Charlotte is a city located in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. It covers an area of two hundred and eighty-six miles and has a population of seven hundred and sixteen thousand residents, making it the largest city in the state. This city can trace its history back to the eighteenth century when the area was first settled by Thomas Polk in 1755. Thomas Polk was traveling with Thomas Spratt through the area and erected his house at the crossroads of two American Indian trading paths that was situated in the middle of the Catawba and Yadkin rivers. Over the next few decades, pioneers began to settle in the
area and the settlement was incorporated in 1768. During the 1770s, the town’s streets were established in a grid pattern in preparation for future development. Charlotte received its name in honor of Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, the wife of British King George III. It was chosen in order to try to secure favor with the British Empire, an attempt which failed because of tensions between the city and the United Kingdom brought on by unpopular laws levied on the citizens in response to their desire for Independence.
During the American Revolution, the city was an encampment for both the British and American armies. A series of battles and skirmishes between the citizens of Charlotte and British forces caused so much worry and frustration for Lord General Charles Cornwallis he nicknamed it ‘the hornets nest’. The city became a bastion of ideological revolutionary sentiment all during the Revolution and for many years after the end of the war. This can be seen today with the predominance of landmarks such as Freedom Drive, Independence Boulevard, Independence Center and Independence High School. Even the former NBA team, the Charlotte Hornets, reflected this mentality and took their name from Lord General Charles Cornwallis’ nickname for the city. After the Civil War, the city experienced its first economic boom as a result of its importance as a transportation hub for the railroad and as a cotton cotton processing center. This increase in population was again repeated after World War I, when Camp Green was established by the United States government in the area. During the 1970s and 1980s, Charlotte emerged as a banking center under the guidance of Hugh McColl. Hugh McColl changed North Carolina National Bank into a major player in the banking industry through several mergers and re-branding it as Bank of America. Now, the city is the second biggest banking headquarters in the United States. New York is in first place.
The University of North Carolina at Charlotte Botanical Gardens is a popular attraction for visitors to the city. These beautiful gardens contain an extensive variety of exhibits which include McMillan Greenhouse. McMillan Greenhouse is a green house that covers an area of four thousand square feet and is divided into five sections. Flowers located here include bromeliads, ferns, orchids, Sarracenia, Phalaenopsis and much more. Other sections of the garden include the Susie Harwood Garden, Ralph Van Landingham Glen and Dinosaur’s Garden. Discovery Place is another popular attraction in the city of Charlotte. It was founded in 1981 and contains an OMNIMAX theater, live animal displays, nature exhibits, a butterfly pavilion and a summer camp program.
Another attraction not to be missed is the Carolinas Aviation Museum. The Carolinas Aviation Museum was founded by Floyd & Lois Wilson in 1992. It contains over fifty aircraft and a collection of historic exhibits dedicated to aviation in the Carolinas. The museum is situated at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport. Planes in its collection include a Long/Schweizer 1948 Midget Mustang, 1985 F-4S Phantom II, 1902 Wright Glider (Reproduction), 1950 T-28B Trojan, 1952 F-86L Sabre Jet, 1941 CG-15 Waco Combat Glider, 1953 HOK-1, Cessna 1952 L-19 Bird Dog, 1946 415-C and a 1944 SNJ-5C.
Carowinds is a one hundred and twelve acre amusement park that is located on the state line between North and South Carolina. This theme park was opened in 1973 and cost over thirty million dollars. It contains a variety of amusement rides which include thrill rides, coasters and other such rides. Rides
featured here are Afterburn, Carolina Goldrusher, Intimidator, Carolina Cobra, Nighthawk, Woodstock Express, Flying Ace Aerial Chase, Drop Tower: Scream Zone, Southern Star, Carolina Skytower, Charlie Brown Wind Up, Woodstock Gliders, Snoopy’s Space Race, Rip Roarin’ Rapids, Great Barrier Reef, Awesome Aussie Twisters, Platypus Plunge, Crocodile Run and Pipeline Peak Tube Slides.
Other attractions in the city of Charlotte include Bechtler Art Museum, Billy Graham Library, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Fire Education Center and Museum, Charlotte Trolley Museum, Second Ward Alumni House Museum, Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts & Culture, Charlotte Light Factory, Historic Rosedale Plantation, NASCAR Hall of Fame, Info!! Charlotte, Mint Museum of Craft & Design, Levine Museum of the New South, Old Mecklenburg Brewery, Cathedral of Saint Patrick in Charlotte, Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, Wing Haven Garden and Bird Sanctuary, Charlotte Museum of History, SouthPark, Lost Duffer Miniature Golf, Hendrick Motorsports Complex, Reedy Creek Nature Center and Preserve, Phillips Place, Olde Sycamore Golf Plantation, Spirit Square Arts Center, Beech Spring Mountain Bike Park, Charlotte Bobcats Arena, Cricket Arena, Zuma Fun Center, Highland Creek Golf Club, Charlotte Convention Center, Charlotte NC Tours and Cajun Canvas. The city is also home to several fine restaurants, cafes and hotels.