Davidson, N.C. is an iconic college town decorated with cozy cafes, historic architecture and park-like settings; all centered around the distinguished Davidson College. With a population of 11,750, Davidson maintains an intimate and romantic atmosphere, showcasing elegant and restored homes dating as far back as the late 1800’s. Davidson gained significance in the year 1837, the year Davidson College was founded. Unlike most towns in this time period, Davison was not founded by railroad expansion, but was instead formed by education and commerce. Davidson College’s presence caused the town to take shape very uniquely as the campus, filled with classic scholastic architecture, distinguished Davidson from other communities. The college extended beyond the campus into the entire town, influencing commerce, culture, and the character of its architecture.
As the number of students steadily increased, the faculty did as well, creating a need for more residential construction. Businesses began to move into the area, especially cotton mills, which stimulated the economy and caused even more residential growth. After World War II, the economy shifted, resulting in the closing of most cotton mills and other manufacturing. However, new advanced commerce along Main Street and the recent tremendous development around Charlotte has revitalized Davidson’s growth. Many are attracted to the idea of a small, picturesque college town located within commuting distance of a big city. The local businesses are now characterized by restaurants and boutiques, but the landmark, Davidson College, continues to be the town focus, shaping Davidson into an intellectual and cultural center. Through preservation and restoration, both old residents and new have discovered innovative ways to sustain the historical character of Davidson.