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Charlotte, North Carolina
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Nickname: ""The Queen City", "The Hornet's Nest""

Location in Mecklenburg County in the state of North Carolina
Coordinates 3514'?N, 8050'?W
Counties United States
North Carolina
Mecklenburg County, North Carolina
Mayor Pat McCrory, (R)
Geographical characteristics
  City 280.5 mi - 629.0 km
    Land   279.9 mi - 627.5 km
    Water   0.6 mi - 1.6 km
  City (2005) 651,359[1]
    Density   861.9/km
  Metro 1,594,799[2]
Time zone
  Summer (DST) EST (UTC-5)
Website: http://www.charmeck.org/
The city of Charlotte is the largest city in North Carolina and the 20th most populous in the United States, with a population of 651,101 (2005 estimate). The Charlotte metropolitan area (MSA) had a 2006 estimated population of 1,594,799. Greater Charlotte also has a combined statistical area (CSA) population of 2,067,810 (as of 2005). The city is at the center one of the fastest growing metropolitan regions in the United States, with an average influx of around 20,000 newcomers into the region every year over the past decade.
Nicknamed the Queen City (a moniker it shares with Cincinnati, Ohio), Charlotte was named in honor of Queen Charlotte, wife of King George III of England. Charlotte is also known as the "Hornet's Nest". After being driven out by citizens' fierce opposition to British occupation during the American Revolution, General Cornwallis wrote that Charlotte was a hornet's nest of rebellion".
Charlotte is the county seat of Mecklenburg CountyGR6, and is located in south-central North Carolina, near the South Carolina border. The city of Charlotte as well as the surrounding greater Metrolina region has experienced steady explosive growth in the population, business, construction, research, real estate and financial sectors since the mid 1980's, and has emerged as the chief rival to Atlanta in the Southeastern United States as the best place to live, work and play. Charlotte is home to numerous Fortune 500 company headquarters and is also the second-largest banking center in the United States. A resident of Charlotte is referred to as a Charlottean (shar-la-tee'-uhn).

1 History
2 Geography and climate
3 Neighborhoods
4 Metropolitan area
5 Economy
6 Education
6.1 Colleges and universities
6.2 Private schools
6.3 Public schools
7 People and culture
7.1 Demographics
7.2 Religion
7.3 Media
7.4 Shopping
7.5 Sites of interest
7.6 Sports
7.7 Crime
8 Transportation
8.1 Mass Transit
8.2 Air
8.3 Highways
8.4 Intercity rail
9 Notable Residents

