Historic Latta Plantation
Backstory and Context
James Latta was the original builder and inhabitant of the land. An Irish immigrant, Latta was a successful traveling merchant until 1820, when he retired and turned his land into a cotton plantation. With over 700 acres, Latta relied on the work of the 34 enslaved individual to run his farm. In 1837 Latta passed away, and his wife sold the land to David Harry. In 1985, Harry sold the land to William Sample, who owned the property until 1922. The home was sold to a local company who rented the land to tenant farmers, and eventually abandoned in the 1950s.
Today the property is owned by Mecklenburg County, and the Parks and Recreation Department are responsible for the land. The home, farming process, and equipment are run by the Latta Place, Inc., a non-profit created specifically to maintain the structural and historical significance of the home and land. The Latta Place, Inc. was initiated in 1970s, in recognition of the historical significance of the property. With intentions to restore the home, the non profit managed to raise over $100,000 to complete the necessary renovations. In 1972, the Plantation was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Today guests are able to visit the home, grounds, and farming equipment on site. The Latta Plantation offers guided tours of the historical home, and the grounds are available to self tour. Throughout the year the plantation offers these tours daily, along with 35 special events throughout the year, summer camps, homeschool programs, and workshops.
One of the unique features of Latta Plantation is the farming experience visitors can take part in, including short staple cotton growing, and a honeybee exhibit. On site are several breeds of rare and endangered historic livestock guests can interact with. Additionally, there is an exhibit on the enslaved African Americans who would have lived at Latta Plantation, included reenactments, interpretive history, relevant statistics, and artifacts from the property. The Plantation also offers a child focused interactive learning center, including crafting, old fashion toy making, and playing games that were common in the 1800s.
The property also contains the Ezekiel Alexander Log Home, a historical building created between 1760 and 1790. The building once resided in Charlotte, but was moved to the property for preservation and public observance.
The Latta Plantation resides within the Latta Plantation Nature Preserve, an 1,300 acre nature center. Visitors are able to hike, fish, horseback ride, and picnic in the field, forest or lakeside environments that exist within the preserve.