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The History of Pineville

Some two hundred forty-five years ago through the wilds of The Carolinas there was a junction of two important Indian Trails. This was located near two small streams now known as Sugar Creek and Little Sugar Creek. One of these trails ran westward to join the Nation's Ford Road that led to the Catawaba Nation. A remnant of this trail can still be seen just west of Pineville. The other trail ran from the Waxhaw Indian Tribe northward. This was the famous Trading Path, later becoming an important colonial road and was the beginning of Highway 21. The Indians who roved the banks of Sugar Creek were the Sugarees, a branch of the Catawabas, who were of the Sioux Indians. They were friendly to the white settlers, and were gentle and un-warlike. The Sugarees were almost annihilated by their enemies living across on the westward side of the Catawaba River. This was the powerful Cherokee Tribe, who were of the Iroquois. Thus the Catawaba River was the dividing line between the territories of The Catawabas to the East and the Iroquois to the West.

About 1761, driving down The Waxhaw Trail, Thomas Spratt and his family came upon the junction with a westward trail. Here he "turned out" along the bank of Sugar Creek and built his cabin. He was soon followed by Thomas Polk (or Pollock) the eldest son of a former neighbor. Thomas married Susan Spratt and they built their cabin on the Trading Path. The junction of two Indian Trails beginning with one cabin thus became known as "The Turnout".

Thomas Polk's brother followed and married Susan Spratt's sister. The grave of Thomas Polk, long lost, was recently found near the original Trading Path, just outside Pineville. In the same graveyard were graves of Smarts, Alexanders, and others. The pioneers coming down this now famous trading path included Smiths, Elliots, and Williamsons, all of whom have descendants in this area. Another brother Ezekiel married Mary Wilson and they became the grandparents of James K. Polk, born 1795, our eleventh President. James K. Polk's home is no longer standing, but an original cabin from that time period is kept there, symbolic of the one he was born in. This is now a state historic site. It has two reconstructed log cabins both from the local area being built c. 1790. They are furnished in period antiques similar to what the Polk's would have used. There is a main house, a cookhouse, log barn, and tours available by costumed guides.

With the coming of settlers there came traders. Transportation came soon after in the form of a stagecoach line. The first court ever held in Mecklenburg County is said to have been held in the cabin of Thomas Spratt. Among the families arriving about this time were the Morrows. They built their home on a high hill overlooking Little Sugar Creek. The Morrow Place also became a crossroad known as "Morrows Turnout". Pineville became known as a mule trading center during the time of the Charlotte 'gold rush'. At that time 'Pineville' was called 'Morrow's Turnout' Being located at the intersection of two major Indian trading routes. It had vast meadows in which the animals of trade and transportation could be 'turned-out' to pasture.

In 1852 the Charlotte, Columbia & Augusta Railway was put in operation. A passenger and freight station was built at Morrow's Turnout. In this area there were many large and beautiful pine trees casting their shadows over the community. Thus, when the newly painted sign went up on the Railroad Depot, the name Pineville was displayed.

Pineville became an Incorporated municipality in 1873. In 1900, the town boasted a population of 585 souls, two bar rooms, and ten stores, and an average sale of 6,000 bales of cotton from the surrounding farms. Today only 3,600 bales are grown in the entire county of Mecklenburg. Pineville also became a large mule trading center and an important credit market. Sam Younts, a blacksmith from Davidson, moved here and made a fortune in the credit business. The tax rate in 1900 was one percent. Ministers of the three churches were: Presbyterian, J. R. McAlpine (for whom McAlpine Creek is named); Methodist, H. C. Sprinkle; Baptist, A. L. Stough (for whom the present Stough Memorial Baptist Church is named).

Later in the 1890s Dover Yarn Mills established a cotton mill in Pineville. This later became Cone Mills, Inc. which operated in the town until the late 1970s.

Pineville was changed forever when the initial segment of Interstate 485 opened to traffic—a one-mile (1.6 km) stretch connecting interchanges at NC Highway 51 and South Boulevard. Although it was designed to divert through traffic around Charlotte via a freeway loop, I-485 incidentally passed directly through Pineville.

In the years to follow, largely undeveloped land adjacent to Pineville's two I-485 interchanges exploded into what is presently the largest shopping district in North Carolina. With nearly 8,000,000 square feet (743,000 m2) of retail space, Pineville is home to the 1,100,000-square-foot (102,000 m2) Carolina Place Mall, at least two power centers and many strip malls, outparcels and free-standing retailers.

The situation in Pineville is a textbook example of urban sprawl. Because it was largely motivated by the introduction of a freeway to the area, the Pineville shopping district generally requires a motor vehicle for access. Despite 8,000,000 square feet (743,000 m2) of new retail space, the population of Pineville today, slightly less than 4,000, is barely greater than it was in 1990. This is partly a consequence of Pineville's geographic location. Sandwiched between Charlotte and the South Carolina state line, Pineville cannot expand its municipal boundaries. However, substantial undeveloped land was available prior to the introduction of I-485. Yet it was rapidly purchased by developers and approved for retail uses nearly without exception, quickly sealing Pineville's fate as a place that is known to many but home to few.

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Education in the Pineville Area

Education in the Pineville area is of prime importance to the citizens of Pineville.  Below is listed some of the schools that a child in the Town of Pineville may be assigned and their school reports, for private schools click here.  The first link is to the school's website and the second is to the school report card.



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