Charlotte was founded in the mid-18th century at the intersection of two Indian trading paths. One of which ran north-south Great Wagon Road, and is followed closely today by U.S. Route 21, and a second that ran east-west along what is now modern-day Trade Street. In the early part of the 18th century, the Great Wagon Road led settlers of Scots-Irish (who were Presbyterian and founded many churches) and German descent from Pennsylvania into the Carolina foothills.
In 1755, early settler Thomas Polk (uncle of United States President James K. Polk) built a home at the crossroads of an Indian trading path and the Great Wagon Road. This became the village of Charlotte Town, incorporated in 1768. The crossroads, perched atop a long rise in the piedmont landscape, is at the heart of modern Uptown Charlotte. The 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. The intersection of Trade and Tryon is known as "The Square."
Both the city and its county are named for Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, the German-born wife of British King George III. The loyalty to King George and his consort was short-lived, however. On May 20, 1775, townsmen allegedly signed a proclamation that later became known as the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence. A copy was sent, though never officially presented, to the Continental Congress a year later.
Though Thomas Jefferson would deny having borrowed content from the Mecklenburg Declaration, his 1776 Declaration of Independence featured language similar to the Charlotte document (today there is no generally accepted historic proof of the so-called Meck-Dec, and many doubt it ever existed, yet the date of the Declaration appears on the North Carolina state flag). Eleven days later the same 27 townsmen met to create and endorse the Mecklenburg Resolves, a set of laws to govern the newly independent town.
Charlotte played a critical role during the Revolutionary War. It was a site of encampment for both the American and British main armies, and during a series of skirmishes between British troops and feisty Charlotteans the village earned the lasting nickname "Hornets Nest" from a frustrated Lord General Charles Cornwallis. Charlotte was an ideological hotbed of revolutionary sentiment, a legacy that endures today in the nomenclature of such landmarks as Independence Boulevard, Independence High School, Freedom Park, Freedom Drive and the former NBA team Charlotte Hornets.
In 1799, 12-year-old Conrad Reed went fishing one spring morning and brought home a rock weighing about 17 pounds, which the family used as a doorstop for three years before it was recognized by a jeweller as gold. It was the first verified find of gold in the fledgling United States. The nation's original gold rush was on, and many veins of gold were subsequently found in the area. The Reed Gold Mine was the nation's first, and it operated until 1912. Uptown Charlotte is literally and figuratively built on gold mines.
Charlotte's history as a financial center is extensive. In 1837 the U.S. Congress established a branch United States Mint here because of the gold deposits found in the area. The Charlotte mint 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 today, albeit in a different location, and now houses the Mint Museum of Art.
The city's modern-day banking industry achieved prominence in the 1970s, largely under the leadership of financier Hugh McColl. McColl transformed North Carolina National Bank (NCNB) into a formidable national player that, through a series of aggressive acquisitions, would eventually become Bank of America. Another hometown bank, First Union, experienced similar growth, and is now known as Wachovia. Today, Charlotte is the second largest banking center in the country after New York City.
Charlotte's penchant for looking aheada drive for economic development that kicked into particularly high gear during the mid-20th centuryhas created something of a historical apathy in the city. Most traces of antebellum Charlotte are long gone, and preservationists often struggle 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 it is actually one of the oldest of the nation's larger cities.
Famous natives of Charlotte include evangelist Billy Graham, pop music stars K-Ci and JoJo of Jodeci, R&B singer Anthony Hamilton, R&B singer Sunshine Anderson, pro wrestling legend Ric Flair, actor Randolph Scott, U.S. president James K. Polk(Pineville), independent filmmaker Ross McElwee, humorist Rich Hall, artist Romare Bearden, actress Berlinda Tolbert (of The Jeffersons) and Emmy-nominated actress Sharon Lawrence ("NYPD Blue"). Novelist Carson McCullers wrote her best-known work, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, while a resident of the city.
In early March, 2006 Charlotte was awarded the NASCAR Hall of Fame. It is set to open in early 2009.

Geography and climate
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 242.9 square miles (629 square kilometers). Out of that, 242.3 sq. mi. (627.5 sq. km.) of it is land and 0.6 sq. mi. (1.6 sq. km.) 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.
Charlotte is located in North America's humid subtropical climate zone. The city has mild winters and hot, humid summers. In January, morning lows average around 0 C (32 F) and afternoon highs average 11 C (51 F). In July, lows average 22 C (71 F) and highs average 32 C (90 F). The highest recorded temperature was 40 C (104 F) in September, 1954. The lowest recorded temperature was -21 C (-5 F) in January 1985. Charlotte's location puts it in the direct path of subtropical moisture from the Gulf as it heads up the eastern seaboard along the jet stream. Thus it receives ample precipitation throughout the year. On average, Charlotte receives 1105.3 mm (43.52 in) of precipitation annually, including some winter snow and more frequent ice storms due to its inland location.
In 1989, the city took a direct hit from Hurricane Hugo. Passing through Charlotte with wind gusts nearing 160 km/h (100 mph), Hugo caused massive property damage and knocked out power to ninety eight percent of the population. Many residents were without power for several weeks and cleanup took months to complete.
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Avg high [C](F) 11 (51) 13 (56) 18 (64) 23 (73) 27 (80) 31 (87) 32 (90) 31 (88) 28 (82) 23 (73) 17 (63) 12 (54) 22 (72)
Avg low temperature [C](F) 0 (32) 1 (34) 6 (42) 9 (49) 14 (58) 19 (66) 22 (71) 21 (69) 17 (63) 11(51) 6 (42) 2 (35) 11 (51)
Rainfall (millimeters)(inches) 101.6 (4.00) 90.2 (3.55) 111.5 (4.39) 74.9 (2.95) 93.0 (2.66) 86.9 (3.42) 96.3 (3.79) 94.5 (3.72) 97.3 (3.83) 93.0 (3.66) 85.3 (3.36) 80.8 (3.18) 1105.3 (43.52)

