The opening of the renovated North County Regional Library last month marks another milestone in the history of library services in northern Mecklenburg County.
A brief history of Huntersville
Huntersville, the town that the North County Regional Library branch serves, is a historic area of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County that is named after the Hunter family. This family settled in what was originally known as “Craighead,” but, in 1873, the town was renamed “Huntersville.” The Hunter (and Ranson) families were early settlers of the region and influential in many areas. Both families were farmers who owned large tracts of land in and around Huntersville, which is where the original relationship between the two families began.
The Hunters were also merchants, owning the first home and store along the railroad. In addition to farming, the Ransons operated the Ranson Brothers Gin Company, Huntersville’s primary cotton gin. The Hunter family continued to influence the development of the Huntersville community into the 20th Century through property deals, education, social work and commitment to local organizations.
The impact of libraries in northern Mecklenburg County
Funding for new libraries in Huntersville and four other towns came from the Julius Rosenwald Fund in 1931, when the country was in the grips of the Great Depression.
In 1956, a new brick building was constructed for the Huntersville Library. Civic leaders who had helped raise money for the library branch marked the occasion by carrying a librarian across the threshold and into her new domain. The spacious, modern library was so impressive that its builders featured a photograph of it in an advertisement.
Beginning in the 1990s, the Charlotte/Mecklenburg community saw the introduction of “regional” libraries, which were large branches that served a wide geographic area. The library moved in 1991 to add a regional library in the northern end of the county. The plan called for the new regional to replace small community libraries in Huntersville, Cornelius and Davidson. Residents, loyal to their town branches, expressed opposition. The story of how this conflict was resolved is told in the Library’s family of websites.
This blog was written by Tom Cole, librarian, with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library's Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room.