30 years ago David Copperfield performed one of the most death-defying illusions of his career right here in Charlotte – escaping the Hotel Charlotte demolition.
Here is the original video;
Hotel Charlotte was a 13-story luxury hotel in Uptown Charlotte on the corner of Trade and Poplar, originally opened in 1924.
Its official name was “Hotel Charlotte”, but it was also referred to as “Queen Charlotte Hotel” and “White House Inn,” having hosted Presidents Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, as well as Elvis Presley; Huey Long; Jack Dempsey and Babe Ruth. Bill Monroe and Roy Acuff even recorded in its 10th-floor studios, and Tommy Dorsey, Guy Lombardo and Kay Kyser performed in its ballroom.
Sadly, Hotel Charlotte closed for business on December 31, 1973, and on July 2, 1979, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
In the years following its closure, attempts were made to find developers who could rehabilitate and preserve the structure. However, as the building languished, it was severely vandalized and much of its interior plumbing and wiring stolen by looters.
The demolition of the building and accompanied Copperfield illusion has been cited by critics as symbolic of the city’s disinterest in preserving its past.