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City: Greensboro, NC
Counties Located In: Guilford County
Zip Codes: 27401-27410, 27455
Area Codes: 336
Square Miles: 131.8
Density: 2,000/sq. mile
Greensboro, North Carolina, chartered in 1808, celebrated its bicentennial in 2008 with great fanfare. Two hundred years ago it was a marketplace for small farmers and home industry like many small communities in that day. Its independent citizenry, composed of Ulster Scots, Germans, and Quakers, chose to name it Greene’s Borough after Nathanael Greene, the Vermont blacksmith. Greene’s army fought so valiantly in the Battle of Guilford Courthouse. The battle is considered by many to be the turning point of the Revolutionary War. Today a 150-acre military park commemorates the land where Greene fought that battle.
Among Greensboro’s famous are Dolly Madison, wife of President James Madison; William Sydney Porter (O. Henry), and Edward R. Murrow. The Greensboro Historical Museum is a repository of memorabilia of Mason, Porter and many others. The restored estate of Blandwood, the home of another influential citizen of the mid-19th century, Governor John Motley Morehead, is a popular tourist site.
Greensboro is home to UNC-Greensboro, NC A&T State University, Greensboro College, Guilford College and Bennett College plus campuses of Guilford Technical Community College. It has hosted an internationally famous PGA tournament since 1938 (originally the Greater Greensboro Open; today’s Wyndham Championship). It is also the home of the Eastern Music Festival where young musicians gather every summer to perform under the direction of master conductors.
As Greensboro evolved into North Carolina’s third largest city, changes began to occur within its traditional social structure. On February 1, 1960, four black college students from North Carolina A&T College sat down at all-white Woolworth's lunch counter, and refused to leave after they were denied service. Hundreds of others soon joined in this sit-in, which lasted several months. Such protests quickly spread across the South, ultimately leading to the desegregation of Woolworth's and other chains. The original lunch counter and stools now sit in the Smithsonian, but a museum is under development in the original building where the event took place.
Today Greensboro has grown to be part of a thriving metropolitan area called the Triad, encompassing High Point and Winston-Salem, and more than a million people. Evolving from an early 1900s textile and transportation hub, Greensboro is emerging as one of the South's up-and-coming centers for relocating businesses and is still collecting accolades for its beauty and livability. In 2004, the Department of Energy (DOE) awarded Greensboro with entry into the Clean Cities Hall of Fame.