Trivia about North Carolina
North Carolina Transportation
- The Intracoastal Waterway had its beginnings with the survey of the Dismal Swamp in 1763.
- The first major railroad for the state connected Raleigh with Wilmington in 1840.
- What was probably the first drawbridge built in the U.S. was built over the Cape Fear River.
- In the 1920's a road building effort to connect all county seats with hard-surfaced roads was instituted. This ultimately caused the state to be known as the "Good Roads State."
- 1,505 traffic deaths occurs in 1999, 536 deaths were alcohol related.
- Over 78,000 miles of highways in 1999, one of the largest state-maintained systems.
- The oldest bridge in North Carolina, still in use is the Pigeon River Bridge. Built in 1891 on S.R. 1112 near Waynesville in Haywood County.
- The NCDOT has the largest ferry system on the east coast.
- In 1996 NCDOT removed about 400,000 truckloads of debris left by Hurricane Fran.
- The nation's first "Bicycling Highway" system was developed by the NCDOT Office of Bicycle and Pedestrian Transporation.
North Carolina Geography
- Over 300 miles of coastline.
- Total area is about 52,660 square miles with 3,960 square miles of water bodies. Total Land area is about 48,700 square miles or 31million acres.
- 4.7 million acres of wetlands (About 66% of the original 7 million acres)
- Mount Mitchell, in the Blue Ridge Mountains, is the highest peak east of the Mississippi. Height is 6,684 feet.
- Lake Mattamuskeet is the largest natural lake, in North Carolina, at40,000 acres.
- Whitewater Falls in Transylvania County, one of over 200 waterfalls in North Carolina, is the highest waterfall on the East Coast.
- The largest county by land area is unofficially Robeson County. Sampson County is about the same size and could be larger if the county boundary is inaccurate. If you include Lake Waccamaw, Columbus County is actually a little bigger.
- The largest county by land area and water bodies included, is unofficially Hyde County. The Pamlico Sound and Lake Mattamuskeet make up most of the county.
- The Geographic Center is located near Carbonton in Chatham County. If you include the sounds the center is a just north of Sanford in Lee County.
- The University of North Carolina was the first public university in the United States to open its doors.
- Babe Ruth hit his first professional home run in Fayetteville on March 7, 1914.
- The first English child born in America, Virginia Dare, was born in Roanoke, NC, in 1587.
- The first English colony in America was located on Roanoke Island. Walter Raleigh founded it. The colony mysteriously vanished with no trace except for the word "Croatoan" scrawled on a nearby tree.
- The first outdoor drama in America, The Lost Colony, is staged every year in Manteo, NC.
- Many people believe that North Carolina was the first state to declare independence from England with the Mecklenburg Declaration of 1775.
- Cabarrus County, NC, was the site of America's first gold rush.
- The first state art museum in the country is located in Raleigh.
- The first Pepsi was created and served in New Bern, North Carolina in 1898. Caleb Bradham, a New Bern pharmacist, developed the elixir to aid in digestion.
- The first known miniature golf course was in Fayetteville, NC.
- First in flight Kitty Hawk, North Carolina in 1903.
- Fontana Dam is the tallest dam in the Eastern United States, at 480 feet high.
- The Biltmore Estate in Asheville is the largest private chateau, in the world, with 250 rooms, an award-winning winery and extensive gardens.
- Cape Hatteras is the largest lighthouse ever to be moved due to erosion problems.
- Havelock is home of Marine Base "Cherry Point." It the largest air base in the Marine Corps.
- Grandfather Mountain is home to the nation's highest swinging bridge. The bridge is one mile high, but only 80 feet off the ground.
- "Home Furnishings Capital of the World"
- Thomas Wolfe - Author.
- William Sidney Porter (O. Henry) - Short story writer.
- Charles Kuralt - TV Broadcaster
- David Brinkley - TV Broadcaster & Anchorman.
- Howard Cosell - TV Football Sportscaster.
- Ava Gardner - Classic Hollywood Actress.
- Andy Griffith - Actor.
- Sugar Ray Leonard - 1976 Olympic Gold Medalist Middleweight Boxing.
- Randy Travis - Country Music Singer.
- 1492-1692. Diseases carried by the foreigners brought about the demise of about 95 percent of the Cherokee Nation during the first 200years of European presence.
- 1629. King Charles I. grants territory, located between 31° and 36° N latitude, to Sir Robert Heath, who names it "Carolina" after the king.
- 1705. First school opened, in Pasquotank County. Bath is first town incorporated.
- 1710. Colony of Swiss and German Protestants founded New Bern.
- 1711-1713. Indians massacre settlers in Tuscarora War.
- 1713. Tuscarora Indians migrate into New York.
- 1712. Carolina divided into two provinces.
- 1729. Seven lords proprietors sell lands to George II.
- 1771. Farmers oppose British rule; are defeated in battle of Alamance Creek.
- 1774. Provincial congress organized at New Bern to plan resistance against royal rule.
- 1775. Citizens of Mecklenburg County may have issued first declaration of independence.
- 1776. Milita defeat Loyalist troops at Moore's Creek Bridge near Wilmington Feb. 27th. First state constitution adopted May 20th. (Population: 300,000; 3rd largest in the Union)
- 1780. General Charles Cornwallis occupies Charlotte. Frontiersmen attack Tory forces at King's Mountain Oct. 7th.
