Charlotte, North Carolina

Charlotte, North Carolina
—  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

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
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
Country United States
State North Carolina
County Mecklenburg County
Settled 1755
Incorporated 1768 (as a town, later a city)
 - Type Council-manager
 - Mayor Anthony Foxx, (D)
 - Total 297.7 sq mi (771 km2)
Elevation 751 ft (229 m)
Population (2010)[1][2]
 - Total 731,424 (17th)
 - Density 2,457/sq mi (948.67/km2)
 - MSA 1,745,524
 - CSA 2,389,763
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 (play /ˈʃɑrlət/) is the largest city in the U.S. state of North Carolina and the seat of Mecklenburg County. In 2010, Charlotte's population according to the US Census Bureau was 731,424,[1] making it the 17th largest city in the United States based on population. The Charlotte metropolitan area had a 2009 population of 1,745,524.[2] The Charlotte metropolitan area is part of a wider thirteen-county labor market region or combined statistical area with a 2009 estimated population of 2,389,763.[5] Residents of Charlotte are referred to as "Charlotteans".

Charlotte has become a major U.S. financial center, and is now the second largest banking center in the United States after New York City. The nation's second largest financial institution by assets,[6] 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; Charlotte will soon become the headquarters for East Coast Operations of Wells Fargo. Charlotte is also home of the Carolina Panthers of the National Football League, the Charlotte Bobcats of the National Basketball Association, the NASCAR Hall of Fame, 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 British King George III 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 and is situated halfway between the Appalachian Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean, between Washington, D.C. and Atlanta. 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.



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

Before the American Revolution

Mecklenburg County was initially part of Bath County (1696–1729) 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.[7]

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 United States 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.[8] 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.[9] 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.[10] The intersection of Trade and Tryon commonly known today as "Trade & Tryon" or, simply, "The Square",[8] is more properly called Independence Square.[11]

After the American Revolution

Charlotte is traditionally considered the home of Southern Presbyterianism, but in the 19th century numerous churches, including Presbyterian, Baptist, Methodist, Episcopalian, Lutheran, and Catholic, formed, eventually giving Charlotte its nickname "The City of Churches."[12]

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.[13] 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 19th and early 20th 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,"[14] 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.[15] 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 arc of the Carolina Piedmont.[16]

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.[17]

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,[18] 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 and cleanup took months. The city was caught unprepared; Charlotte is 200 miles 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") that knocked out power to over 1.3 million people. 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.

Begining September 2, 2012, The city will host the 2012 Democratic National Convention at the Time Warner Cable Arena.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 242.9 square miles (629 km2), of which 242.3 square miles (628 km2) is land and 0.6 square miles (1.6 km2) is water. Charlotte lies at an elevation of 870 feet (270 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.

Climate and environment

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 41.7 °F (5.389 °C). On average, there are 58 nights per year that drop to or below freezing, and only 2 days that fail to rise above freezing. April is the driest month, with an average of 2.95 inches (7.5 cm) of precipitation. Summers are hot and humid, with a daily average in July of 80.3 °F (26.8 °C). There are 40 days per year with highs at or above 90 °F (32 °C). Autumn is generally drier than Spring.[19] In 2010, Charlotte saw its first White Christmas since 1974 measuring 3.5 inches.[citation needed]

The highest recorded temperatures were 104 °F (40 °C) on September 6, 1954 and August 9–10, 2007 during the August 2007 Southeastern heat wave. The lowest recorded temperature was −5 °F (−21 °C) on December 30, 1880; February 14, 1899; and 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 43.5 inches (1,100 mm) of precipitation annually, with January and March being the wettest months, including an average of 5.2 inches (13 cm) of snow with more frequent ice storms and sleet mixed in with rain.[19]

Climate data for Charlotte, North Carolina (Charlotte-Douglas Int'l)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 79
Average high °F (°C) 51.3
Average low °F (°C) 32.1
Record low °F (°C) −5
Precipitation inches (mm) 4.00
Snowfall inches (cm) 1.7
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 11.0 9.3 10.6 8.6 10.1 10.2 11.0 9.4 7.9 6.6 8.6 9.9 113.2
Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 1.0 .8 .5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .1 .3 2.7
Sunshine hours 173.6 180.8 235.6 270.0 291.4 288.0 291.4 272.8 240.0 229.4 177.0 167.4 2,817.4
Source: NOAA (1971–2000) [20] HKO (sunshine hours, 1961–1990) [21] The Weather Channel (extreme temperatures) [22]


Duke Energy Center and The Westin Charlotte in Uptown Charlotte
Charlotte's SouthPark neighborhood

Charlotte has 199 neighborhoods radiating in all directions from Uptown. The primary historic center of Charlotte's Black community is west of Uptown, starting at the Johnson C. Smith University campus and extending to the airport. The eastbound Central Avenue corridor is known for its international population, including East Europeans, Greeks, Middle-Easterners, and Hispanics. North Tryon and the Sugar Creek area include several Asian-American communities. NoDa (North Davidson) and Dilworth, along South Boulevard and East Boulevard, are emerging and established, respectively, enclaves of urban professionals. 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.

Park Road and the SouthPark area have an extensive array of shopping and dining offerings, with SouthPark essentially serving as a second urban core. 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. 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.

On Kenilworth and Charlottetowne Avenues, near Carolinas Medical Center-Main, the Metropolitan, a major mixed-use project, was recently completed, replacing the old Midtown Square Mall.


