Charlotte Did You Know

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Charlotte enjoys a high quality of life with temperate weather, a wide variety of outdoor recreational activities, excellent schools, numerous opportunities for continuing education, the best available health care, a low unemployment rate, diverse culinary offerings, fantastic shopping, arts and cultural events, professional sports, and more. What people don't know is that Charlotte has a rich history dating back to the mid-1700s.

Charlotte is the largest city in the state of North Carolina and the 20th largest city in the United States. Nicknamed the Queen City, Charlotte was named in honor of the German Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, also known as Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg when she became queen consort of King George III.

Here are a few more interesting facts about the Queen City.

  • World-renowned evangelist Billy Graham is a Charlotte native. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association moved its headquarters to Charlotte in 2001 after being in Minneapolis for more than 50 years.
  • Before Charles Kuralt went “On the Road” for CBS, he was a reporter for The Charlotte News. Raised in Charlotte, Kuralt was a graduate of Charlotte’s old Central High School.
  • Movie star Randolph Scott spent his childhood in Fourth Ward and lived on Dilworth Road for a short time during the 1920s before heading to Hollywood. He appeared in 150 films.
  • The Dairy Queen on Wilkinson Boulevard, a designated historic site, displays the only Dairy Queen Eskimo still in use in the country.
  • James K. Polk, 11th president of the United States, was born on Nov. 2, 1795, just 12 miles south of Charlotte’s center city. You can still visit his log cabin near Pineville.
  • Carson McCullers wrote the opening chapters of her first novel, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, while residing in a boardinghouse on East Boulevard in 1937.
  • For you detail people, Charlotte is located in Mecklenburg County, N.C., at 35 degrees, 13 minutes, 44 seconds north latitude and 80 degrees, 50 minutes, 45 seconds west longitude, at 749 feet above sea level.
  • Andrew Jackson, seventh president of the United States, was born in the Waxhaws, just southeast of Charlotte on the N.C./S.C. border, on March 15, 1767. Both states wage a friendly feud over Jackson’s exact birthplace.
  • The Hezekiah Alexander home was completed in 1774. The 2.5-story stone plantation house is the county’s oldest home and now is part of the Charlotte Museum of History campus in east Charlotte.
  • Some local historians claim that Mecklenburgers signed their own Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence (the “Meck Dec”) on May 20, 1775, declaring their independence from British rule a year before the national Declaration of Independence. The document reportedly vanished in 1800 when fire destroyed the plantation home of its keeper. Whether the Meck Dec actually existed has generated much debate over the years.
  • Charlotte’s first foray into auto racing took place on October 24, 1924, when the first Charlotte Speedway opened on the town’s south side. The wooden track hosted a 250-mile race on October 24, 1924, and drew nearly 50,000 spectators.
  • During the Revolutionary War, a British force led by General Cornwallis held Charlotte for two and a half weeks, deciding to leave after enduring annoying attacks by locals. Cornwallis called Charlotte a “veritable nest of hornets," and the description stuck. The county seal, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police insignia and various other things around town incorporate a hornets’ nest.