Charlotte, North Carolina

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Charlotte
City
City of Charlotte
Clockwise: UNC Charlotte, Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, Duke Energy Center, Charlotte's skyline, First Presbyterian Church of Charlotte, Charlotte Main Library and NASCAR Hall of Fame building
Clockwise: UNC Charlotte, Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, Duke Energy Center, Charlotte's skyline, First Presbyterian Church of Charlotte, Charlotte Main Library and NASCAR Hall of Fame building
Flag of Charlotte
Flag
Nickname(s): The Queen City, The QC, Crown Town, The Hornet's Nest, The Home of NASCAR, The Gem of the South, The CLT, Bank Town, Char-Town, City of Trees
Charlotte's location in Mecklenburg County in the state of North Carolina
Charlotte's 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; -80.84333Coordinates: 35°13′37″N 80°50′36″W / 35.22694°N 80.84333°W / 35.22694; -80.84333
CountryUnited States
StateNorth Carolina
CountyMecklenburg County
Settled1755
Incorporated1768 (as a town, later a city)
Government
 • TypeCouncil-manager
 • BodyCharlotte City Council
 • MayorPatrick Cannon, (D)
Area
 • City297.7 sq mi (771 km2)
Elevation751 ft (229 m)
Population (2012 estimate)[1][2]
 • City775,202 (17th)
 • Density2,457.0/sq mi (948.67/km2)
 • Urban1,249,442 (38th)
 • Metro2,296,569 (23rd)
 • DemonymCharlottean
Time zoneEST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST)EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code28201-28237, 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 code37-12000[3]
GNIS feature ID1019610[4]
Websitewww.charmeck.org
 
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Charlotte
City
City of Charlotte
Clockwise: UNC Charlotte, Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, Duke Energy Center, Charlotte's skyline, First Presbyterian Church of Charlotte, Charlotte Main Library and NASCAR Hall of Fame building
Clockwise: UNC Charlotte, Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, Duke Energy Center, Charlotte's skyline, First Presbyterian Church of Charlotte, Charlotte Main Library and NASCAR Hall of Fame building
Flag of Charlotte
Flag
Nickname(s): The Queen City, The QC, Crown Town, The Hornet's Nest, The Home of NASCAR, The Gem of the South, The CLT, Bank Town, Char-Town, City of Trees
Charlotte's location in Mecklenburg County in the state of North Carolina
Charlotte's 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; -80.84333Coordinates: 35°13′37″N 80°50′36″W / 35.22694°N 80.84333°W / 35.22694; -80.84333
CountryUnited States
StateNorth Carolina
CountyMecklenburg County
Settled1755
Incorporated1768 (as a town, later a city)
Government
 • TypeCouncil-manager
 • BodyCharlotte City Council
 • MayorPatrick Cannon, (D)
Area
 • City297.7 sq mi (771 km2)
Elevation751 ft (229 m)
Population (2012 estimate)[1][2]
 • City775,202 (17th)
 • Density2,457.0/sq mi (948.67/km2)
 • Urban1,249,442 (38th)
 • Metro2,296,569 (23rd)
 • DemonymCharlottean
Time zoneEST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST)EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code28201-28237, 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 code37-12000[3]
GNIS feature ID1019610[4]
Websitewww.charmeck.org

Charlotte /ˈʃɑrlət/ is the largest city in the U.S. state of North Carolina and the seat of Mecklenburg County. In 2012, the estimated population of Charlotte according to the U.S. Census Bureau was 775,202,[5] making it the 17th largest city in the United States based on population. The Charlotte metropolitan area ranks 23rd largest in the US and had a 2012 population of 2,296,569.[6] The Charlotte metropolitan area is part of a sixteen-county market region or combined statistical area with a 2011 U.S. Census population estimate of 2,442,564.[7] Residents of Charlotte are referred to as "Charlotteans". Charlotte is considered a "Gam­ma+ world city".

The city is a major U.S. financial center, the second largest financial center by assets following New York City.[8] Bank of America and the East Coast operations of Wells Fargo are headquartered in the city. Charlotte is also home of the Carolina Panthers of the National Football League, the Charlotte Bobcats of the National Basketball Association, the Charlotte Hounds of Major League Lacrosse, the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Carowinds amusement park, and the U.S. National Whitewater Center.

