“The Masonic Temple Building was the first reinforced concrete skyscraper erected in the state of North Carolina. Built from 1907 to 1909, it represents Raleigh’s growth in the early years of the 20th century, as well as the rise of the Masons as an important fraternal organization….”
— From “Raleigh: A Capital City” (National Park Service)
Without going into detail a report on the 1909 communication noted that “Not withstanding some irritating and annoying delays, the Masonic Temple has at last been completed.”
Even if it weren’t scarce, this would be my favorite Charlotte postcard. The tinted image of “Progressive Charlotte — Getting her new streets and skyscraper” puts us present at the clangorous creation of what would become today’s million-pushing metropolis.
The 12-story Realty Building (later the Independence Building), the state’s first steel-framed high-rise, was imploded in 1981.
On this day in 1909: President William Howard Taft visits Charlotte for Meck Dec Day and the dedication of the 12-story Realty Building, the Carolinas’ first steel-frame skyscraper.
Just as a parade past Taft’s reviewing stand ends, a sudden downpour sends thousands running for cover. The president’s speech, moved indoors, opposes partisan politics in the federal judiciary. But it will be the “Taft rain” that Charlotteans remember.
Later, at what will become Johnson C. Smith University, Taft sits in a chair custom-built to accommodate his 325 pounds and urges blacks to continue pulling themselves up by their bootstraps.
These two postcards from the collection mark Taft’s visit to Charlotte.