Construction is underway on the Charlotte Knights' stadium uptown. To make room for that, another building must tumble. That's the Virginia Paper Company warehouse built in 1937. We didn't know much about the building, so WFAE decided to check into its history.
The Virginia Paper Company building looks unremarkable. It's a two-story brick building on West 3rd Street, just north of Bank of America Stadium. But it offers a window into the city's commerce during the first half of the 20th century.
"What a lot of people don't realize is Charlotte was so affected by railroads," says Dan Morrill, the director of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission.
Charlotte was a hub for several major rail lines and that made it a good place for companies to locate distribution warehouses and other industrial buildings. By the 1920s and early '30s, these began nudging out some uptown residential neighborhoods.
In 1937 the Virginia Paper Company building was one of the last of the distribution warehouses built uptown.
"When railroads began to give way more and more to trucks, then these uptown warehouses no longer came uptown. The warehouses went to the highways and later to the interstate highways," says Morrill.
Think of all those big industrial parks today located just off I-77 and I-85 as modern-day equivalents.
Nearly all of the old uptown warehouses are gone now. There's one on 7th street that still sees a lot of action, but of a different sort.
"There's the Dixie Tavern, kind of an eatery and a place where people go to get a little bit of suds today," says Morrill.
The Virginia Paper Company has long stood vacant. This morning it will be demolished and soon replaced by another chapter in the city's development, the Charlotte Knights' minor league baseball stadium.