The history of Druid Hills
Surviving is important, thriving is elegant.
- Maya Angelou -
The History of Druid Hills
Druid Hills was initially established in the early 1900’s when the Ford factory was built along the Statesville Avenue corridor. The neighborhood expanded in the post-World War II era when returning war veterans and their families needed housing.
After the manufacturing industry moved from the area, there was a decline in homeowners. During ‘white flight’, homeowners moved to the suburbs, rented out their homes or sold their homes to individuals previously unable to purchase in Druid Hills because of redlining.
During this transition of homeownership, many new owners were prominent residents within the City of Charlotte, Therease Elder and Hattie Leeper to name a few. Druid Hills was home to the first African American Social Worker for Mecklenburg Count, Bobbie Toatley.
It was a tight-knit community. However, during the early 1990’s, the drug epidemic had a profound impact on the neighborhood. As a result of the high number of rentals, property neglect, and depressed property values, crime and drug usage became rampant, peaking in the late 1990s.
In an effort to stabilize the neighborhood, Habitat for Humanity and The Charlotte Mecklenburg Housing Partnership redeveloped some homes to provide homeownership opportunities and help to stabilize the neighborhood.
The neighborhood today is a mix of modest single family homes, a senior living complex, several scattered duplexes and apartments, and Moore Place, a permanent housing complex for individuals previously experiencing homelessness. Druid Hills is home to the only urban horse stable in the City of Charlotte. It has a neighborhood park which is inclusive of a community garden, ample space for picnics, a playground and outdoor fitness equipment.
The Druid Hills neighborhood association has partnered with University North Carolina - Charlotte (UNCC) students from the geology department to collect oral history for the neighborhood and publish the results. The neighborhood of Druid Hills is rapidly changing again as individuals from various socio-economic levels realize the hidden gem of Druid Hills.
It is less than 2 miles from Center City Charlotte, easily accessible by car and public transportation and has stunning views of the Charlotte skyline. Druid Hills has the highest number of seniors 65+ (309 seniors) and senior housing (135 subsidized affordable units). It also boasts one of the highest rates of residents with a post-secondary degree (15%). It also has the third highest percentage of homeowners who have lived in their home for 35 years or longer (34%). Average house size is 16% smaller than the North End Smart District (NESD) average. Public transit commute to work is the second highest in this neighborhood (25%).
Pride is the community coming together and showing that love is real.
- Taryn Manning -