Neighborhoods Identified During the 2019-2020 Beatties Ford Road Corridor Survey
and the 2021 Update
Beatties Ford Road
This survey concentrated on the houses, commercial buildings, and institutional buildings that front directly onto Beatties Ford Road. All pre-1945 structures were inventoried, and any property built before 1970 with potential architectural or historical significance was inventoried.
Dalebrook, another neighborhood designed and built by Charles Ervin and his Ervin Construction Company, launched in 1960 and quickly sold out within its first year. The self-contained community (located within the larger Lincoln Heights neighborhood) was the premier neighborhood in northwest Charlotte in the early 1960s, but was specifically intended as a segregated subdivision from its inception. Dalebrook was also the boyhood community for former Charlotte Mayor and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx. A brief history of Dalebrook can be found here, and several related historic resources may be found under the “Dalebrook” entry on the interactive map available on the “Charlotte’s Historic West End” website hosted by JCSU’s James B. Duke Memorial Library.
In the 1920s, the Southern Realty and Development Corporation initially developed the Lincoln Heights neighborhood as a subdivision for white Charlotteans, and even attempted to lure Durham’s Duke University to relocate to Charlotte’s West End. Those efforts proved unsuccessful, leaving the neighborhood largely undeveloped until the post-World War II era. Lincoln Heights experienced significant growth in the 1950s and 1960s due in large part to the forced relocation of African-American families in the wake of the urban renewal that razed downtown’s Brooklyn neighborhood. Lincoln Heights is currently the home of Northwest School of the Arts (formerly West Charlotte High School), Lincoln Heights Neighborhood Park, and the Beatties Ford Road branch of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Public Library. A brief history of Lincoln Heights can be found here, and several related historic resources may be found under the “Lincoln Heights” entry on the interactive map available on the “Charlotte’s Historic West End” website hosted by JCSU’s James B. Duke Memorial Library.
McCrorey Heights, located northeast of the JCSU campus, just adjacent to the I-77/I-277 exchange, started in 1912, thanks to the efforts of then-JCSU president Reverend Henry L. McCrorey, who served the University in that capacity for forty years. The neighborhood grew quickly between the early 1950s and early 1970s into what historian Tom Hanchett has described as “a premier neighborhood for Charlotte’s highly educated African American elite.” Many McCrorey Heights residents participated actively in the civil rights movement, offering their support locally, regionally, and nationally. A thorough historical and architectural study of the McCrorey Heights neighborhood authored by Dr. Hanchett may be found here. The neighborhood currently includes approximately 167 homes, many of which are mid-twentieth-century custom-designed brick ranch-style houses.
Dating back to 1954, the Oaklawn Park neighborhood lies just north of McCrorey Heights. Oaklawn Park was designed and built by Charles Ervin, a Charlotte-based developer whose Ervin Construction Company became the nation’s seventh largest homebuilder by the 1960s. According to Dr. Hanchett, the neighborhood was constructed specifically for African-American families during the waning days of racial segregation, and is one of Charlotte’s best-preserved post-World War II suburbs. The primarily blue-collar neighborhood also counted among its residents several educators, school principals, ministers, and physicians. In part because the neighborhood, consisting primarily of brick ranch houses and split levels, remains as originally platted and built between 1954 and 1961, the Charlotte Historic District Commission has been working with residents to secure a historic district designation for Oaklawn Park. Those efforts have generated several valuable informational resources about Oaklawn Park, including an extensive property-by-property neighborhood survey and a local district designation report that incorporates a historical essay authored by Dr. Hanchett.
No general history of the University Park neighborhood could be identified by HLC Staff, and thus the production of a concise history of the neighborhood became a priority of the project.
University Park is a large neighborhood, containing hundreds of homes. A complete inventory of the neighborhood was not deemed feasible for this project. Instead the project concentrated on homes with strong architectural or historical significance.
The University Park neighborhood grew in stages, and initial research into the area failed to identify a definitive boundary of the neighborhood. Using recorded subdivision maps, HLC Staff and the historical consultant were able to develop a boundary of the historic neighborhood. An interesting finding of the Survey is that the residential blocks along Maribe Avenue, Estelle Street, Taylor Avenue, McDonald Street, and portions of Remington Street were parts of an early 20th Century un-named neighborhood developed by the Biddleville Development Company.
While there has been solid academic research into the history of Washington Heights, the HLC previously did not have an inventory of the properties in the historic neighborhood. 112 structures in Washington Heights were identified during the survey.