Along The Trolley Line
The Charlotte Trolley Car Barn and the other buildings in what is now called Atherton Mill are actually in the original industrial plant of the Parks-Cramer Company.
The Parks-Cramer Co. was formed in 1918 when the G. M. Parks Company of Fitchburg, Massachusetts purchased Stuart Cramer's business interests. Like D.A. Tompkins, Stuart Cramer was an important local leader in the textile industry, and the company manufactured air conditioning and humidifying equipment for textile industry. In fact, Cramer invented the term "air conditioning."
The three-building complex exemplifies the major innovations in factory design which occurred nationally between the turn of the century and World War I. In contract to the dark, sooty, multi-story factories of the 19th century, the generally low-scale Parks-Cramer structures incorporated innovations in engineering design and factory construction that improved lighting and air circulation, facilitated shipping and assembly-line production, and, ultimately, maximized worker efficiency.
Today the complex includes the Car Barn, an athletic club, two restaurants, and a number of interior design and home furnishing stores.
Many thanks to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission for the historical information included above.