Nicknamed the Queen City, Charlotte and its resident county are named in honor of Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, who had become queen consort of Great Britain the year before the city's founding. A second nickname derives from the American Revolutionary War, when British commander General Cornwallis occupied the city but was driven out by hostile residents, prompting him to write that Charlotte was "a hornet's nest of rebellion", leading to the nickname The Hornet's Nest.

Charlotte has a humid subtropical climate. Charlotte is located several miles east of the Catawba River and southeast of Lake Norman, the largest man-made lake in North Carolina. Lake Wylie and Mountain Island Lake are two smaller man-made lakes located near the city.

History[edit]

Before the American Revolution[edit]

Mecklenburg County was initially part of Bath County (1696 to 1729) of New Hanover Precinct, which became New Hanover County in 1729. The western portion of New Hanover split into Bladen County in 1734, its western portion splitting into Anson County in 1750. Mecklenburg County formed from Anson County in 1762, with further apportionment in 1792, with Cabarrus County formed from Mecklenburg, and in 1842, with Union County formed from Mecklenburg's southeastern portion. These areas were all part of one of the original six judicial/military districts of North Carolina known as the Salisbury District.[9]

The area that is now Charlotte was settled by people of European descent around 1755 when Thomas Spratt and his family settled near what is now the Elizabeth neighborhood. Thomas Polk (granduncle of U.S. President James K. Polk), who later married Thomas Spratt's daughter, built his house by the intersection of two Native American trading paths between the Yadkin and Catawba rivers.[10] One path ran north–south and was part of the Great Wagon Road; the second path ran east–west along what is now Trade Street. Within decades of Polk's settling, the area grew to become "Charlotte Town", incorporating in 1768.[11] The crossroads, perched atop the Piedmont landscape, became the heart of Uptown Charlotte.

In 1770, surveyors marked the 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 commonly known today as "Trade & Tryon" or, simply, "The Square",[10] is more properly called Independence Square.[13]

While surveying the boundary between the Carolinas in 1772, William Moultrie stopped in Charlotte Town, whose five or six houses were "very ordinary built of logs".[14]

In 1775, local leaders came together and signed the Mecklenburg Resolves, more popularly known as the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence. While not a true declaration of independence from British rule, it is among the first such declarations that eventually led to the American Revolution. May 20, the date proscribed as the signing of the declaration, is celebrated annually in Charlotte as "MecDec", with musket and cannon fire by reenactors in Independence Square. North Carolina's state flag and state seal also bear the date.

After the American Revolution[edit]

Charlotte is traditionally considered the home of Southern Presbyterianism, but in the 19th century, numerous churches, including Presbyterian, Baptist, Methodist, Episcopalian, Lutheran, and Roman Catholic, formed, eventually giving Charlotte its nickname, "The City of Churches".[15]

In 1799, in nearby Cabarrus County, 12-year-old Conrad Reed found a 17-pound rock, which his family used as a doorstop. Three years later, a jeweler determined it was nearly solid gold, paying the family a paltry $3.50.[16] The first verified gold find in the United States set off the nation's first gold rush. Many veins of gold were found in the area throughout the 18th and early 19th century, leading to the 1837 founding of the Charlotte Mint. North Carolina "led the nation in gold production until the California Gold Rush of 1848",[17] although the volume mined in the Charlotte area was dwarfed by subsequent rushes.

View of the Old Court House, Charlotte, 1888.

Some groups still pan for gold occasionally in local streams and creeks. The Reed Gold Mine operated until 1912. The Charlotte Mint was active until 1861, when Confederate forces seized it at the outbreak of the Civil War. The mint was not reopened at the war's end, but the building, albeit in a different location, now houses the Mint Museum of Art.

The city's first boom came after the Civil War, as a cotton processing center and a railroad hub. Charlotte's city population at the 1880 Census grew to 7,084.[18] Population grew 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 urban ascent that eventually overtook older city rivals along the Piedmont Crescent.[19]

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 aggressive acquisitions became known as NationsBank, eventually merging with BankAmerica to become Bank of America. 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.[20]

On September 22, 1989, the city took a direct hit from Hurricane Hugo. With sustained winds of 69 mph (111 km/h) and gusts of 87 mph (140 km/h) in some locations,[21] Hugo caused massive property damage, destroyed 80,000 trees, and knocked out electrical power to most of the population. Residents were without power for weeks, schools were closed for a week or more, and cleanup took months. The city was caught unprepared; Charlotte is 200 miles (320 km) inland, and residents from coastal areas in both Carolinas often wait out hurricanes in Charlotte.

