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Mecklenburg Iron Works drawings

Identifier: MS0190

Scope and Contents

This collection is comprised exclusively of original blueprints of projects constructed by the Mecklenburg Iron Works of Charlotte, 1948-1968.


  • Creation: 1945 - 1968
  • Creation: 1948 - 1968


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.

Biographical / Historical

The exact date of the formation of the Mecklenburg Iron Works is unknown, as is ownership of the firm until its purchase in 1859 by Captain John Wilkes. There is evidence, though, that the firm existed as early as 1846. The son of Admiral Charles Wilkes, John was graduated first in his class at the U.S. Naval Academy in 1847. Following a stint in the U.S. Navy, Wilkes married and moved to Charlotte in 1854. Two years after he purchased the iron works, the Confederate government took it over and used it as a naval ordnance depot. After the Civil War, Wilkes regained possession of the Iron Works, which he operated until his death in 1908. His sons, J. Renwick and Frank, continued the business until 1950, when they sold it to C. M. Cox and his associates. Products varied over the years from mining machinery and naval ordnance to turpentine stills. During the 1950s and 1960s, the fabrication of structural steel, engineered tank work, and similar products came from the Iron Works' plant on North Summit Avenue. Until its sale to the Carolina Steel Corporation in the mid-1960s, the Mecklenburg Iron Works was the longest running enterprise doing business in Charlotte.


20 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Blueprints of projects constructed by a Charlotte firm, which was established in 1856 by John Wilkes and sold to Carolina Steel Corporation in the 1960s. Includes drawings for residences and commercial buildings, primarily in the Charlotte area.


The Mecklenburg Iron Works Records are arranged in a single, alphabetical project title series.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of the N.C. Division of Archives and History, 1986.

Related Materials

Park Road Shopping Center Drawings (Mss 210); Wilkes Family Papers (Mss 197); Mecklenburg Iron Works Records, Private Manuscript Collections, North Carolina State Archives.


[Sources: Hornets' Nest: The Story of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County (1961) and Guide to Private Manuscript Collections in The North Carolina State Archives (1981).]

Processing Information

Processed by Randy Penninger, 1994.

Mecklenburg Iron Works drawings
Randy Penninger
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscript Collections, J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections and University Archives, UNC Charlotte Repository

Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte
9201 University City Blvd
Charlotte NC 28223 United States

About this Site

Finding aids are guides to archival collections, including manuscripts, university records, and oral history collections. These guides help you find physical collections which can be viewed in the Dalton Reading Room on the 10th floor of Atkins Library. A small number of finding aids link to digital content online. Please contact us to learn more or to schedule an appointment:

Special Collections and University Archives
J. Murrey Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte
(704) 687-1170
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