The twentieth largest city in the United States, Charlotte, North Carolina has an interesting and vast history; named in honour of Queen Charlotte, wife of the eighteenth century British King George III, the city was known as “a hornet's nest of rebellion" during the American Civil War. Today, the city is well known for a variety of reasons: Charlotte is the home of American evangelist, Bully Graham, and is also the place in which Carson McCullers wrote her best known novel, ‘The Heart is a Lonely Hunter’.
However, one of Charlotte's most famous landmarks is its University. The University of North Carolina in Charlotte is located in what is known as University City, comprising the north eastern part of Charlotte. It is claimed that if University City was an autonomous city in itself, it would be one of North Carolina's largest, with a population of around 200, 000 residents. As well as UNC Charlotte, University City is also home to University Research Park, a 3,200 acre research and industrial park.
UNC Charlotte was first opened in 1946 as the Charlotte Centre, to serve the educational needs of returning World War II veterans. By 1964, it gained official recognition as a four-year, state-supported college, and in 1965 became the fourth campus of the statewide university system, University of North Carolina. Today it has grown into the fourth-largest of the 16 UNC campuses, and is one of the state's leading doctoral and research-intensive institutions.
In 2006, UNC Charlotte ranked in the top 10 public regional undergraduate universities in the South, and it also has a rich sporting tradition. For athletics purposes, the school is known as Charlotte; the Charlotte team is also nicknamed the ‘49ers’ because of the well-known fact that the school was almost closed for good in 1949. Currently, UNC Charlotte owns a variety of excellent sporting facilities, including the Dale F. Halton Arena for men's basketball, the most followed sport on campus. In 1999, the Irwin Belk Track and Field Centre outdoor sports facility was opened and a new golf practice centre at Rock River Golf Club in Concord is currently nearing completion.
If you're thinking about visiting Charlotte, be sure to stop at University City and appreciate this historical landmark. And if your kids are thinking about attending UNC Charlotte, or you're just interested in taking them on a tour of the leading educational institutions in the south before they make their minds up, spend a few days in the area. You'll find plenty of hotels in Charlotte so your son or daughter can take all the time they need to make a decision. And if you're planning on staying in Charlotte for a few days, why not visit Concord Mills, the state's largest tourist attraction? After all, if your teenager decides to go to college in Charlotte, they'll need to be made well aware of the excellent shopping opportunities the city offers!
Martin McAllister is a freelance online journalist. He lives in Scotland.