In December 2002, Charlotte and much of central North Carolina were hit by an ice storm (which some dubbed "Hugo on Ice"[citation needed]) that resulted in more than 1.3 million people losing power. During an abnormally cold December, many were without power for weeks. Much of the damage was caused by Bradford pear trees, splitting apart under the weight of the ice.

Geography[edit]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 297.68 square miles (771.0 km2), of which 297.08 square miles (769.4 km2) is land and 0.6 square miles (1.6 km2) is water. Charlotte lies at an elevation of 748 feet (228 m), as measured at Charlotte/Douglas International Airport.

Charlotte constitutes most of Mecklenburg County in the Carolina Piedmont. Charlotte center city sits atop a long rise between two creeks, Sugar Creek and Irwin Creek and was built on the gunnies of the St. Catherine's and Rudisill gold mines.

Though the Catawba River and its lakes lie several miles west, there are no significant bodies of water or other geological features near the city center. Consequently, development has neither been constrained nor helped by waterways or ports that have contributed to many cities of similar size. The lack of these obstructions has contributed to Charlotte's growth as a highway, rail, and air transportation hub.

Cityscape[edit]

Uptown Charlotte's skyline

Charlotte has 199 neighborhoods radiating in all directions from Uptown.[22] Biddleville, the primary historic center of Charlotte's African-American community, is west of Uptown, starting at the Johnson C. Smith University campus and extending to the airport.[23] East of The Plaza and north of Central Avenue, Plaza-Midwood is known for its international population, including East Europeans, Greeks, Middle-Easterners, and Hispanics.[24] North Tryon and the Sugar Creek area include several Asian-American communities. NoDa (North Davidson), north of Uptown, is an emerging center for arts and entertainment.[25] Myers Park, Dilworth, and Eastover are home to some of Charlotte's oldest and largest houses, on tree-lined boulevards, with Freedom Park, arguably the city's favorite, nearby.

Little Sugar Creek Greenway in winter

In 2012, the urban section of Little Sugar Creek Greenway was completed. Inspired in part by the San Antonio River Walk, and integral to Charlotte's extensive urban park system, it is "a huge milestone" according to Gwen Cook, greenway planner for Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation.[26]

Charlotte's SouthPark neighborhood

Park Road and the SouthPark area have an extensive array of shopping and dining offerings, with SouthPark essentially serving as a second urban core. Blossoming neighborhoods like Sedgefield, Dilworth and South End are great examples of that. A prominent feature of the SouthPark neighborhood is the 120‑acre Park Road Park.[27] Far South Boulevard is home to a large Hispanic community. Many students, researchers, and affiliated professionals live near UNC Charlotte in the northeast area known as University City.

The large area known as Southeast Charlotte is home to many golf communities, luxury developments, mega-churches, the Jewish community center, and private schools. As undeveloped land within Mecklenburg has become scarce, many of these communities have expanded into Weddington and Waxhaw in Union County.[28] Ballantyne, far south Charlotte, and nearly every area on the I‑485 perimeter, have seen extensive growth over the past 10 years.

Since the 1980s in particular, Uptown Charlotte has undergone massive construction of buildings housing Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Hearst Corporation, Duke Energy, several hotels, and multiple condominium developments.[29]

Climate and environment[edit]

Charlotte, like much of the southeastern United States, has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa), with four distinct seasons. Winters are short and generally cool, with a January daily average of 40.1 °F (4.5 °C). On average, there are 59 nights per year that drop to or below freezing, and only two days that fail to rise above freezing.[30] April is the driest month, with an average of 3.04 inches (7.7 cm) of precipitation. Summers are hot and humid, with a daily average in July of 78.5 °F (25.8 °C). There is an average 44 days per year with highs at or above 90 °F (32 °C).[30] Autumn is generally drier than spring.[30] In 2010, Charlotte saw its first White Christmas since 1974 measuring 3.5 inches.[citation needed]

Temperature extremes range from 104 °F (40 °C) on July 1, 2012, down to −5 °F (−21 °C) as recently as January 21, 1985. Charlotte is directly in the path of subtropical moisture from the Gulf of Mexico as it heads up the eastern seaboard, thus the city receives ample precipitation throughout the year but also many clear, sunny, and pleasantly warm days. On average, Charlotte receives 41.6 inches (1,060 mm) of precipitation annually, with summer being the wettest season. In addition, there is an average of 4.4 inches (11 cm) of snow with more frequent ice storms and sleet mixed in with rain.[30] These storms can have a major impact on the area, as they often pull tree limbs down on power lines and make driving hazardous.

