Virginia Recommends: NoDa
Our Listing Manager Extraordinaire, Virginia Halter, absolutely adores the Charlotte community and all it has to offer. She has a wonderful husband, Jonathan, and two fabulous children – Micah and Maya. When she is not helping the Leigh Brown & Associates team with their listings, she loves to run and enjoys cooking delicious food! With her love of great food, it’s no surprise that one of her favorite places in Charlotte is the NoDa District. When asked why it is one of her favorites, Virginia exclaimed, “The vibe in NoDa is unlike anywhere else is Charlotte! It’s a great place to go park and just wander around to the shops, galleries, breweries, and restaurants. It’s the perfect Saturday!”
NoDa, short for North Davidson, is located just outside of Uptown near the North Davidson/36th Street area. This popular area – now home to bi-monthly art crawls, music venues, breweries, and restaurants – used to be an area full of textile manufacturers and millworkers homes. Back in the early 1900’s it was originally conceived by a group of wealthy textile leaders who sought to developed a self-contained industrial district which included several mills, housing, churches, stores, a doctor’s office, The Bank of North Carolina, and one hotel. This district functioned like a mini-town inside Charlotte for the first half of the century; comprised mostly of mill workers and their families that relied on the prosperity of the mills for their survival. Times weren’t always perfect, but the sense of community was strong, the neighborhood was safe, and everyone looked out for each other.
After the great depression, this ‘mill village’ as it was known, never fully recovered. In 1953 the owners began to sell the mills and houses on the open market and the sense of community was gone. The new residents felt apathy towards this community and the old residents distrusted and disliked the ‘newcomers’. In 1969, with the construction of Matheson Avenue (which brought high volumes of traffic through the formerly quaint community) this tiny North Charlotte district was dying. What was left, was a divided community plagued with deteriorating houses and empty storefronts.
Through the 1980’s, The Housing and Community Development Act (originally started in 1974) tried to stop some of the deterioration with grants and funds to help rehab houses, parks, and community buildings. It wasn’t until the 1990’s when this sad, dying district started to come back to life. After gaining the attention of a few local artists, many of the old buildings in the North Davidson Street business district were bought, renovated, and turned into art galleries. Streets lined with galleries and shops that open right up to the street, and Friday night gallery crawls gave people a great alternative to the stuffy, upscale galleries found Uptown. As businesses continued to grow, so too did the residential area. Many houses were bought and renovated, bringing new life to the area.
While this area has continued to see positive growth and rebirth, especially in the 21st century, what makes NoDa so unique and appealing, is its history. The Highland Mill No. 3 (the first constructed in the 1900’s) has been repurposed for residential housing and the two other mills will likely follow suit in the near future. The historic Hand Pharmacy building has been preserved and is now home to Cabo Fish Taco where patrons line up into the street every day! And the original Neighborhood Theatre still stands today, now as a premier music venue.
The combination of history and resilience has landed NoDa on the National Register of Historic Places, referred to as ‘Historic North Charlotte’. Weekends in this art district are for beautiful walks into all of the shops and galleries, live music on the patio, ice cold local beer, and delicious food. Whether you’re a lover of art, live music, great food, or good beer – the NoDa vibe is sure to put your mind at ease, and a little peace in your soul. What are you waiting for? Virginia may even meet you for a stroll!