Bessemer City, North Carolina

Bessemer City, North Carolina

Infobox Settlement
official_name = Bessemer City, North Carolina
settlement_type = City
nickname =
motto =



imagesize =
image_caption =


image_



mapsize = 250px
map_caption = Location of Bessemer City, North Carolina


mapsize1 =
map_caption1 =
subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_type1 = State
subdivision_type2 = County
subdivision_name = flagicon|USA United States
subdivision_name1 = flagicon|North Carolina North Carolina
subdivision_name2 = Gaston
government_footnotes =
government_type =
leader_title = Mayor
leader_name = Bob Hovis
leader_title1 =
leader_name1 =
established_title = Incorporated
established_date = March 6, 1893
unit_pref = Imperial
area_footnotes =
area_magnitude =
area_total_km2 = 11.1
area_land_km2 = 11.0
area_water_km2 = 0.1
area_total_sq_mi = 4.3
area_land_sq_mi = 4.2
area_water_sq_mi = 0.0

population_as_of = 2000
population_footnotes =
population_total = 5119
population_density_km2 = 465.5
population_density_sq_mi = 1205.6

timezone = Eastern (EST)
utc_offset = -5
timezone_DST = EDT
utc_offset_DST = -4
elevation_footnotes =
elevation_m = 278
elevation_ft = 912
latd = 35 |latm = 17 |lats = 3 |latNS = N
longd = 81 |longm = 16 |longs = 58 |longEW = W

postal_code_type = ZIP code
postal_code = 28016
area_code = 704
blank_name = FIPS code
blank_info = 37-05220GR|2
blank1_name = GNIS feature ID
blank1_info = 0981053GR|3
website =
footnotes =

Bessemer City is a city in Gaston County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 5,119 at the 2000 census. Settled in 1756 and founded in 1893, the city's motto is "City with a Heart".

Geography

Bessemer City is located at coor dms|35|17|3|N|81|16|58|W|city (35.284262, -81.282853)GR|1.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.3 square miles (11.1 km²), of which, 4.2 square miles (11.0 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.70%) is water. Elevation: convert|904|ft|m.

History

Bessemer City is named for Sir Henry Bessemer who created the Bessemer Process for smelting iron. Bessemer City was founded on land purchased from the Ormand family, near the Sloan-Washington-Ormand Iron Furnace. Ironically, it was the Bessemer Process which made Bessemer City's early iron smelting industry obsolete.

European settlement in the Bessemer City area dates to 1754, when King George II of England granted adjoining convert|350|acre|km2|sing=on tracts to James Ormand and Adam Meek. Ormand established the Ormand Mining Company to extract iron ore. It is unknown when a furnace was built on the land, but it is mentioned in a deed after 1786 when it was called the Washington Furnace. The Old Ormand Furnace was used to process some of the iron ore that was mined in the area and today is one of the oldest remaining furnaces in the country [http://www.northcarolinahistory.org/encyclopedia/83/entry North Carolina History Project: Bessemer City] , based on Charllotte Crawford, Hilda Gunst, Enid Kiefer, and Elizabeth Thornburg, eds., Centennial 1893-1993: Bessemer City, North Carolina (Charlotte, 1993). Retrieved on 2008-07-12] . Despite a local tale that cannon balls were made during the American Revolutionary War, there is no proof the furnace was built that early. The furnace made iron implements for local use and was in operation until the mid 1800's (when the Bessemer process made small furnace operations uneconomical). The "Old Furnace" is still owned by the Ormand Family Foundation and the site is used as a gathering place for the Ormand Family Reunion, one of the oldest family reunions in America, held annually ever since 1897.

During the late 1840s, corn and cotton were the region’s two main crops. Whiskey production was also profitable. Gaston County had more licensed whiskey distilleries than any county in North Carolina [http://www.northcarolinahistory.org/encyclopedia/83/entry North Carolina History Project: Bessemer City] , based on Charllotte Crawford, Hilda Gunst, Enid Kiefer, and Elizabeth Thornburg, eds., Centennial 1893-1993: Bessemer City, North Carolina (Charlotte, 1993). Retrieved on 2008-07-12] .

