I’m Sold on the Old
I was hoping it was just a really awful rumor…To be sure people aren’t actually letting this happen. But no, it seems like the beautiful old brick building that sits on a triangular lot in South End and is home to several shops including the hipster hangout Common Market is being torn down and replaced by an office building.
The news just made my blood boil when I first heard it and reminded me of all the things I HATED about Charlotte when I first moved here from Charleston, SC. Charlotte is vanilla. It has no character. Everything is new and shiny. There is no respect for historical preservation.
Fortunately, I have grown to love Charlotte over the past few years and have discovered that despite having a downtown that was torn down for what?! and turned uptown, we do have neighborhoods with character like NoDa, Plaza Midwood, and Dilworth to name just a few (I am still not a fan of the burbs). And in many respects, I actually think Charlotte is getting cooler! Just check out how many local breweries we have! And I love that the city is planning a 26-mile greenway that embraces a culture seeking healthy living and foot traffic over traffic jams.
But despite the craft brews and growing restaurant scene, Charlotte has a bland palate for real estate.
People in Charlotte will boast that they took their original bungalow “down to the studs!” as if it were something to be proud of, and homeowners are shelling out hundreds of thousands of dollars more for brand-new “craftsman-style” houses while passing on the real thing!
Perhaps it is because I moved to Charlotte from a place where people road around town with “Gut Fish, Not Houses” bumper stickers. Or maybe it’s because I could never get over that my old home, a 1920s bungalow in artsy NoDa, had been previously stripped of all its character in a gut remodel job done before I purchased it. But mostly, I want to save historic homes and buildings because I find the neat old bricks, the aged hardwood floors, the solid, stain-grade wood trim, and the treasures of antiques in these properties to be absolutely beautiful. The kind of craftsmanship and the quality of materials that are in these old gems just can’t be replicated today…Or, if it can, it ain’t cheap.
So, when I sold my 1920s bungalow back in July, I had a real good reason…I wasn’t moving in to just any old house. I chose a circa 1915 stone bungalow that still has its original oak and heart pine floors, almost the exact same floor plan, and loads of character and craftsmanship.
I realize that I can’t save all the historical buildings and homes in Charlotte, but I know one that isn’t being torn down any time soon.