Climate data for Charlotte, North Carolina (Charlotte-Douglas Int'l)
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Record high °F (°C)79
(26)
82
(28)
91
(33)
96
(36)
98
(37)
104
(40)
104
(40)
104
(40)
104
(40)
98
(37)
85
(29)
80
(27)
104
(40)
Average high °F (°C)50.7
(10.4)
55.0
(12.8)
63.1
(17.3)
71.9
(22.2)
78.9
(26.1)
86.0
(30)
89.0
(31.7)
87.5
(30.8)
81.3
(27.4)
71.8
(22.1)
62.4
(16.9)
52.9
(11.6)
70.9
(21.6)
Average low °F (°C)29.6
(−1.3)
32.7
(0.4)
39.3
(4.1)
46.9
(8.3)
55.8
(13.2)
64.5
(18.1)
68.1
(20.1)
67.2
(19.6)
60.4
(15.8)
48.8
(9.3)
39.2
(4)
31.9
(−0.1)
48.7
(9.3)
Record low °F (°C)−5
(−21)
−5
(−21)
4
(−16)
21
(−6)
32
(0)
45
(7)
53
(12)
50
(10)
38
(3)
24
(−4)
11
(−12)
−5
(−21)
−5
(−21)
Precipitation inches (mm)3.41
(86.6)
3.32
(84.3)
4.01
(101.9)
3.04
(77.2)
3.18
(80.8)
3.74
(95)
3.68
(93.5)
4.22
(107.2)
3.24
(82.3)
3.39
(86.1)
3.14
(79.8)
3.24
(82.3)
41.61
(1,057)
Snowfall inches (cm)2.1
(5.3)
1.3
(3.3)
.6
(1.5)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
.1
(0.3)
.3
(0.8)
4.4
(11.2)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)9.79.49.68.89.610.210.89.87.16.98.49.6109.8
Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 in)1.0.5.200000000.22.1
Mean monthly sunshine hours173.6180.8235.6270.0291.4288.0291.4272.8240.0229.4177.0167.42,817.4
Source: NOAA (1981−2010 normals, extremes 1878−present) [30] HKO (sun only, 1961−1990) [31]


Demographics[edit]

Historical population
CensusPop.
18501,065
18602,265112.7%
18704,47397.5%
18807,09458.6%
189011,55762.9%
190018,09156.5%
191034,01488.0%
192046,33836.2%
193082,67578.4%
1940100,89922.0%
1950134,04232.8%
1960201,56450.4%
1970241,42019.8%
1980315,47430.7%
1990395,93425.5%
2000540,82836.6%
2010731,42435.2%
Est. 2012775,2026.0%
[5]

The most recent U.S. Census estimate (2012, released in May 2013) showed 775,202 residents living within Charlotte's city limits and 969,031 in Mecklenburg County. The Combined Statistical Area, or trade area, of Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC had a population of 2,296,569.[2] 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 per square mile (367.2/km²).[32][33]

According to the 2010 United States Census, the racial composition of Charlotte was:

In 1970, the Census Bureau reported Charlotte's population as 30.2% Black and 68.9% non-Hispanic White.[34]

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.

Religion[edit]

Billy Graham Library

Charlotte has historically been a Protestant city. It is the birthplace of Billy Graham, and is also the historic seat of Southern Presbyterianism, but the changing demographics of the city's increasing population have brought scores of new denominations and faiths. 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.

The largest Christian church in Charlotte by attendance is Elevation Church, a seven-year-old Southern Baptist church plant, founded by lead pastor Steven Furtick. The church has almost 15,000 congregants at seven Charlotte locations.[35]

Charlotte's Cathedral of Saint Patrick is the seat of the bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte. 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. St. Matthew Parish, located in the Ballantyne neighborhood, is the largest Catholic parish with over 30,000 parishioners.[36]

The Greek Orthodox Church's cathedral for North Carolina, Holy Trinity Cathedral, is located in Charlotte.

