(Editor’s Note: Each weekday in March we will be featuring a city in North Carolina in our “Marching Through North Carolina” series aimed at getting to know your state better from the mountains to the coast. In our firm, we serve all of North Carolina and enjoy learning about what makes us the same and different throughout the Tar Heel state. If you have any tidbits or suggestions about a featured city, please leave a comment on that city or town’s blog post.)
County: Gaston County
Much like Asheville, NC, the construction of railroads would shape the economy of Gastonia in the late 1800’s. A stop along the railroad named “Gastonia Station” would become what today is known as the city of Gastonia. When the railroad was first being constructed, the plans called for the tracks to go through Dallas, which was the county seat of Gaston at the time. Fearing loud noise and a disruption in their calm Southern living, the residents of Dallas let their concerns be known. After consideration, the railroad decided to place the track four miles away. In 1877, Gastonia, due to the railroads, was finally populated enough to become incorpirated as a township.
In the early 1900’s Gastonia would be known as a haven for textile shops. After the Civil War, the Southern states were dedicated to rebuilding the South. In Gastonia, a group of men put together $75,000 to fund the building of Gastonia Cotton Manufacturing Co in 1887. The product from this company was a success and helped fund the expansion of the company in 1892. Before stepping into the 1900’s, Gastonia already had five cotton mills within its city limits. By 1923, Gastonia had 103 mills and 1,500,000 producing spindles, which was the most of any town in America.
While this is a brief look into what shaped Gastonia, please visit VintageGastonia.com for a great look into the history of Gastonia.
Being near Charlotte, Gastonia is able serve as a getaway from the big city. If you want to take off and do some outdoors activities, no problem. The US National Whitewater center offers whitewater rafting, biking, hiking and climbing.
If your aim is to be a little bit more cerebral, then head over to the Schiele Museum which has the largest collection of land mammal specimens in the Southeast. You can also visit the outside display that shows what farms were like in the 18th century.
Blog Information Resources:
- Vintage Gastonia
- Visit Gaston