Charlotte, North Carolina

For other places or people named Charlotte, see Charlotte (disambiguation).

Charlotte, North Carolina
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Charlotte City Logo. 2005 Charlotte, NC
Location of Charlotte, North Carolina
County Mecklenburg
 - Total
 - Water

629.0 km² (242.9 mi²)
1.6 km² (0.6 mi²) 0.25%

 - City Proper
 - Metropolitan
 - Density


Time zone Eastern: UTC-5


35°14' N
80°50' W

City of Charlotte Official Website (

Charlotte, one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States, is the country's second biggest banking center. Nicknamed the Queen City, Charlotte is located in the Metrolina region of North Carolina and South Carolina. It is the largest city in the Carolinas and county seat of Mecklenburg CountyTemplate:GR.



Charlotte was founded in the 1750s at the intersection of two Indian trading paths, one of which was the north-south Great Wagon Road, which is followed closely today by U.S. Route 21. In the 18th century, the Great Wagon Road led settlers of Scotch-Irish and German descent from Pennsylvania into the Carolina foothills. These settlers were known for rugged industriousness and individualism due, in part, to their Presbyterian conviction. The crossroads where the village of Charlotte Town was founded, which sat atop a long rise in the Piedmont landscape, is today the heart of modern downtown Charlotte; the former trading paths are now known as Trade and Tryon Streets, the latter named for William Tryon, a royal governor of colonial North Carolina.

Charlotte Skyline
Charlotte Skyline

The village, established by Thomas Polk, uncle of United States President James K. Polk, was named for Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, the German wife of British King George III.

The filiality to King George and his consort was short-lived, however. On May 20, 1775, townsmen signed a set of resolves that later became known as the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence. A copy was sent to the Continental Congress a year later. Though Thomas Jefferson would deny having borrowed content from the Mecklenburg declaration, his 1776 Declaration of Independence featured language similar to the Charlotte document.

Charlotte played a critical role during the Revolutionary War, site of encampment for both the American and British main armies. During a series of skirmishes between British troops and fiesty Charlotteans the village earned a lasting nickname, "Hornets' Nest," so dubbed by a frustrated Lord General Cornwallis. Charlotte was an ideological hotbed of revolutionary sentiment, an enduring legacy proclaimed today throughout the city in the nomenclature of such landmarks as Independence Boulevard, Independence High School, Freedom Park, Freedom Drive, et al.

The Civil War largely bypassed Charlotte, though the city was the site of the Confederate Cabinet's final meeting. Confederate president Jefferson Davis was in Charlotte when he received news of Abraham Lincoln's assassination.

Charlotte's history as a financial center is extensive. In 1838 the U.S. Congress established a branch U.S. Mint there, because of the gold deposits found in the area. Additionally, an 1836 executive order issued by President Andrew Jackson called a specie circular had mandated all land transactions be conducted in cash, thus incresing the need for minted money. The Charlotte mint, which produced coins in denominations of $2.50, $5, $10, and after 1849, $1, was active until 1861, when Confederate forces seized the mint facility 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, and now houses the Mint Museum. Because of the relatively small mintage the Charlotte mint produced annually, surviving pieces are prized in the field of American numismatics.

The city's banking industry achieved greater prominence in the 1970s, 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, would eventually become Bank of America. Another Charlotte-based bank, First Union, made similar acquisitions, and is now Wachovia. Nearly all of the high-rise towers in the city are named after banks. Today, Charlotte is the second biggest banking center in the country after New York City.

Charlotte's penchant for looking ahead -- a drive for economic development that kicked into particularly high gear during the mid-20th century -- has created something of a historical apathy in the city. Most traces of antebellum Charlotte are long gone, and preservationists often struggle to maintain landmarks in the face of modern-minded boosters, a key reason Charlotte is often regarded as a "new" American city despite the fact it is actually one of the oldest.

Harvey Gantt, the first African-American mayor of Charlotte, was elected in 1983 and served until 1987. Sue Myrick defeated him in an upset in 1987, and served until 1991. Richard Vinroot served as mayor from 1991 to 1995. Patrick McCrory succeeded him in office and, in 2003, won re-election to a fifth term.

The Charlotte metropolitan area has attracted many people from the Northeast, especially from Buffalo, New York. Buffalonians (Buffalo residents) have taken to calling the city "Buffalo South".


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 629.0 km² (242.9 mi²). 627.5 km² (242.3 mi²) of it is land and 1.6 km² (0.6 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 0.25% water.

Charlotte constitutes most of Mecklenburg County in the Carolina Piedmont. Uptown Charlotte (so named because it sits atop a long rise between two creeks) was built on the gunnies of the St. Catherine's and Rudisill gold mines. It is not uncommon for construction crews to break into the abandoned gunnies and have to pour several tons of cement to fill them.


