Cornelius was founded in 1893 and officially incorporated in 1905. Originally named Liverpool, the name was changed to Cornelius in honor of Joseph Benjamin Cornelius, the principal stock holder of one of the cotton mills established in the town. By the early 1900’s, commerce in Cornelius was centered around the cotton and textile industry and many of its citizens worked in one of the town’s two mills.
“Cornelius had a skyscraper, but it fell over and was called Brick Row.”
A Community Hub
The name “Brick Row” is a throwback to the name given by the residents to the string of shops located in the center of town that served as a cultural hub during its humble beginnings. In the early 1900s, Cornelius was a fast-growing area in which commerce centered around the cotton and textile industry. Many citizens worked in one of the town’s two mills. The place they met on a daily basis was Brick Row.
The original Brick Row was home to a pool hall, sandwich shop, post office, barber shop, showers, jewelry store, meat market, shoe repair, and more. Community happened at Brick Row, and now with the resurgence of the area through the arts, Brick Row is again a hub. This time for the creative exchange of ideas and pursuit of a more connected way of life.
Old Town Cornelius—Today
OTC is quickly becoming a hub for a vibrant and flourishing arts scene. Known for its popular breweries, OTC is making a name for itself as a destination for culture of all kinds: from boutique stores and bottle shops, to farm-to-fork restaurants and live music venues, OTC has something for everyone.
While spotlighting the unique character in re-purposing historic buildings into creative community hubs, we tell the story of our heritage, we celebrate Cornelius present day through its old town roots.