Charlotte, North Carolina, is located in the Piedmont Region of North Carolina, and is centered between the Sugar and Irwin Creeks. The city was built upon the land left behind from the St. Catherine’s and Rudisill gold mines which were abandoned in the early 1900s. Despite the proximity to the Catawba River, the lack of waterways has made Charlotte the epicenter for air, railway, and highway travel in North Carolina.
Considered the “shining jewel,” of North Carolina; Charlotte was established in 1768 and was named for the wife of King George III of England: Charlotte Sophia of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. The citizens of the city, however, were far from royalists as shown when, during the American Revolutionary War in 1780, the angry citizens rose up and drove out the British troops, leading to General Charles Conrwallis famously referring to Charlotte as a “hornet’s nest of rebellion.” Charlotte was also home to the United States’ first gold rush in 1799 after a 12-year old boy discovered a seventeen pound solid gold rock that his family had been using as a doorstep. However, Charlotte truly blossomed after the American Civil War when it became known as the cotton processing center and railroad hub of North Carolina.
Lifestyle & Area Attractions
Possibly the most well-known and publicized attraction in Charlotte is the Carowinds Amusement and Water Park. The sprawling 407 acre amusement park is home to more than fifty roller coasters, with the main attraction being the Fury 325: the world’s tallest and fastest giga roller coaster, stretching 325-feet into the air and travelling a breathtaking 95 miles-per-hour. Carowinds is also home to a wide variety of much less intense roller coasters suitable for those travelling with young children, or even for those who prefer a less extreme way of relaxing. The Yo-Yo is a perfect example of such a ride, suspending riders from an elevated, rotating, and slanting tower which spins and allows the rider to peacefully and calmly glide through the Carolina sky.
For a less thrilling experience one may visit any of Charlotte’s numerous museums, including the Aviation Museum of the Carolinas, the NASCAR Hall of Fame, or the Mint Museum of Art. The Discovery Place of Science hosts some of the most high-tech and interesting exhibits, including their current “Being Me” exhibit which utilizes high tech Kinect technology to allow patrons to explore human anatomy in a personal and in-depth way never before seen.
Charlotte is also home to a variety of beautiful parks and hiking trails that showcase the more natural wonders of Charlotte. Wing Haven, nestled away in one of the more urban areas of the city, is a bird sanctuary and French garden which sits on what was once the property of garden expert Elizabeth Lawrence. The Latta Nature Center and Preserve is another example of the beautiful scenery the Charlotte area offers. The Latta Nature Center offers sixteen miles of trails just waiting to be explored by hikers, cyclists, and horseback riders alike.
Charlotte is the second largest banking center in the United States, with Bank of America having its headquarters located in the city. Besides Bank of America, Charlotte is also home to six other Fortune 500 companies including Duke Energy and Lowes.
Charlotte is also home to the nation’s seventeenth largest school district: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) is home to 164 public elementary, middle, and high schools and educates an estimated 144,000 students. Charlotte also has a number of higher education institutions, both public and private, such as the University of North Carolina: Charlotte, Central Piedmont Community College, Wingate University, Belmont Abbey, and Davidson College.
In addition to the many prosperous industries and prestigious schools, Charlotte’s healthcare system, Atrium Health, is renowned for its mastery of multiple specialties with awards for departments of Cancer, Cardiology and Heart Surgery, Gastroenterology and GI Surgery, Neonatology, Nephrology, Neurology and Neurosurgery, Orthopedics, and Pulmonology.
Charlotte was once referred to as the “City of Churches,” due to the high number of churches in varying denominations built in the nineteenth century. Perhaps this was why world famous preacher, Billy Graham, chose to make Charlotte the base of operations for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. The Billy Graham Library is also located in Charlotte, is the largest museum in the city, sitting at 40,000 square feet.