“The late ‘American Dream’ Dusty Rhodes will be inducted into the National Wrestling Alliance‘s Hall of Heroes in his favorite city, Charlotte, North Carolina….
” ‘We arrived in Charlotte in 1984,’ recalled Dusty’s widow, Michelle, ‘which was before the NBA Hornets and the NFL Panthers, and the wrestlers were the biggest stars in the city. At one time, over 200 wrestlers and their families called Charlotte their home….’
“Dusty had great success as a main-event wrestler in the NWA and also as the ‘booker’ — TV producer or creative force behind the wrestling product under the Jim Crockett Promotions banner. The NWA was Charlotte’s home team within the pro-wrestling world that saw intense competition with the rival WWE, World Wrestling Entertainment, based in Stamford, Conn.”
— From “Dusty Rhodes to be honored in beloved city of Charlotte” by Jim Ross at Fox Sports (Aug. 2, 2016)
This “World Heavyweight Wrestling Champion” belt for kids is from the WWE, where Rhodes finished his ring career in 2007 at age 61.
I’ve been stymied in unearthing the history behind these two bicycle licenses.
What mention of bike licenses I did find was in Charlotte: In 1954 the city enacted an ordinance requiring a 25-cent metal registration tag. “The move is designed to cope with widespread bicycle theft,” the Observer explained. By 1964 the metal tag seems to have given way to reflector tape, and after that the Observer archives yield not a single mention of the license ordinance. By the 21st century letters to the editor were calling for licensing not to thwart thieves but to crack down on cyclists seen as disrespectful of drivers.
How relevant is any of this to Raleigh and Rocky Mount? Maybe not at all — suggestions welcome!
The 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte included a record 486 LGBT delegates, 13 of whom were openly transgender.
In this photo the delegate on the right is wearing one of these oversized (3.5 inch diameter) pinback buttons.
James Brown’s funk-fomenting recording session at Arthur Smith Studios in Charlotte has been painstakingly analyzed, but what about another musical innovation, one that upgraded jukeboxes across the land?
Yes, I’m talking about the printed title strip. Until 1949 jukebox titles were individually typewritten. “The average typist can only type 250 to 300 title strips per hour,” the president of Star Title Strip Co. told the trade paper Cash Box. “The [jukebox] operator can now buy, under our new plan, 300 neatly printed title strips for only 30 cents. Surely, anyone’s time in this day and age is worth a lot more than 30 cents per hour.”
Star Title Strip remained in business at least into the 1980s, but today’s surviving “juke ops” (in Cash Box speak) can easily generate title strips on the internet.
“Thousands of Mecklenburg citizens, many of them direct lineal descendants of signers of the famous document, are expected to gather in the open air theater of Independence Park to celebrate with salvo and song the 157th anniversary of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence.
“A dozen patriotic societies will commemorate the signing of the immortal document… and at the same time will honor the George Washington bicentennial observance in programs throughout the year.”
— From “Open air exercises to mark May 20 observance” in the Charlotte Observer (May 17, 1932)
Outside its home county the Meck Dec has struggled to entrench itself as an “immortal document,” especially among evidence-demanding historians.
This image is from a poster stamp, intended for promotion rather than postage.
“The first federal child labor law was passed in 1916…. Less than a year later it was declared unconstitutional by a five-to-four decision of the U.S. Supreme Court, on the ground that it transcended ‘the authority delegated to Congress over commerce,’ and interfered with states’ rights….
“Six years after that decision a Scripps-Howard reporter interviewed Reuben Dagenhart of Charlotte, N.C., the boy whose ‘constitutional right to work’ overthrew the law which sought to cut his hours of labor as a 14-year-old, from 12 to 8 a day. ‘What benefit did you get out of the suit which you won in the United States Supreme?’ the reporter asked.
“ ‘You mean the suit the Fidelity Manufacturing Co. [his employer] won? I don’t see that I got any benefit. I guess I’d been a lot better off if they hadn’t won it. Look at me! I may be mistaken but I think the years I’ve put in the cotton mills stunted my growth. They kept me from getting any schooling. I had to stop school after the third grade and now I need the education I didn’t get… But I know one thing, I ain’t going to let them put my kid sister in the mill.’ ”
— From “Children Wanted” by Beulah Amidon, in Survey Graphic (January 1937)
“What few people know is that the South wasn’t always so segregated. During a brief window between the end of the Civil War and the turn of the 20th century, black and white people lived next to each other in Southern cities, creating what [Charlotte] historian Tom Hanchett describes as a ‘salt-and-pepper’ pattern.
“They were not integrated in a meaningful sense: Divisions existed, but ‘in a lot of Southern cities, segregation hadn’t been fully imposed — there were neighborhoods where blacks and whites were living nearby,’ said Eric Foner, a Columbia historian and expert on Reconstruction. Walk around in the Atlanta or the Charlotte of the late 1800s, and you might see black people in restaurants, hotels, the theater, Foner said. Two decades later, such things were not allowed.”
— From ” ‘Segregation Had to Be Invented’ “ by Alana Semuels in The Atlantic (Feb. 17)
“The story goes that President William Howard Taft sat in this plain wooden chair — specially procured for his outsize stature — in 1909 while delivering a speech at Johnson C. Smith University, then known as Biddle University. Except Taft never really sat in this chair at all.
“Brandon Lunsford, university archivist and digital manager, says that the truth is widely accepted. ‘It’s a cool little artifact and just a fun story,’ he explains. The whereabouts of the actual Taft chair remain a mystery.”
— From “19 Hidden Treasures at North Carolina’s Universities” by Chloe Klingstedt in Our State (January)
Among the eclectic selection of treasures: Miles Davis’s trumpet, Elisha Mitchell’s pocket watch and Southern Culture on the Skids’ flaming La-Z-Boy.
“It was a wonder to me…. how popular these associations were in your city. Of course we naturally feel that there cannot be any town equal to Philadelphia in building association matters, but I am afraid that if we were to make a careful comparison, to use classical language, ‘you would have us beaten to a frazzle.’ “
— From a letter from George W. Clippe, delegate to the convention of the U.S. League of Local Building and Loan Associations, published in the Charlotte Observer
North Carolina, especially the Piedmont, was indeed a hotbed of building and loans in 1910.
An image not often seen: North Carolina’s tar heel overlaid on Mecklenburg’s hornets nest.
Hat tip to the Mary Boyer Collection at J. Murrey Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte, for this background:
“The outer walls were covered in coal, and the roof was red-tiled. Beside the building, one can see some of the red delivery trucks. Founded in the 1920s, the company also traded in gasoline, motor oil, solvents and kerosene. The ‘house’ was part of an advertising gimmick in the ’20s to construct buildings of coal, [as survive in] Williamson, W. Va., and Middlesboro, Ky.”
Although F. & R. Coal & Oil Co. boasted that “We believe in our coal enough to build an office out of it,” its coal-clad testimonial is long gone, replaced by a tailgating lot for Carolina Panthers games. The four-story industrial building behind it survives as offices.