5.20.2011 … A little local history for you … and now a “Charlotte Liberty Walk” is planned. Maybe next year …

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The anniversary of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence of May 20, 1775 has been celebrated locally, state wide, and even nationally through the years.  In Charlotte, 49 anniversary celebrations have been documented, including every year since 1995.  In times past children were let out of school for Meck Dec day and sometimes for the entire week.  Four sitting US Presidents and countless Governors, Senators and US Representatives have appeared at these celebrations.  The centennial celebration in 1875 brought 40,000 people on special trains to this town of 6,000 souls.

For more detail on the Meck Dec celebrations, see The Charlotte Mecklenburg Story at the Charlotte Library web site http://www.cmstory.org/meckdec

via The Celebrations | MeckDec.org.

At noon on May 20, 1775, Thomas Polk stood at the Mecklenburg Courthouse and read aloud the declaration to the public: “… the citizens of Mecklenburg County do hereby dissolve the political bands which have connected us to the Mother Country, and hereby absolve ourselves from all allegiance to the British Crown…” By this act, Mecklenburg declared itself “a free and independent people,” more than a year prior to the Declaration of Independence.

Original copies of the Mecklenburg Declaration were lost in a fire in 1800, causing some historians to question the validity of the document, even while many point to sources such as newspaper articles to prove its existence. As a proud descendant of Thomas Polk, I don’t need a document to prove the “Meck Dec” existed. The independent spirit of our local forefathers proves its existence.

It is this spirit and our fierce determination for freedom that caused English General Cornwallis to call Charlotte a “hornet’s nest” during the Revolutionary War. It is this same spirit that led us to name our streets “Independence Boulevard” and “Freedom Drive,” and a school “Independence High.” It is this spirit that moved state leaders to put May 20, 1775, on our state flag, and why it remains there today.

We should be proud of our history and independent spirit, teaching it to our children and to newcomers. Only by knowing where we come from can we know who we are and the great things we are capable of accomplishing as a community.

via The spirit of ‘Meck Dec’ still lives on | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

On the eve of today’s Meck Dec Day observance, a Charlotte history group unveiled plans for the Charlotte Liberty Walk, an interactive tour that celebrates the city’s role in the Revolutionary War.

The one-mile uptown tour, which begins and ends at Trade and Tryon streets, would consist of 18 sites that commemorate Charlotte’s role in the war for independence, said Scott Syfert, a Charlotte lawyer and vice chairman of The May 20th Society.

via High-tech tour would tout city’s Revolution role | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

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5.18.2011 Davidson is the name of a turtle donated to the traveling zoo exhibit … Did you know Charlotte is trying to get a zoo?

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Turtle

The organizers of the planned Charlotte Zoological Park (CZP) have big ideas about building a high-quality facility where the public can view and learn to appreciate creatures of the wild.

A first step in their plan is a mobile zoo of a few “ambassador animals” who will make educational sorties to area schools and civic groups.

And one of the first ambassadors selected for this duty is an eastern box turtle named “Davidson.”…

CZP is now hoping the college can help acquire other herpetological species for its educational program, including a corn snake and softshell turtle.

CZP is a non-profit organization founded in 2008 dedicated to the mission of creating a world-class zoological facility in the Charlotte. The group intends to educate, entertain and inspire people by bringing them face-to-face with wildlife and providing opportunities to participate in animal and habitat conservation.

via “Davidson” the Turtle Will Serve as Public Ambassador for Planned Charlotte Zoological Park

5.17.2011 … Kudos and happy 125th The Charlotte Observer!

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Happy 125th birthday to The Charlotte Observer, a newspaper that first began telling Charlotte’s story when it was yet a dream.

Along the way, the Observer has put forward some dreams of its own, helping to shape our region in significant ways. Some will say for the better, others for the worse, depending on a particular issue or outcome. But there is no denying that the place where we live today is a blended legacy of an aspiring city and its newspaper.

That legacy continues now as Charlotte shakes off a devastating collapse of the banking industry and the Observer rewires itself for the digital age. Neither job will be easy, which makes it an especially good time to remember how far both have come.

via A part of your world, every day for 125 years | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper.

Romare Bearden: an artist worthy of a new park!

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It’s no secret that Uptown Charlotte lacks green space, specifically a park where people can  lunch, exercise, or relax. Romare Bearden Park has been planned for over 10 years and due to delays construction hasn’t started. The park will be a full city block located at the corner of S. Church and 3rd St. right in the heart of Uptown Charlotte.  It will be a signature park for Uptown Charlotte.

via Romare Bearden Park in Uptown | CLT Blog.

Romare Bearden is recognized as one of the most creative and original visual artists of the 20th century.  His work is currently on display in New York City’s  Michael Rosenfield Gallery to celebrate the centennial of Bearden’s birth. Read a recent article from the NY Times. There is a good biographical post of Bearden’s life on the Romare Bearden Foundation website.

via Romare Bearden Park in Uptown | CLT Blog.

Romare Bearden (1911-88) spent more than 30 years striving to be a great artist, and in the early 1960s, when he took up collage in earnest, he became one. A small exhibition at the Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, organized to celebrate the centennial of Bearden’s birth, delivers this message with unusual clarity. It contains only 21 collages, all superb, in an intimate context that facilitates savoring their every formal twist and narrative turn, not to mention the ingenious mixing of mediums that takes them far beyond collage.

via Romare Bearden at Michael Rosenfeld Gallery – Review – NYTimes.com.

To see a slide show of his work  click here: ‘Romare Bearden Collage’ – Slide Show – NYTimes.com.

Restaurants to try in 2011 … thanks Helen for a list!

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Now, for 2011, I’m anticipating:

The much-rumored filling of several available spaces, including (but hardly limited to) uptown and the north, plus bursts of activity in south Charlotte. For example, if leases go through, look for:

Delta’s to go into the former G.W. Fins space on North Tryon Street, opening in June with a live-music supper club kind of vibe (R&B and jazz) and a menu duplicating the New Jersey original, with Cajun and other Southern fare.

AZN Restaurant, spun from a Florida original by the folks who also have Silk in Atlanta, to go into a new spot in Piedmont Town Center; it’s a Chinese-Japanese-Thai-Korean-Vietnamese-sushi concept.

The Diamond. This home cooking spot in Plaza Midwood, the revamping of a Charlotte classic, is slated to open this month, I’m told. It might. I – along with a legion of others, if one looks at Facebook – am ready!

And, it follows logically, the Penguin: It will be fascinating to see what happens when this storied landmark burger-etc. place reopens under new management, as it is slated to do Saturday. Those who followed the neighborhood-classic throwdown know that emotions run high about these last two places and that loyalties are at stake, not just foodstuffs.

Barbecue from longtime Charlotte restaurateur Frank Scibelli in Plaza Midwood – and though chef Jim Noble has his hands full between his Rooster’s and King’s Kitchen, I’m going to continue to keep an eye on his love of barbecue and where that might go.

via Charlotte’s best new restaurants of 2010 – CharlotteObserver.com.