Historical populations
Census 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%
2010 731,424 35.2%

As of 2008, census estimates show 687,456 people living within Charlotte's city limits, and 935,304 in Mecklenburg County. The Combined Statistical Area of Charlotte-Gastonia-Salisbury, 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 per square mile (367.2/km²).[24][25]

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

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.


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 2008 acquisition by Wells Fargo in San Francisco CA; Wells Fargo is in the process of integrating legacy Wachovia, with the two banks expected to be fully merged by the end of 2011. At that time, Charlotte will become the regional headquarters for East Coast Operations of Wells Fargo, headquartered in San Francisco, California. Charlotte will also serve as the headquarters for Wells Fargo's capital markets activites 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.

One of three Wells Fargo Securities trading floors in Charlotte

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, SPX Corporation (industrial technology), and Domtar in suburban Fort Mill. Other major companies headquartered or with corporate operations in Metro Charlotte include: Babcock and Wilcox, RSC Brands, Time Warner Cable (formerly a business unit of Fortune 500 company Time Warner), Speed Channel, ESPNU, Continental Tire the Americas, LLC., Muzak, Belk, Harris Teeter, Meineke Car Care Center, Lance, Inc, Carolina Foods Inc, Bojangles', Carlisle Companies, LendingTree, Compass Group USA, Food Lion and Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated (the nation's second largest Coca-Cola bottler). US Airways regional carrier CCAir was headquartered in Charlotte.[26][27]

Charlotte is also a major center in the US 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.[28]

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 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” 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.[29]

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, 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 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.[30] 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.

Charlotte was selected in 2011 to host the 2012 Democratic National Convention.

City services

Emergency medical services

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.[31] 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.[32] At any given time, between 20 and 40 ambulances will be deployed to cover the county.

Law enforcement and crime

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.[33] 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.[34] The national average is 320.9 per 100,000 residents.[34]

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.[35] However, the entire Charlotte-Gastonia Metropolitan Statistical Area ranked as 27th most dangerous out of 338 metro areas.[36]

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.[37][38] 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 Theater and Library

Colleges and universities

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. 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 over 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 over 70,000 students each year and 6 campuses through-out the Charlotte-Mecklenburg region.[39] CPCC is part of the statewide North Carolina Community College System.

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 SouthPark area. Wake Forest is currently looking to move the campus to Uptown Charlotte.[40] 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.


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 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,[41] 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,[42] 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 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[43] in Brooklyn, a historically black area 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,[43] some sources say in the southeast.[44] 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, and the West branch of the current library system, as well as by Charlotte's African-American Cultural Center.


The birthplace of Billy Graham (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. 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 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 (Charlotte, North Carolina) and Temple Beth El as well as a community center and the Charlotte Jewish Day School for grades K-5.

Charlotte is also headquarters for both the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church and the Advent Christian Church.


Performing arts organizations in Charlotte include the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra and Opera Carolina, both of which perform at the North Carolina Blumenthal Performing Arts Center.


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



Charlotte is currently home to two major professional sports franchises: the Carolina Panthers of the National Football league, and the Charlotte Bobcats of the National Basketball Association. 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.

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 2010 American Hockey League Time Warner Cable Arena
Charlotte Knights Baseball 1976 International League Knights Stadium, Fort Mill, SC
Charlotte Hounds Lacrosse 2011 Major League Lacrosse American Legion Memorial Stadium
Charlotte Copperheads Indoor lacrosse 2011 North American Lacrosse League Bojangles' Coliseum
Charlotte Eagles Soccer 1993 USL Pro Charlotte Christian Stadium
Charlotte Lady Eagles Soccer 1993 W-League Charlotte Christian Stadium
Carolina Speed Indoor football 2006 American Indoor Football Association Bojangles' Coliseum


LYNX Light Rail opened in November 2007
LYNX Bland Street near Uptown Charlotte
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.[45] 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. Currently The City of Charlotte and CATS Staff are conducting 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. See website for further detail, BLE Home Page.


A 2011 study by Walk Score ranked Charlotte 49th most walkable of fifty largest U.S. cities.[46]

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 finished but funding has been slow in coming. The new projection has it slated for completion by 2013.[47] 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 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 ninth busiest in the world as measured by traffic.[48] 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

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

List of sister cities of Charlotte, designated by Sister Cities International:[49]

Country City County / District / Region / State Date
Peru Peru Escudo de Armas de Arequipa.svg Arequipa Bandera de la ciudad de Arequipa.svg Arequipa Region 1962
Germany Germany Wappen Krefeld.svg Krefeld Flag of North Rhine-Westphalia.svg North Rhine-Westphalia 1985
China China Baoding Hebei 1987
Russia Russia Flag of Voronezh.gif Voronezh Flag of Voronezh Oblast.svg Voronezh Oblast 1991
France France Limoges Blason87.PNG Haute-Vienne 1992
Poland Poland Wroclaw horizontal flag.svg Wrocław POL woj dolnoslaskie FLAG 2009.svg Lower Silesian Voivodeship 1993
Ghana Ghana Kumasi Ashanti Region 1996
Israel Israel Hadera COA.png Hadera Haifa District 2010

See also


  1. ^ a b "Demographics & Economic Profile". Charlotte Chamber. Retrieved 2010-06-20. 
  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. 
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Further reading

  • Graves, William, and Heather A. Smith, eds. Charlotte, NC: The Global Evolution of a New South City (University of Georgia Press; 2010) 320 pages. Essays that use Charlotte to explore how globalization and local forces combine to transform Southern cities.
  • 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

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