Huddled together behind the former AME Zion Church on 7th Street are two little houses with a big Charlotte history … and, hopefully, a new life to come.
According to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission, these two homes were most likely built in the 1890s by the same company that established the Dilworth neighborhood. They belong to an architectural style known as “shotgun houses,” a reference to their design. Folks said you could fire a shotgun at the front door, down the central hallway and out the back door without hitting anything because they’re built on a long, central hallway that connects the two.
Both homes once stood on Bland Street in a bustling community known then as “Blandville.” But, after Charlotte’s urban renewal efforts in the 1970s, they were the only two left when the City Council designated them as “historic properties” In January 1986, the homes were moved to 7th Street to sit behind the Afro-American Cultural Center, which moved to Stonewall Street as the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture in 2009, leaving the houses behind.
A CHANCE AT NEW LIFE
But, another move and new life are hopefully around the corner for these two Charlotte treasures. The West Side Community Land Trust has teamed with the Gantt Center to raise funds to move the shotgun houses to the Lakeview community and refurbish them so they can be affordable housing for two future families. Click here for more information or to contribute to this effort.
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