First in Flight
While Ohio may dispute this fact, the Wright Brothers successfully executed their first controlled, powered flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, on December 17, 1903.
This event solidified North Carolina’s place in aviation history.
Pepsi was Born Here
Pepsi-Cola was invented in the late 19th century by pharmacist Caleb Bradham in New Bern, North Carolina. Originally called “Brad’s Drink,” it was renamed Pepsi-Cola in 1898.
The First Public University in the United States
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, chartered in 1789 and opened in 1795, is considered the first public university in the United States.
North Carolina is the Nation’s Largest Producer of Sweet Potatoes
The Tar Heel State is responsible for the majority of the country’s sweet potato production. In fact, in 1995, the sweet potato was officially designated as the State Vegetable.
The Biltmore Estate is America’s Largest Home
Located in Asheville, North Carolina, the Biltmore Estate is the largest privately-owned house in the United States. The Châteauesque-styled mansion, built by George Washington Vanderbilt II, spans over 178,000 square feet and 250 rooms.
Home to the Highest Peak East of the Mississippi
Mount Mitchell, in the Black Mountain subrange of the Appalachians, stands as the highest peak east of the Mississippi River, reaching an elevation of 6,684 feet.
The Venus Flytrap is Native to North Carolina
The Venus Flytrap, a carnivorous plant, is native to a small area in North Carolina. Found primarily in the coastal bogs around Wilmington, the plant attracts, captures, and digests insects using its specialized leaves.
NASCAR Was Born in North Carolina
North Carolina is the birthplace of NASCAR. The popular sport was conceived in the late 1940s at the Streamline Hotel in Daytona Beach, but North Carolina, with its history of moonshine runners and car racing, is recognized as the traditional hub of NASCAR.
The State is Known for its Diverse Geography
From the sandy Atlantic beaches to the Great Smoky Mountains, North Carolina features one of the most diverse geographical landscapes in the U.S. It is one of the few states where one could theoretically go skiing and beachcombing in the same day.
The Oldest State University Building
The Old East building at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, built in 1793, is the oldest state university building in America that is still in use.
These facts provide a glimpse into the rich history, diverse landscapes, and cultural impact of North Carolina. From inventing popular soft drinks to leading the nation in sweet potato production, there’s a lot more to the Tar Heel State than meets the eye.