Some of Charlotte’s early business practices still work today. One thing we can see from Hanchett’s Sorting Out the New South City, is that Charlotte was actually ahead of her time, in some respects. “Mixed Use” of land is a business practice which some cities are only recently embracing, while the Queen City long embraced this business concept during Reconstruction. And how about the “Big Box” concept? Looks like Charlotte, for better or worse, incorporated that manner of retail development, well before other municipalities. Another continued business application, locating central businesses downtown, like the banking industry and the area’s professional sports franchises. Another interesting thing I noted was how open Charlotte’s aristocracy was in labeling poor whites as a threat to tradition, more so than newly freed African Americans. While wealthy white leaders in most cities may have held poor whites in the same low regard, they didn’t voice it as publicly. Interesting messages.
Now, for an update on searching. I did some research this week at the N.C. State Archives in downtown Raleigh, where I sorted through records from the North Carolina Department of Corrections, looking for anything I could find on Richard Fitzgerald’s contract to make four million bricks to build the state penitentiary. The staff was very helpful. I did find some information in the commission minutes, but what I found raised some new questions, while answering others. This seems to be the eternal pattern of research. I hope to complete my look through microfilm of Robert Fitzgerald’s Diary, Sunday at UNC’s Wilson Library. As for secondary sources, I feel that I’ve found some solid sources, but would like at least one more that is less than three years old. Oh, one last thing, I missed something right underneath my nose. Thanks to our Census lesson in class last week, it dawned on me to add the Fitzgerald family stats from the 1880 Census to my collection of information, for possible use in my final paper. All of the Fitzgeralds are listed, right there. The moral: Don’t forget the obvious while tracking down the more elusive. Melody