Littered around Independence Square you’ll find four bronze statues created by sculptor Raymond Kaskey titled “Transportation,” “Commerce,” “Industry” and “Future.” The Transportation statue is of an African American laborer, paying homage to the city’s first railroads from the 1850s. The creation of this metro is what laid the foundation for Charlotte becoming a major transportation hub. You’ll also notice an eagle, which gives a nod to the city’s advancements in aviation. Next is the Commerce statue, which depicts someone panning for gold, commemorating the discovery of this valuable precious metal near Charlotte in 1799. You’ll also notice a figure of a banker underneath that’s part of the statue that references the opening of the U.S. Mint in the city in 1837. Then there’s the Industry statue, which shows a female textile factory worker with her child, representing a time before laws that banned such a practice. This art-spoken story all ties together with the Transportation, Commerce and Industry statues gazing toward the “Future” statue -- a sculpture of a mother with a child and the state dogwood flower -- representing the city’s fruitful economic past paving the way for a positive future.
The history behind the name of the square is interesting, although controversial. According to The Big Story, an Associated Press news website, the square is named after the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence. Some people believe this document was signed on May 20, 1775 -- before the colonies approved Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.