Bessemer City, situated in Gaston County, is a small town made up of 4.8 square miles...
August 15, 2016
The town, named after Sir Henry Bessemer, was founded from land bought from Ormand family. Sir Henry Bessemer invented the Bessemer process for iron smelting, and made Bessemer City's previous smelting process outdated.
The earliest European settlement dates back to 1754, when King George II of England gave a land grant of 350 acres to James Ormand. The land he received was known then as Tyron County. James Ormand made the Ormand Mining Company; the company that helped the founding of Bessemer City.
The Ormand Furnace is the oldest of its kind in America. Some think that the company made cannon balls for the Revolutionary War, but no evidence of this has been found. Tyron County split up, and some of it became Gaston County in 1846.
Cotton and corn were the two main crops of the area in the 1840's. Whiskey was also profitable, and at the time Gaston had more whiskey distilleries than any of the counties in North Carolina.
The Ormand Family still owns the "Old Furnace", and the area is the location of the Ormand Family Reunion. The reunion is one of the oldest in America and has been held annually since 1897.
Bessemer City was incorporated in 1893.
The median resident age in Bessemer City is 38 years. The median estimated household income is about $34,000 making it about $11,000 less than the North Carolina average. The estimated per capita is about $16,000. The average price for a home in Bessemer City is about $94,000 (2013) which is $61,000 less than the North Carolina Average. Expect to pay about $730 a month for rent.
The racial makeup of Bessemer City is 78% White, 14% Black, 5% Hispanic, 1% Two or more races, and 2% other. 80% of the population are high school graduates, with 6% holding a Bachelor's Degree or higher. 40% are married, 16% are divorced, 4% are separated, 11% are widowed, leaving 29% that have never been married.
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Bessemer City belongs to Gaston County in the eastern part of North Carolina. The County, named after William Gaston (past member of NC Supreme Court), is part of the Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC Metropolitan Statistical Area. Gaston County has a population of 206,000 and its largest city Gastonia, with a population of 72,000, is the county seat.
Immigrants who first arrived in the county were mainly English, Scots Irish, and Pennsylvania Dutch. The early settlers built a fort("Fort at the Point") where the South Fork and Catawba Rivers connect because of tensions with the Cherokee Indians, but were never attacked. Most of the hostilities ended when the controversy of land boundaries between North and South Carolina resolved, and the Catawba tribe moved to a reservation in South Carolina.
Gaston County borders Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Cleveland, and York Counties.
Gaston County is made up of 364 square miles. 356 of which is land with the remaining 8 as water.
The Population of Bessemer City, NC is about 5,340.
The elevation of Bessemer City, NC is 978 feet above sea level.
The zip code for Bessemer City, NC is 28016.
The area code for Bessemer City, NC is 704.
Historically speaking Bessemer City and Gaston County have voted mostly Republican, with 62% going to Mitt Romney during the 2012 Presidential Election. This represents the trend for the previous four or five elections.
As of 2010, 43% of the population are religiously unafiliated (Nones). About 54% are protestants with Catholics making up around 3%.
The unemployment rate for Bessemer City is about 5% (2015), making it the same as the state average of around 5%. Manufacturing and construction make nearly 50% of the most common industries in the town.
The Gaston Gazette is the primary newspaper that covers the Gaston County area.