Cabarrus County, northeast of Charlotte, has become a hot spot in recent years as newcomers and old-timers alike discover this once-rural county’s unique charms. With more than 125,000 residents, Cabarrus County has attracted a lion’s share of Charlotte-area newcomers.
For one thing, Cabarrus is pretty, with its rolling hills and gently sloping pastures still reminiscent of country tableaus. And it’s business-savvy, with many new companies joining long-time companies including Philip Morris and Pillowtex Corp. (formerly Fieldcrest Cannon). Lest all this growth spoil Cabarrus County, commissioners and planners are working hard to ensure that the county’s heritage and beauty don’t get lost in all the hubbub.
Concord, the county seat, features beautifully restored Victorian homes, one-of-a-kind shops, eateries, coffeehouses and verdant tree-lined streets. Other highlights include the historic Cabarrus County Courthouse and the Memorial Garden, as is the historic Cabarrus Creamery, since 1923 a favorite stop for mouthwatering ice cream.
You’ll find many traces of Cabarrus’ long history. For example, at Adams’ 40-acre farm off N.C. 27 and U.S. 601, Amish-built carriages and stagecoaches carry passengers along the banks of the Rocky River. The historic Gem Theatre in Kannapolis still shows films, and the historic Bost Grist Mill in Concord still grinds grain into meal. Cabarrus County was home to the nation’s first gold rush, which began when 12-year-old Conrad Reed discovered a hefty hunk of gold in Little Meadow Creek. At the Reed Gold Mine State Historic Site in Stanfield, visitors can walk trails and see open pits and shafts left by miners in their search for this precious material. They also can try their hand at panning.
Another piece of Americana – minor-league baseball – is alive and well in Kannapolis, where The Intimidators, a class A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies, play ball at Fieldcrest Cannon Stadium. Pillowtex Corp. (formerly Fieldcrest Cannon), maker of sheets, towels and other textiles, is synonymous with Kannapolis. Cannon Village, a restored Colonial-style village featuring antique, outlet and specialty shops, was developed by a former Cannon Mills owner. The tree-lined streets and brick sidewalks of Cannon Village bring back a bygone era.
These days, Cabarrus County is making a new kind of history on the racetrack. The county attracts motorsports fans from around the world who love the roar and excitement of racing at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Home to NASCAR, IROC, World Karting and Legends car racing, the speedway holds major races in May and October. The speedway also is a catalyst for development on the acreage surrounding it. The Concord Motorsport Park features smaller but still exciting races. When the cars aren’t running, take some time to tour the various racing shops and museums in the Harrisburg area, including the Hendrick Motorsports Museum and 600 Racing facility, which manufactures Legends cars – the forerunners of NASCAR models. If you enjoy golf, Cabarrus County has that too. Rocky River Golf Club at Concord, near the speedway, has been ranked among the area’s toughest public courses.
Cabarrus County also is home to one of the region’s most spectacular shopping attractions Concord Mills. This supermall, off I-85, features more than 200 outlets, specialty retailers, theme restaurants, a 24-screen theater, virtual-reality game centers and dozens of other entertainment venues. Check out the aquariums, trout streams, waterfalls and indoor shooting range at Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World.
Concord Mills, just one of the projects at western Cabarrus’ 1,100-acre mixed-use development parks, is proof positive that business is ripe in Cabarrus County. Thanks in part to its desirable location between Concord and Charlotte, western Cabarrus County is one of the region’s hottest areas for business and development. Philip Morris’ huge cigarette manufacturing plant south of Concord turns out millions of cigarettes daily in a modern facility that showcases a surprisingly impressive collection of American folk art that’s open to visitors on organized tours. More than 500 people work at Corning’s new $300 million optical fiber cable plant in Midland, south of Concord. The nationally recognized Concord Regional Airport has spurred development, including business parks and housing, along the I-85/Poplar Tent Road area.
Families who choose to live in Cabarrus County can choose from those grand old historic beauties on Concord’s Union Street, just a few blocks from downtown; a new brick and vinyl home offered by Charlotte-based builders and local companies; or any number of sprawling country-suburban ranches of decades past. You’ll find new subdivisions all over the county. Many are off I-85, making them appealing to workers who take the interstate to jobs in University City or farther into Charlotte. The county has several smaller municipalities, ranging from Harrisburg, which is both a Charlotte suburb and a town in its own right; to Mount Pleasant and Midland, which are cozy communities and manufacturing centers too.
Excellent health care and education are readily available in Cabarrus County. NorthEast Medical Center in Concord provides state-of-the-art care – even residency training and research – in a setting that emphasizes friendliness and comfort. The hospital sponsors many outreach and education programs.
Cabarrus County is served by two public school systems, Cabarrus County and the city of Kannapolis. Higher education opportunities abound as well. They include Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, which has a facility in western Cabarrus; the College of Health Sciences at NorthEast Medical Center; and Barber-Scotia College, a historically African-American, four-year liberal arts institution in Concord.
Allen Tate Comapny