing across Mecklenburg County in their basic forms, balloon-frame construction, and pattern of distribution. Remodellings have altered front porches and masked original weatherboarding on a number of examples, but original house and porch shapes are typically intact, and the overall architectural scale of the residential streets remains unchanged. In particular, the great numbers of single-family, side-gable and T-plan cottages typify worker housing in many of the county's textile mill villages. Mill villages in Davidson, Cornelius, Huntersville, and Pineville all contain examples (Gatza 1987). In Charlotte, parallel rows of white, frame T-plan cottages were built facing the 1889 Alpha, 1897 Louise, and the 1892 Highland Park No.1 mills. Across from the Hoskins Mill are straight streets of side-gable mill houses erected around the turn of the century (Hanchett 1986).
Several of the mill-house types in North Charlotte reflect designs either built or promoted by Charlotte mill engineer and Southern textile pioneer D.A. Tompkins. The D.A. Tompkins Company, established in 1884, designed over 100 mills throughout the South, including the Alpha, Victor, Ada, and Atherton mills which were all begun in Charlotte in the 1880s and 1890s (Hanchett 1986; Mitchell 1921, 9, 78-80). His widely read book Cotton Mills: Commercial Features (1899) contains plans and specifications for both the T-plan cottage, found throughout the Mecklenburg Mill village, and the shotgun house, of which a small number were erected in the village for Highland Park Mill No.3.
These and other house types in the mill villages, including the abundant side-gable house — which Tompkins did not describe in his publication — are not solely expressions of mill-house architecture. They are also reflections of popular vernacular house types of the late 19th and early 20th centuries in Mecklenburg County and across the region. The side-gable house, especially, represents one of North Carolina's more popular rural dwelling types of this period (McAlester and McAlester 1987, 94-95; Swaim 1978, 36, 41). The North Charlotte Historic District contains a host of basically intact examples dating from the first decade of the 20th century. Furthermore, the plethora of T-plan cottages as well as hip-roofed and gable-front duplexes, and shotgun dwellings represent versions of common, urban worker housing of this period in the South (McAlester and McAlester 1987, 90, 92; Jakle, et al. 1989, 131-132, 145-147, 161-162; Mattson 1987, 291-293).
Houses: Nationally Popular Domestic Styles
The North Charlotte Historic District includes a collection of middle-income dwellings that were all erected on land owned by the North Charlotte Realty Company in the early 20th century. Located at the southeast side of the district, these dwellings are relatively intact, well-crafted examples of nationally popular styles: the vernacular Victorian; the Colonial Revival; and the Bungalow. The houses were located too far from downtown Charlotte to attract commuters, and so were occupied by a variety of skilled craftsmen and the shopkeepers and clerks who worked in the district's commercial area.
One-story, frame vernacular Victorian cottages line the 600 block of East 35th Street as well as the 3200 block of Spencer Street, and others are distributed along adjoining blocks. Representing dwellings of similar design built in the same period in the county's small towns as well as in Charlotte's developing middle-class neighborhoods and streetcar suburbs (examples survive in the Fourth Ward, Dilworth, and Elizabeth, for instance), these Victorian-inspired houses are characterized by hip roofs, decorative gables, projecting bays, and porches that wrap around the main facades (Hanchett 1986; Gatza 1987). The most intact examples retain turned porch posts and sawn brackets.
A notable Colonial Revival dwelling, and the only contributing two-story residence in the North Charlotte Historic District, is the 1918 Paul Berryhill Moore House (3212 Alexander Street). Its distinctive gambrel-front form with patterned wood shingles in the upper story and a small balcony illustrates a version of the style that was built occasionally in several other Charlotte neighborhoods at this time, including Plaza-Midwood (south of North Charlotte) and Dilworth. The house's compact but stylish design reflected Moore's social status as a skilled carpenter, and represented a smaller, economical interpretation of the substantial gambrel-roofed residences appearing in the early 20th century in the city's most fashionable neighborhoods, including Myers Park [see Myers Park Historic District] (Hanchett 1986).
The North Charlotte Historic District also contains a variety of handsome Bungalows built in the 1920s. Designed with such hallmarks of the style as low-slung roofs, exposed rafters, and assertive porches with tapered posts on brick piers, versions with gable-front, hip, or cross-gable roofs line the 700 and 800 blocks of East 35th Street.
Commercial and Civic Buildings
North Charlotte's small business district includes contributing buildings typical of early 20th century main street architecture in Mecklenburg County (Gatza 1987). Although many ground floors have been modernized since World War II and a small number of upper stories have been remodelled with bright-colored metal veneers, most have intact brick upper floors with simple corbelled cornices. The most intact examples, notably the Hand Pharmacy Building and the Lowder Building, feature ground-floor shop fronts with large display windows, slant-back entrances, and clear-glass transoms that once characterized shop fronts of numerous small commercial buildings across the county. Few today remain so intact.
The commercial district also features the handsome, remarkably preserved 1936 Fire Department Company No.3 (3210 N. Davidson Street). It is believed to have been designed by noted Charlotte architect Charles Christian Hook, who had designed similar, though larger fire stations elsewhere in the city. Hook designed scores of fashionable residences in the Georgian Revival, Colonial Revival, Tudor Revival, and Spanish Mission styles throughout Dilworth, Myers Park, and other developing, wealthy Charlotte neighborhoods during the early decades of this century (Hanchett 1986; Oswald 1987). The Neo-Classical inspired fire station in North Charlotte is highlighted by a brick-veneered, pedimented main facade.