Uptown The center of Charlotte is known as Uptown. In the 19th century, Uptown was divided into four political wards. Today the First and Fourth Wards are largely residential, with Fourth Ward housing the majority of Charlotte's remaining 19th century Queen Anne architecture. At the center of Uptown is the Square, the intersection of Trade and Tryon Streets and the point at which all four wards converge. Uptown is home to the majority of the city's skyscrapers, as well as Bank of America Stadium (home of the Carolina Panthers) and the Charlotte Bobcats Arena. Johnson & Wales University, the Museum of the New South, and the Mint Museum of Craft and Design are also located Uptown, along with the government district for both Mecklenburg County and the City of Charlotte. Uptown Charlotte is currently in the midst of a construction and developmental boom, with numerous high-rise buildings under construction, as well as major retail and cultural projects.
A trolley line in Charlotte's South End.University City comprises the northeastern part of Charlotte. If autonomous, "University", as it is commonly known, would be one of North Carolina's largest cities with nearly 200,000 residents. The primarily suburban University City is the home of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. University City is also home to University Research Park, a 3,200 acre (13 km) industrial park. The outer edges of University City stretch into Cabarrus County and it is also home to Lowe's Motor Speedway and the state's largest tourist attraction, Concord Mills.
South End takes its name from South Boulevard, its main thoroughfare, as well as its location just south of Uptown. An area of light industry and cotton mills for much of its history, today its former industrial buildings and mills are loft condominiums, restaurants, breweries, shops, and offices. Charlotte's historic trolley also originates in the neighborhood.
Dilworth, Charlotte's first streetcar suburb, was developed in the 1890s on 250 acres (1 km) southwest of the original city limits and included the Joseph Forsyth Johnson designed Latta Park. Planned largely with a grid pattern similar to the city's original four wards, it was initially designated the Eighth Ward. Centered on East Boulevard, today Dilworth is popular with Charlotte's young professionals drawn to its historic turn of the century architecture and traditional neighborhood feel.
Elizabeth takes its name from Elizabeth College, a small Lutheran womens college founded in 1897 on the present-day site of Presbyterian Hosptial. Elizabeth began to develop rapidly after 1902, when a trolley line was completed. Elizabeth was annexed by Charlotte in 1907. Independence Park, the first public park in the city, was created in the neighborhood, and Elizabeth became one of the most fashionable residential areas in Charlotte.
Myers Park is home to some of the city's most desirable zip codes. Filled with some of Charlotte's oldest grand houses and streets lined with towering oaks, Myers Park was designed by John Nolen of Boston in 1911. Like most early American suburbs, Myers Park was initially a "streetcar suburb" whose residents commuted to town on the electric trolley car. Nolen discarded the original grid street pattern of Uptown and Dilworth and instead planned curving avenues following the areas topography. Myers Park is largely a product of the building boom of the 1920s.
Starmount,is a residential neighborhood in the South Boulevard area of South Charlotte. The area is bounded by Archdale Drive to the north, Starbrook Drive to the south, Old Pineville Road to the west and Park Road to the east. The Starmount neighborhood was one of several Charlotte communities built by developer Charles Ervin[3] in the late 50's and 60's.
Plaza-Midwood, conceived as a complement to nearby Myers Park, never quite matured in the same way that Dilworth, Elizabeth or Myers Park did. By the 1970s and 80s, it was considered an "at-risk" neighborhood, but beginning in the 90s it enjoyed a revival that has made it a sought-after, more bohemian alternative to other higher-priced city neighborhoods.
SouthPark, located in south central Charlotte, is both an upscale residential and commercial neighborhood. The area's name derives from the fashionable SouthPark Mall, located at the intersection of Sharon and Fairview Roads. Luxury retailers such as Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Nordstrom, and Tiffany & Co. can be found here, as well as upscale restaurants The Palm, Morton's, Ruth's Chris, and McCormick & Schmicks.
Eastland, a neighborhood that developed primarily during the 1960s and 70s, comprises a majority of the east side of the city proper, including the namesake Eastland Mall. Demographics have changed much over the years and currently Eastland is home to one of Charlotte's largest Latino communities.
Ballantyne, another upscale area, is a planned mixed-use development that has grown exponentially in recent years and lies in the southernmost part of Charlotte, along the North and South Carolina border. Like SouthPark, Ballantyne has a high concentration of both impressive homes and commercial development.
The Arboretum is situated a few miles southeast of Uptown and developed primarily around the Arboretum Shopping Center. The area also is home to Providence Plantation and the country club community of Raintree.
NoDa is the city's "arts district" on and around North Davidson Street, located just north of uptown. Formerly an area of textile manufacturing and mill workers' residences, the area has also served as a center for the arts. NoDa is often the name given to the neighborhood, although NoDa technically refers to the business district in North Charlotte, as the neighborhhood itself is known.[citation needed] The name "NoDa" was coined by architect Russell Pound.
Steele Creek encompasses 47 square miles in the southwest corner of Mecklenburg County, generally comprised of the area south of Charlotte-Douglas Airport and west of Sugar Creek and I-77. Approximately 72% of the 25,282 residents fall within the boundaries of the city of Charlotte.
Biddleville is a neighborhood just west of Downtown. At the heart of Biddleville is Johnson C. Smith University, a historically black college, once called the Biddle Institute, where blacks were trained to be preachers and teachers. Biddleville came about in the 1870s as result of its proximity to the college, distinctly separate from Charlotte.
A list of all Charlotte neighborhoods

