I’ve been to Uptown’s four wards dozens of times. I’m not always sure which ward I’m in or what’s in each one. Until Dr. Tom Hanchett, community historian, filled me in on what the word, “ward” meant, I had no idea of its significance.
“’Ward’ is just another name for election district,” Hanchett said. “Charlotte got big enough to split into two wards in 1851, just about the time the railroads came here and started the big boom. They redrew the lines in 1869 after there had been more growth to create four wards.”
According to Hanchett, the names stuck even after the wards weren’t needed anymore.
Here’s your guide to Charlotte’s four wards Uptown:
First Ward includes the areas south of North Tryon Street and east of Trade Street with I-277 forming the outside border. The UNC Charlotte Uptown campus, Carole Hoefner Community Center, Spectrum Arena and First Ward Elementary are part of the community.
An important landmark is the First United Presbyterian Church at the corner of 7th and College streets. It was built in 1896 by African Americans for African Americans in the generation after the Civil War.
“As the story is told,” Hanchett said, “the brick layers laid up the bricks at night after they were done with their day jobs and their wives held up lanterns, so they could see what they were doing.”
See: “The Writer’s Desk,” on 7th Street in front of ImaginOn, was designed by Larry Kirkland. It is a tribute to longtime Charlotte Observer publisher Rolfe Neil.
Do: Grab a chair or blanket for “Live on the Green,” First Ward Park’s summer music series. Visit Levine Museum of the New South or join in a story time at ImaginOn: The Joe & Joan Martin Center.
Drink and dine: Stop at 7th Street Public Market for sushi, pasta, wine, craft beer and local artisan soft goods. On weekends, listen to local singer-songwriters perform while eating and shopping.
Brunch at Sports One Charlotte on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Check out Waterbean Coffee. They carry organic coffee, roasted locally, and pastries such as muffins, pecan pie and macaroons from local bakers.
Let a wine expert guide you through grape varietals to create your own unique blend in The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte’s Wine Blending Experience.
Second Ward is south of North Tryon Street and west of East Trade Street with I-277 serving as the outside boundary. Second Ward is home to the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Marshall Park, Charlotte Convention Center, EpiCentre, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center and the Mecklenburg County Courthouse.
Second Ward High School Gym is one of four surviving buildings from the Brooklyn neighborhood. In 1923, it opened as Charlotte’s first public high school for African American students. After a 2.5-million- dollar renovation, it will re-open this summer as a recreation center and serve as a museum and an office for the Second Ward High School Alumni Association, according to Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation.