Gastonia is the largest city and county seat of Gaston County, North Carolina, United States. It is also the second largest satellite city of the Charlotte area, behind Concord. The population was 71,741 at the 2010 Census. Gastonia is the 13th largest city in North Carolina. It is part of the Charlotte metropolitan area, officially designated the Charlotte Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). Gastonia has experienced steady growth, with a population increase between 2000 and 2010 of nearly 8.2%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Gastonia is named for William Gaston, member of the North Carolina Supreme Court.
The City Hospital-Gaston Memorial Hospital, Craig Farmstead, Downtown Gastonia Historic District, First National Bank Building, Gaston County Courthouse, Gastonia High School, David Jenkins House, Loray Mill Historic District, Robinson-Gardner Building, Third National Bank Building, and William J. Wilson House are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Loray Mill strike of 1929 in Gastonia, was one of the most notable strikes in the labor history of the United States. Though largely unsuccessful in attaining its goals of better working conditions and wages, the strike was considered very successful in a lasting way; it caused an immense controversy which gave the labor movement momentum, propelling the movement in its national development.
Many shutdowns and job losses have plagued Gastonia over the past decade. Gastonia maintains a relatively strong manufacturing workforce, but many workers are laid off and many more are facing job losses. The city had an unemployment rate of 7.9% as of 2010; 12,536 of the 71,341 residents lived and worked in the city, with a daytime population change of +10,610. The city is the international corporate headquarters for textile company Parkdale Mills, the number one manufacturer of spun yarn in the world. The company also operated two production facilities in Gastonia and several in surrounding communities. Parkdale, like many other companies, has closed plants and moved production to other countries.
Eastridge Mall, located at exit 20 on North New Hope Road, is the only indoor regional mall in the area; it is anchored by Belk, Dillard’s, and JCPenney. The mall is also home to over 80 specialty stores including Victoria’s Secret, Aeropostale, PacSun, Footlocker, Hibbet Sports, Claires, Charlotte Russe, New York & Co., Best Buy Mobile, Radio Shack, Hat Fantatic, Encore by Shoe Department, a full-service food court, Red Lobster and other services.
Franklin Square, a series of strip centers, is divided into three Phases. Phase I features a Wal-Mart, Bed Bath & Beyond, Best Buy, Ross Dress for Less, and Michaels. Phase II is home to Kmart, Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse, and Sam’s Club. Phase III is where Kohl’s, Old Navy, Books-A-Million, Gander Mountain, Shoe Carnival, Pier 1 Imports, PetSmart and a 14-screen movie theater are located.
There are also a few more shopping centers across the city with other well-known national and local retailers.
The Gastonia Grizzlies play baseball at Sims Legion Park. The team is part of the Coastal Plain League (CPL) featuring players at the collegiate level. The season runs from the end of May to August.
The Gastonia Gargoyles play rugby at Gaston County’s North Belmont Park. The team is part of the Carolinas Geographical Union (CGU) and plays Division IV men’s social rugby. The club plays in the fall (August – November) and spring (Feb – May) seasons. The club also hosts an annual rugby 7’s tournament in Clover, South Carolina, during the Clover Scottish Games on the first or second Saturday in June.
Gastonia’s two roller derby teams are the G*Force (senior team) and Mini*Gs (junior team). Bouts take place at Kate’s Skating Rink on Hudson Blvd.
Take some time to come and visit Gastonia North Carolina and enjoy your time in the great town.