Second Ward, Charlotte, NC Uptown is located directly south of the Trade & Tryon intersection. This south quadrant is bounded by the northwest side of South Tryon and the northeast side of East Trade.
Second Ward is the “Government District” of Charlotte, NC. It is also where the NASCAR Hall of Fame is located. The Second Ward neighborhood was historically a predominantly black neighborhood coined “Brooklyn” before a major urban renewal project went into effect. It is now more of a mainstream entertainment and tourist destination.
As of today, the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Art+Culture is located in the Second Ward. You will also find the EpiCentre here (Uptown’s highly popular retail and entertainment complex), The Green, a downtown mini-park, Victorian Gothic styled St. Peter’s Catholic Church, as well as the Charlotte Convention Center.
Second Ward, Charlotte, NC History
The Second Ward, formerly known as “Brooklyn” was among the first neighborhoods in the Uptown Second Ward. It was coined the name “Brooklyn” comparing it to the borough in New York City. Developed and established in early 1900s, this neighborhood thrived as the center of the Charlotte’s African-American community for several decades.
The community contained a diverse range of families and individuals from white collar to blue collar workers alike. This neighborhood was also the home of the first free black library of the South: The Brevard Street Library.
In addition, the historic Second Ward was the base for the United House of Prayer for All People, the first of its kind in Charlotte as well as one of the very first U.S. locations. Also this area was home to the very first black urban high school in Mecklenburg County: The Second Ward High School. As well, there was the Myers Street School, an elementary school in this area that was the largest of its kind for African Americans.
Charlotte’s Urban Renewal
“Brooklyn” was deemed to have declined between the 1930s to the 1950s, so in 1961, the City Council of Charlotte made the vote to clear out 8 full blocks of this neighborhood. This is when the demolition of a lot of homes and businesses began to take place, spanning from the years of 1963 to 1977. This was the start of the urban renewal of Charlotte.
Throughout the years, the Second Ward, Charlotte, NC area began to see new development, one of which included the Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center, where Myers Street School used to be; Marshall Park, built where the United House of Prayer for All People once was; the NASCAR Hall of Fame; the Charlotte Convention Center; the Charlotte Epicentre (commonly misspelled as the Epicenter) as well as several government buildings and hotels began to take root.
The history of the second will never be forgotten and hopefully it will continue to evolve into a major entertainment and tourist destination for the City of Charlotte.