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A Short History of Charlotte, North Carolina

Sunflour Baking Company is based in four locations across the city of Charlotte – Elizabeth, Dilworth, Harrisburg, and Ballantyne. While you tuck into a delicious home-made pastry and freshly brewed coffee in one of our local bakeries we’d like to tell you a bit about our cities rich history.

Why the Queen City?

Nicknamed the ‘Queen City’ Charlotte gets its name from the wife of King George III who took the reigns when the Europeans created our town back in the 18th century. The county itself was also named after where Queen Charlotte was born in Germany – this is where ‘Mecklenburg’ comes from. The Elizabeth neighborhood was where some of the first European settlers made their homes – including Thomas Spratt whose family helped to develop the land in Charlotte and kept good relations with the native Catawba Nation.

The city grew under its new settlers and a grid pattern of roads developed with the crossroads in Piedmont being in the heart of Uptown Charlotte. Where you will now find Independence Square is where the east-west trading path intersected at Trade Street and Tyron Street. Here is where the ‘Meck Dec’ is celebrated on May 20th every year – marking the date that James Jack (a tavern owner) delivered the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence in 1775. This is one of the first declarations demanding independence from British rule that led to the American Revolution.

Charlotte built its fortune on gold and the railroads, and later the textiles industry. 1837 saw the founding of the Charlotte Mint and up until 1848 North Caroline was the largest producer of gold in the US. After the civil war, the city turned to produce cotton and also placed itself on the map as a central railroad hub. It was in the 1970s and 80s that Charlotte gained its name as an important banking center – largely headed up by Hugh McColl. More Charlotte data is here.

Two of our bakeries are located in the suburbs of Dilworth and Ballantyne. While these are newer districts than the historic Elizabeth area and Uptown Charlotte, they still have an interesting history.

Dilworth is the first streetcar suburb of Charlotte and was founded by Edward Dilworth Latta in the 1890s. Its creation was thanks to the newly created streetcar which meant that Charlotte could expand beyond its city limits, residents could travel between Dilworth and Charlotte via the streetcar system built by Latta. To make the area of Dilworth an appealing place to live Latta Park was created by landscape architect Joseph Forsyth Johnston and was opened in 1891.

As far as the history of Charlotte goes, Ballantyne is a pretty new area. The area was originally a large hunting tract which was owned by the Harris family. It wasn’t until 1992 that the area began to be developed as a residential community. Ballantyne is famous for its four 30 foot monuments that embody the history and identity of Charlotte itself – symbolizing transportation, technology, finance and the human spirit of our beloved city.