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Cornelius News

County identifies 2 possible temporary locations to re-site historic tenant house

Sharecropper House / Photo by Jason Benavides

March 15. By Dave Yochum. Mecklenburg County has identified two temporary sites in Cornelius for the Alexander Farm tenant house, according to Deputy Town Manager Wayne Herron.

The county says it can accommodate the structure at either nearby Robbins Park or along the greenway at Bailey Road.

“Depending on discussions, other sites may be in play, but these are the two sites the county would like to coordinate until the structure comes to its permanent location in the Town park,” Herron said.

Dan Morrill

Construction begins next month

Construction on the multimillion-dollar mixed-use project on 55 acres at Westmoreland and West Catawba is set to begin in April.

“We now have a clear path forward to preserve the J. Wilson Alexander Farm Tenant House,” said historian Dan Morrill, a retired UNC-Charlotte history professor and consultant for Preserve Mecklenburg.

The now rare structure will remain at the interim site until the new park land that WIN Development has set aside at Alexander Farms is ready. The tiny house is significant because so few are left in a once agricultural county where sharecropping and tenants farming were commonplace.

“Thereafter, the Town of Cornelius will use the tenant house as a passive interpretive site. The lives of thousands of tenant farmers and sharecroppers who lived and labored in Mecklenburg County will now be honored and remembered,” Morrill said.

Cooperation made it happen

The structure will be saved because of the cooperation of an array of institutions, he added.

“Special thanks should go to WIN Development, the State Historic Preservation Office, Preserve Mecklenburg, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission, the local press, the citizens of Cornelius and North Mecklenburg, and history-minded people throughout Mecklenburg County,” Morrill said.

“Thousands of families, Black and White, were sharecroppers or tenant farmers in Mecklenburg County. We will now have a historic site that honors their history,” Morrill said. Preserve Mecklenburg has about $20,000 set aside for one move. 

The tenant house is sited in the upper left corner of the 55 acre farm facing West Catawba. Westmoreland runs along the bottom of the image taken from Mecklenburg County property records