Charlotte, North Carolina: Wikis


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City of Charlotte
—  City  —
Center City Charlotte

Nickname(s): "The Queen City", "The QC", "The Hornet's Nest", "Crown Town"
Location in Mecklenburg County in the state of North Carolina
Coordinates: 35°13′37″N 80°50′36″W / 35.22694°N 80.84333°W / 35.22694; -80.84333
Country  United States
State  North Carolina
County Mecklenburg County, North Carolina seal.png Mecklenburg County
Settled 1755
Incorporated 1768 (as a town, later a city)
 - Type Council-manager
 - Mayor Anthony Foxx, (D)
 - City 286.0 sq mi (629.0 km2)
 - Land 242.3 sq mi (627.5 km2)
 - Water 0.6 sq mi (1.6 km2)
Elevation 751 ft (229 m)
Population (2009)[1][2]
 - City 716,874 (18th)
 Density 2,515.7/sq mi (971.3/km2)
 Metro 1,725,759
 - Demonym Charlottean
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 28201-28237, 28240-28247, 28250, 28253-28256, 28258, 28260-28262, 28265-28266, 28269-28275, 28277-28278, 28280-28290, 28296-28297, 28299
Area code(s) 704, 980
FIPS code 37-12000[3]
GNIS feature ID 1019610[4]

Charlotte (pronounced /ˈʃɑrlət/) is the largest city in the state of North Carolina and the seat of Mecklenburg County. Charlotte's population was estimated to be 687,456 in 2008,[1] making it the 18th largest city in the United States. The Charlotte metropolitan area had a population in 2007 of 1,701,799.[2] The Charlotte metropolitan area is part of a wider thirteen-county labor market region or combined statistical area that has an estimated population of 2,338,289.[5] Residents of Charlotte are referred to as "Charlotteans".

Nicknamed the Queen City, Charlotte and the county containing it are named in honor of the German Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg, who had become queen consort of British King George III the year before the city's founding. A second nickname derives from later in the 18th century. During the American Revolutionary War, British commander General Cornwallis occupied the city but was driven out afterwards by hostile residents, prompting him to write that Charlotte was "a hornet's nest of rebellion," leading to another city nickname: The Hornet's Nest.

Charlotte has a temperate climate. It is located halfway between the Appalachian Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean, and between Washington, D.C. and Atlanta, Georgia. Charlotte is located along the Catawba River and near Lake Norman, the largest lake in North Carolina.

Forbes named Charlotte as the third most undervalued real estate markets in the U.S. in 2007.[6] In 2008, Charlotte was chosen the "Best Place to Live in America" by in its annual ranking, based on factors including employment opportunities, crime rates, and housing affordability.[7] It was also named #8 of the 100 "Best Places to Live and Launch" by; cities were picked for their vibrant lifestyles and opportunities for new businesses.[8] Lifestyle was also noted when in 2007 Prevention Magazine rated the city the fourth best "Walking City" in the nation, and the best in North Carolina,[9] and Self Magazine named it one of "Five Cities with Big Outdoor Appeal" for features like its Public Art Walking Tour, accessible museums such as the Mint Museum of Craft + Design, and nearby outdoor excursions like the U.S. National Whitewater Center.



Replica of James K. Polk birthplace on outskirts of Charlotte, North Carolina

The current land of Mecklenburg County has a long and storied history that involves being located in five different counties since 1696 or over 300 years of existence. Retracing the exact beginning of Mecklenburg goes back to its inclusion as a part of Bath County (1696-1729) of New Hanover Precinct of The House Of Hanover royalty in England. Bath County became New Hanover County (1729-present) that split into Bladen County (1734-present) and then Anson County (1750-present). The current Mecklenburg (1762-present) saw Cabarrus County split off (1792-present) and Union County (1842-present) to its current land size.

Interestingly, future Mecklenburg county once part of Bath, New Hanover, Bladen and Anson counties did not take its final form until 1842. Edward Teach, aka Blackbeard the pirate born in England in 1680 was part of the Royal Navy before becoming the most famous pirate recorded in history, took up residence in Bath County and married a local girl before being killed in 1718 on Okracoke Island in Hyde County NC after terrorizing and extorting Charleston SC harbor for months. His ship Adventure was sank by Lieutenant Robert Maynard who cut off the head of Teach and mounted on his ships bow.

It can be claimed that current Mecklenburg in its fifth and final county namesake was inclusive in the original Bath County over 300 yrs ago inhabited by Blackbeard whose massive treasures buried in the same county have never been found.

