Articles

  • Mills in Mecklenburg County. These industrial powerhouses would come to dominate the region's economy in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Source: Atkins Library special collections

    Historical Overview Part 2: Post-Civil War, the region becomes an industrial system

    From an agrarian system to an economy based on rural mills and factories drawing workers from former farms and sending goods to Charlotte for distribution, the region undergoes rapid change. 
  • Future U.S. President James Polk was born on this farm in Pineville, in 1795. The simple farmhouse is typical of settlements at the time. Source: Atkins Library, special collections.

    Historical Overview Part 1: The early development of a connected region

    Charlotte and the surrounding counties have changed dramatically over the past 250 years, evolving from an agrarian backwater to a manufacturing powerhouse to a hub of global finance. It started with settlers looking for new land to farm. 
  • A railroad crossing in Hamlet, NC. UNC Charlotte Urban Institute Staff

    Trails, roads, rails and sky: The changing physical connections that knit our region together

    A growing web of infrastructure and physical connections - both within the wider region and between the region and the outside world - has had a profound effect on where growth went, and where it stayed away from. People and industries in the Carolinas Urban-Rural Connection study area followed trading paths, railroads, highways and, now, air service.
  • Patterson Farms pick-your-own strawberries, Rowan County. Photo: Nancy Pierce

    The Carolinas Urban-Rural Connection: Strengthening ties to revitalize communities

    Today it’s hard for many, especially newcomers, to imagine Charlotte’s interdependency with the small towns and rural communities surrounding Mecklenburg County.  But Charlotte’s emergence as a New South city was the result of a manufacturing economy established throughout the region in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  That economy was mostly built on textiles, with its concentration not in the urban core (as was the case with Pittsburgh’s steel industry or Detroit’s auto sector), but in small towns scattered throughout the Carolina Piedmont – where brick textile mills were built along the banks of the South Fork River in Gaston County and the Great Falls of the Catawba in South Carolina, and along the rail lines that stretched in every direction to places like Kannapolis and Hamlet.
  • Second Ward High School's gym in uptown Charlotte. Photo courtesy Charlotte Museum of History

    Five 2019 Historic Preservation Awards winners announced in Charlotte

    Charlotteans often lament how many old buildings here have been torn down, but there are still structures worth saving, along with groups and developers willing to put in the work.  On Thursday, the Charlotte Museum of History announced the winners of its 2019 Historic Preservation Awards. The five honorees, from 27 nominations, include a historic high school gym, a hip, repurposed mill, and historic houses. 
  • An old silo, restored wooden trusses, augers and native plants form some of the backdrop at Camp North End's Gama Goat building. Photo: Ely Portillo

    Blending the old and the new at Camp North End

    The cluster of old factory buildings, a former munitions dump, missile assembly plant and warehouses just north of uptown has long glimmered with possibility - if you could look beyond the dingy facades and faded, rusty interiors.  Now, more of that possibility is becoming a reality at Camp North End, on a nearly 80-acre triangle of land between Statesville Avenue and North Graham Street. After years of planning and development, the biggest adaptive reuse project in Charlotte is coming together.
  • Camp North End takes shape

    Camp North End, a major adaptive reuse project in Charlotte, is transforming a former Model T factory, warehouse and distribution site, missile plant and munitions dump into creative office, restaurant, brewery and retail space. 
  • Participants left sticky notes with their desires for Charlotte's center city neighborhoods at a recent event. Responses included a transit hub, more affordable housing and more parks. Photo: Ely Portillo

    2020: Four plans coming together next year will guide growth for a generation

    Next year’s news cycle is already looking pretty crowded, between big-ticket events like the Republican National Convention in Charlotte, the summer Olympics in Tokyo and, of course, the 2020 presidential, gubernatorial and congressional elections.  But if there weren’t so much else going on, 2020 might be known as something else in Charlotte: The Year of the Plan.
  • Heller’s blazing star in the Amphibolite Mountains. Photo: Crystal Cockman

    Preserving rare plants: In search of Heller’s blazing star

    How do you protect a plant that grows only on rocky outcrops at high elevations in the Amphibolite Mountains of northwestern North Carolina? It takes a team.