Along The Trolley Line
In the years after the Civil War, First Ward was known as Mechanicsville because of the large number of workers from the Confederate Naval Yard across Trade Street who settled there. Early in the war, the Confederates moved the Navy Yard from Norfolk to Charlotte to take advantage of its relatively protected position and rail connections to the shore. The Navy Yard, located off Trade Street, not far from Tryon, made ordinance: round shot, propeller shafts, gun carriages, and other equipment for gunboats. The James B. Galloway house at 702 North Brevard, not far beyond the 9th Street stop, is a reminder of the era, a cottage built in 1870 by a man who had come to the city to work at the Naval Yard. This is the oldest house in the center city, a gingerbread-trimmed Victorian cottage still owned by the family that built it. Today the house looks from the street much as it must have when the original Mrs. Galloway still lived there. James B. Galloway purchased the lot in 1870 from W.R. Phifer, who before the Civil War had operated a sizable plantation here at what had been the edge of the village.
Also beyond the 9th Street stop is the McColl Center for Visual Art at 721 N. Tryon. Originally built in 1926, the McColl Center is located in a former ARP church. Between 1927 and 1950 the church was one of the city's most active with some 500 members. Due to several factors, including the decline of the Center City and post-war growth of suburban areas, the church's membership dissolved in the 1950's. The building was sold in 1981 and stood empty for many years.
On November 14, 1985, an accidental fire heavily damaged the wonderful structure. For many years the burned out shell stood as a reminder of an earlier era. In 1995, Bank of America acquired the church for the sole purpose of establishing an urban artists' community, and the McColl Center for Visual Art was completed in 1999.