Monday, December 6, 2010

Around Town - Charlotte, NC

Since we weren't going to be with family for Thanksgiving, we planned a trip to the city of Charlotte, NC, with several new experiences on the agenda.  Although I'd driven through the city many times on various trips and even lived in the nearby town of Gastonia for a few months when I was single, I had never taken an exit in the city.

© 2010 Donna L. Watkins - Red Rose at McGill Rose Garden
Our first stop was to visit the McGill Rose Garden, but being Thanksgiving Day it was closed.  We walked around the exterior getting some photos through the bars on the fence and enjoyed many flowers that were spilling over to the outside.

In 1950, Henry McGill purchased a block of land that was home to a coal yard owned by W. A. Avant. Avant, owner of Avant Fuel and Ice Co., sold the property to Henry, who kept the coal business running for a while afterwards.

Helen McGill, Henry’s wife, decided to beautify the area by planting two rose bushes, and eventually added numerous rose beds over three decades to the property.  Today, you can the Seaboard Coastline coal car still on its tracks, located to the left of the garden. The Seaboard Railroad Company donated the 34-ton coal hopper car as a memorial in memory of Helen McGill.

© 2010 Donna L. Watkins - Historic Fourth Ward - Charlotte, NC
We then visited an area called Historic Fourth Ward, where there were 100-plus-year-old Victorian homes that had been restored.

The striking contrast of these homes with the backdrop of skyscrapers at the end of the block was quite odd.  It was like somebody dropped in a stage set behind the homes.

The Fourth Ward or northwest quadrant of Charlotte's Uptown area was resurrected in the mid-1800s as one of the more prosperous areas of town providing homes to local merchants, physicians and ministers. By the 1900s Charlotte residents had moved out to areas like Dilworth and Myers Park. By 1970, Fourth Ward had fallen into a state of neglect with many homes vandalized or burned. But the late 20th century Fourth Ward saw a restoration and is now a thriving part of Uptown. (Information Resource:

© 2010 Donna L. Watkins - Freedom Park Pond and Trails
Our other downtown Charlotte visit was to Freedom Park.  Interestingly, downtown Charlotte is actually called Uptown Charlotte.  Freedom Park was next to The Nature Museum which wasn't open at the time.  It was well used by dog walkers, joggers and leisurely walkers, which included us that morning.

This 98-acre public park is a slice of nature at its best, right in the middle of the city. Complete with four baseball diamonds, two batting cages, a dozen tennis courts, four soccer fields, a basketball court, a pair of volleyball courts, a pair of playgrounds, a seven-acre lake, an amphitheater, a number of sheltered picnic areas, and miles of trails and paths, Freedom Park has something for everyone. View Uptown Charlotte Photo Album.

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The photo(s) and article are copyrighted. You may use either of them if you include the following credit and active link back to this website: © 2010 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission from The link to use is:

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