  • Uptown is a late 20th century appelation for the original city, which was divided into four political wards in the 19th century. Today the First and Fourth Wards (roughly west and east of North Tryon Street, respectively) are largely residential, the Fourth Ward housing the remainder of Charlotte's 19th century Queen Anne architecture. The center of Uptown is The Square, the intersection of Trade and Tryon Streets and the point of convergence of all four wards. Uptown is the location for the skyscrapers of the city's banking industry, as well as the Bank of America Football Stadium and the future Uptown Arena, where the NBA Bobcats will play. The Charlotte campus of Johnson & Wales University, the Museum of the New South and an uptown branch of the Mint Museum of Art are also located Uptown.
  • South End is the area around South Boulevard below the John Belk Freeway (I 277), stretching beyond East Boulevard. It was an area of light industry and cotton mills for much of its history; however, today its formerly industrial buildings have been converted into loft apartments, restaurants and shops.
  • Dilworth, Charlotte's initial streetcar suburb, was developed in the 1890s on 250 acres southwest of the original city limits. It was planned largely with a grid pattern similar to the original four wards of Uptown, and indeed was originally designated the city's Eighth Ward. Dilworth is centered on East Boulevard and lies to the east of the South End. Today Dilworth is popularly known as a neighborhood for Charlotte's young professional families drawn to its historic turn of the century architecture and traditional neighborhood feel.
  • Myers Park is one of the city's prestige addresses, an area with some of the citys oldest large houses and streets lined with towering oaks grown at James B. Dukes farm in New Jersey. The Myers Park neighborhood is centered around Queens Road and was designed by John Nolen of Boston in 1911. Like all early American suburbs, Myers Park was initially a "streetcar suburb" whose residents commuted to town daily on the electric trolley car. Nolen discarded the original grid street pattern of Uptown and Dilworth and instead planned avenues following the areas topography. Myers Park is largely a product of the building boom of the 1920s, though some residences date from 1912. The primary style is Colonial Revival, especially the red brick style of the Virginia colony. Bungalow influences are also important, particularly in the few dozen houses dating from the 1910s, including some of the neighborhood's grandest houses. The Tudor Revival is a third major architectural mode, and Myers Park includes some of the finest Tudor Revival dwellings in the state. The area was developed with less green space and smaller lots than originally envisioned, and in the 1960s much of the Nolen-designed area was even zoned for redevelopment, and only in the last few years have Nolen and Draper's contributions begun to be appreciated and safeguarded.
  • Eastover
  • Central Avenue
  • NoDa The "arts district" on and around North Davidson Street. This was formerly the site of a textile mill and the homes of mill workers. Recently, there has been a great deal of development in the area, including adapting the old mill building into condos/artists lofts.


Charlotte is located in North America's humid subtropical climate zone. The city has mild winters and hot, humid summers. Residents of this area have historically sought relief from the summer time heat by vacationing in the nearby Blue Ridge and Smoky mountain ranges. As was the case throughout most of the southern United States, Charlotte did not have large concentrations of major industries or corporate offices until after the advent of air conditioning.

In January, morning lows average around 32 °F (0 °C) and afternoon highs average 51 °F (11 °C). In July, lows average 71 °F (22 °C) and highs average 90 °F (32 °C). On average, Charlotte receives 43.51 in. of precipitation annually.

Metropolitan area

In 2004, population in the City of Charlotte was 614,330, according to the US Census 2003 Estimate. Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill metropolitan area is a metropolitan area composed of the counties of Mecklenburg, Gaston, Lincoln, Cabarrus, Union, Rowan, and Stanly in North Carolina and crosses the stateline into South Carolina with York County. The population of the metropolitan area was at 1.5 million in the 2000 US Census.


Colleges and universities in Charlotte

Business and development

Today's Uptown Charlotte is a major financial center, home to the headquarters of Bank of America, Wachovia and other national banks. The Charlotte skyline has mushroomed in recent years and features the Bank of America Corporate Center, designed by Cesar Pelli. At 871 feet, it is the tallest building between Philadelphia and Atlanta.

The following Fortune 500 companies are headquartered in Charlotte:

IBM also has a large presence in Charlotte.


The city's location has made it a longtime transportation focal point and major trucking center, with two major interstate highways, I-85 and I-77, intersecting within the city's boundaries. An interstate bypass, designated I-485 and nicknamed the "Outerbelt", is under construction and slated for completion in 2013. No streets in Charlotte run north-south or east-west, and street names are astonishingly similar due to the fact many of the city's earliest roads outside the uptown area were named for churches at the furthest ends of their routes, such as Sardis, Sharon and Providence Churches—all Presbyterian—and secondary roads in their vicinities also employed the same churches' names (e.g. Sharon View Road)[1] (

The Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) provides bus service, express shuttles, historical trolleys and a free downtown circulator called Gold Rush. CATS has undertaken a south corridor light rail project, scheduled for completion later this decade, that will run from Uptown to suburban Pineville. Other corridors are planned for light rail, along with bus rapid transit. Commuter rail is planned from Uptown to the suburbs of Huntersville, Cornelius, Davidson and Mooresville.

