George Washington wasn’t last to knock Charlotte

When I moved to Charlotte in 1974, I soon learned that George Washington had memorably dismissed it as “a trifling place.” But that was only the beginning — as the prototypical overreaching Southern boom town, Charlotte has lent itself to decades of  insults.

Because the Democratic National Convention will test as never before the thickness of our civic skin, I’ve preemptively assembled some notable putdowns from the past (first of a series):

“Charlotte is not Jerusalem. Charlotte is not Mecca. Charlotte is just a big city sitting on the South Carolina line.”

— Rep. Melvin “Pap” Creecy, D-Northampton (1983)

“The ugliest collection of third-rate buildings in America.”

— PBS architecture critic Robert A.M. Stern (1986)

“I hope this doesn’t mean we’re going to become Charlotte one day.”

– Harry Carter, city manager of Cornelia, Ga. (population 36,000), sharing with The New York Times his worst fears about growth. (2001)

“What are we going to do in Charlotte? Go to the Bass Pro Shop or something?”

— Virginia Tech guard Jacob Gibson, mulling a possible bid to the inaugural Continental Tire Bowl. [The Hokies ended up in the San Francisco Bowl — 1,750 miles from the nearest Bass Pro Shop.] (2002)

We come from labor, steel mills, blue-collar workers. They are like little daffodils. They wear their hair in a bow and say, ‘I just hate that for you.’ ”

– Teddy Xidas, president of US Airways’ flight attendants union, contrasting members in Pittsburgh with those in Charlotte. (2004)


19 thoughts on “George Washington wasn’t last to knock Charlotte”

  1. Love it! Charlotte will keep thriving … I’ve heard it described as “vanilla” … but remember – vanilla is the most popular flavor, after all!

  2. I love the last quote- sums up the people of Charlotte perfectly. Apathetic, dead behind the eyes, clueless, not a care in the world. Only concerned about themsleves, never lifting a finger to help a friend or fellow man, even when the solution is fairly painless and easy.

  3. @Exchigirl- I’m so sorry you have such a sad outlook on the residents of Charlotte. Almost everyone I have ever met there has been extremely pleasant. Are you sure you’re not talking about Philadelphia or New York? Please…you clearly have some biased opinion of Charlotte. In the future could you please not use such a generalization to describe the citizens of any locality?

    Like all cities Charlotte has its problems, no doubt. But it is a very pretty city with people who have been nothing but nice. I think it’s better than Atlanta, to say the least.

    Also, I’m pretty sure for the longest time Charlotte and the surrounding area has been all blue-collar mill workers. Charlotte has been able to attract other businesses as the mills have left, I can look to a lot of other localities where that growth hasn’t happened, and are not better off because of it.

  4. Wow! I hope I speak for all us who live here when I say to those haters…”the road you traveled here on had a road beside it going back to whatever place you were running from. Feel free to use it as we are happy here with or without you. Obviously if it was soo good where you hail from you wouldn’t be here!”

  5. What’s so great about blue collar working? Many of my ancestors were ‘lint-heads’. I’m NOT proud of that.

  6. I am proud of my honest, hard-working, long-suffering lint-head ancestors. And those sweet-talking bow-heads? Never underestimate a steel magnolia. They are more likely to be descendants of so-called lint-heads and subsistence farmers than the O’Haras and the Wilkeses.

  7. I remember when Pap Creecy said that. He was a piece of work. The medical society gave each member of the legislature a coffee mug with their names embossed in gold. Pap carried is around as a portable spittoon.

  8. I remember living in Atlanta and traveling north on 85 from time to time. The people in Atlanta to northern South Carolina were so hospitable. When I reached Charlotte, it was apparent that something had changed in the attitude and disposition of the people. It was then that I equated the north as Charlotte and beyond on 85. There is a huge difference in the attitudes and behavior of the people of North Carolina from the true south.

  9. People hate us more than Hitler City, North Carolina before they changed their name to Charlotte.

  10. Ltes face it Charlotte is a Dangerous city loaded with organized crime . My proble are the women are not great looking and Nashville has got the prettiest women . Just hope in Charlotte people dont breed.

  11. If you’re going to blame Charlotte for having unattractive women, being “dead behind the eyes” and “clueless” then how about we look at the influx of outsiders. Let’s address the fact that Charlotte’s population has grown tremendously since 2000. We grew 64% from 2000-2010 (Business Journal) vs 14% for the nation. Where do you think all of those people came from and what kinds of regional attitudes they brought with them?

  12. I love Charlotte, the wonderful and the warts.

    Here are some other memorable insults:

    “The only franchise Charlotte will get is one with golden arches.”

    ~A Phoenix sportswriter during the 1988 NBA expansion.

    “They’re in Charlotte? Oh, you mean they’re ALMOST in North Carolina.”

    ~former Gov. Jim Hunt, upon hearing a friend was traveling to North Carolina and had crossed the state line into NC.

  13. Really? cause I moved here from Tampa, Fl. and have found people ( for the most part) to be way friendier and kinder than the sun-cooked brain dead, alcohol fueled idiots of Flordia.

  14. And thusly our Union remains divided. This is a comment on social perceptions, not a mandate. Let’s not throw insults.

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