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Going to the Show: Lesson Plans

Explore and compare and contrast the business environment in Wilmington, North Carolina and Charlotte, North Carolina in the early 1900s by exploring the city directories


Introduction  |   Activity 1  |   Activity 2-6  |   Worksheet (pdf)  |   Learn More


Introduction

Students will explore the city directories for Wilmington and Charlotte, two prominent North Carolina cities in the early 1900s, to analyze, compare and contrast their respective business environments at a specific time, and across time. The city directories were published by each city's chamber of commerce. This lesson augments a sidebar, A Sneak Peak at Charlotte, 1905, provided in Chapter 8, page 269 of the North Carolina eighth-grade history textbook A Journey Through North Carolina, by Pamela Grundy (published in 2008), which lists a summary of the Charlotte businesses in 1905. The lesson will allow students to explore historical documents to research and discover this information.

Optionally: the city directories also include racial coding, noting "colored" businesses and individuals with an asterisk (*). Teachers may also use the city directories to augment discussions around segregation in the early 1900s and Jim Crow laws.

Optionally: teachers may want to incorporate an introduction to using historic information available from the U.S. Census Bureau to determine population counts and demographic composition for the two cities.

Optionally: teachers may want to incorporate the use of the Sanborn Maps available from the UNC DocSouth Going to the Show digital collection to add a visual geographical element to the business data. Using the Sanborn Maps, students can locate business addresses, and also visually explore the evolution of businesses within the city.

The Wilmington, North Carolina, and Charlotte, North Carolina, city directories are available online from the Internet Archive. To find other Wilmington city directories, search for: Wilmington NC directory. To find other Charlotte city directories, search for: Charlotte NC directory.

1905 Charlotte City Directory
1905 Wilmington City Directory
1913 Charlotte City Directory
1913-1914 Wilmington City Directory
1920 Charlotte City Directory
1919-1920 Wilmington City Directory

A lesson plan for grade 8 Social Studies, grade 12 Social Studies
Note: While some basic census information is provided in this lesson content, for high school students, teachers may want students to find and research the census bureau statistics from the 1900, 1910, and 1920 U.S. Census sites. Pointers to census websites are provided within the lesson.

LEARNING OUTCOMES

TEACHER PLANNING
Time Required for Lesson:
Three 60-minute class periods.

The lesson is organized into six activities that will explore the city directories for Charlotte, NC, and Wilmington, NC:

  1. Charlotte, 1905 - 30 minute guide demonstration
  2. Wilmington, 1905 - 20-30 minutes individual student or small groups
  3. Charlotte, 1913 - 15 minutes individual student or small groups
  4. Wilmington, 1913-1914 - 15 minutes individual student or small groups
  5. Charlotte 1920 - 15 minutes individual student or small groups
  6. Wilmington 1919-1920 - 15 minutes individual student or small groups
  7. Analysis and Assessment - 30 minutes individual student or small groups
  8. Report out - 30 minutes individual student or small groups
  9. Optional (high school students) - Research population characteristics using 1900, 1910, and 1920 census data.
  10. Optional - reference the Sanborn Maps available in UNC DocSouth Going to the Show digital collection to research business locations.

NORTH CAROLINA CURRICULUM ALIGNMENT

Social Studies - Grade 8
Goal 5: The learner will evaluate the impact of political, economic, social, and technological changes on life in North Carolina from 1870 to 1930.
Objective 5.02: Examine the changing role of educational, religious, and social institutions in the state and analyze their impact.
Objective 5.04: Identify technological advances, and evaluate their influence on the quality of life in North Carolina.

Social Studies - Grade 12
Goal 7: The Progressive Movement in the United States (1890-1914) - The learner will analyze the economic, political, and social reforms of the Progressive Period.
Goal 7.03: Evaluate the effects of racial segregation on different regions and segments of American society.
Goal 7.04: Examine the impact of technological changes on economic, social, and cultural life in the United States

The lesson may be abbreviated by focusing either on a specific city, or just looking at two time periods rather than three.

Students will gather data regarding the business composition in Wilmington, North Carolina and Charlotte, North Carolina at three different time periods in the early 1900s in order to compare the two cities, as well as across time. The initial list of business categories is prompted by the sidebar, A Sneak Peak at Charlotte, 1905, provided on page 269 in the 8th-grade history textbook, A Journey Through North Carolina, by Pamela Grundy.

As students progress through the activities, they will fill out the City Directory Worksheet, recording their findings regarding the number of businesses they find for each business category.