- 1781. Cornwallis forced to retreat at Battle of Guilford Courthouse.
- 1784. State of Franklin organized; collapses in 1788.
- 1789. North Carolina is 12th state to ratify United States Constitution, Nov. 21th.
- 1790. North Carolina cedes western lands to United States.
- 1792. Permanent capital site surveyed; named Raleigh.
- 1813. First Cotton Mill founded near Lincolnton.
- 1829. Andrew Jackson becomes seventh president of US.
- 1838. Most of the Cherokee tribe is forcibly moved to Oklahoma (Trail of Tears).
- 1840. Present State Capitol completed.
- 1845. James K. Polk, born 1795 in Mecklenburg County, becomes 11th US president.
- 1861. North Carolina secedes from Union, May 20.
- 1865. Andrew Johnson, born 1808 in Raleigh, becomes 17th US president. Wilmington is one of last Confederate ports captured Gen. Joseph E. Johnston surrenders to Gen. William T. Sherman at Durham. Legislature ratifies the 13th Amendment to the US constitution, ending slavery. Dec, 4.
- 1868. North Carolina readmitted to Union, July 20.
- 1890. James B. Duke founds American Tobacco Company.
- 1901. Governor Aycock vigorous developments natural resources and better schools.
- 1903. Wright brothers make flight near Kitty Hawk.
- 1944. Fontana Dam completed (480 feet tall).
- 1953. Nuclear reactor dedicated at North Carolina State University.
- 1957. Research Triangle Park created by area Universities.
- 1963. State House completed; houses state legislature.
- 1965. First state-supported school for the performing arts opens in Winston-Salem.
- 1966. Cape Lookout National Seashore established.
- 1970. Present constitution adopted; effective 1971.
- 1976. Section of New River designated a "scenic river" to prevent construction of a dam.
- 1988. Drought disaster declared during worst drought and heat wave since the 1930s.
Threatened and Endangered Species
- Birds: Bald Eagle, Ivory-billed Woodpecker, Kirtlands Warbler, Piping Plover, Red-Cockaded Woodpecker, Roseate Tern, Wood Stork
- Fish: Cape Fear Shiner, Shortnose Sturgeon, Spotfin Chub, Waccamaw Silverside
- Reptiles: American Alligator, Bog Turtle, Green Sea Turtle, Hawksbill Turtle, Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle, Leatherback Sea Turtle, Loggerhead Sea Turtle
- Spiders: Spruce-fir Moss Spider
- Insects: Saint Francis' Satyr Butterfly, American Burying Beetle
- Mussels: Applachian Elktoe, Carolina Heelsplitter, Cumberland Bean Pearlymussel, Dwarf Wedge Mussel, Little-wing Pearlymussel, Oyster Mussel, Tar Spinymussel, Noonday Globe Snail
- Mammals: Eastern Cougar, Red Wolf, Carolina Northern Flying Squirrel, Gray Bat, Indiana Bat, Virginia Big-eared Bat, West Indian Manatee
- Whales: Finback Whale, Humpback whale, Right Whale, Sei Whale, Sperm Whale
- Plants: American Chaffseed, Blue Ridge Goldenrod, Bunched Arrowhead, Canby's Dropwort, Cooley's Meadowrue, Dwarf-flowered Heartleaf, Green Pitcher Plant, Harperella, Heller's Blazing Star, Michaux's Sumac, Mountain Golden Heather, Mountain Sweet Pitcher Plant, Pondberry, Roan Mountain Bluet, Rock Gnome Lichen, Rough-leaved Loosestrife, Schweinitz's Sunflower, Seabeach Amaranth, Sensitive Joint-vetch, Small-anthered Bittercress, Small Whorled Pogonia, Smooth Coneflower, Spreading Avens, Swamp Pink, Virginia Spiraea, White Irisette
For more information about these threatened and endangered species, visit: https://www.ncwildlife.org/Learning/Learning-About-North-Carolinas-Wildlife-Resources
Other Interesting Facts
- The Carolina Parrot, the only native U.S. Parrot, became extinct sometime after 1920.
- The Venus Fly-Trap is native to Hampstead.
- Tropical storms and hurricanes are a common factor near the coast,so much that hundreds of ships have been wrecked off the southern shores of the Outer Banks of North Carolina, resulting in the area being called the "Graveyard of the Atlantic".
- Snowfall is light except in the mountains, where as much as 50 inches may fall.
"to be rather than to seem"
- Bird: Cardinal (1943)
- Dog: Plott Hound (1989)
- Fish: Channel Bass (1971)
- Reptile: Eastern Box Turtle (1979)
- Mammal: Gray Squirrel (1969)
- Insect: Honeybee (1973)
- Motto: Esse quam videri (1893)
- Nickname: Tar Heel State
- Song: "The Old North State" (1927)
- Capital: Raleigh (1792)
- Flower: Dogwood (1941)
- Tree: Pine (1963)
- Vegetable: Sweet Potatoe (1995)
- Beverage: Milk (1987)
- Rock: Granite (1979)
- Stone: Emerald (1973)
- Shell: Scotch Bonnet (1965)
- Historic Boat: Shad Boat (1987)
- Flag: (1941)
(Information provided by: NCDOT)
Page last updated on: May 13, 2019
Page last updated: June 28, 2022