The area that is now Charlotte was first settled in 1755 when Thomas Polk (uncle of United States President James K. Polk), who was traveling with Thomas Spratt and his family, stopped and built his house of residence at the intersection of two Native American trading paths between the Yadkin and Catawba rivers.[10] One of the paths ran north-south and was part of the Great Wagon Road; the second path ran east-west along what is now modern-day Trade Street. In the early part of the 18th century, the Great Wagon Road led settlers of Scots-Irish and German descent from Pennsylvania into the Carolina foothills. Within the first decades following Polk's settling, the area grew to become the community of "Charlotte Town," which officially incorporated as a town in 1768.[11] The crossroads, perched atop a long rise in the Piedmont landscape, became the heart of modern Uptown Charlotte. In 1770, surveyors marked off the new town's streets in a grid pattern for future development. The east-west trading path became Trade Street, and the Great Wagon Road became Tryon Street, in honor of William Tryon, a royal governor of colonial North Carolina.[12] The intersection of Trade and Tryon is known as "Trade & Tryon" or simply "The Square."[10] It is more properly called Independence Square.[13]

Both the town (now a city) and its county (originally a part of Anson County) are named for Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, the German-born wife of British King George III. The town name was chosen in hopes of winning favor with the crown,[14] but tensions between the United Kingdom and Charlotte Town began to grow as King George imposed unpopular laws on the citizens in response to the townspeople's desire for independence.[15] On May 20, 1775, the townsmen allegedly signed a proclamation later known as the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, a copy of which was sent, though never officially presented, to the Continental Congress a year later.[16] The date of the declaration appears on the North Carolina state flag. Eleven days later, the same townsmen met to create and endorse the Mecklenburg Resolves, a set of laws to govern the newly independent town.[17]

Charlotte was a site of encampment for both American and British armies during the Revolutionary War and, during a series of skirmishes between British troops and Charlotteans, the village earned the lasting nickname "Hornet's Nest" from frustrated Lord General Charles Cornwallis.[18] An ideological hotbed of revolutionary sentiment during the Revolutionary War and for some time afterwards, the legacy endures today in the nomenclature of such landmarks as Independence Boulevard, Independence High School, Independence Center, Freedom Park, Freedom Drive, and the former NBA team Charlotte Hornets.

Churches, including Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, Episcopalians, Lutherans, and Catholics, began to form in the early 1800s, eventually giving Charlotte its nickname "The City of Churches."[19]

In 1792 the eastern half of Mecklenburg county made up of small rural independent farmers tired of traveling all day by horse and buggy to the county seat of Charlotte Town decided to go to Raleigh and secede to form its own county in the state legislature where they garnered a tie vote that was broken by an ex-naturalized Frenchman, eastern NC legislator Stephen Cabarrus. Cabarrus was thought to have been paid under the table by this new county and was allegedly hanged for horse thievery years later. The new county was named for Cabarrus and the town of Concord became its county seat. Oddly in 1799 or years before as many believe, in Cabarrus allegedly a 12-year-old Conrad Reed brought home a large gold rock he found in Little Meadow Creek, weighing about 17 pounds, which the family used as a bulky doorstop. Three years later, a jeweler determined that it was near solid gold, and bought it for a paltry $3.50.[20] The first verified gold find in the fledgling United States, young Reed's discovery became the genesis of the nation's first gold rush. Many veins of gold were found in the area throughout the 1800s and even into the early 1900s, thus the founding of the Charlotte Mint in 1837 for minting local gold. The state of North Carolina "led the nation in gold production until the California Gold Rush of 1848,"[21] although the total volume of gold mined in the Charlotte area was dwarfed by subsequent rushes. Charlotte's city population at the 1880 Census grew to 7,084.[22] Some locally based groups still pan for gold occasionally in local (mostly rural) streams and creeks. The Reed Gold Mine operated until 1912. The Charlotte Mint was active until 1861, when Confederate forces seized the mint at the outbreak of the Civil War. The mint was not reopened at the end of the war, but the building survives today, albeit in a different location, now housing the Mint Museum of Art.

The city's first boom came after the Civil War, as a cotton processing center and a railroad hub. Population leapt again during World War I, when the U.S. government established Camp Greene north of present-day Wilkinson Boulevard. Many soldiers and suppliers stayed after the war, launching an ascent that eventually overtook older and more established rivals along the arc of the Carolina Piedmont.[23]

The city's modern-day banking industry achieved prominence in the 1970s and 1980s, largely under the leadership of financier Hugh McColl. McColl transformed North Carolina National Bank (NCNB) into a formidable national player that, through a series of aggressive acquisitions became known as NationsBank and eventually merged with BankAmerica and was rebranded as Bank of America. Another bank, Wachovia, experienced similar growth, and was acquired by San Francisco based Wells Fargo. Measured by control of assets, Charlotte is the second largest banking headquarters in the United States after New York City.[24]

On September 22, 1989, the city took a direct hit from Hurricane Hugo. Passing through Charlotte as a Category 1 hurricane with wind gusts over 100 mph (160 km/h) in some locations, Hugo caused massive property damage and knocked out electrical power to 98% of the population. Many residents were without power for several weeks and cleanup took months to complete. The city is just over 200 miles inland, and many residents from coastal areas in both Carolinas often wait out hurricanes in Charlotte. The city was caught unprepared, as almost no one expected a storm to strike with hurricane force this far inland. Over 80,000 trees were destroyed in Charlotte. In December 2002, Charlotte (and much of central North Carolina) was hit by an ice storm (which some dubbed, "Hugo on Ice") that knocked out power to over 1.3 million Duke Energy customers. According to a Duke Energy representative: "This ice storm surpasses the damage from Hurricane Hugo in 1989, which had 696,000 outages." During an abnormally cold December, many were without power for more than two weeks. Much of the damage was caused by Bradford pear trees which, still having leaves on December 4, split apart under the weight of the ice.


Historical populations
Year Pop.  %±
1850 1,065
1860 2,265 112.7%
1870 4,473 97.5%
1880 7,094 58.6%
1890 11,557 62.9%
1900 18,091 56.5%
1910 34,014 88.0%
1920 46,338 36.2%
1930 82,675 78.4%
1940 100,899 22.0%
1950 134,042 32.8%
1960 201,564 50.4%
1970 241,420 19.8%
1980 315,474 30.7%
1990 395,934 25.5%
2000 540,828 36.6%
2008* 687,456 27.1%

As of 2008, census estimates show there are 687,456 people living within Charlotte's city limits, and 935,304 in Mecklenburg County. The Combined Statistical Area of Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord, NC-SC had a population of 2,338,289.[5] Figures from the more comprehensive 2000 census show Charlotte's population density to be 861.9/km² (2,232.4/sq mi). There are 230,434 housing units at an average density of 951.2/sq mi (367.2/km²).[26][27]

As of the 2005-2007 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, White Americans made up 56.0% of Charlotte's population; of which 50.3% were non-Hispanic whites. African Americans made up 33.7% of Charlotte's population; of which 33.2% were non-Hispanic blacks. Hispanics and Latinos made up 10.6% of Charlotte's population. American Indians made up 0.4% of the city's population; of which 0.3% were non-Hispanic. Asian Americans made up 4.0% of the city's population. Pacific Islander Americans made up 0.1% of the city's population. Individuals from some other race made up 4.0% of the city's population; of which 0.2% were non-Hispanic. Individuals from two or more races made up 1.8% of the city's population; of which 1.3% were non-Hispanic.[28][29]

The median income for a household in the city is $48,670, and the median income for a family is $59,452. Males have a median income of $38,767 versus $29,218 for females. The per capita income for the city is $29,825. 10.6% of the population and 7.8% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 13.8% of those under the age of 18 and 9.7% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 242.9 square miles (629 square kilometers). Out of that, 242.3 sq. mi. (627.5 km²) of it is land and 0.6 sq. mi. (1.6 km²) of it is water. The total area is 0.25% water.

Charlotte constitutes most of Mecklenburg County in the Carolina Piedmont. Uptown/downtown Charlotte sits atop a long rise between two creeks and was built on the gunnies of the St. Catherine's and Rudisill gold mines. There is much disagreement about the use of the interchangeable terms "Uptown" and "Downtown" for the center city area. Prior to the late 1980s, the term "Downtown" was always used as a reference for Charlotte's center city area and many area residents still use the "Downtown" term. On February 14, 1987, the Charlotte Observer began calling the center city area "Uptown" in order to help promote a positive image of the area.[30]

Charlotte's elevation is 870 feet above sea level (at Charlotte/Douglas International Airport).

A 2007 American Lung Association report[31] ranks Charlotte as having the 16th highest levels of smog among U.S. cities; however, the region's air quality has improved significantly in recent years, and is expected to continue to do so, even with increasing travel.[32]



Charlotte is located in North America's humid subtropical climate zone. The city has cool to cold winters and warm, humid summers. In January, morning lows average around 29 °F (-2 °C) and afternoon highs average 51 °F (10.5 °C). In July, lows average 71 °F (22 °C) and highs average 90 °F (32 °C). The highest recorded temperature was 104 °F (40 °C) on September 6, 1954 and during the August 2007 Southeastern heat wave.[33] The lowest recorded temperature was -6 °F (-21 °C) in January 1985. Charlotte's location puts it in the direct path of subtropical moisture from the Gulf as it heads up the eastern seaboard along the jet stream, thus the city receives ample precipitation throughout the year but also a very large number of clear, sunny, and pleasantly warm days. On average, Charlotte receives about 43.52 in (1105.3 mm) of precipitation annually, including 6 inches of snow and more frequent ice-storms.

Climate data for Charlotte, North Carolina
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 79
Average high °F (°C) 51
Average low °F (°C) 32
Record low °F (°C) -6
Precipitation inches (mm) 4.00
Snowfall inches (mm) 2.0
Avg. rainy days 10 10 11 9 10 9 11 10 7 7 8 10 112
Source: The Weather Channel[34][35] August 2009


Charlotte has become a major U.S. financial center and is now the second largest banking center in the United States (after New York). The nation's largest financial institution by assets, Bank of America, calls the city home. The city was also the former corporate home of Wachovia until its purchase by Wells Fargo in 2008; Wells Fargo is in the process of integrating Wachovia, with the two banks expected to be fully merged by the end of 2011. Bank of America's headquarters, along with other regional banking and financial services companies, are located primarily in the uptown financial district. Thanks in large part to the expansion of the city's banking industry, the Charlotte skyline has mushroomed in the past two decades and boasts the Bank of America Corporate Center, the tallest skyscraper between Philadelphia and Atlanta. The 60-story postmodern gothic tower, designed by renowned architect Cesar Pelli, stands 871 feet tall and was completed in 1992.[citation needed] Electrolux recently decided to relocate their North American headquarters to Charlotte from Augusta, Georgia. Electrolux will also consolidate all of their North American offices into the new Charlotte headquarters. Swedish-based Husqvarna recently announced that they will relocate their North American headquarters to Charlotte from Augusta also.

