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Huntersville is a town in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. The town is a part of the Charlotte metropolitan area, and as of the 2010 census had a population of 46,773, making it the nineteenth biggest metropolitan area in North Carolina. The town is located about 12 miles north of uptown Charlotte and was incorporated in 1873. Most historians believe that the town got its name from the Reverend Humphrey Hunter, who was a minister at Steel Creek and Unity Presbyterian churches, as well as a local Revolutionary war hero. The Hunter family was a prominent family in the area at the time due to businesses they ran.
History and Origins
The town began life as Craighead and was renamed when it became incorporated as a town due to the Hunter family becoming such a large presence in the community. Blessed with fertile land, and a railway line, the town grew quickly along with its first industries which were the Cotton Mill – Virgin Manufacturing Company, and a brickyard that provided the bricks for most of the older brick buildings and chimneys, which can still be found is older sections of the town. As was common with most towns and cities at that time, life in Huntersville NC in the early days centered on farming, family life, and church.
Farmland was fenced off with split rail fences, some of which can still be seen today, and farm animals were free to graze any available pastures. In a true sense of community, historians documented that families in the community often looked out for each other, with neighbors sharing their beef with those less fortunate.
As the town grew, the business community grew along with it. Virgin Manufacturing Company, the operators of the town’s cotton mill, encouraged the growth of a ‘mill town’, which was then located on the east side of the railroad tracks. As mentioned above, the brickyard business also played a major part in the growth of what was to become the beginnings of modern day Huntersville. In recent times, the older generation in the town has expressed mixed feelings about the town’s exponential growth, with the general feeling among them that the town was a better place when there was less traffic on the roads, and large swathes of farmland were left untouched. There are also genuine concerns over increasing traffic and the proliferation of box stores run by large commercial corporations.
While the older generation feels that the values that helped build the town are gradually being lost, others argue that the town has always been ideally poised for such growth. The argument is that in a way, it is those values that have attracted so many of the town’s new residents, with the attraction of the remaining farmland and the easy commute into Charlotte, as well as the close proximity to Lake Norman just a few of the factors enticing the new arrivals.
Modern Day Huntersville, NC
As of the Census of 2010 Huntersville had a population of 46,773 people, which included around 9,000 households, and over 6,000 families. At the time, the population density of the town was on average 800 people per every square mile, with almost 10,000 housing units creating an average density of just over 316 houses per square mile.
From the census of 2010, the numbers show that the population is spread out with around 28 percent under the age of 18, about 7 percent in the 18 to 24 age group, 41 percent from 25 to 44, 16 percent from 45 to 64, and around 6 percent who were 65 years of age and older. The figures also reveal a median age of about 33 years and a ratio of around 97 males for every 100 females. Incomes average about $72,000 per annum.
The town is popular because of its close proximity to Charlotte, and also because it is still far away enough to be its own city. Huntersville’s recent growth has been phenomenal and the town has recently completed construction of a development called Birkdale, a shopping and residential area which has grown to become the model of current and future developments in surrounding towns and cities. With continued growth, the authorities are now planning further developments to the east of the city to meet the ever-rising demand, although traffic congestion and perceived over-development of former farmland have started to become contentious issues in the area. Despite the rapid growth in the town, only about 2 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, and crime levels have remained relatively low with most residents feeling that the town is a safe place to bring up a family.
Of late, local residents have taken issue with the recently implemented health care law – the Affordable Care Act. Recently the Huntersville Town Board approved two binding resolutions that have been drafted to request the State of North Carolina to intercede on behalf of citizens in trying to prevent the implementation of the legislation. The resolutions were approved by a 3-2 vote in April of 2014 and were introduced by Republican Commissioner Charles Jeter. Mr. Jeter and two other Republican legislators voted in favor of the resolutions, and one Democrat and a Republican legislator voted against it.
This action has made the town one of the first to approve binding resolutions that seek state action to repeal the law. Although there are over fourteen States with Attorney generals who have filed complaints in court about the healthcare legislation, Huntersville Attorney General has yet to declare his allegiance to the fight alongside his citizens and Mr. Jeter.
WNC Health Insurance helps residents of Huntersville decide which health insurance plans are best for them – Affordable Care Act health insurance plans, or private Huntersville health insurance plans.
Transport and Education
Huntersville, NC is one of three towns which are within the same county that are situated to the north of Charlotte, North Carolina, the other two being Davidson and Cornelius. Together, these three towns make up an area commonly referred to as the ‘’North Meck’’. Served by express bus transportation as well as an interstate that concludes about five miles to the south of the town, they provide valuable accessibility to the downtown commercial areas of Charlotte, which makes Huntersville primarily a town of commuters. For quick and convenient access around the town, the best method to use is the Load-Em truck which provides regular stops all over the town. Airplane flights can be accessed at the Charlotte/Douglas International Airport.
Back in 1875, there were two local schools that served the fledgling town, the McClintock Academy and the Orr School. Both schools would be regarded as junior colleges and there are numerous ministers, professional men, teachers and business leaders who were educated there in the late 1800’s.
Today, there are three main high schools that serve the town, namely Hopewell High School, North Mecklenburg High School, and Hough High School which is a new addition to the town, having been opened in the fall of 2010. In addition, just off Statesville Road, which is to the south of Mount Holly-Huntersville Road, there is the North Campus of Central Piedmont Community College which provides most academic subjects in addition to training facilities for mechanics and law enforcement. The town is also served by several elementary schools, as well as three large middle schools, three private schools and the Lake Norman Charter School.
The town and surrounding area is served by the North County Regional branch of the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.
Huntersville is also seen recreationally as a lake community because it has a number of lakes in its close proximity attracting boaters and water skiers from several of the nearby surrounding states. There is Lake Norman, which is a large man made lake that was created to serve the nuclear power plant at Duke Power. In addition, located close to the southwest border of the town is Mountain Island Lake, another man-made lake that is primarily used as Charlottes’ water source. The town is also home to a number of golf courses, including the private Northstone Country Club. Two of the courses, Skybrook Golf Club and Birkdale Golf Course are owned and operated by the IRI Group and make up part of the six-course Carolina Trail where package deals are available to members of the public.
There is also a medieval themed amusement park as well as several historic sites in the town, with the town playing host to the annual Carolina Renaissance Festival, which is held in October and November on Saturdays and Sundays. The festival is located close to the intersection of Highway 73 and Poplar Tent Road. With over eleven entertainment stages, a huge village marketplace spread over 22 acres, as well as an arts and crafts fair, jousting tournaments and much more, it is one of the largest renaissance-themed events held in the country.
Huntersville, NC has come a long way since those humble beginnings in the 1800’s, and the town’s explosive growth now poses a different set of challenges going forward. Judging how far the city has come, it is fair to say that these challenges will be met and overcome as successfully as preceding challenges.