Charlotte is a city rich in history. Please read the first article in this series if you haven’t already titled “Four Things You Didn’t Know About Charlotte’s History.” Here are five (more) facts about Charlotte.
- Do you know where the NBA Hornet’s nest logo comes from? It dates all the way back to 1780, when General Cornwallis led the British army into Charlotte, but left quickly due to the feisty local patriots. Cornwallis (supposedly) called Charlotte a “Hornet’s Nest of Rebellion.” In 1892 the city named the local baseball team the Charlotte Hornets. Later, the nest was put on the sides of Charlotte-Mecklenburg police cars. In 1974, the Charlotte Hornets became the city’s first professional football team. Finally, in 1988, the Charlotte Hornets became the city’s first NBA team.
- Bet you didn’t know that Charlotte Motor Speedway sits on the former site of a working plantation. President George Washington even had lunch in a house that used to be where the speedway’s offices are located. It stayed in operation during the Civil War. In 1959, the speedway was designed and built by O. Bruton Smith, with his business partner, the late stock car racing star Curtis Turner.
- Before California and the gold out west, this area was the one of the first gold rushes of the United States. In 1799, 12-year-old Conrad Reed found a large yellow rock on his family’s property. The rock turned out to be a 17lb lump of gold. Today the Reed Gold Mine is a museum with restored mine tunnels and hiking trails. Visit in April through October and you can pan for gold yourself!
- Homer the Dragon is Charlotte’s oldest mascot. Before it was official, and before even Hugo the Hornet who emerged on the scene with the Charlotte Hornets basketball team in 1988, Homer was there. Hugo lost his position as longest-standing mascot when he was temporarily ousted by Rufus the Bobcat of the Charlotte Bobcats in 2004, leaving Homer with the title of oldest, continuous mascot.
- Charlotte is known as the Pimento Cheese Capital of the World (a title it argues over with Raleigh-Durham). Our very own Ruth Salad’s produces over 45,000lbs of it every week.
Photo by Cody Hughes @clhughes21