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 and Temple Beth El as well as a community center and the Charlotte Jewish Day School for grades K-5, and the headquarters of the Charlotte Jewish News.[37]

Most African Americans in Charlotte are Baptists affiliated with the National Baptist Convention the largest predominantly African American denomination in the United States. African American Methodists are largely affiliated with either the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church whose headquarters is in Charlotte or the African Methodist Episcopal Church. African American Pentecostals are represented by several organizations such as the United House of Prayer for All People, Church of God in Christ and the United Holy Church of America.

Charlotte is also the headquarters of the Advent Christian Church.

Economy[edit]

Duke Energy Center and the Westin
AT&T in Charlotte

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 second largest financial institution by assets, Bank of America, calls the city home. The city was also the former corporate home of Wachovia until its 2008 acquisition by Wells Fargo in San Francisco CA; Wells Fargo integrated legacy Wachovia, with the two banks fully merged at the end of 2011, which included transitioning all of the Wachovia branches in the Carolinas to Wells Fargo branches by October 2011. Since then, Charlotte became the regional headquarters for East Coast Operations of Wells Fargo, headquartered in San Francisco, California. Charlotte also serves as the headquarters for Wells Fargo's capital markets activities including sales and trading, equity research, and investment banking. Bank of America's headquarters, along with other regional banking and financial services companies, are located primarily in the Uptown central business district.

Charlotte has 10 (11 including Wells Fargo's East Coast operations) Fortune 500 companies listed in order of their rank: Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Lowe's in suburban Mooresville, Nucor (steel producer), Duke Energy, Sonic Automotive, Family Dollar, Goodrich Corporation, SPX Corporation (industrial technology), Domtar (in suburban Fort Mill), Chiquita Brands International (which announced on November 29, 2011, it was relocating its headquarters to Charlotte from Cincinnati).[38] Other major companies headquartered or with corporate operations in Metro Charlotte include: Extended Stay Hotels, Babcock and Wilcox, RSC Brands, TIAA-CREF, Time Warner Cable (formerly a business unit of Fortune 500 company Time Warner), Fox Sports 1, ESPNU, Continental Tire the Americas, LLC., Muzak, Belk, Harris Teeter, Meineke Car Care Center, Lance, Inc, Carolina Foods Inc, Bojangles', Carlisle Companies, National Gypsum, Electrolux, LendingTree, Compass Group USA, Food Lion, and Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated (the nation's second largest Coca-Cola bottler). U.S. Airways regional carrier CCAir was headquartered in Charlotte.[39][40]

Carowinds Amusement Park, owned by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company is located in Charlotte.

Charlotte is also a major center in the U.S. motorsports industry, housing multiple offices of NASCAR as well as the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Approximately 75% of the NASCAR industry's employees and drivers are based nearby. The large presence of the racing technology industry along with the newly built NHRA dragstrip, zMAX Dragway at Concord, is influencing other top professional drag racers to move their shops to Charlotte as well. The Metrolina Speedway is expected to bring more local racing along with a skate park, shoppes, restaurants, and an upscale hotel.

Located in the western part of Mecklenburg County is the U.S. National Whitewater Center, which consists of man-made rapids of various degrees and is open to the public year round.[41]

One Wells Fargo Center behind the Latta Arcade in Uptown Charlotte.

The Charlotte Region has a major base of energy-oriented organizations and has become known as “Charlotte USA – The New Energy Capital.” In the region there are more than 240 companies directly tied to energy sector collectively employing more than 26,400. Since 2007 more than 4,000 energy sector jobs have been announced. Major energy players in Charlotte include AREVA, Babcock and Wilcox, Duke Energy, Electric Power Research Institute, Fluor, Metso Power, Piedmont Natural Gas, Siemens Energy, Shaw Group, Toshiba, URS Corp., and Westinghouse. The University of North Carolina at Charlotte has a reputation in energy education and research and its Energy Production and Infrastructure Center (EPIC) trains energy engineers and conducts research.

The area is an increasingly growing trucking and freight transportation hub for the East Coast. The Charlotte Center city has seen remarkable growth over the last decade. Numerous residential units continue to be built uptown, including over 20 skyscrapers 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.[42]

In 2013, Forbes named Charlotte among its list of Best Places for Business and Careers.[43]

Culture[edit]

Museums[edit]

Mint Museum Uptown at Levine Center for the Arts
The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts + Culture
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art

Performing arts[edit]

Festivals and special events[edit]

The Charlotte region is home to many annual festivals and special events.