Metropolitan area
Night skyline of Charlotte, North CarolinaSee also: Charlotte metropolitan area
The Combined Statistical Area of Charlotte-Gastonia-Salisbury, NC-SC, has a population, as of the 2005 census estimate, of 2,067,810.
The population of the City of Charlotte is 594,359 according to the US Census 2004 Estimate. Due to recent annexations, however, the city's population has up to 651,101. The Charlotte metropolitan area, formerly known as the Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord MSA (metropolitan statistical area), extends across 2 states (North Carolina and South Carolina), and includes the following counties:
North Carolina
Mecklenburg County
Gaston County
Cabarrus County
Union County
Anson County
South Carolina
York County
Suburban towns located within 30 miles of uptown Charlotte include:
Belmont, NC (NW)
Concord, NC (NE)
Cornelius, NC (N)
Davidson, NC (N)
Fort Mill, SC (S)
Gastonia, NC (W)
Huntersville, NC (N)
Indian Trail, NC (SE)
Matthews, NC (SE)
Monroe, NC (SE)
Mooresville, NC (N)
Mt. Holly, NC (NW)
Pineville, NC (SE)
Rock Hill, SC (S)
Weddington, NC (SE)

Charlotte has become a major U.S. financial center, and both the nation's largest (Bank of America) and third largest banks (Wachovia) call the city home. Their headquarters, along with other regional banking and financial services companies, are located primarily in the uptown financial district. Thanks expansion of the city's banking industry, the Charlotte skyline has The following Fortune 500 companies are headquartered in the Charlotte metropolitan area:
Bank of America
Duke Energy
Family Dollar
Goodrich Corporation
Nucor Steel
Sonic Automotive
SPX Corporation
Other major companies headquartered in Charlotte include Belk, Meineke Autocare, Carlisle Companies, Compass Group USA, and Royal+SunAlliance, among many others.
Charlotte is also a major center in the American motorsports industry, with NASCAR having multiple offices in and around Charlotte. Approximately 75% of the industry's employees and drivers are based within two hours of downtown Charlotte. Charlotte is also the future home of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, expected to be completed in 2009.


