Updated: Jun 2, 2020
1. Just a few steps away from our lovely townhome community, The Towers at Mattie Rose, sits the oldest public park in North Carolina—Independence Park.
2. The park used to be the home of Charlotte Water Works and acted as the city’s retention pond.
3. Once a part of The New Deal, Memorial Stadium (1936) was built as a result of the Works Progress Administration (W.P.A.), a program started by Roosevelt to spur the economy during the Great Depression. The stadium was dedicated by FDR in September 1936 during a rainstorm. 30,000 people attended. Just as FDR began to speak, the clouds parted and the sun shined, prompting FDR to say: “My friends, I notice there is a rainbow in the sky.” [Source]
4. The park was designed by renowned landscape architect, John Nolen in his early years out of college.
5. Charlotte Observer founder D. A. Tomkins is responsible for bringing this park to Charlotte and oversaw the operation of its establishment.
6. In 1949 Independence Blvd was constructed and named after Independence Park. The road went through a large portion of the of the park.
7. Independence Park had Charlotte’s first children’s playground, built in 1914.
8. The Arhelger Memorial is essentially unchanged from the original build out from 1931. This memorial commemorates Lillian Arhelger, a twenty-one year old physical education teacher who fell to her death on June 21, 1931, in an attempt to save a young child from falling over the Glen Burnie Falls.
9. Currently, the park facilities include:
a. Memorial Stadium (undergoing a major overhaul)
b. Ball fields and a historic stone grandstand
c. Tennis courts
e. Basketball courts
f. Sand volleyball
g. Table tennis courts
h. Rose gardens
i. Azalea gardens
j. Walking paths
k. Picnic areas
10. You’d be surprised what else it has in store. The park is currently undergoing a 2 year renovation plan that will revamp and revive the collective 22 acre parcels. The plan is outlined below. To learn more, visit this link.