North Carolina State Facts - North Carolina Firsts

Catch up on your state trivia with these North Carolina history firsts and interesting fun facts about the state.

Official Name North Carolina
Capital Raleigh
35.82195 N, 078.65875 W
Middle Atlantic
Constitution Ratified 1971
Statehood November 21, 1789
12th state
Number of Counties 100 Counties in North Carolina
Largest County
(by population)
Mecklenburg County
527 sq. mi.

North Carolina History Firsts & State Facts

More North Carolina History Firsts & State Facts

  • The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill is the oldest State University in the United States.
  • The state's best-known scenic attraction is Great Smoky Mountains National Park, located astride the North Carolina-Tennessee border.
  • Krispy Kreme Doughnut was founded in Winston-Salem.
  • Whitewater Falls is the highest waterfall in the eastern United States.Whitewater Falls is the highest waterfall in the eastern United States. The falls is located on the Whitewater River, Jackson County / Transylvania County, in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and the falls plunge an amazing 411 feet! South Carolina's Lower Whitewater Falls about 2 miles downstream from Upper Whitewater Falls drops another 400 feet. As with most of North Carolina's waterfalls, it is in the mountainous area of the state. There is a cluster of falls in the area where the borders of Georgia and the Carolinas come together. Whitewater Falls is part of that group, very close to the South Carolina border.
  • The North Carolina Museum of Art, in Raleigh, is the nation's only art museum whose collection was founded with state funds
  • High Point is known as the Furniture Capital of the World.
  • The Outer Banks of NC hosts some of the most beautiful beaches in the country.
  • Whitewater Falls in Transylvania County is the highest waterfall in the eastern United States.
  • Cape Hatteras is the largest lighthouse ever to be moved due to erosion problems.
  • The University of North Carolina's mascot, the Tarheels, is a nickname for North Carolinians that supposedly came from the days when NC produced a lot of tar, and someone saw a set of footprints made by someone who had stepped in the tar.
  • Charles Karault was born and raised in Wilmington.
  • Havelock is home of Marine Base "Cherry Point." It is the largest air base in the Marine Corps.
  • North Carolina is the largest producer of sweet potatoes in the nation. Students at a Wilson County school petitioned the North Carolina General Assembly for the establishment of the sweet potato as the official state vegetable.
  • Harker's Island hosts the annual Core Sound Decoy Festival in December.
  • Morehead City is home to the North Carolina Seafood Festival, held the first weekend in October every year.
  • The World War II battleship 'North Carolina' is permanently berthed on the Cape Fear River at Wilmington. She was saved from the scrap heap in the 1960's by public subscription, including donations of dimes by schoolchildren.
  • 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.
  • Mount Mitchell in the Blue Ridge Mountains is the highest peak east of the Mississippi. It towers 6,684 feet above sea level.
  • The Venus Fly-Trap is native to Hampstead.
  • The first miniature golf course was built in Fayetteville.
  • Winston-Salem was created when the two towns Winston and Salem combined.
  • The Biltmore Estate in Ashville is America's largest home, and includes a 255-room chateau, an award-winning winery and extensive gardens.
  • The Lost Colony Outdoor Drama in Albemarle commemorates the birth of Virginia Dare. Scheduled to run just one year, it proved so successful that it has played for nearly sixty consecutive summers.
  • The first state owned art museum in the country is located in Raleigh.
  • Fontana Dam is the tallest dam in the Eastern United States, at 480 feet high.
  • Grandfather Mountain, highest peak in the Blue Ridge, is the only private park in the world designated by the United Nations as an International Biosphere Reserve.
  • The Mile-High Swinging Bridge near Linville is 5,305 feet above sea level. The bridge actually hangs about 80 feet above the ground.
  • Beech Mountain is Eastern America's highest town at 5,506ft above sea level.
  • Andrew Jackson, seventh President of the United States, was born in the Waxsaws area on the border of North and South Carolina.
  • Arnold Palmer recognized as the player whose aggressive play and winning personality raised golf to national attention, honed his skills on the championship golf team of Wake Forest University.
  • James K. Polk, born in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, was the eleventh President of the United States.
  • Andrew Johnson started his career as a tailor's apprentice in Raleigh, North Carolina and rose to lead in the reuniting of the nation as the seventeenth President of the United States.
  • North Carolina leads the nation in furniture, tobacco, brick, and textile production.
  • Saluda, North Carolina is located at the top of the Saluda Grade. The crest of the steepest standard gauge mainline railroad in the United States.
  • North Carolina State Motto: Esse quam videri (To be rather than to seem)
  • The town of Wendell town was named for the American writer, Oliver Wendell Holmes.
  • The Swiss and German settlement of New Bern was named in honor of the founder's home, Bern, Switzerland. When Bern, Switzerland was founded, it was named by a group of hunters. They named the city for the first animal they came upon on their hunting expedition. It was a bear. "Bern" is the old Germanic word for Bear, and the bear became the symbol of the city. It has been adopted by New Bern, as well.
  • North Carolina was the first state in the nation to establish a state museum of art.
  • North Carolina has the largest state-maintained highway system in the United States. The state's highway system currently has 77,400 miles of roads
  • Located in northeastern North Carolina on the Albemarle-Pamlico peninsula, Columbia is on the eastern shore of the Scuppernong River. The Indians called the area "the place of the sweet bay tree."
  • White Lake near Elizabethtown is very unique in that it has a white sandy bottom and is blessed with crystal clear waters. It has also been labeled as the "Nation's Safest Beach." It is truly a child's paradise in that there are no currents, no tides, no hazardous depressions or real dangers of any kind to swimmers.
  • North Carolina has 1,500 lakes of 10 acres or more in size and 37,000 miles of fresh water streams.
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