Colleges and universities
Belmont Abbey College
Central Piedmont Community College
DeVry International University
Johnson and Wales University
Johnson C. Smith University
Kings College
Pfeiffer University at Charlotte
Queens University of Charlotte
Strayer University
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
University of Phoenix

Private schools
Al-Huda Islamic Academy
Charlotte Catholic High School
Charlotte Christian
Covenant Day School
Charlotte Country Day School
Charlotte Jewish Day School
Charlotte Latin School
Charlotte Preparatory School
Holy Trinity Catholic Middle School
Northside Christian
Providence Day School
SouthLake Christian Academy
Trinity Episcopal School
Victory Christian Center School
Public schools
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
Gaston County Schools http://www.gaston.k12.nc.us
People and culture
Historical populations [1]
year Population
1900 18,091
1920 46,338
1930 82,675
1940 100,899
1950 134,042
1960 201,564
1970 241,178
1980 315,473
1990 395,934
2000 540,828
2004 Estimate 594,359
2005 Estimate 651,101
As of 2004, census estimates show there are 594,359 people living within Charlotte's city limits, and 801,137 in Mecklenburg County. The county's population is projected to reach 1 million in 2010.
Figures from the more comprehensive 2000 census show Charlotte's population density to be 861.9/km (2,232.4/mi). There are 230,434 housing units at an average density of 367.2/km (951.2/mi).
Charlotte's population is ethnically diverse. The city's breakdown by race is as follows:
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.
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 birthplace of Billy Graham, Charlotte was once known as the "City of Churches." Of those who practice a religion, most Charlotteans are Christian of various Protestant denominations, with (principally Southern) Presbyterians and Methodists being the two dominant denominations in the region. In total, Charlotte lays claim to more than 700 places of worship.
Charlotte's Catholic and Jewish population surged during the 1980s when a series of corporate relocations brought thousands of northeasterners into the area. Catholic congregations continue to expand with the growth of Latino immigration.
The Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America is headquartered in Charlotte, and both Reformed Theological Seminary and Gordon Conwell Seminary have campuses there.
Jewish synagogues (Temple Beth El, Reform, Temple Israel, Conservative, and an Orthodox congregation) are located in Shalom Park on Providence Road.
The Charlotte area has five mosques: The Islamic Society of Greater Charlotte, Islamic Center of Charlotte, Masjid Ash-Shaheed, South Musallah, and the Islamic Society of Gastonia.
Hindus meet at the Hindu Center or the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) temple.
There are also several alternative religious institutions in the Charlotte area, with the Unitarian Universalist Church perhaps being the most prominent and popular.
The dominant newspaper in the region is The Charlotte Observer.
The Charlotte television market is the 27th largest in 2005, according to Nielsen Media Research. Television stations serving the market include:
WBTV, Channel 3 (CBS affiliate)
WSOC-TV, Channel 9 (ABC affiliate)
WHKY-TV, Channel 14 (Independent)
WUNE-TV, Channel 17 (PBS/UNCTV affiliate)
WCCB-TV, Channel 18 (FOX affiliate)
WNSC-TV, Channel 30 (PBS/SCETV affiliate)
WCNC-TV, Channel 36 (NBC affiliate)
WTVI, Channel 42 (PBS affiliate)
WJZY-TV, Channel 46 (UPN affiliate) (The CW affiliate starting Sept. 2006)
WMYT-TV, Channel 55 (WB affiliate)(Now Defunct) (My Network TV affiliate starting Sept. 2006)
WUNG-TV, Channel 58 (PBS/UNCTV affiliate)
WAXN-TV, Channel 64 (Independent)
The metro area is also served by a 24-hour cable news channel, News 14 Carolina, available on Time Warner Cable.

Carolina Place Mall opened in the early 1990s and is located about 12 miles south of uptown in suburban Pineville, North Carolina. Carolina Place offers over 1.1 million square feet of retail, and its proximity to the South Carolina border draws many shoppers from the Palmetto state.
Concord Mills is a sprawling retail and entertainment outlet mall about 10 miles northeast of uptown. Concord Mills has over 200 outlet stores and a 24 screen theater within its nearly one-mile interior circumference and is North Carolina's largest tourist attraction.
Eastland Mall was constructed in the mid-1970s as an alternative to then five-year-old SouthPark Mall; its claim to fame being an indoor skating rink in its central atrium. But while SouthPark has flourished and transformed itself into the region's source for high-end merchandise, Eastland has experienced a general decline over the years with many stores vacating the mall. Efforts to reinvigorate the mall and surrounding area are currently being discussed.
Northlake Mall opened in September 2005 and is located 8 miles north of uptown. Northlake was built to serve the population of rapidly growing north Charlotte and University City, as well as the nearby suburbs of Davidson and Huntersville. Northlake features a variety of both upscale and conventional retailers.
SouthPark Mall, the region's most upscale shopping center, is located about 5 miles south of uptown. SouthPark has over 125 stores, many of which are unique to the Carolinas, including Tiffany & Co., Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Neiman Marcus, and Kate Spade.