The following Fortune 500 companies are headquartered in the Charlotte metropolitan area, in order of their rank: Bank of America, Lowe's in suburban Mooresville, Nucor (steel producer), Duke Energy, Sonic Automotive, Family Dollar, Goodrich Corporation, and SPX Corporation (industrial technology). Other major companies headquartered in the Metro Charlotte include Time Warner Cable (formerly a business unit of Fortune 500 company Time Warner), Continental Tire North America (formerly Continental/General Tire), Muzak, Belk, Harris Teeter, Meineke Car Care Center, Lance, Inc, Bojangles', Carlisle Companies, LendingTree, Compass Group USA, Food Lion, Coca-Cola Bottling Consolidated Company (the nation's second largest Coca-Cola bottler), and the Carolina Beverage Corporation (makers of Cheerwine, Sun Drop, and others) in suburban Salisbury, North Carolina.[citation needed] US Airways regional carrier CCAir was headquartered in Charlotte.[36][37] Charlotte is home to several large shopping malls, with Carolina Place Mall, SouthPark Mall and Northlake Mall being the largest.[citation needed]

NASCAR Hall of Fame

Charlotte is also a major center in the US motorsports industry, with NASCAR having multiple offices in and around Charlotte. Approximately 75% of the NASCAR industry's employees and drivers are based within two hours of uptown Charlotte. Charlotte is also the future home of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, expected to be open May 11, 2010, a week prior to the Sprint All-Star Race. The already large presence of the racing technology industry along with the newly built NHRA premier dragstrip, zMAX Dragway at Concord, located just north of Charlotte, is influencing some of the top professional drag racers to move their shops from more expensive areas like California to the Charlotte area as well. The recently announced small racetrack at the former Metrolina Fairgrounds location which is at Sunset and Statesville Roads is expected to bring more local racing to the area along with a skate park, shoppes, restaurants and an upscale hotel will offer recreation of many types. Located in the western part of Mecklenburg County is the National Whitewater Rafting Center, consisting of man-made rapids of various degrees and is open to the public year round.[38]

The Charlotte Region has an extraordinary base of energy-oriented organizations and has become known as “Charlotte USA – The New Energy Capital.” In the region there are 180+ companies directly tied to energy sector; collectively they employ 13,200+ workers. Since 2007, more than 3,500 new energy sector jobs have been announced. Major energy players in Charlotte: Duke Energy, AREVA, Electric Power Research Institute, Fluor, Metso Power, Piedmont Natural Gas, Siemens Energy, Shaw Group, Toshiba, URS/Washington Group and Westinghouse. Babcock and Wilcox just announced its relocation to Charlotte. There are a number of renewable energy firms and projects that have developed in Charlotte. The University of North Carolina at Charlotte has a long-term reputation in energy education and research; it has the “Energy Production and Infrastructure Center” on campus to train energy engineers and do research.

The center city/uptown area of Charlotte has seen remarkable growth over the last decade. Numerous residential units continue to be built uptown, including over 20 skyscrapers either under construction, recently completed, or in the planning stage. Many new restaurants, bars and clubs now operate in the Uptown area. Several projects are transforming the Midtown Charlotte/Elizabeth area.[39]

Law, government and politics

Charlotte has a council-manager form of government. The Mayor and city council are elected every two years, with no term limits. The mayor is ex officio chairman of the city council, and only votes in case of a tie. Unlike other mayors in council-manager systems, Charlotte's mayor has the power to veto ordinances passed by the council; vetoes can be overridden by a two-thirds majority of the council. The council appoints a city manager to serve as chief administrative officer.

Unlike some other cities and towns in North Carolina, elections are held on a partisan basis. The current mayor of Charlotte is Anthony Foxx, a member of the Democratic Party.

Charlotte tends to lean Democratic. However, voters are friendly to moderates of both parties. Republican strength is concentrated in the southeastern portion of the city, while Democratic strength is concentrated in the south-central, eastern and northern areas.

The city council comprises 11 members (7 from districts and 4 at-large). The Democrats currently control the council with an advantage of 8-to-3. Of the at-large seats, Democrats won three out of four in the last election.[40] While the city council is responsible for passing ordinances, many policy decisions must be approved by the North Carolina General Assembly as well, since North Carolina municipalities do not have home rule. Since the 1960s, however, municipal powers have been broadly construed.

Charlotte is split between three congressional districts on the federal level—the 8th, represented by Democrat Larry Kissell; the 9th, represented by Republican Sue Myrick; and the 12th, represented by Democrat Mel Watt.


The residents of Charlotte are provided emergency medical service by MEDIC, the Mecklenburg EMS Agency. MEDIC responded to over 93,000 calls for help in 2008, and transported over 71000 patients to the hospital.[41] The Agency employs nearly 350 Paramedics, EMTs, and EMDs. In addition to dispatching Medic’s EMS calls, the Agency also dispatches all county fire calls outside of the city of Charlotte.[42] At any given time, between 20 and 40 ambulances will be deployed to cover the county. In addition, MEDIC will deploy tactical SWAT paramedics, bike teams, and vehicles equipped to deal with mass casualty incidents should the needs arise.

