History of Matthews, NC

History of Matthews NC

History of Matthews, NC

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Matthews is a suburb of Charlotte that has one of the well-preserved commercial districts in North Carolina. Several businesses and infrastructures from the 1800s are still standing and functional up to this day. Discover what the long-standing walls of Matthews have witnessed from Matthews humble beginnings up to what it has become today. 

Fine Arts Dentistry is one of the leading dental care providers in Matthews that continues to take care of the oral needs of the community. Our team would like to share and honor the rich history of our town that paved its way to the economic progress and development that it has today.

Stumptown as Matthew’s first name

Matthews was once a luscious woodland where Waxhaw and Catawba Indians lived. In the 1800s, some farmers settled in the area and decided to turn the woodland into a farm and cut the trees. The farmers started planting cotton and became their means for a living. 

As the farmers continued clearing the place, more stumps of trees were scattered in the area. The stumps became a notable landmark, and eventually became the name of the place which is Stumptown

Stumptown - History of Matthews NC

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Fullwood: The stagecoach era

When the community grew, it was granted its own post office that was managed by postmaster John Miles Fullwood in his home. The letters were addressed to Fullwood station which replaced Stumptown as the name of the community. 

The cotton and timber trade helped develop the village into a town, attracted more settlers, and gave birth to new businesses. Stagecoaches are the only means of transportation during the 1870s. Fullwood became a stagecoach stop for those who are traveling across Monroe and Charlotte. 

Stagecoach in North Carolina during the 1800s

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Railroad development: The birth of the name Matthews

The name Matthews only came into the picture when Seaboard Air Line Railroad, formerly Central Carolina Railroad, used it as a station name for the railroad line connecting  Fullwood to Wilmington and Tennessee. The name was inspired by the director of the company Edward Matthews.  

In 1875, Matthews station was the postal address of the town. The railway also paved the way for other towns to access Matthews and connect it to the rest of North Carolina. The name Matthews became official in 1880 through the committee formed by Jeremiah Solomon Reid to create a town charter.    

Matthews station - depot

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The pioneers of business in town

From an initial population of 191 residents, the Matthews community grew and new merchants started their businesses in town. The Reid House is a victorian-style house that was one of the first landmarks downtown. It was built in 1890 by the Reid family and now serves as a wedding venue and events place. 

The old Funderburk Brother building in Matthews NC

The Funderburk Brother building in North Trade street was also built in the 1800s as the Funderburk Merchandise Store with its original structure and ceilings still intact today. Schools emerged in Matthews in 1910 and the town is flourishing through cotton and gin. 

Crestdale community was called Tank Town back in the day and they are one of North Carolina’s oldest African-American communities. An African-American School was built within the community premises in 1918 but was closed after 46 years.  

The co-owners of Renfrow David Blackley and Frank Renfrow

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The household name that remains in the business today is The Renfrow’s general store. They started as a gin supplier in town and later expanded to new ventures as the new owner David Blackley took over the business in 1984. 

Now, Renfrow Hardware & Merchandise remains the historic gem of Matthews and continues to serve the community with hardware and gardening supplies. Due to the concentration of historic buildings along North Trade street, the area was listed as Matthews Commercial Historic District in 1996. 

The modern Matthews

Matthews has come a long way from its woodland origins. From a village with 191 residents, the suburb is now a community of 33, 891 members.  The train station was one of the contributing factors in its continuous development that brought more businesses and gave access to new immigrants.

When you visit Matthews, you’ll see its history remains intact in the heart of the suburb. Parks and commercial establishments provide plenty of things to do for visitors and residents alike. Strip malls like Sycamore Commons would be hard to miss since they are located along Independence Expressway and Matthews Township Parkway

Matthews also ranks at number 5 as the best suburb to live in the Charlotte area. Most of the residents appreciate the proximity of essential businesses like supermarkets and restaurants to their neighborhoods. The caring and helpful culture of the community also makes it shine among other communities. 

Young professionals are also an emerging population in Matthews. Due to the geographical advantage of the area, it will only take a short drive to reach the busy streets of Uptown Charlotte. You will appreciate the Matthews more when you experience its charm firsthand. Visit the loving community of Matthews and we’re excited to see you around town!

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