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Greensboro is a city located at the intersection of three major interstate highways: Interstate 85, Interstate 40 and Interstate 73 in the state of North Carolina. Situated in the Piedmont Triad metropolitan region, it is the largest city in Guildford County and the third largest by population in the state of North Carolina. Named after Major General Nathanael Greene, who was leader of the American forces offering resistance and defending the city during the Battle of Guilford at the Court House on March 15, 1781. That battle was key in securing America’s victory over the British. Greensboro, whose name was formerly spelled Greensborough, lives up to its name with a host of gardens and arboretums dotted around the city. It also has a wealth of history as evidenced by the various museums in the city dedicated to the Civil War, the Civil Rights movement, and the Revolutionary War.
As of a census in the year 2000, Greensboro, NC had a population of 223,891 residents. And a 2007 estimate put that number at 248,111, however, in 2008, the city’s boundaries were adjusted to include an area of about 8 square miles and around 10,000 residents to bring the city’s total population up to over 258,000. Earlier in 2003, the city had already been redefined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, which resulted in the formation of the Greensboro-High Point MSA and the Winston-Salem MSA. The Greensboro-High Point MSA population as of 2010 was recorded as 723,801, while that of the Greensboro – Winston-Salem – High Point area, also known locally as the Piedmont Triad, had a population of around 1,599,477 residents.
The city was planned around a central courthouse square whose location of county courts made it more easily accessible for the county’s residents in 1808, having replaced nearby Guilford Court House as the county seat. Property for the future village is said to have been purchased for $98, and the town had grown to over 360 residents by 1821. The city’s inhabitants then were a people called the Saura, who were Quaker immigrant families who spoke a language called Siouan. Having been given approval to hold their religious services there in 1754, the settlement began to grow rapidly and soon became one of the most important Quaker communities in North Carolina at the time.
Soon, the area came to be known as the ‘Gate City’ after the state government selected Greensboro for inclusion on a new railway line and it became a major transportation hub for the area. With the railroads transporting goods to and from the city’s textile mills, the city continued to grow in size. To this day, Greensboro, NC remains a major textile hub with many major textile companies headquartered there, including the main offices of International Textile Group and that of VF Corporation, makers of well known brands such as Wrangler, Lee, The North Face, and Nautica. The city is also still a major regional freight hub, with as many as four Amtrak passenger trains stopping there daily on trips from Washington, New Orleans and Atlanta via the main Norfolk Southern line.
The wealth generated from the textile industry contributed to the addition of landmark buildings in the city, such as Blandwood Mansion and Gardens, which was built in 1795 and became America’s tallest Tuscan Villa at one time after additions in 1846 designed by Alexander Jackson Davis. Other buildings of note that came about as a result of the city’s rise in wealth included Dunleith, the Bumpass-Troy House which operates as an inn in modern times, and Bellemeade.
For some time during the American Civil War, Greensboro, NC was untouched by the war except for shortages of items such as clothing and medicines, but as the war finally drew to a close, the city was to play a major role. As the last place the entire Confederate government met before the Union Forces were victorious, and the city to witness the last of the old civil government of the state in North Carolina, Greensboro was to be the place in which confederate soldiers gave up their arms and received their parole before being disbanded.
The Growth of Industry
As the city’s textile industry and related businesses grew, along with size of the town and its emergence as a major freight hub, it began to attract the attention of industrialists from the north such as the Cone brothers (Moses and Caesar) from Baltimore. In the 1890’s the Cone brothers built large textile plants in the town which quickly transformed Greensboro NC from a small village to a big city. By the start of the 1900’s the city had become the center of the textile industry in the south, featuring factories that produced products such as denim, overalls, and flannel.
Greensboro’s population and industry continued to grow during the twentieth century with the growing wealth leading to the construction of many further landmarks, many of which are still standing today and were designed by local architects Charles Hartmann and Harry Barton. During this time some more notable companies made the city their home, including Vicks Chemical Co, and the Carolina Steel Corporation. Prosperity brought with it an influx of workers and their families which led to a rush to build homes for the 200-odd families coming to settle in the area each year. The city also grew a reputation for well planned communities and the value placed on education, parks, and employee welfare.
The Civil Rights Movement.
In 1960 Greensboro’s population consisted of around 75 percent white and 25 percent black residents, and in February of that year four black students sat down at an all-white table in Woolworths and refused to leave until they were served. After word spread of that encounter and the students’ actions that day, hundreds of other students soon joined in the sit-in, which ended up lasting for several months and led to the desegregation of the store’s other branches. After a brief peace, further protests took place in the town, with the protesters demanding economic and social justice. Eventually, the protests achieved gains on racial equality but further gains were slow to come amid empty promises and lip service by the authorities and more unrest culminated in what is known as the Greensboro massacre where five student protesters were killed by KKK supporters who were later acquitted by an all white jury. Needless to say the seeds had been sown and the civil rights movement in the city continued to fight for justice. A major step towards equality was taken in the year 2007, when Greensboro voters elected the first African-American Mayor of the city, Yvonne J. Johnson.
Today Greensboro NC has grown to be a thriving metropolitan area called the Triad, which includes the three major cities of Greensboro, High Point and Winston-Salem. With well over a million residents, the city has grown from a textiles hub to one of the most popular destinations for relocating corporations, an example being a three hundred million dollar FedEx air cargo and sorting hub at the local Piedmont Triad International Airport which opened in 2009. The same location is also the world headquarters for Honda Aircraft Company where the Japanese company has a jet assembly plant. The city has also been recognized with many accolades for its beauty and quality of life.
Greensboro, NC is also home to the Joseph S. Koury Convention center which is the largest convention hotel between Atlanta, Georgia and Washington, DC. In addition, plans are also underway for the construction of three more hotels, and a 3,000 seat performing arts center which will be named the Steven Tanger Center for The Performing Arts. Also in the works is a joint downtown University campus to be called Union Square. Many of the city’s major events take place either at the Greensboro Coliseum or the convention center which has a hotel that boasts over a thousand rooms. The city is also home to the Four Seasons Town Center Mall which is located close to the convention center and is a popular shopping destination for the whole Piedmont Triad area.
Today the city of Greensboro NC has many health insurance plans to choose from – both private Greensboro health insurance plans, and plans outlined by the ACA (Affordable Care Act). Residents in the city have access to an excellent choice of life, disability, dental and vision insurance. The townspeople are able to take up their health insurance as part of a formal group, such as employees of a company, or members of an association.
Nowadays Greensboro has a lot to offer! It is a vibrant, growing city with many varied recreational activities available, from kayaking and canoeing on any one of the three lakes nearby, to beautiful city parks and a fantastic network of trails and greenways for walkers, runners and fitness enthusiasts. In addition, with many companies choosing to use the city as their base, there are many opportunities for pursuing a career and finding a safe and dynamic environment for bringing up a family.