The history of the property which now contains Dilworth Billiards is intimately bound up with the history of Dilworth, the streetcar suburb which Edward Dilworth Latta (1851-1925), president of the Charlotte Consolidated Construction Company, or Four C's, opened just outside Charlotte on May 10, 1891. The southeastern quadrant of the intersection of Cleveland Ave. and Tremont Ave. was a component of the residential village for workers at the Atherton Mill. The yarn mill, erected and owned by legendary industrialist and New South prophet Daniel Augustus Tompkins (1851-1914), went into full operation in April, 1893. The plant still stands beside the railroad tracks to the immediate west of South Boulevard, although the Atherton Mill itself went out of business during the Great Depression. The D.A. Tompkins Company purchased an entire block in Dilworth, and erected twenty frame cottages thereon to rent to its mill hands. The lot on which Dilworth Billiards now sits was part of that tract. Conditions there were far from idyllic. The deafening din of the machinery earned the factories the title of "hummers" and dimmed plans for Dilworth as a fashionable community. Accidents at the mill were frequent, such as the mangling of a worker's hands in 1893, or the death of an overseer entangled in the belting apparatus in 1902. Brawls were common among the industrial hands residing in Dilworth, where they and their families found themselves living a regimented and stultifying existence in the shadow of the industries that demanded so much of their time. Typical of the ambitious, pragmatic entrepreneurs of the New South, Latta showed little sympathy for the class of urban industrial laborers. "Benevolence has no rightful place in any real estate deal," he insisted. When the Atherton Mill went out of existence, the former mill village was acquired by the Atherton Realty Co. in 1938 and offered for sale. Al Goodman, who lived at 1801 Sharon Lane and operated a shoe store at 204 N. Tryon St., bought the lot in 1940 and sold to A. J. Gocking, head of a cotton waste company, in January, 1944. The person responsible for erecting the building that is now Dilworth Billiards was John H. Barnes, who acquired the lot in 1946, and secured a building permit from the City of Charlotte on May 31, 1947. The initial occupant was a wholesale distributor of photographic supplies, Alfred J. Levit, Inc. After Joseph W. Eshelman & Co., a manufacturers' representative, leased the building in 1955, W. P. Younger & Co., agents for cutting and grinding tools, held possession of the property from 1956 until 1960. Over the next twenty years, the building changed hands several times, sometimes being used as a warehouse and other times, left vacant. By 1980, Dilworth was beginning to undergo another transformation. The neighborhood had become a local historic district and was attracting higher income residents. No longer as attractive for use as a warehouse, the building was occupied in the early 1980's by Dilworth Billiards, which later purchased the property in 1984. Dilworth Billiards continues to be the owner and occupant of the building at 300 E. Tremont Ave.
By Dan L. Morrill