Sites of interest
Benedictine College and Monastery, on the historic registry for the college, the monastery and grotto
Carolina Raptor Center, dedicated to the conservation and rehabilitation of birds of prey
Afro-American Cultural Center, preserves, promotes and presents African-American art, history and culture
The Charlotte Museum of History
Children's Theatre of Charlotte, one of the top youth theatres in the country
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, a 111 acre (0.5 km) botanical garden located just west of Charlotte in Belmont
Charlotte Convention Center
Discovery Place, a science museum and IMAX Dome theater
Historic Latta Plantation, a cotton plantation turned living history farm
Historic Rosedale Plantation
ImaginOn, cutting-edge educational children's library and theater
Kings Mountain National Military Park, the site of a decisive Revolutionary War battle, located approximately 30 miles (50 km) west of Charlotte in Blacksburg, SC.
The Levine Museum of the New South
Lowe's Motor Speedway
The Mint Museums, two separate facilities, one dedicated to fine art and the other to craft and design
Paramount's Carowinds, regional amusement park located on the border of North and South Carolina
Reed Gold Mine, site of the first gold find in the United States
U.S. National Whitewater Center, state of the art facility scheduled to open in Spring 2006.
Blumenthal Performing Arts Centre
Wing Haven Gardens and Bird Sanctuary

Charlotte is home to the NFL's Carolina Panthers, which debuted in the league in 1995. The Panthers play in Bank of America Stadium, located in Uptown. The team won the NFC Championship of the 2003-2004 NFL season when it beat the Philadelphia Eagles, 14-3, in Philadelphia. In Super Bowl XXXVIII on Feb. 1, 2004, the Panthers were defeated, 32-29, by the New England Patriots. They have been in two other NFC Championship games: in 1996 (their second year) and 2006.
Charlotte was home to the World Football League's Charlotte Hornets during 1974 and 1975. The city has also been home to two Arena Football League teams, the Charlotte Rage and Carolina Cobras. The NCAA football Meineke Car Care Bowl is played annually in December at Bank of America Stadium.
In 2004, Charlotte was awarded its second NBA expansion team named the Charlotte Bobcats. The team plays in the Charlotte Bobcats Arena, which opened in fall 2005 in downtown Charlotte.
From 1988 to 2002, Charlotte hosted an NBA franchise named the Charlotte Hornets. The franchise relocated to New Orleans, Louisiana in 2002 after bitter animosity between the team's fans and principal owner George Shinn led to slumping attendance and ill feelings towards the Hornets.

The WNBA Charlotte Sting have played in Charlotte since 1997. Charlotte is home to the Charlotte Eagles of the United Soccer Leagues and plays host to the annual Wachovia Championship, an increasingly prestigious stop on the PGA Tour.

Charlotte is the hub of stock car racing, with major races being held at nearby Lowe's Motor Speedway, considered by most fans and participants in the sport to be NASCAR's 'home track'. A vast majority of NASCAR teams and race shops are located within 40 miles of Charlotte, and most NASCAR drivers maintain a residence in or near the city. Seventy-three percent of American motorsports employees are based within two hours of downtown Charlotte. The NASCAR Hall of Fame is set to open in Charlotte in early 2009.
Baseball has a long, rich history in the Queen City, dating back to 1901 when the Charlotte Hornets were formed. The Triple-A Charlotte Knights, the top minor league affiliate of the Chicago White Sox, currently call the Charlotte area home (the team's stadium is located in nearby Fort Mill, South Carolina).
Charlotte is on the list of cities that the Florida Marlins are considering for relocation; team officials are expected to visit the city in late February or early March 2006 to discuss a move with city leaders and consider a plan to build a privately-funded stadium downtown. But city leaders stated as of April that they would not fund or support any attempt to bring the Florida Marlins to Charlotte.
Via the Hartford Wolf Pack and Binghamton Senators of the AHL, the Charlotte Checkers of the ECHL are a farm team for the NHL's New York Rangers and Ottawa Senators respectively. The Charlotte Checkers now play at the new Charlotte Bobcats Arena.