Law enforcement and crime

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department

CMPD is a combined jurisdiction agency. The CMPD has law enforcement jurisdiction in both the City of Charlotte, and the few unincorporated areas left in Mecklenburg County. The other small towns maintain their own law enforcement agencies for their own jurisdictions. The Department consists of approximately 1,700 sworn law enforcement officers, 550 civilian personnel and more than 400 volunteers.[43] The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department divides the city into 13 geographic areas, which vary in size both geographically and by the number of officers assigned to each division.

The total crime index for Charlotte is 589.2 crimes committed per 100,000 residents as of 2008 and has shown a steady decline since 2005.[44] The national average is 320.9 per 100,000 residents.[45]

According to the Congressional Quarterly Press; '2008 City Crime Rankings: Crime in Metropolitan America, Charlotte, North Carolina ranks as the 62nd most dangerous city larger than 75,000 inhabitants.[46] However, the entire Charlotte-Gastonia Metropolitan Statistical Area ranked as 27th most dangerous out of 338 metro areas.[47]


Charlotte has 199 neighborhoods which span from Uptown to Ballantyne. Uptown has undergone a massive construction phase with buildings from Bank of America, Wells Fargo and multiple condos. Elizabeth Avenue has also had large residential buildings under construction. On Kenilworth and Charlottetowne Avenues, near Carolinas Medical Center, the Metropolitan, a major mixed-use project, was recently completed. Apart from these, the Ballantyne area has also seen a lot of growth and construction in the last several years. It provides for several choice office parks and mixed-use developments for the growing urban population as well companies looking to establish space or relocate.

Charlotte Pano.jpg

Education and libraries

School system

The city's public school system, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, is the second largest in North Carolina and 20th largest in the nation. In 2009 it won the NAEP Awards, the Nation's Report Card for urban school systems with top honors among 18 city systems for 4th grade math, 2nd place among 8th graders.[48][49] About 132,000 students are taught in 161 separate elementary, middle and high schools.

The west side of UNC Charlotte's main campus
Facade of the Main Library in Uptown Charlotte
ImaginOn Children's Library

Colleges and universities

Charlotte is home to a number of notable universities and colleges such as Johnson & Wales University, Queens University of Charlotte, Johnson C. Smith University, Charlotte School of Law, Connecticut School of Broadcasting and University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Located in the nearby suburb of Davidson is Davidson College, ranked in the top 10 nationally among liberal arts colleges according to U.S. News & World Report. UNC Charlotte is the city's largest higher education institution. It is located in University City, the northeastern portion of Charlotte, which is also home to University Research Park, a 3,200 acre (13 km²) research and corporate park. At 24,000 students and counting, UNC Charlotte is the fastest-growing university in the state system and the fourth largest. Central Piedmont Community College is the city's junior college system and the largest community college in North Carolina and South Carolina.[50] There are multiple campuses, all in the Charlotte metro area.

Pfeiffer University has a satellite campus in Charlotte and Wake Forest University, with its main campus in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, also operates a satellite campus of its Babock Graduate School of Management in the SouthPark neighborhood. Wake Forest is currently looking to move the campus to Uptown Charlotte.[51]


The Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County serves the Charlotte area with a large collection (over 1.5 million) of books, CDs and DVDs at 19 locations in the city of Charlotte. There are also branches in the surrounding townships of Matthews, Mint Hill, Huntersville, Cornelius and Davidson. All locations provide free access to Internet-enabled computers and WiFi and a library card from one location is accepted at all 24 locations.

Although the Library's roots go back to the Charlotte Literary and Library Association, founded on January 16 1891,[52] the state-chartered Carnegie Library which opened on the current North Tryon site of the Main Library was the first non-subscription library opened to members of the public in the city of Charlotte. The philanthropist Andrew Carnegie donated $25,000 dollars for a library building on the condition that the city of Charlotte donate a site, and $2500 per year for books and salaries,[53] and that the state grant a charter for the library. All conditions were met, and the Charlotte Carnegie Library opened in a imposing classical building on July 2, 1903.

The 1903 state charter also required that a library be opened for the disenfranchised African-American population of Charlotte. This was completed in 1905, with opening of the Brevard Street Library for Negroes, an independent library[54] in Brooklyn, a historically black area of the city of Charlotte, on the corner of Brevard and East Second Street (now Martin Luther King Blvd.) The Brevard Street Library was the first library for free blacks in the state of North Carolina,[54] some sources say in the southeast.[55] This library was closed in 1961 when the Brooklyn neighborhood in Second Ward was redeveloped, but its role as a cultural center for African-Americans in Charlotte is continued by the Beatties Ford branch, the West branch and the Belmont Center branch of the current library system, as well as by Charlotte's African-American Cultural Center.


The Billy Graham Library and Birth Place in Charlotte, NC

The birthplace of Billy Graham, Charlotte is locally known as the "The City of Churches."(Charlotte is the historic seat of Southern Presbyterianism), but the changing demographics of the city's increasing population have brought scores of new denominations and faiths to the city. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Wycliffe Bible Translators' JAARS Center, and SIM Missions Organization make their homes in Charlotte. In total, Charlotte proper has 700 places of worship.

The Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America is headquartered in Charlotte, and both Reformed Theological Seminary and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary have campuses there; more recently, the Religious Studies academic departments of Charlotte's local colleges and universities have also grown considerably.

Charlotte's Cathedral of Saint Patrick is the seat of the bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte. The largest Christian congregation within Charlotte is that of St. Matthew Catholic Church. The Traditional Latin Mass is offered by the Society of St. Pius X at St. Anthony Catholic Church in nearby Mount Holly. The Traditional Latin Mass is also offered at St. Ann, Charlotte, a church under the jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Charlotte.

The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church (AME Zion) is headquartered in Charlotte.

There are other religious institutions in the Charlotte area, including two Unitarian Universalist Churches and the Eidolon Foundation.[56]

The Salvation Army's headquarters for the North and South Carolina Division is located in Charlotte, as well as many local corps community centers and Boy's and Girl's Clubs.

Charlotte has the largest Jewish population in the Carolinas. Shalom Park, in South Charlotte is the hub of the Jewish community, featuring two synagogues Temple Israel (Charlotte, North Carolina) and Beth El (Charlotte, North Carolina) and a community center. Islam is represented by an active Islamic Center of Charlotte.



The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts+Culture



Club Sport Founded League Venue
Carolina Panthers Football 1995 National Football League Bank of America Stadium
Charlotte Bobcats Basketball 2004 National Basketball Association Time Warner Cable Arena
Charlotte Checkers Ice hockey starts in 2010 AHL Time Warner Cable Arena
Charlotte Checkers Ice hockey 1993 ECHL Time Warner Cable Arena
Charlotte Knights Baseball 1976 International League Knights Stadium, Fort Mill, SC
Charlotte Eagles Soccer 1993 USL-2 Waddell Stadium
Charlotte Lady Eagles Soccer 1993 W-League Waddell Stadium
Carolina Speed Indoor football 2006 American Indoor Football Association Bojangles' Coliseum
Charlotte Rugby Football Club Rugby union 1989 Rugby Super League Skillbeck Athletic Grounds
Charlotte Roller Girls Flat Track Roller Derby 2006 USA Roller Sports Grady Cole Center
NWA Charlotte Professional Wrestling 2009 National Wrestling Alliance NWA Charlotte Coliseum[57]


LYNX Light Rail opened in November 2007
People board a LYNX train on Stonewall station
Air Force One takes off from Charlotte/Douglas International Airport, with the Charlotte skyline in the background

Mass transit

The Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) is the agency responsible for operating mass transit in Charlotte, and Mecklenburg County. CATS operates light rail transit, historical trolleys, express shuttles, and bus service serving Charlotte and its immediate suburbs. The LYNX light rail system comprises a 9.6-mile line north-south line known as the Blue Line. Bus ridership continues to grow (66% since 1998), but more slowly than operations increases which have risen 170% in that same time when adjusted for inflation.[58] The 2030 Transit Corridor System Plan looks to supplement established bus service with light rail and commuter rail lines as a part of a system dubbed LYNX.

Roads and highways

Charlotte's central location between the population centers of the northeast and southeast has made it a transportation focal point and primary distribution center, with two major interstate highways, I-85 and I-77, intersecting near the city's center. Charlotte's beltway, designated I-485 and simply called "485" by locals, is partially completed but stalled for funding. The new projection has it slated for completion by 2013.[59] Upon completion, 485 will have a total circumference of approximately 67 miles (108 km). Within the city, the I-277 loop freeway encircles Charlotte's downtown (usually referred to by its two separate sections, the John Belk Freeway and the Brookshire Freeway) while Charlotte Route 4 links major roads in a loop between I-277 and I-485. Independence Freeway, which carries US 74 and links downtown with the Matthews area is undergoing an expansion and widening in the eastern part of the city.


Charlotte/Douglas International Airport is the 8th busiest airport in the U.S. and 9th busiest in the world as measured by traffic.[60] It is served by many domestic airlines, as well as international airlines Air Canada and Lufthansa, and is the largest hub of US Airways. Nonstop flights are available to many destinations across the United States, as well as flights to Canada, Central America, the Caribbean, Europe, Mexico, and South America.

Intercity rail

Charlotte is served daily by three Amtrak routes.

The city is currently planning a new centralized multimodial train station called the Gateway Station. It is expected to house the future LYNX Purple Line, the new Greyhound bus station, and the Crescent line that passes through Uptown Charlotte.

