Gastonia City, North Carolina
Located in the county seat of Gaston County of North Carolina is the city of Gastonia. The city has a total area of 46.3 square miles and is also a part of the Charlotte metropolitan area (alongside the cities of Concord, Rock Hill, Hickory, and Salisbury), and the Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord Metropolitan Statistical Area wherein it has the second largest city population. Gastonia is home to the textile company Parkdale Mills, the number one manufacturer of spun yarn in the world. Other manufacturing companies in Gastonia are Freightliner (producer of heavy duty trucks, chassis, and semi-trailer trucks), Wix Filtration Corporation (spin-on oil filters), Stabilus (automotive, vehicle components), Danaher (printing technologies) and Curtiss-Wright Controls Engineered Systems (component manufacturer: actuators, valves and controls as specialty).
There are no colleges or universities in the city limits of Gastonia but there are institutions of higher learning in the greater Gastonia area. The Belmont Abbey College is a Benedictine Catholic College which was founded in 1876. It also serves as a monastery for Benedictine monks and a place of worship for Belmont Abbey Basilica Congregation. The Princeton Review ranks the colleges among the 40 best colleges in the Southeastern United States. The college’s most popular degrees are in Business Management, International Business, Biology and Elementary Education and they also offer degrees in Computer Studies, English, Mathematics, Philosophy, Psychology, Sports Management, Theology, and others.
Another college in the Gaston is Gaston College which serves the counties of Gaston and Lincoln. It offers associate degrees in Accounting, Biotechnology, Business Administration, Criminal Justice, Mechanical Engineering Technology, Therapeutic Massage, Web Technologies and a lot more. One of the notable cultural centers in Gastonia is the Schiele Museum of Natural History located at Gaston Boulevard. The museum exhibits the natural wonders of North America and North Carolina, aiming to promote people’s awareness and appreciation of nature. Included in the collection are natural specimens and cultural artifacts. Schiele’s exhibits include Hall of North Carolina Natural History (showcasing the diversity of life of the North Carolina coastline, hills, mountains and other regions), Hall of North American Habitats (dioramas ranging from ocean floors to the Sonoran Desert to the Alaskan tundra), Hall of North American Wildlife, Elizabeth W. Robinson Hall of Earth and Man (collection of mineral specimens and exhibits of dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures) and the Henry Hall of the American Indian.
For those who want to buy some goodies in the area, Gastonia has two major shopping centers. Furst is the Westfield Eastridge which is home to 100 specialty stores. Another important shopping center is Franklin Square which is divided into three phases. The first includes Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Ross Dress for Less and Michaels. The second phase includes Kmart, Sam’s Club, and Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse. Phase III features Kohl’s, Old Navy, Books-A-Million and a movie theater. One can move around the city with public transportation via bus (Gastonia Transit, Greyhound Lines and Charlotte Area Transit System) and train (Amtrack Crescent).