In general, the occurrence of crime in Charlotte has been decreasing in recent years, as has crime nationally. According to the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports, violent crimes have dropped from a rate of 1630 occurrences per 100,000 population in 1997 to 1099 occurrences per 100,000 population in 2004 The violent crime rate has decreased steadily from 1997 to 2004, though the 2004 rate was slightly higher than the 2003 rate (1099 compared to 1077). From 1997 to 2002 property crime dropped from 7,779 occurrences per 100,000 population to 6,340 occurrences per 100,000 population. However, since then the rate has risen to 7090 occurrences per 100,000 population as of 2004, a trend not seen in the national statistics. Also note that in 2005 Charlotte had 85 homicides.
Direct comparisons to national crime rates are difficult as many different urbanization levels are present across the country. Compared to other cities with population from 500,000 to 999,999 for 2004 (the first year that data was broken down by the FBI for the Uniform Crime Report in this manner), Charlotte's crime is a slightly higher than average. The average for cities in this category was 927 violent crimes per 100,000 population and 5968 property crimes per 100,000 population. Morgan Quitno ranks Charlotte as the 10th most dangerous city in the nation with a population greater than 500,000.[4]


Mass Transit
The Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) is the local mass transit agency that operates historical trolleys, express shuttles and bus service that serve Charlotte and its immediate suburbs in both North and South Carolina. The 2025 Corridor System Plan looks to upgrade Charlotte's public transportation by supplementing its established bus service with light rail & commuter rail lines called 'Lynx'. Lynx is designed to carry passengers along five key corridors at a total cost of over $1.7 billion. CATS has begun work on the $426.8 million light rail line which will run from downtown to suburban Pineville with service scheduled to begin in 2007. Plans for the Lynx and commuter rail network will link uptown Charlotte with its immediate suburbs along four additional key corridors.

Air Force One takes off from Charlotte/Douglas International Airport, with the Charlotte skyline in the background.Charlotte Douglas International Airport is the 17th busiest airport in the US. It is served by many international and domestic airlines, and is the largest hub of US Airways. American Airlines, Air Canada, Continental, Delta, Northwest, United, AirTran and Lufthansa are some of the major carriers that serve the airport. Nonstop flights are available to many destinations across the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, Latin America and Canada.

Charlotte commuters on the heavily-travelled Independence Blvd (U.S. Highway 74) in rush hour traffic.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 nicknamed the "Outerbelt", is nearly complete and slated for completion by 2013. Upon completion, the Outerbelt will have a total circumference of approximately 67 miles (108 km). Within the city, the I-277 loop freeway encircles Charlotte's downtown while Charlotte Route 4 links major roads in a loop between I-277 and I-485.

Intercity rail
Amtrak's Crescent and Carolinian and Piedmont trains connect Charlotte with New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Richmond, and Raleigh to the north, and Atlanta, Birmingham and New Orleans to the south. CATS (Charlotte Area Transportation System) is currently constructing light rail lines connecting Uptown and Pineville, with more routes in the planning stages.

Notable Residents
Clay Aiken, American Idol runner-up and singer (from Raleigh, NC)
Chelsea Cooley, Miss USA 2005
Ric Flair, legendary pro wrestling champion
Billy Graham, evangelist
Fantasia Barrino, American Idol winner and singer (from High Point, NC)
Omar Tyree, Author
Jeff Gordon, NASCAR driver (but not born there)
Harry Golden, Author
Rick Hendrick, NASCAR team owner
Sharon Lawrence, Hollywood actress

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