Sister cities

Charlotte's sister cities are:[61]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Annual Estimates of the Population for Incorporated Places Over 100,000, Ranked by July 1, 2008 Population". US Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-04-10. 
  2. ^ a b "Table 1. Annual Estimates of the Population of Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2008". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2009-09-29. 
  3. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  4. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. ^ a b "Table 2. Annual Estimates of the Population of Combined Statistical Areas: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2008". US Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-12-18. 
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ Charlotte-Named-Best-Place-to-Live: Personal Finance News from Yahoo! Finance
  8. ^ [2]
  9. ^ ____/fitness/walking/walking.goals/
  10. ^ a b "The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Story: History Timeline: Founding a New City". Web Site. Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. Retrieved 2008-10-25. 
  11. ^ Mecklenburg County, North Carolina USGenWeb Project
  12. ^ "The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Story: History Timeline: Designing a New City". Web Site. Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. Retrieved 2008-10-25. 
  13. ^ "101 Independence Center". Retrieved 2008-10-15. 
  14. ^ "The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Story: History Timeline: Charlotte Incorporated". Web Site. Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. Retrieved 2008-10-25. 
  15. ^ "The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Story: History Timeline: King's Power". Web Site. Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. Retrieved 2008-10-25. 
  16. ^ The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Story: History Timeline: Mecklenburg Declaration
  17. ^ "The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Story: History Timeline: Mecklenburg Resolves". Web Site. Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. Retrieved 2008-10-25. 
  18. ^ "The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Story: History Timeline: Revolutionary War". Web Site. Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. Retrieved 2008-10-25. 
  19. ^ "The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Story: History Timeline: The City of Churches". Web Site. Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. Retrieved 2008-10-25. 
  20. ^ Blanchard Online: American Rarities (Retrieved on 05-22-07)
  21. ^ This entire scenario has been questioned over the ages since it seemed to be a very odd timely coincidence that large gold quantities and deposits were discovered at roughly the same time these eastern Mecklenburg farmers wanted to split away and form their own county leading many to believe it was a rigged and in the end we know Mecklenburg lost half its county size including all the gold and in the end only got to be a federal mint for this first discovery in America of this extremely valuable ore as hundreds of mines sprang up all the new county mining many mega millions that in today's prorated values would total in the tens of billions of more. Most of the poor farmers thus became very wealthy selling or renting their farmland to the gold mine companies. This massive gold rush lasted 50 years or until the 1849 discovery of gold in northern California hills west [sic] of San Francisco [sic] and Sacramento that created the second great American gold rush boom town. In retrospect it seems fairly obvious as many knew in those olden days that Mecklenburg county as a whole was quite literally tricked and robbed of half its land size and all of its gold plus the historical significance of being the original place of gold discovery by a mere band of uneducated farmers. Much of this version of events has been covered up or lost in time. In those early days not long after the Revolutionary War of 1776 it was not uncommon for secessionism to prevail, but in hindsight the massive scheming trickery of these rural farmers to prevail in Raleigh, literally stealing 50% of the county away and all of the gold, is quite stunning and breathtaking; but it has been forgotten over the more than 200 years. This highly engineered secessionist success could go down as one of the greatest masterminded plots in US history and much bigger than even today's Ponzi schemes. Also using the small boy with the doorstop myth may go down as one of the all time greatest ploys. The Charlotte Branch Mint
  22. ^ "The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Story". Web Site. Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. Retrieved 2008-10-25. 
  23. ^ "The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Story: History Timeline: Antebellum Days". Web Site. Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. Retrieved 2008-10-25. 
  24. ^ "The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Story: History Timeline: 80s Charlotte". Web Site. Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. Retrieved 2008-10-25. 
  25. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Population for Incorporated Places Over 100,000". U.S. Census Bureau. 
  26. ^ "Mecklenburg County MapStats from FedStats". US Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-04-10. "Population of Census records circa 2006" 
  27. ^ "Charlotte city, North Carolina - ACS Demographic and Housing Estimates: 2006". US Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-04-10. "Charlotte Demographics and Population circa 2006" 
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^ "The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Story: History Timeline: 'Down' becomes 'Up'". Web Site. Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. Retrieved 2008-10-25. 
  31. ^ American Lung Association, Annual Air Quality Report Card (2007)
  32. ^ "Charlotte: Regional Trends" (PDF). 2007 John Locke Foundation. pp. 2. Retrieved 2007-10-18. 
  33. ^ Weather History
  34. ^ "Average Weather for Charlotte, NC - Temperature and Precipitation". Retrieved August 30, 2009. 
  35. ^ "Weatherbase: Historical Weather for Charlotte, NC, United States of America". Weatherbase. Retrieved August 30, 2009. 
  36. ^ "World Airline Directory." Flight International. March 22-28, 1995. 82. Retrieved on July 25, 2009.
  37. ^ "World Airline Directory." Flight International. March 23, 1999. 68. Retrieved on September 30, 2009.
  38. ^
  39. ^
  40. ^
  41. ^
  42. ^
  43. ^
  44. ^
  45. ^
  46. ^
  47. ^
  48. ^ [3]
  49. ^
  50. ^ CHLT - Colleges
  51. ^ "Wake Forest University plans for growth and increases commitment in Charlotte". Wake Forest University. 2009-05-22. Retrieved 2009-005-22. 
  52. ^ "Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County: A century of service". Web Site. Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. Retrieved 2008-10-25. 
  53. ^ "Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County: A century of service". Web Site. Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. Retrieved 2008-10-25. 
  54. ^ a b "Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County: A century of service". Web Site. Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. Retrieved 2008-10-25. 
  55. ^ " Web Site". Retrieved 2008-10-25. 
  56. ^ Eidolon Foundation - Home
  57. ^ NWA Charlotte Coliseum
  58. ^
  59. ^ News 14 | 24 Hour Local News | TOP STORIES
  60. ^
  61. ^ Charlotte International Cabinet

Further reading

  • Hanchett, Thomas W. Sorting Out the New South City: Race, Class, and Urban Development in Charlotte, 1875-1975. 380 pages. University of North Carolina Press. August 1, 1998. ISBN 0-8078-2376-7.
  • Kratt, Mary Norton. Charlotte: Spirit of the New South. 293 pages. John F. Blair, Publisher. September 1, 1992. ISBN 0-89587-095-9.
  • Kratt, Mary Norton and Mary Manning Boyer. Remembering Charlotte: Postcards from a New South City, 1905-1950. 176 pages. University of North Carolina Press. October 1, 2000. ISBN 0-8078-4871-9.
  • Kratt, Mary Norton. New South Women: Twentieth Century Women of Charlotte, North Carolina. Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County in Association with John F. Blair, Publisher. August 1, 2001. ISBN 0-89587-250-1.

