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Conversation with Jane Duvall

Duvall, Jane
Hopkins, Thomas
Date of Interview: 
Relationships with people and places; Then and now
Jane Duvall talks about living in Charlotte and the first mall and McDonald's
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Thomas Hopkins interviews Charlotteans to collect stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
TH (Thomas Hopkins): This is Jane Duvall. Conversation two.
JD (Jane Duvall): So many things have changed about Charlotte since I was a little girl growing up in the 50s and 60s. Um, one of my favorite memories was that they, when you went to shop for anything other than groceries, I mean clothes or things for your house, you always went downtown, and you always got all dressed up. And there were three really big department stores here, there were Ivey's, Belk's, and Effird's and all three of them were owned by people that were from and lived in Charlotte that were friends of my parents. And I can remember that [laughter] you could go to a store, you would go to Ivey's and you would do whatever shopping you were going to do there and then my mother would always make us go back to the car and put, lock the bags in the car before you went to Belk's because if you took the Ivey's bags into Belk's that that would, would probably hurt their feelings. And the same thing if you bought stuff at Belk's, then you had to go put that in the car before you went to Effird's because you wouldn't want the people at Effird's to know you'd been shopping at Belk's. Anyway, uh, when I think back on some of that stuff, it's so funny to me because I doubt that either Mr. Ivey or Mr. Belk or Mr. Effird for that matter, was ever down on the floor, would have had no idea whether my mother had been shopping at Belk's or Effird's or Dillard's. But anyway, that was just one thing that I thought was really funny and I also remember when, uh, the first mall was built and it wasn't even a mall. It was the Park Road Shopping Center. But it was the only, it was the first time there was ever any place to shop that was not right in downtown Charlotte. And that was just a really big deal and I think this was maybe when I was like in the fifth grade and then shortly after that, what is now known as Midtown Square, was originally called Charlotte Town Mall was opened, and that was the first real mall that was enclosed and that was when I was in the seventh grade. Because I can remember that we would ride our bikes down there and spend the whole day just walking around and we thought that was the most exciting thing in the world. Another thing that's really different than when I was growing up is, um, traffic. Um, really until I think I was in about seventh or eighth grade, Providence Road was a two-lane road and there was one stoplight and that was up by, um, Myers Park Methodist Church and what used to be the A and P. And then I don't think there was another one until you really got downtown which was, when you think about it, was pretty amazing. There was also only two suburbs, there was Dilworth and there was, um, Myers Park and Eastover to the south and then to the north, there really, um, there was, there really wasn't anything out there at all. Um, it was mostly country and um, then in the east there were, there was one suburb over there and I can't remember what the name of it was, but there was really nothing that went out Providence Road like it does now and absolutely nothing out where UNCC was. Um, it was like making a trip to the beach or something. Which is another thing, we, there was the first fast food place that was built in Charlotte was McDonald's and it was on South Boulevard. And that was when I was in high school and that was really a pretty amazing situation. We used to go over there [cough] every day after, after school and buy a hamburger, french fries and a Coke for 25 cents and it was, it was just quite a big deal.
TH: How do you distinguish what a suburb is? Like I don't understand the difference between the city and the suburbs because Dilworth seems like it's right in the middle of town to me.
JD: Well, [pause] it is right in the middle of town now, but back then it was the first suburb. It was the first place that people moved to that they didn't live downtown [pause] in Third Ward, Fourth Ward.
TH: People used to live down there?
JD: Oh yeah, all the time. And now it's-.
TH: Nobody lives there.
JD: Well, no. It's coming back. You need to go down there and look. People are moving back to downtown. But Dilworth was the first stop on the trolley line that was not on the regular track.
TH: They had trolleys on your area?
JD: No, that was a little before my time.
TH: OK. Thought so.
JD: Why don't you rewind it and-.