Teachers will initially conduct a guided demonstration of the Charlotte 1905 City Directory to introduce the historical exploration that students can conduct as well as how to use the online City Directory user interface.

Teachers might want to conclude the session with a collective wrap-up discussion and ask students to share: What did they find? What was most interesting? What was most surprising? Are there any major questions that their explorations generated? Where might they go to get answers to those questions?

Materials / Resources

Census Excerpts:
1920 Census
1920 North Carolina State Population and composition (1900, 1910, 1920)
1920 city directory


1920 North Carolina largest cities' population and composition
1920 NC's largest cities' population and composition

1910 Census:
p. 266
total population, increase, and distribution

1800-1910 North Carolina Population - Largest Cities
Population - NC

1910 North Carolina Population Characteristics and Composition - Charlotte, Wilmington
Population - NC

Technology Resources
Computer lab with high-speed Internet access. Students could work independently or in small groups depending on computer availability and teacher preference. Classroom technology to display the city directory web pages from the Internet Archive.

PREPARATION ACTIVITIES
Students should have already covered nineteenth-century North Carolina history and be familiar with the geography of North Carolina. Students should have some familiarity with North Carolina history in the early 1900s. This lesson augments that discussion by exploring historical sources in the form of city directories from the early 1900s.

In this lesson, students will use city directories to explore, compare and contrast the nature and number of businesses in two prominent North Carolina cities in the early 1900s, Charlotte and Wilmington. It augments the sidebar, A Sneak Peak at Charlotte, 1905, provided on page 269 in the 8th-grade textbook A Journey Through North Carolina, by Pamela Grundy:

Charlotte Businesses
Car Dealerships 3
Stables4
Saloons15
Drugstores20
Restaurants14
Hotels8
Dairies7
Newspapers13
Telephone & Telegraph Companies5
Incorporated Business99
Cotton Mills12
Fire Insurance Companies65
Bicycle Repair Shops4
Carriage and Wagon Dealers5
Urban Manufacturers115

As teachers look at the above list, they may want to explore the city directories in advance and identify synonyms for the categories. For example, the city directory includes a category for Automobiles, and another called Eating Houses, which appears from the asterisk notation to be the eating establishments for African Americans. An alternative to hotels at the time were Boarding Houses. Teachers may also want to add a category such as Grocers or Bankers. For entertainment, teachers may also want to add Bowling Alleys or Theatres to the list. Teachers may also want to expand beyond the commercial context and also explore churches and schools, both public and private.

Teachers will want to familiarize themselves with the user interface features and navigation of the web-based city directory. They are available from the Internet Archive. A list of all of the available Charlotte City Directories may be displayed by doing a Search in the Internet Archive for the Charlotte NC directory. The 1905 Charlotte city directory can be accessed at http://www.archive.org/stream/walshscharlotten1905char . Links for the city directories referenced in the activities will be provided in the activity directions.

Optionally, for more historical background on Wilmington, teachers may want to look at the 1902 Wilmington Chamber of Commerce publication called Up To Date, available at: http://docsouth.unc.edu/nc/uptodate/menu.html. It provides extensive background information on Wilmington, its climate, the state of manufacturing and agriculture, construction, trade and commerce, churches, schools, associations and recreation.

A map analysis worksheet is available from the National Archives website
(http://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/worksheets/map_analysis_worksheet.pdf ). This worksheet may be a useful tool for students to record basic information related to the Sanborn Maps. Alternatively, teachers can develop your own worksheet.

Key skills for this lesson include:

ACTIVITIES
The activities for this lesson plan focus on the use of city directories from Charlotte, North Carolina, and Wilmington, North Carolina, in 1905 and 1920 to augment the "A Sneak Peak at Charlotte, 1905" sidebar provided on page 269 of the 8th-grade North Carolina History textbook, A Journey Through North Carolina, by Pamela Grundy.

Before getting started, you may want to also provide some background context on Charlotte and Wilmington at the time. You may want to reference the census statistics. From the 1910 and 1920 census data, seen below, in 1900, Wilmington was the most populous city in North Carolina with a population of approximately 21,000 compared with Charlotte's 18,000. However, by 1910, Charlotte had surpassed Wilmington and had a population of approximately 34,000, nearly doubling its population in a 10-year period. In 1920 Charlotte's population grew by nearly 1/3 to 44,000, and Wilmington had approximately 33,000 inhabitants. In the early 1900s Wilmington was also the state's principal port city and a major southeastern rail hub.

Introduction  |   Activity 1  |   Activity 2-6  |   Worksheet (pdf)  |   Learn More