Susan V. Mayer with SVM Historical Consulting conducts research into a wide range of historical periods and topics. As she’ll tell you, “I’ll research anything!” Here’s a selection of the topics into which she has delved:
From Rails to Roads, Public Transportation in Charlotte, North Carolina, 1890-1960. Master’s thesis, UNC Charlotte. (2013) Susan conducted exhaustive research into the history of public transportation in Charlotte, starting with the first mule- and horse-drawn cars in the 1880s. With the introduction of electric streetcars and the development of Dilworth in 1891, the growth of Charlotte was on! It further intensified as the automobile came into play, and by the 1930s the streetcar had been fully replaced with buses. By then, practically all development in Charlotte was now focused on car-centric infrastructure, and public transportation continued to wane in usage through the 1950s as the postwar suburbs blossomed on the edges of the city. Susan’s research showed that by 1960, public transportation in Charlotte had regressed from one utilized by all citizens in its early days to a symbol of inequity inefficiently carrying those unable to afford automobiles around the city.
Modernist Architecture in Charlotte, North Carolina, 1945-1980. (2019) Susan was contracted by the Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission to conduct a survey of modernist architecture in Charlotte. The non-comprehensive survey took approximately one year and examined the modernist infrastructure of the city between 1945 and 1980. The purpose of the project was to identify properties that exemplified the modernist built environment of Charlotte. The first step of this survey utilized virtual field evaluation of potential historic properties in areas of known growth during the temporal scope. From this initial survey, which identified over 2,000 relevant properties, a list of potentially notable properties to be recommended for the commission’s study list for local landmark designation was drafted. Approximately 350 properties were then subject to field evaluation and historical research to determine their value within Charlotte’s modernist context. The final results of this survey, which focused on 83 notable properties, was presented to the commission’s Survey Committee, which makes recommendations for the study list and local landmark designation. The deliverables for this project included a slide presentation of the historical context, methodology, and results of the survey and a spreadsheet of all properties surveyed. Susan has continued her research into Charlotte’s mid-century modern architecture even after the completion of this project, which you can regularly see on the @svmhistorical Instagram and Facebook pages.