Gastonia, North Carolina proudly proclaims itself as having “Great Places, Great People, and Great Promise,” and the town certainly lives up to its motto. Gastonia is currently one of the fastest developing cities in North Carolina, quickly bringing the old manufacturing district of the South into the modern world. Located just minutes away from Charlotte, Gastonia is fast outgrowing her role as the Queen City’s less popular adjacent and is beginning to blossom into her own, highlighting her rich history and scenic views, Gastonia offers its residents the feel of a small town in rural America without any of the hassle.
First coming to public attention in 1929 when workers at the Loray Textile Mill went on strike, Gastonia soon became a talking point for politicians and workers unions around the globe. The strike, which was organized by the Communist affiliated National Textile Workers Union, went on to inspire six novels within the first four years after the strike, including Grace Lumpkin’s To Make My Bread and Olive Tilford Dargan’s Call Home the Heart. The novels, referred to as the “Gastonia Novels” were instrumental in the spread of Marxist ideology, with Grace Lumpkin even receiving the Maxim Gorky Prize for Literature in 1933.
Lifestyle & Area Attractions
Despite being less flashy than other cities, Gastonia is far from dull. The city offers a plethora of activities and sites, perhaps the most popular being the Schiele Museum of Natural History, which is home to the only planetarium in the Charlotte area. With exhibits to rival that of the Washington, DC smithsonians, the Schiele Museum truly has something for everyone, from the “Creepy Nature” exhibit in Robinson Hall, which informs patrons on the natural phenomenon that inspired classic horror monsters, to the Catawba Indian Village, which allows museum visitors the opportunity to experience what life was like for the Native Americans who lived in the region over 400 years ago.
Besides the Schiele Museum, Gastonia also offers a number of scenic locations where visitors can hike, fish, camp, or just simply enjoy the natural world. Crowder’s Mountain State Park is located near the small town of King’s Mountain, South Carolina, Crowder’s Mountain is one of the most popular sites for Gastonia residents who want to escape the house. In addition to all the activities listed previously, Crowder’s Mountain also offers rock climbing lessons and paddling in the rivers and lakes on the park grounds.
The city of Gastonia falls under the Gaston County School District, the ninth largest school district in the state of North Carolina. Being as big as it is, Gaston County serves over 30,000 students from all different backgrounds, races, and cultures making the area schools an open and welcome environment for any and all who join. With such a big population, the school buildings are constantly being modernized and updated, a fifth high school is set to open in the city for the 2020-2021 school year.
Staying true to its roots, Gastonia remains a large manufacturing hub in the United States with its largest employer being textile company Parkdale Mills, the largest provider of spun yarn in the world. Other top employers in Gastonia include Wix Filtration Corporation, Freightliner LLC, the Curtiss-Wright Corporation, the Gaston County School System, and CaroMont Regional Medical Center.
Gastonia is proud to be home to so many small businesses, many of which are owned and operated by women and people of color. The Vintage Nest is an odd mix of a furniture store and an antique mart, as business partners Jeff Lee and Wendy work to give new life to old pieces through refurbishing and restoration efforts. The end result is a sense of the vintage, old-time southern charm that Gastonia exudes. Catalyst Mercantile is another local business, instead providing hand designed and crafted clothing and jewelry for a reasonable price. Catalyst, which is an all female owned and operated business, is quickly finding its footing in the modern day, with their online store offering to ship their products anywhere in the world. Finally, Gastonia is also home to a small amount of small businesses which have been around for generations, such as Tony’s Ice Cream, which was first established in 1915 and is today still run by the founder’s descendants, serving 28 different homemade ice cream flavors and even working as a deli during the daytime.
|Belmont Central Elementary||(704)836-9137||734|
|Bessemer City Central Elem||(704)836-9108||450|
|Bessemer City High||(704)836-9601||626|
|Bessemer City Middle||(704)836-9602||545|
|Bessemer City Primary||(704)836-9109||402|
|Catawba Heights Elementary||(704)836-9119||315|
|Chapel Grove Elementary||(704)836-9113||433|
|East Gaston High||(704)836-9613||862|
|Edward D Sadler Jr Elementary School||(704)862-5895||420|
|Gardner Park Elementary||(704)866-6082||586|
|Gaston Early College High School||(704)922-2405||245|
|Gaston Early College of Medical Sciences||(704)922-2405||†|
|Gaston Virtual Academy||(704)836-9125||101|
|Gaston Virtual Academy High||(704)836-9125||†|
|Gaston Virtual Academy Middle||(704)836-9125||†|
|H H Beam Elementary||(704)866-6618||613|
|Hawks Nest STEAM Academy||(704)866-8467||339|
|Highland Sch of Technology||(704)810-8816||553|
|Hunter Huss High||(704)866-6610||1054|
|Ida Rankin Elementary School||(704)836-9136||604|
|J B Page Primary School||(704)836-9116||318|
|John Chavis Middle School||(704)836-9606||416|
|Mount Holly Middle||(704)836-9610||675|
|New Hope Elementary||(704)836-9112||507|
|North Belmont Elementary||(704)836-9135||370|
|North Gaston High||(704)922-5285||1092|
|Pleasant Ridge Elementary||(704)866-6096||916|
|South Point High||(704)836-9612||999|
|Stuart W Cramer High||(704)866-5700||1040|
|W A Bess Elementary School||(704)866-6075||614|
|W B Beam Intermediate School||(704)836-9114||203|
|W C Friday Middle School||(704)922-5297||650|
|W P Grier Middle School||(704)836-9604||733|
|Webb Street School||(704)864-9667||141|
|York Chester Middle||(704)836-9609||399|