Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Charlotte, North Carolina
he 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 that 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 and now houses an art museum. Because of the relatively small mintage that the Charlotte mint produced annually, surviving pieces are prized in the field of American numismatics.
The city's banking industry picked up steam in the 1970s, largely under the leadership of financier Hugh McColl Jr. McColl transformed North Carolina National Bank into a formidable national player that through a series of aggressive acquisitions would eventually become Bank of America. 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 have often struggled in their quest 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 that among major U.S. metropolises, it is actually one of the oldest.
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 a builder digging a basement to break into the gunnies and pour several tons of cement to fill the hole.
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.
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.
Suburban towns and cities include:
- Mint Hill
- Rock Hill
- Fort Mill
Universities in Charlotte
- University of North Carolina at Charlotte
- Queens University of Charlotte
- Kings College
- Pffeifer University at 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:
- Bank of America
- Wachovia Corporation
- Duke Energy
- Sonic Automotive
- SPX Corporation
- Goodrich Corporation
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 and change without warning. 
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 numerous airlines and is the busiest hub for USAirways; 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.
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
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 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. The Charlotte 49ers compete in the Atlantic-10 Conference in NCAA Division 1 basketball.
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.
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.
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.
- Official Charlotte, NC website
- Charlotte Chamber of Commerce
- Charlotte Convention and Visitors Bureau
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