Zoos and aquariums[edit]

Charlotte is "... the largest metropolitan area in the United States without a zoo."[44] The Charlotte Zoo initiative is a proposal to allocate 250 acres of natural North Carolina land to be dedicated to the zoological foundation, which was incorporated in 2008. On August 18, 2012, News Channel 14 says that the initiative is "... still a few years away" and the plot of land is "... just seven miles from the center of uptown." According to the news channel, "... the zoo will cost roughly $300 million, and will be completely privately-funded."[45] The Charlotte Observer references two other zoos, the Riverbanks Zoo and Garden and the North Carolina Zoological Park as two "great zoos" that are accessible from the Charlotte-Mecklenberg area, both roughly more than 70 miles away.[46]

Charlotte is also served by the Sea Life Charlotte-Concord Aquarium, in the nearby city of Concord. The aquarium is 30,000-square-foot in size, and is part of the Concord Mills mall. The aquarium opened on February 20, 2014.[47]

Sports[edit]

Bank of America Stadium

Charlotte is home to three major professional sports franchises: the Carolina Panthers of the National Football league (NFL), the Charlotte Bobcats of the National Basketball Association (NBA), and the Charlotte Hounds of Major League Lacrosse (MLL). The Panthers have been located in Charlotte since their creation in 1995, and the Bobcats have been located in Charlotte since their creation in 2004. The Panthers play their home games in Bank of America Stadium, while the Bobcats play in the Time Warner Cable Arena; both venues are located in Uptown Charlotte.

From 1988 to 2002, Charlotte hosted an NBA franchise named the Charlotte Hornets, but the franchise relocated to New Orleans, Louisiana in 2002 after bitter animosity between the team's fans and principal owner George Shinn.

Charlotte is represented in ice hockey and baseball at the 'AAA' professional level by the Charlotte Checkers and the Charlotte Knights.

ClubSportFoundedLeagueVenue
Carolina PanthersFootball1995National Football LeagueBank of America Stadium
Charlotte Bobcats Note ABasketball2004National Basketball AssociationTime Warner Cable Arena
Charlotte HoundsLacrosse2011Major League LacrosseAmerican Legion Memorial Stadium
Charlotte CheckersIce hockey1990American Hockey LeagueTime Warner Cable Arena
Charlotte Knights Note BBaseball1976International LeagueBB&T Ballpark (new location for 2014 season)
Charlotte EaglesSoccer1993USL ProQueens Sports Complex
Charlotte Lady EaglesSoccer1993W-LeagueQueens Sports Complex
Charlotte CopperheadsIndoor lacrosse2011Professional Lacrosse LeagueBojangles' Coliseum
Carolina SpeedIndoor football2006American Indoor Football AssociationBojangles' Coliseum
Notes

Law, government and politics[edit]

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 mayor of Charlotte is Patrick Cannon, a member of the Democratic Party. Cannon was sworn in as mayor on December 2, 2013.[49]

Charlotte tends to lean Democratic, but 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). Democrats control the council with a 9-to-2 advantage, winning all four of the at-large seats in the November 2013 municipal election. 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 Republican Richard Hudson; the 9th, represented by Republican Robert Pittenger; and the 12th, represented by Democrat Mel Watt.[2]

Charlotte was selected in 2011 to host the 2012 Democratic National Convention, which was held at the Time Warner Cable Arena. It began September 4, 2012, and ended on the sixth.[3]

City services[edit]

Emergency medical services[edit]

Emergency medical services for the city of Charlotte are provided by MEDIC, the Mecklenburg EMS Agency. MEDIC responded to over 93,000 calls for help in 2008, and transported over 71,000 patients to the major hospitals in Charlotte.[50] 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.[51] At any given time, between 20 and 40 ambulances will be deployed to cover the county.

