Along The Trolley Line
Trade Street marks the border between Second and First Wards. First Ward has historically been the Center City's most racially and economically integrated area. It has been the home of rich and poor, black and white, including some of the city's finest homes and businesses. Though hard hit by urban renewal, a surprising amount still remains of the area's heritage. From the 6th Street stop, the trolley rider can easily reach three historic First Ward sites.
At 226 North Tryon, the Carolina Theatre is the area's only remaining "movie palace", built in 1927. Local developer John Cutter hired New York City theatre Designer R.E. Hall, known nationally for his work on the Paramount in New York and dozens of other showplaces across the nation. Hall and local architect C.C. Hook collaborated on an unusual design that employed four different architectural styles to give the illusion that the structure was four quaint little buildings. Despite a successful multi-decade run, the theater closed in the 1970's and was torched by arsonists in 1980. Very little is left of the original interior, with its Spanish-revival murals, but the shell is still viable. In January 2006, the Charlotte City Council agreed to sell the Carolina Theatre to an Atlanta-based development company, which will renovate the old theatre, in conjunction with the Carolina Theatre Preservation Society, and build a 125-unit condominium tower on top of it.
At 702 N. Brevard is the Philip-Carey Warehouse, built in 1910. This small, two-story warehouse ranks as one of Charlotte's most elaborately-detailed early industrial buildings. It features arched windows, pilasters, and other corbelled brickwork. Inside is a noteworthy freight elevator produced at Charlotte's Parks-Cramer plant. Located on the railroad, this building is a valuable reminder of the importance of warehousing and distribution to the city's boom years of the early twentieth century.
Also easily accessible from the 6th Street stop are three additional cultural facilities.
ImaginOn, 300 E. 7th Street: A collaborative venture of the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County and the Children's Theatre of Charlotte, ImaginOn uses cutting-edge services and library collections, award-winning professional theatre and innovative education programs to bring stories to life through extraordinary experiences that challenge, inspire and excite young minds.
This unusual building, opened in 2005, includes a sloping roof, slanted walls, a curving interior ramp and lots of glass to provide views from in and out; and encompasses an entire city block.
Spirit Square Arts Center, 345 N. College: The Blumenthal Performing Arts Center added Spirit Square Center for Arts and Education to its mission in July 1997. Spirit Square is a community center focusing on arts education and community theater. The pride of Spirit Square is the 720-seat McGlohon Theatre. Originally the First Baptist Church sanctuary, the theatre has been carefully restored to preserve and enhance its unique architectural details. The theater is named in honor of the late, legendary jazz pianist Loonis McGlohon, of Charlotte. Spirit Square’s second theater is the black-box style Duke Power Theatre which seats 180. In partnership with Northwest School of the Arts, the Center provides a satellite campus for 150 students in Spirit Square’s classrooms.
Levine Museum of the New South, 200 East 7th Street: The Levine Museum of the New South is an interactive history museum that provides the nation with the most comprehensive interpretation of post-Civil War southern society featuring men, women and children, black and white, rich and poor, long-time residents and newcomers who have shaped the South since the Civil War.
Its mission is to engage a broad-based audience in the exploration and appreciation of the diverse history of the South since the Civil War, with a focus on Charlotte and the surrounding Carolina Piedmont. The Museum presents opportunities for life-long learning about this history for the benefit, enjoyment and education of children and adults, and provides historical context for contemporary issues and a community forum for thoughtful discussion.