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Greensboro, North Carolina - History, Attractions, Things To See & Do

Updated on September 21, 2007
The Atlantic Coast Conference Basketball Tournament - A Greensboro Tradition
The Atlantic Coast Conference Basketball Tournament - A Greensboro Tradition

Newcomers to Greensboro, North Carolina may notice how green the area is and think this is the reason for the city's name. Actually, the name can be traced to a Revolutionary War general rather than the region's landscape.

The city was named for Major General Nathanael Greene, who led the American forces at the Battle of Guilford Court House in 1781. The battle was won by Britain's Lord Charles Cornwallis, but Greene is credited with weakening Cornwallis' forces considerably, thus leading to their surrender after being defeated by the Americans at the Battle of Yorktown. Historians consider Greene to be one the best generals of the Revolution.

Greensboro is the county seat of Guilford County. Some of the early settlers included Quakers, many of English and Welsh descent. Other early arrivals included a group of Germans and Pennsylvanians of Scotish-Irish descent, who came south in quest of land and opportunity.

Although growth in Greensboro was slow at first, the roots for the city's future as a center for textiles, insurance, and transportation were established by the mid-1800s. The first textile mill opened in 1828, and the first insurance company in 1850. The initial railroad tracks were laid in 1851.

Growth really kicked in with the dawn of the nineteenth century. Much of the prosperity, both then and now, can be attributed to the moving of some railroad tracks. Governor John Morehead used his influence to curve a section of tracks northward so that the railroad would pass through his hometown of Greensboro. The city then acquired the nickname of the "Gate City" for its busy train station. At that point, transportation became a key component in the development of the city. Greensboro is now the third-largest city in North Caroline, trailing only Charlotte, and Raleigh. Greensboro, along with Winston-Salem and High Point, comprise what is known as the Piedmont Triad area of North Carolina.

Business & Economy:

The following businesses make their corporate headquarters in Greensboro:

  • Cook Out
  • Honda Aircraft Company
  • International Textile Group
  • Lorillard Tobacco Company
  • RF Micro Devices
  • VF Corporation
  • Volvo Trucks of North America
  • RF Micro Devices

Area Colleges & Universities:

  • Bennett College
  • Brookstone College
  • DeVry University
  • Greensboro College
  • Guilford College
  • Guilford Technical Community College
  • ECPI College of Technology
  • Elon University School of Law
  • North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
  • Strayer University
  • University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Area Attractions / Things To See & Do:

Bog Garden & Trails - A variety of wetland flora, including wildflowers, trees, shrubs, and bush species that thrive in wetland ecosystems. The Bog Garden also provides a place for viewing wetland wildlife, such as migratory and indigenous birds.

Bicentennial Garden & Trails - Offers scenic vistas and a variety of plants, flowers, and shrubs. Outdoor sculptures provides aesthetic and historic interest and there is a pavilion available for outdoor weddings.

Blandwood Mansion and Gardens - The home of former North Carolina Governor John Morehead. Today it exists as a museum of national architectural and historical significance.

Guilford Courthouse National Military Park - Commemorates the Battle of Guilford Court House. Large stone memorials erected early in the twentieth century honor the event.

Natural Science Center of Greensboro - A family oriented, hands-on science museum with planetarium. The zoo reopened in the summer of 2007 after undergoing renovations.

Emerald Pointe - The largest waterpark in the Carolinas.


Greensboro Revolution - National Indoor Football League

Greensboro Grasshoppers - Minor League Baseball (Class A farm team of the Florida Marlins in the South Atlantic League)

Carolina Dynamo Soccer - United Soccer League Premier Development League

Greensboro is home for the headquarters of the Atlantic Coast Conference and is the most popular venue for the ACC Basketball Tournament. The ACC was founded here in 1953. The city also hosted the NCAA Men's Basketball Final Four in 1974, which was won by North Carolina State University.


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