How Charlotte’s streets got their names

Charlotte has 250+ years of history. In this guide, we’re diving into the city’s oldest streets and how they got their names.

A photo of a street in Charlotte with cars, light poles and electric towers in the foreground with skyscrapers in the background.

Charlotte’s Central Avenue used to serve as the city’s only route to reach the nearest major courthouse in Wadesboro, NC in the 18th century.

Photo via WCNC

The city of Charlotte was chartered by European settlers in 1768. Still under the rule of King George III, they named the new hamlet after the King’s wife, Queen Charlotte. Now that 250+ years have passed, the “Queen City” and its streets are chock-full of vibrant history.

Over the years, the city has been touched by countless historical figures and happenings — many of which have shaped the names of Charlotte’s buildings, parks, and streets. In this guide, we’re delving into the history of Charlotte’s streets — specifically how they were named.

North Charlotte

When Charlotte was just a trading post at Trade and Tryon, hence the Trade Street name, early Charlotte residents would walk or ride their horses uphill, or “up to town,” to buy + sell their goods. It was later shortened to “Uptown.”

A large crowd of people walks on the street heading into Uptown Charlotte with tall buildings and trees in the background.

Before Tryon Street became a frequent stage for city events, it was part of the Nations Path — a trading path used by the local Catawba Tribe along with other Native Americans to travel between Georgia and Virginia.

Photo by CLTtoday

Tryon Street
The city’s main street still carries the name of North Carolina’s eighth colonial governor, William Tryon. Fun fact: Tryon Street does not align with the compass, as in many colonial towns. Instead, the road was built on a slight incline, so no matter what direction you’re coming from, you’ll be moving upward to reach the city.

Beatties Ford Road
The road was named after Scotch-Irish pioneer John Beatty, who crossed the Catawba River at Beattie’s Ford. It was there that his family built a home on the west bank of the Catawba River.

Rozzelles Ferry Road
The name honors the Rozzelle family, who ran a ferry across the Catawba River for generations. It was the only operating ferryboat in Mecklenburg County before the Civil War.

South Charlotte

Sharon Road
You’ve likely noticed several roads snaking through Charlotte with “Sharon” in their names. Sharon Road is one of the city’s several “Presbyterian streets.” Many European settlers here were Scotch-Irish Presbyterians; the churches served as geographical landmarks. Sharon Road went from the center of the city to Sharon Presbyterian Church.

Other streets named for Presbyterian churches include:

  • Sardis Road
  • Carmel Road
  • Providence Road
  • Sugar Creek Road
A road weaves along a ling of white cherry blossom trees.

Queens Road West is considered one of the most pristine roads in Charlotte.

Photo by CLTtoday

Queens Road
This boulevard is aptly named after Charlotte Sophia Strelitz of Mecklenburg, Germany — the same Charlotte “Queen City” is named after. An official contest in 1912 named the connection from the Presbyterian College for Women to Myers Park.

East Charlotte

Central Avenue
The name of this major thoroughfare was dubbed by banksmen George Stephens and F.C. Abbott of the Southern States Trust Company in the late 19th century. The name was meant to signify the road’s critical role at the center of Piedmont Park.

A car cruises down a road with a building featuring artwork is in the background.

North Davidson Street or “NoDa” for short features a prominent collection of art displayed on buildings.

Photo via WCNC

North Davidson Street
This street was conceived by wealthy textile leaders who envisioned a self-contained industrial district. Today, North Davidson Street is referred to as “NoDa” — coined by architect Russell Pound — in the way that the South of Houston area branded itself SoHo in New York City in the 1970s.

W.T. Harris Boulevard
Did you know this legacy street was named after William Thomas “W.T.” Harris, of the Harris Teeter grocery store chain? Harris was a prominent businessman who merged with the small Mooresville-based Teeter chain to build Harris Teeter in 1960.

Albemarle Road
This road beaes the name of English General George Monck, First Duke of Albemarle, whose namesake was given to one of Charlotte’s primary eastern corridors. The route served as the commercial center for established neighborhoods to its north and south.

West Charlotte

Wilkinson Boulevard
In the early 1920s, William Cook Wilkinson, a wealthy businessman, banking president, and mill owner, joined the state’s highway commission. He was granted $50 million to improve access to textile mills between Charlotte and Gaston County. He built Wilkinson Boulevard, the first four-lane paved road in North Carolina.

Camp Greene Street
During World War I, Charlotte established a military training center named Camp Greene. The camp’s namesake was Revolutionary War hero Nathanael Greene, a major general for the Continental Army. He successfully forced British troops out of the Carolinas.

A photo of a member of the cavalry at Remount Station stables of Camp Greene in 1917 during WWI training.

The ground that now comprises of the city of Charlotte was once used by the US Army to train calvary soliders.

Photo via Charlotte Mecklenburg Library

Remount Road
This place is where the US Army’s cavalry kept and tended to its horses. The name Remount, nods to the location where officers would saddle and mount their horses during World War I training.

Fun fact: Today, street names for new subdivision streets are proposed by the developer responsible for building the street and approved by Mecklenburg County Addressing. The Planning Department coordinates the review and approval of new streets with many departments within the City and Mecklenburg County.

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