Together and individually, the three textile plants in North Charlotte are essentially intact, architecturally important industrial complexes. They retain original stylistic elements, giving each aesthetic appeal, while exemplifying in their basic forms and materials textile mill complexes that emerged throughout Mecklenburg County and the region during the late 19th and early 20th centuries (Gatza 1987; Huffman 1987; Hanchett 1986; Kaplan 1981, 28-30). Highland Park Mill No.3, the Mecklenburg Mill, and the Johnston Mill each represents fire-resistant "standard mill construction" developed in New England at the behest of fire insurance companies at the end of the 19th century. The walls of each plant are of common-bond brick construction. Interiors retain hardwood columns, beams, and floors that were extremely slow to burn and would not bend in an intense fire (as metal would). Each mill also retains a variety of exemplary subsidiary buildings and structures.
The imposing Highland Park Mill No. 3 is a National Register property that qualifies for the National Register of Historic Places for its architectural as well as historical significance. States the 1987 National Register nomination: "The Highland Park Mill No.3 is a place of exceptional architectural significance to the City of Charlotte and to the South" (Huffman 1987). In its massive scale, elements of style, and assortment of representative outbuildings, it is the finest surviving textile factory in Mecklenburg County. Outside the city limits of Charlotte, only the Anchor Mill in Huntersville remains basically intact; but it is much smaller and less decorative than Highland Park No.3 (Gatza 1987). Within the city, only the Alpha Mill features a crenellated stair tower, and only the three-story Hoskins Mill can rival it as an intact example of a large-scale, early 20th century textile manufacturing operation (Hanchett 1986). Concludes the National Register nomination: "Compared to other mills in Charlotte, Highland Park No.3 is greater in scale, has more outbuildings, and has the largest and most decorated tower of the extant mills. Only the Hoskins Mill is so nearly intact as an original mill structure...(Huffman 1987)."
The Mecklenburg Mill also survives largely intact. A locally designated historic property, it was hailed in the Designation Report as being "among Charlotte's best-preserved early textile factories, despite the fact that it has been long vacant" (Huffman 1986). The mill includes original design features, notably a decorative front stair tower. Its original cotton warehouse and firehose storage sheds remain in place and intact, typifying these textile-related building types of this period (Kaplan 1981, 29).
Finally, the Johnston Mill also continues to represent an early 20th century textile factory. The plainest of the three mills, it retains original decorative cast-concrete trim, and the site contains a representative cotton warehouse and contemporary machine storage building.
The year 1939, the current 50-year cut-off point for eligibility to the National Register, is also an appropriate end to the North Charlotte Historic District's period of significance. While the heyday of North Charlotte and other mill districts in Mecklenburg County was around World War I, when the demand for textile products skyrocketed, the North Charlotte Historic District continued to grow, albeit slowly, into the era of the Great Depression. During the Depression the mills here reduced production and periodically shut down entirely. But they continued to offer some of the steadiest employment in the region, attracting a constant flow of rural workers who could no longer earn a living from the soil (Ralph C. Austin Interview, Southern Oral History Program 1979). Thus in 1939, North Charlotte appeared much as it had several decades earlier. The mills were still active along the railroad tracks and their workers continued to occupy company-owned cottages and patronize the commercial district. North Charlotte remained at the edge of the city, surrounded by farms and fields.
After World War II, this scenario changed. Beyond the mill district, postwar brick-veneered dwellings appeared, and North Charlotte was swallowed up within the larger city. More critically, the textile mills underwent changes in management and operation, and eventually shut down permanently. By the postwar era, the Johnston Group, headed by David R. Johnston, grandson of Charlotte and Cornelius, North Carolina entrepreneur James Worth Johnston, controlled all of the mills in North Charlotte (Hanchett 1986). Johnston sold off all the worker housing to their occupants or other interested parties in 1953. In 1969, with the aging mills proving unprofitable, Johnston closed both the Highland Park No.3 and Mecklenburg mills. In 1975, the Johnston Mill finally closed, after being sold several years earlier to a pair of Richmond, Virginia businessman. Writes local historian Thomas W. Hanchett, "The closing of the Johnston Mill marked the end of an era not only for North Charlotte but for the city as a whole." For by the mid-1970s the Johnston Mill was Charlotte's last major operating textile mill. Hanchett continues, "When the machines went silent, the city which had once been a national leader in textile production now no longer spun cotton into yarn" (Hanchett 1986).
Although the textile era has passed, the North Charlotte mill district survives largely intact. The houses are almost all occupied and are typically in good repair, owing primarily to federally funded renovations in the 1970s (Charlotte Observer, March 25, 1984). Residents are mostly working class, white homeowners and renters. While the former mills today are either vacant or under utilized, plans have been drawn for their restoration and adaptive use. In 1986, a "concept study" sponsored by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission explored the use of Highland Park Mill No.3 for elderly housing. The study also proposed the conversion of the Mecklenburg Mill to artists' studios, and the Johnston Mill to an outlet mall (Charlotte Observer, September 7, 1986). Reflecting a major chapter in the history of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, North Charlotte may once again become the site of innovation and economic vigor, ensuring its vitality and physical preservation well into the next century.
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† Richard L. Mattson, Suzanne S. Pickens and Kary L. Schmidy, North Charlotte Historic District, Mecklenburg County, NC, nomination document, 1989, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.