Charlotte Douglas International Airport is served by many international and domestic airlines. Formerly the base for Piedmont Airlines, it is the busiest hub of US Airways. Nonstop flights are available to destinations across the United States, Europe, Caribbean, Latin America and Canada.

Amtrak's Crescent and Carolinian and Piedmont trains connect Charlotte with the cities of New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Richmond, Raleigh, Atlanta, Birmingham and New Orleans. The Amtrak station is situated at 1914 North Tryon Street.

The city harbors a wide system of parks and greenways, recreational areas that can be used by pedestrians and bicyclists.


As of 2004, census estimates show there are 614,330 people living in Charlotte, and 801,137 in Mecklenburg County. The county's population is projected to reach 1 million in 2010.

Figures from the more comprehensive 2000 census show Charlotte's population density to be 861.9/km² (2,232.4/mi²). There are 230,434 housing units at an average density of 367.2/km² (951.2/mi²).

Charlotte's population is ethnically diverse. The racial makeup of the city is: 58.26% white / 32.72% black / 7.36% Hispanic or Latino of any race / 3.41% Asian (including Indians (largely Gujarati), Chinese, and Vietnamese) / 0.34% Native American / 0.05% Pacific Islander / 3.56% from other races / 1.66% from two or more races

  • The demography makeup of Charlotte is changing rapidly with the White percent declining and the Black, Hispanic, Asian, and "Other" race increasing. (Black and Hispanic are fastest)

More 2000 census data:

There are 215,449 households out of which 30.6% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.6% are married couples living together, 13.7% have a female householder with no husband present, and 38.6% are non-families. 29.5% of all households are made up of individuals and 6.3% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.45 and the average family size is 3.07.

In the city the population is spread out with 24.7% under the age of 18, 10.4% from 18 to 24, 36.2% from 25 to 44, 19.9% from 45 to 64, and 8.8% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 33 years. For every 100 females there are 96.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 93.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $46,975, and the median income for a family is $56,517. Males have a median income of $38,767 versus $29,218 for females. The per capita income for the city is $26,823. 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.



The nickname "Hornets" has long been apart of Charlotte sports. This comes from the city's nickname, the "Hornet's nest" (see above).

The first time the name was used for a sports team was in 1901 when the newly formed baseball club adopted the name.

In 1988, the National Basketball Association placed an expansion franchise in Charlotte named the Hornets. In 2002, the team moved to New Orleans, Louisiana and kept the Hornets name. Charlotte was awarded another expansion team in 2004 named the Charlotte Bobcats in honor of team owner Bob Johnson.


Charlotte has been home to the NFL's Carolina Panthers since 1996. The city was home to the World Football League's Charlotte Hornets for 1974 and 1975. Charlotte has also been home to two Arena Football League teams, the Charlotte Rage and Carolina Cobras.


The NBA's Charlotte Bobcats began play in 2004. (The NBA's Charlotte Hornets played in Charlotte from 1988 until 2002, when the troubled franchise relocated to New Orleans, Louisiana). The WNBA Charlotte Sting have played in Charlotte since 1997.

Auto racing

Charlotte is the de facto hub of stock car racing, with two major NASCAR events (the Coca-Cola 600 and the Quality 500) held annually at nearby Lowe's Motor Speedway (formerly the Charlotte Motor Speedway). Many of Nascar's top teams are headquartered in the Charlotte area. Rural Charlotte's rugged dirt tracks, such as Metrolina Speedway, were birthing grounds for some of racing's most famed figures, including the late Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty.


Charlotte is home to the Charlotte Eagles of the United Soccer Leagues.


Baseball has a long, rich history in the Queen City. Dating back to 1901 when the Charlotte Hornets were formed. It's currently home to the Triple-A Charlotte Knights, the top minor-league affiliate of the Chicago White Sox.


The birthplace of Billy Graham and onetime home of the PTL Club, Charlotte was once known as the "City of Churches." Of those who practice a religion, most Charlotteans are Christian of various Protestant denominations.

The Catholic presence in Charlotte began increasing during the 1980s when a series of significant corporate transfers (e.g., IBM, Gold Bond) brought thousands of New Yorkers into the area. Catholic congregations continue to expand with the growth of Latino immigration.

The Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America is headquartered in Charlotte, and Reformed Theological Seminary has a campus there.

Jewish synagogues (Temple Beth El, Reform, Temple Israel, Conservative, and an Orthodox congregation) are located in Shalom Park, on Providence Road. The Lubavitch synagogue is located on Sardis Road.

Charlotte area has five mosques: Islamic Society of Greater Charlotte (Plaza Rd.), Islamic Center of Charlotte(Off of Central Ave.), Masjid Ash-Shaheed(Tuckaseegee Rd.), South Musallah (Pineville),and Islamic Society of Gastonia (Gastonia). There is also Charlotte Islamic School, a private school from PreK-9 near Presbyterian Hospital.

Hindus meet at the Hindu Center off Independence Boulevard near Idlewild Road or the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) temple off of Margret Wallace Road. Sikhs have a gurudwara near mineral springs road.

External links


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 0807823767.

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