Marshall Terry / 90.7 WFAE

Next month, a landmark of Charlotte’s Dilworth neighborhood is closing its doors after 35 years: Dilworth Billiards. Owner Eric Sprouse says when he opened in the late 70s, pool halls had a bad reputation.

“People equated them to a rough place, a hangout of misfits,” says Sprouse.

Sprouse wanted something different.  His pool hall stood out in the area just off South Boulevard bordering what is now South End – a part of town that could be rough. Dilworth Billiards was an upscale place to play, a place where you could bring a date. A place to meet your friends for a drink after work. Sprouse says the time is right to close. He just turned 65 and wants to retire.

He recently told us about the history of Dilworth Billiards and showed us some of his antique pool tables over a game of nine ball. The pool hall started as just a showroom for Sprouse’s side pool-table business while he worked full time in insurance.

Updated 7/26/13: The regulatory bill that lawmakers ended up passing, left out eliminating protest petitions. 

In North Carolina neighbors can oppose development projects that require rezonings by filing something called a protest petition.  That means the rezoning requires a three-fourths vote on the city council, not just a simple majority.  A bill that would eliminate those kinds of petitions has passed the state house. 

Council Rejects Dilworth Walgreens; Developer Warns It Won't 'Go Away'

Nov 27, 2012

A controversial rezoning request to build a Walgreens drug store and office building in Dilworth was rejected by Charlotte City Council Monday night, delighting neighbors who had waged an aggressive campaign of e-mails and yard signs against the project.