Plaza Midwood Historic District Walking Tour
Words and photographs by Tom Hanchett
A Bit of History
Plaza Midwood started in 1903 with a handful of blocks in the vicinity of today’s Fuel Pizza (1501 Central Avenue). In 1912, British-born landscape architect Leigh Colyer laid out The Plaza with its elegant median, and also the parallel avenues of Thomas and Nassau. Developers added more streets through the 1930s, many in a subdivision called “Midwood.”
The neighborhood lay far from downtown and took decades to fill out, resulting in a rich variety of architectural styles — Victorian, Bungalow, Colonial, Tudor and more. This tour explores The Plaza and Thomas Avenue, whose well-preserved 1910s and 1920s dwellings form the heart of the Charlotte’s official Plaza Midwood Historic District.
What You’ll See
A bookstore with an airplane inside. One of the South’s best-preserved Victorian houses. The gracious, tree-shaded VanLandingham Estate. Lotsa bungalows and colonials and tudor revival houses – intermingled with duplexes and quadraplexes.
The tour begins at Plaza Midwood Library, 1000 Central Avenue at The Plaza.
If you’re arriving by car, you can usually find parking at Plaza Midwood’s Charlotte Mecklenburg Library branch (1000 Central Av). Please help our mom-n-pop stores — don’t park in a business’s lot unless you are buying something there.
Please stay on the public sidewalk. Except for Book Buyers and the (temporarily closed by COVID-19) Plaza Midwood Library, none of these places are open to visitors.
Length? About 1.5 miles. If you are a brisk walker, that’s maybe 40 minutes. If you stroll, amble or dawdle (all are much encouraged), it’ll take longer.
1000 Central Avenue - Plaza Midwood Branch of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Library
Look across the intersection at the Harris Teeter.
Cross The Plaza, then turn left and walk north up The Plaza away from Central Avenue.
1308-F The Plaza - BOOK BUYERS
This little shopping center came into existence about 1952 with Dixie Home Supermarket as its main tenant, then later Ledford’s, a longtime mainstay of fashion retail in the Queen City. Since 1999 it’s been home to Charlotte’s best used bookstore. Quiet, friendly owner Richard Rathers mined coal, worked on the railroad, and taught in England before returning to his native NC. Right now he’s rebuilding a 1941 Piper Cub airplane … right in the bookstore! Daughter Lee Rathers’s Greener Apple shop shares the space, selling vegan provisions.
Continue north on The Plaza
1324 The Plaza - Baptist Church
Continue out The Plaza, staying on the right-hand sidewalk. Cross Hamorton Street, then watch as a hill rises on your right. At its top is -
1426 The Plaza - Farmhouse?
1501 The Plaza - JOHN L. SCOTT HOUSE
1600 The Plaza - VICTORIA
BUNGALOW ROW - 1519, 1525, 1531, 1601, 1609, 1615, 1621, 1627 The Plaza
1726 & 1724 The Plaza - COLONIAL REVIVAL / DUTCH COLONIAL REVIVAL
1900 The Plaza - HOLY TRINITY EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN
2010 The Plaza - VAN LANDINGHAM ESTATE
The VanLandingham Estate is an official Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Landmark.
2100 The Plaza - BISHOP KILGO HOUSE
The Kilgo House is a an official Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Landmark.
At Belvedere Avenue, cross The Plaza. Then head back south on The Plaza toward Central Avenue.
1801 The Plaza - J.D. WOODSIDE HOUSE
Turn right on Belle Terre ("beautiful land") Avenue. Then turn left down Thomas Avenue – one of Charlotte's finest Bungalow streets
1815- 1817 Thomas - TUDOR REVIVAL DUPLEX
1716 Thomas - QUADRAPLEX
1600 Thomas Avenue - SPANISH REVIVAL
1331 & 1401 Thomas - VICTORIAN COTTAGES
ART-WRAPPED SIGNAL BOX 1301 Thomas next to Workman’s Friend
Turn left on Central Avenue and walk a block back to the Plaza Midwood Library
Our Charlotte Walking Tours
Some other tours we like
ArtWalks Charlotte – self guided walking tours of murals and other public art