Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Streetcar Suburb

"Charlotte did begin to obtain outlying middle class neighborhoods after 1887, when horse-drawn streetcars began to operate. This process accelerated with the advent of electric streetcars or trolleys in May 1891 ... Three turn-of-the-century streetcar suburbs called Woodlawn, Irwin Park, and McNinchville [subdivisions within Third Ward] platted streets on the western edge of Charlotte soon after 1900. All contain significant collections of historic residences. 'These areas are now thought of as part of the Center City, but they were conceived and advertised as 'streetcar suburbs,' explains [Dr. Tom] Hanchett. 'They were served by the West Trade trolley line.'
The streetcar line extending across Big Sugar Creek or Irwin Creek to Biddleville opened on April 25, 1903. Unlike homes in Fourth Ward, where Victorian styles of architecture predominate, the houses in Woodlawn, Irwin Park, and McNinchville are mostly Craftsman style, principally bungalows. Charlotte City Directories reveal that Grove Avenue in Woodlawn had eleven houses by 1911 and that Irwin Ave. in Irwin Park had seven houses by 1916."

For more, see CHMPF's website.