The Charlotte News -- November 15, 1938

Fiftieth Anniversary Edition

These pieces are but a small sampling from The News special tabloid insert to this date's edition; we will later make an effort to provide more of it, containing both a history of the newspaper and Charlotte, the commercial center of North Carolina, and thus a major place of commerce within the South of its time.

We start with four pages: The front page and second page of the special section, with pictures of publisher W.C. Dowd and his father, and editor J.E. Dowd, Cash's immediate boss, and a brief history of the paper. (Unfortunately, we unintentionally divided the editor's photo in half, and we hope his ghost won't mind the slight for the time being until we might rectify it. You can put it together in your mind.)

Then Cameron "Orwell-Welles" Shipp takes us on a magnificent, and astonishingly accurate ride in his time machine to the year 1988. Unfortunately by then, the News would have expired by three years, the way of it for most afternoon dailies, after having been subsumed under the Observer in the mid-sixties. Otherwise, Shipp's view of Charlotte from 1938, with a BMW factory to be established in nearby Spartanburg, S.C. circa 1993, Douglas Airport to serve as an international hub also by the mid-nineties, and the tall spires and loop-de-loop freeways aplenty of modern day Charlotte in evidence, including an impressive pedestrian skyway or two, would, if not by 1988, shortly afterward begin to manifest itself just as he saw it. Did he not in fact predict the internet--sort of? What about the transmission globally of his 1938 article at the ignition of any computer connection in any home, office, or student's desk at a college or university?

One area where he was woefully wrong was population increase, from the 100,000 mark reached in 1940. He was short by a couple of hundred per cent. In fact, by 1980, Charlotte would tip the scale at 315,000, 396,000 by 1990, 541,000 by 2000, and 633,000 today in 2005, with the metro area encompassing fully 1.5 million people.

Fourth, there is a piece by Cash, a nice journey through the previous fifty years in short.


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