History of Gastonia, NC


In 1877 reconstruction ended and the City of Gastonia was incorporated. The early population of the town was around 200 people and the land area was less than one square mile. The motivation for the early development of  Gastonia, which began in 1873 as a small railroad depot, was the joint effect of the realignment of the Atlanta & Charlotte Airline Railroad from its original proposed path several miles to the north of the City, the charter of the Chester and Lenoir Narrow Gauge Railroad (now CSX) which crossed the Atlanta & Charlotte railroad and the introduction of the steam powered textile mill. The crossing of these two railroads and the beginning of the City’s textile industry brought opportunity for employment and social life.

The City’s original population included English, German, Scotch Highlander, and Scotch-Irish citizens, with a few African American residents also moving into the settlement. Voted the county seat in 1911, Gastonia today has a population of more than 72,000 and land area of approximately 51.7 square miles. It is the largest of Gaston County’s 15 municipalities and is the economic engine of the county. Gastonia is also one of the 15 largest cities in North Carolina. The City continues to operate under the Council-Manager form of government since its adoption in 1919.

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