In 1871, the Atlanta & Charlotte Division of the Richmond & Danville Railroad Company built through Gaston County. Laying the track through Whetstone Mountain, located west of modern-day Bessemer City, was considered a great engineering accomplishment [http://www.northcarolinahistory.org/encyclopedia/83/entry North Carolina History Project: Bessemer City] , based on Charllotte Crawford, Hilda Gunst, Enid Kiefer, and Elizabeth Thornburg, eds., Centennial 1893-1993: Bessemer City, North Carolina (Charlotte, 1993). Retrieved on 2008-07-12] . John Wooten built a general store next to the railroad on the site of present-day Bessemer City and called the store and depot "Wooten's Station" [Piper Peters Aheron. Images of America: Gastonia and Gaston County North Carolina. Arcadia Publishing, 2001 (ISBN 0738506737)]

In 1891, John Askew Smith, previously of Reidsville, North Carolina, moved with his wife Fannie and brother-in-law, John A. Pinchback, to Gaston County. Smith purchased convert|1700|acre|km2 and wanted to establish a town on to the east of Whetstone Mountain. By 1893, Smith and other residents petitioned the North Carolina legislature to incorporate the town. On March 6, 1893, Bessemer City was officially chartered. Smith hired W.R. Richardson, an engineer from Guilford County, North Carolina, to lay out the town [http://www.northcarolinahistory.org/encyclopedia/83/entry North Carolina History Project: Bessemer City] , based on Charllotte Crawford, Hilda Gunst, Enid Kiefer, and Elizabeth Thornburg, eds., Centennial 1893-1993: Bessemer City, North Carolina (Charlotte, 1993). Retrieved on 2008-07-12] . Smith's "Highacre" house, built in the early 1900s, is now occupied by the Eury family.

The population of Bessemer City at the time of its charter was very small, with only a few families, but by 1900 it had grown to between 500 and 600 people. In 1895, Stonewall Jackson Durham and John M. Odell incorporated Southern Cotton Mills and as their first venture completed and opened the failed Smith/Pinchback Mill. A series of textile mills opened by Smith and Pinchback; Durham and Odell; Frank, Robert and Max Goldberg; as well as the Ragan Spinning Company, gave Bessemer City its industrial foundation. [ [http://www.bessemercity.com/history.html History of Bessemer City] , Bessemer City official city government website. Retrieved on 2008-07-12]

Demographics

As of the censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 5,119 people, 2,009 households, and 1,436 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,205.6 people per square mile (465.0/km²). There were 2,149 housing units at an average density of 506.1/sq mi (195.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 83.49% White, 13.42% African American, 0.31% Native American, 0.59% Asian, 1.04% from other races, and 1.15% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.50% of the population.

Ancestries:
* United States, 21.4%
* German, 8.7%
* Irish, 7.8%
* English 5.6%
* Scots-Irish, 2.0%
* Dutch, 1.7%

For population 25 years and over in Bessemer City:
* High school or higher: 68.6%
* Bachelor's degree or higher: 7.7%
* Graduate or professional degree: 2.4%
* Unemployed: 7.0%
* Mean travel time to work: 24.5 minutes

There were 2,009 households out of which 33.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.9% were married couples living together, 15.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.5% were non-families. 23.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 2.98.

In the city the population was spread out with 25.6% under the age of 18, 9.5% from 18 to 24, 31.1% from 25 to 44, 21.9% from 45 to 64, and 11.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 91.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $33,826, and the median income for a family was $39,759. Males had a median income of $31,357 versus $23,133 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,971. About 8.8% of families and 11.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.5% of those under age 18 and 11.9% of those age 65 or over.

Business and Industry

One of the largest industries in Bessemer City is [http://www.fmclithium.com FMC Lithium, Inc.] , the largest producer of lithium in the Americas. Lithium is used in many products including pharmaceuticals, batteries, ceramics, and construction products. [http://www.ads-pipe.com/en/index.asp Advanced Drainage Systems] , the largest polyethylene pipe and fittings manufacturer in the country, operates a convert|50000|sqft|m2|sing=on facility in Bessemer City employing 100 people. Other manufacturers include Hunter Douglas (Designer Shades Division) and Dole. There is also still some agriculture in the form of Kiser's Dairy Farm, among others. Mr. Kiser is a descendent of one of the founding families of Bessemer City and he has about 200 animals. [ [http://www.bessemercity.com/businessecono.html Bessemer City Business and Economic Development] . Retrieved 2008-07-12.]

Famous Residents

* Phil Crosby - retired professional American Football player with the Buffalo Bills of the NFL

References

External links

* [http://www.bessemercity.com/ Official Bessemer City, NC website]
* [http://www.city-data.com/city/Bessemer-City-North-Carolina.html City Data for Bessemer City]


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