External links

Simple English

City of Charlotte
—  City  —
Nickname(s): The Queen City, The "Q.C."
Coordinates: 35°13′37″N 80°50′36″W / 35.22694°N 80.84333°W / 35.22694; -80.84333
Country United States
State North Carolina
 - Mayor Pat McCrory, (R)
 - Total 280.5 sq mi (629.0 km2)
Elevation 751 ft (229 m)
Population (Population (Jan.1,2008))[1]
 - Total 695,995
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
Area code(s) 704, 980

Charlotte is the biggest city in the state of North Carolina and is one of the biggest cities in the United States. In January, 2008, there were about 695,995 people living in Charlotte.[2]



The first people settled at the place where Charlotte is in 1755 when a man named Thomas Polk built a house near two Native American trading paths. More people started living in the area and in 1768 it became a town named Charlotte Town.[3] It was named after the wife of King George III because the people wanted him to like them.[4] But he did not, and soon he started passing laws that the people in Charlotte did not like. So, on May 20, 1775, the people in Charlotte signed a proclamation that later was called the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence.[5] They did not want to be ruled by the king anymore so eleven days later they had a meeting and made new laws for their town.[6]

In the early 1800s, many churches started to form in Charlotte. That is why Charlotte is sometimes called “The City of Churches.”[7]

In 1799, a boy found a big rock. When a jeweler told his family that it was gold, the first gold rush in the United States started.[8] A lot of gold was found. More gold was found in North Carolina then any other state until the California Gold Rush of 1848.[9] Some people in Charlotte still enjoy looking for gold.

After the Civil War Charlotte became a busy town. Cotton farmers brought their cotton to Charlotte to ship it on trains. Even more people started living in Charlotte during World War I. When the war ended a lot of people stayed in the city.

Today the city is known for it’s many banks. Charlotte is the second biggest banking city in the world. Only New York City has more banks.[10]


Charlotte has many different kinds of weather throughout the year. In the winter the temperature sometimes goes below 32 °F (0 °C) and in the summer it has gone up to 104 °F (40 °C). The city usually gets about 43.52 inches (1105.3 mm) of precipitation a year. Most of it is rain. It does not snow much in Charlotte.

This table shows the average temperature and rainfall each month:

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Avg high °F(°C) 54 (12) 56 (13) 64 (18) 73 (23) 80 (27) 87 (31) 90 (32) 88 (31) 82 (28) 73 (23) 63 (17) 54 (12) 72 (22)
Avg low temperature °F(°C) 32 (0) 34 (1) 42 (6) 49 (9) 58 (14) 66 (19) 71 (22) 69 (21) 63 (17) 51 (11) 42 (6) 35 (2) 51 (11)
Rainfall inches (millimeters) 4.00 (101.6) 3.55 (90.2) 4.39 (111.5) 2.95 (74.9) 2.66 (93.0) 3.42 (86.9) 3.79 (96.3) 3.72 (94.5) 3.83 (97.3) 3.66 (93.0) 3.36 (85.3) 3.18 (80.8) 43.52 (1105.3)


Banking is very important in Charlotte. Many banks, such as Bank of America and Wachovia have headquarters in the city. There are also many other big companies in Charlotte. There are many skyscrapers (tall buildings) in Charlotte.

NASCAR also has many offices in Charlotte and in the towns around Charlotte.


Charlotte has a council-manager kind of government. This means that there two main leaders in Charlotte: the city council who makes the laws, and the city manager who makes sure everybody follows the laws.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department is in charge of keeping everyone in the city safe. The are about 1600 police officers in the Police Department.


The city’s public school system, called Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, is the second biggest school system in North Carolina. The school system has about 132,000 students.[11]

There is a university, called the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, in Charlotte. Right now there are about 22,000 students who go to this university. There is also a community college, called Central Piedmont Community College, in the city. It is the biggest community college in both North or South Carolina.[12] Charlotte has many private universities as well.


There are many professional sports teams in Charlotte. Some of them are:

Charlotte also has several parks and other public places for people to enjoy.


Mass Transportation

There are many public busses to help people get around the city. In 2007 Charlotte began a mass transit light rail system. Charlotte also has a system of small trains called LYNX.


Charlotte's International Airport name Charlotte/Douglass, which is the 11th busiest airport in the world.


Because Charlotte is in the middle of the east coast of the U.S., a lot of people drive through the city every day. Charlotte has many big interstates to handle all the traffic. But many people think Charlotte does not have good roads. They are big, but they were not planned well.


Amtrak runs three different trains every day in Charlotte. People can ride these trains to the following cities:



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