Hospitals[edit]

Hospital NameWebsite
Carolinas Medical Center-Pinevillehttp://www.carolinashealthcare.org/cmc-pineville
Carolinas Medical Center/Center for Mental Healthhttp://www.carolinashealthcare.org/cmc
Carolinas Specialty Hospitalhttp://cshnc.com/
Presbyterian Hospitalhttp://www.presbyterian.org/
Presbyterian Orthopaedic Hospitalhttp://www.presbyterian.org/PresbyterianOrthopaedicHospital.aspx
Charlotte Mecklenburg Hospital
Charlotte Medical Clinichttp://www.carolinashealthcare.org/charlotte-medical-clinic
Women's Institute-Carolinas Medical Centerhttp://www.carolinashealthcare.org/cmc-womens-institute
Charlotte Surgery Ctrhttp://www.charlottesurgerycenter.com/
Renfrew Centerhttp://renfrewcenter.com/locations/non-residential/charlotte-nc
Morehead Medical Plazahttp://www.moreheadmedical.org/
Carolinas Rehabilitationhttp://www.carolinashealthcare.org/carolinas-rehab
Mercy Hospital (Charlotte, North Carolina)http://www.carolinashealthcare.org/cmc-mercy
Yeomans, Jay A, Md - Behavioral Health Ctrhttp://www.nextcare.com/index.php/locations/location/charlotte_prosperity
Charlotte Health Care Centerhttp://www.charlottehealthrehab.com/center/

Fire department[edit]

The Charlotte Fire Department provides fire suppression, emergency medical services, public education, hazardous materials (HAZMAT) mitigation, technical rescues, and fire prevention and inspection with 256 personnel. Forty-two fire stations are strategically scattered throughout Charlotte to provide a reasonable response time to emergencies in the city limits.

Law enforcement and crime[edit]

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.[52] 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.[53] The national average is 320.9 per 100,000 residents.[53]

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.[54] However, the entire Charlotte-Gastonia Metropolitan Statistical Area ranked as 27th most dangerous out of 338 metro areas.[55]

Education and libraries[edit]

School system[edit]

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.[56][57] An estimated 132,000 students are taught in 161 separate elementary, middle, and high schools.

Colleges and universities[edit]

The Student Union Quad of UNC Charlotte's main campus.

Charlotte is home to a number of notable universities and colleges such as Central Piedmont Community College, Charlotte School of Law, Johnson C. Smith University, Johnson & Wales University, Queens University of Charlotte, and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Several notable colleges are located in the metropolitan suburbs. In Davidson, Davidson College is ranked in the top 10 nationally among liberal arts colleges according to U.S. News & World Report. Additional colleges in the area include Belmont Abbey College in the suburb of Belmont, North Carolina, and Wingate University in the suburb of Wingate, North Carolina. Also nearby are Winthrop University, Clinton Junior College and York Technical College in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

UNC Charlotte is the city's largest university. It is located in University City, the northeastern portion of Charlotte, which is also home to University Research Park, a 3,200 acres (13 km2) research and corporate park. With more than 25,000 students, UNC Charlotte is the fastest-growing university in the state system and the fourth largest.

Central Piedmont Community College is the largest community college in the Carolinas, with more than 70,000 students each year and 6 campuses throughout the Charlotte-Mecklenburg region.[58] CPCC is part of the statewide North Carolina Community College System.

The Charlotte School of Law opened its doors in Charlotte in 2006 and was fully accredited by the American Bar Association in 2011. The law school offers the Juris Doctor degree and has affiliated programming with UNC Charlotte and Johnson C. Smith University. Charlotte School of Law is the largest law school in the Carolinas.

Pfeiffer University has a satellite campus in Charlotte. Wake Forest University, with its main campus in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, also operates a satellite campus of its Babcock Graduate School of Management in the Uptown area.[59] The Connecticut School of Broadcasting, DeVry University, and ECPI University all have branches in Charlotte. The Universal Technical Institute has the NASCAR Technical Institute in nearby Mooresville, serving the Charlotte area. Montreat College (Charlotte) maintains a School of Professional and Adult Studies in the city.

The North Carolina Research Campus, a 350-acre biotechnology hub located northeast of Charlotte in the city of Kannapolis, is a public-private venture including eight universities, one community college, the David H. Murdock Research Institute (DHMRI), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and corporate entities that collaborate to advance the fields of human health, nutrition and agriculture. Partnering educational organizations include UNC Charlotte and Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, from the Charlotte region, as well as Appalachian State University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Duke University, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, North Carolina A&T State University, North Carolina Central University and North Carolina State University.[60] The research campus is part of a larger effort by leaders in the Charlotte-area to attract energy, health and other knowledge-based industries that contribute to North Carolina’s strength in biotechnology.

