12 images and postcards that depict Charlotte’s rich collegiate history

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A few years ago, I met a lawyer who had just moved to Charlotte to work in a large firm Uptown. He liked the city a lot, but noted that it would never be a world-class city without a major research university.

I never understood what he meant. After all, my alma mater, UNC Charlotte, has many high-level research programs. The lawyer went to school at Duke, and grew up in Georgia, but it made me wonder if he even knew UNC Charlotte existed.

Let’s face it, though. Charlotte is not a college town or area like Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill, Atlanta, or Nashville. We don’t have a major medical school (although Carolinas Medical Center does have a partnership with UNC School of Medicine), and UNC Charlotte is relatively new as far as universities go.

Charlotte may not be a great college town, but it’s doing everything it can to become one. New colleges like Johnson & Wales and Charlotte School of Law began operations in recent years. UNC Charlotte has a new Uptown location (the coolest looking building in the area in my opinion), and the campus has exploded over the past 15 years. Other universities are taking advantage of Charlotte’s economic vitality and opening satellite schools.

Even Queens University of Charlotte, surrounded by the stately homes of Myers Park, has risen in stature in recent years.

Charlotte may not have venerable institutions like Vanderbilt or Emory, but it does have a rich history. To prove my point, I put together this list of 10 postcards of colleges from Charlotte’s past.

Biddle University 1914 (Now Johnson C. Smith University)

Biddle-University-Charlotte-NC-1914-

Charlotte Medical College 1912

Charlotte-Medical-College-1912

Elizabeth College 1902 (Now Novant Presbyterian Hospital)

Elizabeth-College-1902

Elizabeth College 1907

Elizabeth-College-1907

Elizabeth College 1914

Elizabeth-College-1914

Johnson C. Smith 1920

Johnson-C-Smith-1920

Mercy Hospital School of Nursing (no date)

Mercy-Hospital-School-of-Nursing

Presbyterian College 1902

Presbyterian-College-1902

Presbyterian College 1909

Presbyterian-Women-College-Queens-College-1909

Queens College (no date)

Queens-College-For-Girls

UNC Charlotte (no date)

UNCC-early-days

UNC Charlotte 1972

UNCC-Aerial-1972

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Tim Long
| @TimLongCLT
Writer, avid golfer and political junkie who's chronicled the Charlotte area for more than 10 years.