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Charlotte Snapshot: Trade and Tryon

posted by Abby Blanton May 20, 2017
Photo Courtesy of Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room – Charlotte Mecklenburg Library

Since establishing its royal roots as the famed “hornets’ nest of rebellion,” Charlotte can lay claim to an intriguing history. Celebrate Meck Dec Day by learning about one of the city’s most iconic intersections.

The intersection of Trade and Tryon is, and has always been, one of Uptown Charlotte’s busiest.

Even in the early 20th century, the corner of Trade and Tryon Streets was a bustling hub for commerce. Flash forward to 2017, replace the horse-drawn carriages (although a tour is still available today) with tooting car horns, the dirt paths with paved streets and you’ll find not much else has changed; the buzzing, Charlottean-packed commercial center here remains Charlotte’s main square.

Photo by Kyo H Nam Photography

The railroad and cotton mill booms of the mid-to-late 1800s contributed to substantial growth in Uptown—particularly on Tryon, where mansions once lined the streets. By the turn of the century,  Charlotte’s streetcar system ushered residents out to the suburbs in search of more space, leaving Trade and Tryon to develop into a more commercialized area of town.

By the early 1900s, Trade and Tryon Streets (as well as most of Uptown) housed department stores, movie theaters, grocery shops, jewelers, and of course, banks. Featuring 12 floors, Charlotte National Bank became North Carolina’s first skyscraper. Midtown Plaza followed suit and then First National Bank. Today, the Uptown skyline is dotted with soaring towers adding character to an ever-changing urban landscape .

This article was originally written by Abby Blanton for the September 2016 issue of Charlotte Happenings magazine. Updates by Brigitte Acosta. 


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