Over the past 40 years, Charlotte's road landscape has certainly changed.  Charlotte resident, Chris Curley, came across a book entitled, Aerial Photographs of Mecklenburg County, N. C. from National Aerial Surveys, Photogrammetric Engineering in Charlotte, it was copywritten by John B. Lippard in 1965.  Chris was able to share some of the photos in scans he made from the book.  Where possible, I also have included modern day aerials of the same location.  Photos can be accessed by reaching the links below.  Note: All images courtesy of Chris Curley unless otherwise noted.
South Charlotte
  • Park Road at Woodlawn.  Park Rd (running across) and Woodlawn (running up and down) meet in the middle of the picture.  You can see Park Rd Shopping Center at the intersection.  Woodlawn runs to the left of the split just below the shopping center and looks like it ends in some neighborhood.  The road running across the picture towards the bottom is Selwyn Ave.  Woodlawn currently changes into Runnymede Lane at Selwyn and continues as a part of Charlotte 4.  You can see the Myers Park neighborhood at the lower right.
  • Providence at Pineville-Matthews Road.  In this picture, the intersection of Providence Rd (NC 16) and Pineville-Matthews Rd (NC 51) is at the bottom right.  The picture is looking west, so 16 is running across the picture.  Where the pond is, to the left of the intersection, is where The Arboretum shopping center is today.  What is now Cedarwood Country Club is the golf course.
  • Southpark Area (Sharon at Fairview).  Sharon and Fairview meet at the bottom of the picture.  The empty field at the top right of the intersection is now South Park Mall.  The building towards the top in the center is the Celanese Corp. 
  • I-85 in Western Mecklenburg County
    Orientation: West is the Top.  North is Right. South is Left. East is Bottom
  • I-85 at Sam Wilson Road (Exit 29).  Today, construction of the I-85/485 Interchange is happening just below the interchange (top right corner).
  • I-85 at Little Rock Road (Exit 31).  This interchange was overhauled in the early 1990's, and it is now a SPUI. (Bottom Left Corner) 
  • The "29/49 Connector"
  • I-85's then abrupt end at US 29 / NC 49 (Exit 42).    In the bottom of the photo is US 29.  You can see where the then alignment of I-85 allowed for the continuation of the Interstate via the wide median in the middle of the photo.  In fact, a 'ghost stub' for traffic traveling on the unbuilt I-85 South is visible.  In 2003, construction began to widen I-85 to eight lanes including a redesign of this interchange.

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  • Here is a June 2001 photo of where I-85 South began from a split at US 29/NC 49 South taken by Brian LeBlanc 
  • Downtown Charlotte
  • Eastwood Cemetery and Downtown. This picture is looking west.  The road to the top left is Independence Blvd.  You can see Elmwood Cemetery at the top right.  Just above the cemetery, you can see Irwin Creek.  I-77 runs just to the east (below the creek in the pic) of it.  There is a big controversy about the city wanting to run a rail line through the cemetery but you can see that they took part of it to put I-77 and the Brookshire Freeway in.  The top section of the cemetery is the intersection of 77 and the Brookshire today.  The Brookshire runs down the wooded part at the lower right part of the cemetery.  At the bottom right of the picture, you can see an intersection that looks like an X.  That is where Graham St., Stateville Ave., and Dalton Ave. come together.  Graham runs across the railroad tracks.  Statesville comes in from the right of the pic (what looks like a line on top of the X).

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  • Downtown Charlotte 1965.  Specifically look at Memorial Stadium at the bottom left of the photo.  The road underneath the facility is Independence Boulevard.  In the top left corner is the North-West Expressway. It wasn't until the 1980's that 'Downtown' Charlotte was known as 'Uptown' Charlotte.

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  • Compare that photo to Independence Blvd. @ Memorial Stadium today.  The Independence Freeway before tying into I-277 is in the upper right corner. This photo was found via the Charlotte Lady Eagles website 
  • Independence Blvd. near East Mecklenburg High School.  EMHS is at the top of the photo and  Independence Blvd. runs diagonally from top right to bottom left.  The ramp onto Conference Drive which turns directly into Monroe Road was removed in the early 90's.  Chris reports you can still detect traces of that ramp today.

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  •  Three Photos taken from the former ramp's location today.  Conference Drive at Independence Blvd. is now a signalized intersection.
  • Image One:  The ramp, which was removed in the early 1990s, looking toward Independence.
  • Image Two:  Looking towards Conference.  Notice the remaining utility poles, and the shopping center's parking lot design.  The parking lot and shopping center were in place before the ramp was removed.
  • Image Three: Another perspective of the ramps, utilities poles, and trees as the only clues that something once was there.

  • Albemarle Road
  • Albemarle at Central.  Albemarle Rd is towards the left of the picture and you can see where Central Ave merges in.  The field to the right of that is where Eastland Mall is now.  The road going across the picture towards the top is Sharon-Amity.  The road that curves behind the field from Albemarle to Sharon-Amity is Wilora Lake Rd.  The city blocked that road several years ago to prevent cut-through traffic.  The road at the bottom that goes off to the left near the Albemarle-Central intersection is Reddman Rd.  The city also blocked that road off in the early 80's to prevent cut-through traffic to Idlewild Rd.  A look at the same area 33 years later, difference you are looking north in the 1998 image; the 1965 image was looking west.



  • Site Navigation:
  • 1965 I-77 Construction Photos
  • Return to Metro Charlotte Roads @ All Things NC!

  • Sources & Links:

  • Chris Curley
  • Interstate 85 @ NCRoads.com Annex ---Mike Roberson
  • Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission
  • The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Story

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    Page Created: September 16, 2001
    Last Updated: October 12, 2006

    © 2001-06 Adam Prince