Libraries[edit]

ImaginOn Children's Theater and Library

The Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County serves the Charlotte area with a large collection (more than 1.5 million) of books, CDs and DVDs at 15 locations in the city of Charlotte, with branches in the surrounding towns 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 20 locations.

Although the Library's roots go back to the Charlotte Literary and Library Association, founded on January 16, 1891,[61] 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,[62] and that the state grant a charter for the library. All conditions were met, and the Charlotte Carnegie Library opened in an imposing classical building on July 2, 1903.

The 1903 state charter also required 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 in Brooklyn, a historically black area of Charlotte, on the corner of Brevard and East Second Street (now Martin Luther King Boulevard).[63] The Brevard Street Library was the first library for free blacks in the state of North Carolina,[63] some sources say in the southeast.[64] The 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, and the West branch of the library system, as well as by Charlotte's African-American Cultural Center.


Media[edit]

Infrastructure[edit]

Waste treatment[edit]

Charlotte has a munincipal waste system consisting of trash pick up, water distribution and waste treatment. There are 5 waste water treatment plants operated by CMUD[65] Charlotte has a biosolids program[66] which disposes of most of its virulent and toxic human waste[67] in Chester, SC. Some Chester residents spoke out against the program on Feb 26, 2013.[68] Charlotte's sludge is handled, transported and spread on farm fields in Chester by a company called Synagro, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Carlyle Group[69] Jean Creech, Charlotte's "residuals manager" took the position managing Charlotte's sludge contract with Synagro and negotiating permit requirements and regulations after leaving Synagro in 2011.[70] Charlotte's sludge is of the "CLASS B" variety, which means it still contains detectable levels of pathogens.[71][72]

Transportation[edit]

LYNX light rail opened in November 2007
LYNX Bland Street Station in Charlotte's SouthEnd neighborhood

Mass transit[edit]

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 services 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, which saw 2025 ridership projections (18,500) exceeded after its first year of service. Bus ridership continues to grow (66% since 1998).[73] The 2030 Transit Corridor System Plan looks to supplement established bus service with light rail and commuter rail lines as a part of the system LYNX.

In 2011, the city of Charlotte and CATS staff conducted public forums to present the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and gather public input from residents, property owners and business owners located in Northeastern Charlotte which is where the LYNX light rail is proposed to be extended from uptown Charlotte to UNC‑Charlotte campus.[74]

Walkability[edit]

A 2011 study by Walk Score ranked Charlotte the 49th most walkable of the fifty largest cities in the United States.[75]

Roads and highways[edit]

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. The latter highway also connects to the population centers of the Rust Belt.

Charlotte's beltway, designated I-485 and simply called "485" by local residents, has been under construction for over 20 years, but funding problems have slowed its progress. Completion of the final segment is due in 2014.[76] 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 uptown (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 U.S. 74 and links downtown with the Matthews area, is undergoing an expansion and widening in the eastern part of the city.

Air[edit]

Charlotte-Douglas International Airport with Uptown Charlotte's skyline in the background

Charlotte/Douglas International Airport is the sixth busiest airport in both the U.S. and the world overall as measured by traffic (aircraft movements).[77] It is served by many domestic airlines, as well as international airlines Air Canada, Insel Air, 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[edit]

Charlotte is served daily by three Amtrak routes:

The city is 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.

Notable people[edit]

Sister cities[edit]

List of sister cities of Charlotte, designated by Sister Cities International:[78]

CountryCityCounty / District / Region / StateDate
PeruPeruEscudo de Armas de Arequipa.svgArequipaBandera de Arequipa.svgArequipa Region1962
GermanyGermanyDEU Krefeld COA.svgKrefeldFlag of North Rhine-Westphalia.svgNorth Rhine-Westphalia1985
ChinaChinaBaodingHebei1987
RussiaRussiaFlag of Voronezh.pngVoronezhFlag of Voronezh Oblast.svgVoronezh Oblast1991
FranceFranceLimogesBlason87.PNGHaute-Vienne1992
PolandPolandHerb wroclaw.svgWrocławPOL woj dolnoslaskie FLAG 2009.svgLower Silesian Voivodeship1993
GhanaGhanaKumasiAshanti Region1996
IsraelIsraelHadera COA.pngHaderaHaifa District2009

See also[edit]

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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]