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Cabarrus County

by Michael Aiken
Fall 2001

I have lived my whole life up until a year ago in Cabarrus County, and I can vouch for the truth in when it is said to be "God's Country". Concord, the city meeting the future, is the county seat. Harrisburg, Midland, Mount Pleasant, part of Kannapolis, as well as Concord are the cities that are scattered throughout Cabarrus County. Cabarrus CountyThe population growth has taken a major jump in the last twenty years. "In 1980 the county population was 85,513, and in 2000 the population was up to 131,063" ("Growth Trends"). Stanly, Union, Mecklenburg, Iredell, and Rowan counties surround Cabarrus County.

The main river that runs through Cabarrus County is the Rocky River. Almost everywhere you look there are big boulders scattered throughout. That is because there was and what is now the remnants of a volcano dike. Around the speedway is said to be where the peak was. There are many traits that make this county stand out among the others. Agriculture is one big part of Cabarrus County. Other major fields are the business and history side.

Agriculture has always been a way of life in Cabarrus County. "Pioneers came looking for land that was like that of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia" (Heritage 11). Early settlers were very pleased with both the soil and the lay of the land. Most of the county farmed than anything else, but cotton mills are what dominated. A major cash crop such as tobacco has always been a strong hold of Cabarrus County. Phillip Morris, one of the leading producers in tobacco and tobacco products, is located on Hwy 29 just outside Concord. Almost every Thursday you can smell the tobacco that they are harvesting from miles away. Even still today farmlands are scattered throughout the county and can be seen from almost every roadside. Some farms raise turkeys as well as ostriches, which are unusual crops for Cabarrus County. Agriculture is one way that money is brought into the county; others are the many businesses that Cabarrus holds.

The small time Cabarrus County has made a big name for it self in the line of businesses today. "Sundrop has been bottled in concord since 1948" (Cabarl). Sundrop also sponsored NASCAR's Dale Earnhardt, who was born in Cabarrus County. "Kannapolis (city of looms) has the one and only 'Cannon Mills,' which is a complex made of seven cloth mills and produces more household textiles than any plant in the world" (Cabarl). Today you can still find fine cotton products throughout the city. "This mill was the heart of economy for 60 years and now has been turned into a church fellowship hall" (Cabarl). There are several cotton mills scattered throughout the county. "The Coleman-Franklin cotton mill was the first plant to be owned and operated by blacks in the U.S. and later became part of the Cannon Mills" (Cabarl). Other cotton gins such as J.L. Cochran serving the poplar Tent and Roberta communities helped make cotton the most important cash crop.

Lowes Motor Speedway is located on the outskirts of Cabarrus County. This speedway is the heart and pride for a lot of people. "Lowe's is one of the biggest venues of all sports with more than 300 day/nights of events each year" (Horton and Bridges 31). "The speedway was built in 1959 by Bruton Smith just outside the town of Harrisburg" (Horton and Bridges 31). Every year when the big races come to town, Harrisburg comes alive. This small city becomes filled with all sorts of people from all sorts of places. "Smith constructed the 1.5 mile track that would later be called the 'Super Speedway' for the cost of $1.9 million" (Horton and Bridges 32). The speedway opened June 19th 1960 with the first "World 600" and was the first speedway to offer night races. Many buildings have been added since the opening. Lowe's is one of the few tracks that have seating almost all the way around the track. "The speedway was equipped with a permanent lighting system in 1992" (Horton and Bridges 33). The speedway does a lot more than just holding races; it holds a lot of social events from high school proms to the most elegant parties. Even with all these great things nothing compares to the sense of pride that the locals get from there history.

The historic roots of Cabarrus County run deep through the people's lives. "The first permanent settlers, Scotch/Irish immigrants, arrived about 1732 and lived in much of the western part of the county" (Cabarrus County Heritage 72). Each county today mainly broke away from its host county. "Cabarrus was formed from Mecklenburg in 1792" (Horton and Bridges 60). Most counties are named after interesting things or there is often a meaning behind the name. Cabarrus is unlike this; it was not named for a group of Indians, and the word has no other significant meaning. It is actually named after one man. Stephen Cabarrus of Edenton, North Carolina, was the man. His stronghold was that "he served as a member of the legislature and was the speaker of the House of Commons four times" (Horton and Bridges 64).

One great part of history that is loved by all is the history behind Reed's goldmine. Today it is a tourist place of attraction where you can tour through the mines that where once full of miners. You can also see how gold was sifted and how the mills worked. The best part is that it is a history lesson all at once. "Conrad Reed was hunting fish one day with a bow and arrow when he saw something shiny" (Horton and Bridges 64). He took the rock back to his home where it is said that used it as a "door stop" (Horton and Bridges 64). Three years later it is said that he sold the 16 pound gold piece for $3.50 at a market.

Cabarrus CountyArtifacts such as tomahawks and arrows help prove their where once Indians that lived in these areas. The Siouan's are the Indians that have been given claim to Cabarrus, and were believed to follow the buffalo.

Cabarrus County is like no other place in North Carolina. This hometown place has the best way of welcoming everyone in its arms. Here you can enjoy what's best about life. From the great agricultural opportunities to the down home smile when you pass a stranger. Businesses here bloom and blossom as new way of technology and ideas are raised daily. Cabarrus County also has a strong since of a great and rich historical background. So come find out what make everyone want to never leave this place. Come visit Cabarrus County,"Gods Country".

Works Cited

Cabarrus County. 2 Nov. 2001

Cabarrus County Heritage, North Carolina. Waynesville, NC: Cabarrus County Heritage book Committee and Don Mills, Inc., 1998

"Growth Trends." Cabarrus Economic Development. 25 Nov. 2001

Horton, Jr., Clarence E., and Kathryn L. Bridges, eds. Piedmont Neighbors: Historical Sketches of Cabarrus, Stanly and Southern Rowan Counties From the Pages of Progress Magazine. Concord, NC: Historic Cabarrus, Inc., 1999.

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Created on November 26, 2001
Updated May 26, 2003