Part 2 of 4
(Link to Part 1 at bottom.)
June 20, 1963
Mecklenburg's 300,000th Citizen proved Wednesday to be Mrs. Barbara Keelan, 25, wife of Douglas Keelan, 26, salesman for the Borden Chemical Co. Ink Division, who was transferred here six weeks ago.
When Chamber of Commerce Publicity Chairman Robert J. Alander revealed that the honoree was an attractive blond the crowd at the welcoming ceremony seemed to think he was joking. They assumed it was a man.
Once the surprise wore off, everybody agreed that Mrs. 300,000th Citizen was the crowning touch to the idea of celebrating Mecklenburg's arrival in the 300,000 population bracket.
She and her husband and 4-month-old Laura Jeanne Keeler attended a reception at Manger Motor Inn after the welcoming ceremony, and Keelan told how they came to be the key couple.
'We are natives of Kalamazoo, Mich. We have been in Buffalo, N.Y., for a year and a half,' Keelan said. He was then transferred to Charlotte. 'I got the house at 511 Manhasset Road and moved in the furniture, then flew up to Michigan to drive Barbara and the baby here.
'During the weekend we got a call from my boss here saying the Chamber of Commerce wanted us in Charlotte Wednesday because they had figured out Barbara would be the 300,000th citizen. We left Kalamazoo Monday and drove into Charlotte late Tuesday.'
The baby was too young to take an active part in the activities at Independence Square so Chamber of Commerce employees Mrs. Ella Gardner and Mrs. Lee Burchett became the official babysitters. They took care of Laura Jeanne while her parents were getting the glad hand downtown.'