(Part 1 of 4)
See what happened in 1963 when the city celebrated its 300,000th resident.
Nobody foresaw the candy stampede.
By Porter Munn, Observer Staff Writer
June 20, 1963
A crowd of about 2,000 persons scrambling for 300,000 candy kisses at Independence Square Wednesday created the wildest excitement the Square had seen in many a day.
The occasion was a Chamber of Commerce-sponsored welcome for the 300,000th Mecklenburg resident. Two dump trucks piled a small mountain of candy kisses before Mrs. Barbara Keelan, Mrs. 300,000th resident.
Mrs. Keelan invited the crowd to help themselves. The onlookers, about half of them youngsters, stampeded for the free sweets.
In seconds little kids were being trampled, frantic mamas were screaming and the air was full of candy kisses. Police and firemen pushed their way to the center of the struggling, wriggling mass and flung armloads of the candy to the outskirts of the crowd.
The candy scramble kept police and program officials occupied for about 20 minutes or so, but the crowd remained generally good natured. Finally all the candy disappeared except those kisses that were too badly trampled to be claimed.
The welcome show was staged on a flatbed trailer parked at the Square. Chamber of Commerce committeemen had piled more than 75 gifts valued at $1,500 on the trailer.
The gifts came from Charlotte and Mecklenburg merchants and manufacturers and will be delivered to the Keelan's home at 511 Manhasset Road. The include mattresses, chairs, crystal, mirrors, dresses, soft drinks, shoes, a camp stove and many other items.
Mrs. Keelan said the party could be considered a big observance of their 3rd wedding anniversary, which fell on Tuesday, the day of her arrival in Charlotte.
Next installment: 'A Pretty Surprise'
511 Manhasset Rd. Google photo: May 2014.