Charlotte, North Carolina
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Charlotte Business Signs
The area of North Carolina now known as Charlotte was first settled by Europeans in 1755, when Thomas Spratt and his family arrived. Charlotte was first incorporated as a town in 1768. It was named in honor of Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Sterlitz, who had become queen consort of Great Britain the year before. Ever since then, Charlotte has been nicknamed ‘The Queen City.’
Today, Charlotte is the largest city in North Carolina and the third fastest-growing major city in the country. According to a 2013 US Census Bureau estimate, the city’s population was 792,862. This makes it the 16th largest city in the United States. Its metropolitan area, however, ranks at 23rd, with 2,335,358 people. This metropolitan area is part of a sixteen-county combined statistical area. According to the same 2013 estimate, this CSA has a population of 2,493,040 people.
Charlotte is considered a major U.S. financial hub, due to the fact that both Bank of America and Wells Fargo’s East Coast operations are headquartered in the city. In fact, Charlotte is the second largest banking center in the United States, after New York City.
Charlotte and its metropolitan area are also home to seven other Fortune 500 companies. These include Lowe’s, Duke Energy, Sonic Automotive, Family Dollar, SPX Corporation, and Domtar. Several other businesses are headquartered in the area. Many of these handle foodstuffs such as Chiquita Brands International, Harris Teeter, Lance, Inc, Carolina Foods Inc, Bojangles’, Food Lion, and Compass Group USA.
Charlotte also serves as a focal point for the U.S. motorsports industry. The NASCAR Hall of Fame opened there in 2010. This $160 million facility “honors drivers who have shown exceptional skill at NASCAR driving, all-time great crew chiefs and owners, and other major contributors to competition within the sanctioning body.” It was designed by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners.
The other major motorsports landmark in the Charlotte area is the Charlotte Motor Speedway. It opened in 1960 and features a 1.5 miles (2.4 km) quad oval track. The Speedway hosts several races including the Coca-Cola 600, the Sprint All-Star Race, and the Bank of America 500. Otherwise, Charlotte is booming with various NASCAR personalities. Approximately 75% of the industry’s race teams, employees, and drivers are based in and around the city.
Charlotte isn’t all about money and cars, though. The area also boasts the U.S. National Whitewater Center, which contains man-made rapids of various degrees. Other attractions of note include the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, the Billy Graham Library, Carolinas Aviation Museum, Mint Museum, and the Carolina Renaissance Festival.
The city of Charlotte is home to several professional sports teams. These include AHL’s Charlotte Checkers who play their home games in the Time Warner Cable Arena. The NBA’s Charlotte Hornets are also based in that arena, while Major League Lacrosse’s Charlotte Hounds play at American Legion Memorial Stadium. The most well known team, however, is the National Football League’s Carolina Panthers. They play their home games at Bank of America Stadium.
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Forest City, NC