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Cornelius NC

Lake Norman offers endless options for recreation, the town is safe and family-friendly, and its quaint downtown is charming for residents and visitors alike. Homeowners have good reason to want to preserve the value and integrity of their communities, and William Douglas Property Management has the local expertise to take Cornelius-based HOAs to the next level.

Cornelius is a town located in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. It is situated in the northern part of Mecklenburg County adjacent to Lake Norman. Cornelius has a total land area of 12.08 square miles per the 2010 U.S. Census. Cornelius falls within the Piedmont region of North Carolina. Cornelius is bordered on the south by Huntersville, on the east, and northeast by Davidson. To the west, across Lake Norman by Denver. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, the Cornelius population was 24,866. The 2020 U.S. Census population was calculated at 31,412.  

– Coordinates per Google Earth – Latitude: 35°29′13.67″N, Longitude: 80°51′21.06″ W

– Elevation above sea level per Google Earth: 814 feet

– The zip code for Cornelius is 28031

– Telephone area codes for Cornelius are 704 and 980

– Cornelius is around 22 miles from downtown Charlotte, N.C. Cornelius is around 160 miles to Raleigh, N.C., the state capital. Cornelius is around 87 miles to Greensboro, N.C. Cornelius is around 127 miles to Asheville, N.C.

– The Town of Cornelius is within the Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia Metropolitan Statistical Area. These are established by the United States Office of Management and Budget or OMB. A Metropolitan Statistical Area or MSA is an urban area with a population of 50,000 or more. A Metropolitan Statistical Area must consist of at least one urbanized area. The overall objective of establishing Metropolitan Statistical Areas is to combine related areas, typically counties and cities, into defined geographic areas to calculate population and to compile statistical data related to that population. 

The counties that comprise the Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia Metropolitan Statistical Area, in North Carolina; Anson: Cabarrus, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Rowan, and Union counties. In South Carolina: Chester, Lancaster, and York counties. The Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia Metropolitan Statistical Area population was 2,660,329 as of the 2020 U.S. Census. This was a population increase of 416,369 from the 2010 Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia Metropolitan Statistical Area U.S. Census, totaling 2,243,960.

Based on population, Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia Metropolitan Statistical Area is the 23rd largest in the United States and the largest with North Carolina and South Carolina. , the Charleston-North Charleston–Summerville MSA is third in size. The Greenville Metropolitan Statistical Area is the largest, and the Columbia Metropolitan Statistical Area is the second largest.

About the Town of Cornelius and the Surrounding Area

The Town of Cornelius did not originate in the traditional sort of way by which homesteaders arrived and built log cabins. Or even by a more 19th-century method of the railroad arriving and a town developing around a train stop. The two men credited with founding Cornelius, Richard Johnston Stough (1844 – 1926) and Joseph Benjamin Cornelius (1833 -1914), could hardly be called founding residents of the town. As a matter of fact, the man the town is named after never lived in Cornelius. The other founder, Stough, built a home and moved to Cornelius well after the town was founded in 1903. It is probably more accurate to say the founders founded a business that was the genesis of Cornelius. 

The Town of Cornelius was incorporated in 1905 but had been an active community or at least a hub of commerce since the 1880s. During this time frame, the area was known as Liverpool, and the predecessor’s name had been Virgin Springs. Virgin Springs was a 250-acre plantation dating back at least to the early 1800s. This plantation was situated along the “Great Road leading from Charlotte to Statesville.” The plantation land that constituted Virgin Spring is today well absorbed within the town limits of Cornelius.   

Stough and J.B. Cornelius founding Cornelius was reportedly a convoluted tale beginning with the nearby town of Davidson having one predominant cotton merchant, Hood, Shelton & Co. There was some type of falling out and split within that firm. The cotton merchant firm of Stough, Cornelius, Co. was formed around 1884. Then a dispute arose between these two firms over the weighing of cotton, or more precisely, the appointment of the Town of Davidson’s Cotton Weigher. 

Cotton is traditionally measured in bales, and bales would typically weigh around 500 pounds, give or take a hundred pounds. In the middle 1880s, cotton sold for from 10 to 18 cents a pound depending on grade, demand, etc. The weighing was a serious aspect of the cotton business, and accurate weighting was in everyone’s best interests. 

In the late 1860s, North Carolina municipalities began appointing Cotton Weighers. Before this time, cotton farmers typically would bring their products to cotton brokers to be weighted. This government service was originally sold to cotton farmers as a way to ensure a fair weighing of their cotton bales. Issues arose as municipalities saw weighing cotton as a method to increase municipal revenues. Cotton farmers were required to pay for these weighings. Weighings these farmers received for free from cotton brokers. This became an especially popular tax with municipalities as most of these farmers did not live within the municipality that was taxing them. In 1889, the North Carolina Legislature enacted legislation to make the position of Cotton Weigher, in certain counties, an elected office. In all likelihood, this was an attempt to reduce patronage hiring and corruption in the position.

As the story goes, the appointment of the Town of Davidson’s Cotton Weigher spurred the move of Stough, Cornelius, Co. operations to Virgin Springs around 1884. At around that time, what would eventually become Cornelius was described as a small settlement of four homes. With a “planked up” general store building which was also a cotton buying station. 

Stough and Cornelius were quite the entrepreneurs before the term was fashionable. The planked-up general store was called Stough Cornelius Company. The general store offered area farmers every convenience to attract their patronage. Along with the general store, there was a cotton gin that separated cotton fibers from the cottonseed that farmers harvested. The utilization of cotton gins was crucial to the production of short-staple cotton being profitable. This general store grew and was in continuous operation until 1941.

Stough’s brother-in-law Charles Worth Johnston (1861 – 1941) (married to his sister Jennie) operated the general store. Johnston eventually operated and owned a number of textile mills. He was president of Highland Park Mills, and he owned Johnston Mill in the NoDa section of Charlotte. C.W. Johnston built the 16 stories Johnston Building at 212 South Tryon Street in Charlotte in 1924. This historic building still stands there today, one of the most iconic buildings in downtown Charlotte.  

Possibly even more beneficial than avoiding the Davidson Cotton Weigher was the fact Virgins Springs was located between the cotton farmers and their other competitors in Davidson. Virgin Springs was on the Statesville Road, which was convenient for farmers up and down that road. Farmers in Lincoln County would come over the Catawba River via Cowan’s Ford, and this route would pass through Virgin Springs. Thus, making it more convenient for the cotton farmers to do business with Stough, Cornelius & Co. than with their competitors. Additionally, the rural roads were many times washed out, making it easier to reach their operations over their competitor’s operations in Davidson. This, too, played a role in the success of Stough and J.B. Cornelius operations in Virgin Springs.

Stough and Mr. W.A. Brown built a one-room schoolhouse beside Mt. Zion Methodist Church in 1885. Miss Emily Thompson (1866 – 1953) of Davidson was the first teacher. This was the first free school in what would become Cornelius. In 1886, Mr. Stough married Miss Thompson, and another teacher was found to replace her. Mr. & Mrs. Stough had eight children. Mr. & Mrs. Stough named their fourth child after J.B. Cornelius, Frank Cornelius Stough (1894 – 1970).

Today, operations such as Stough and J.B. Cornelius would probably be best described as a form of vertical integration business. Vertical integration in that the general store sold cotton seed to the farmers, the cotton gin separated the cotton fiber. Then Stough-Cornelius Mill purchased the raw cotton fiber. There was so much cotton trading going on around the general store and cotton gin that the area got the moniker “Liverpool,” as in Liverpool, England, which was the world center for cotton trading at that time. 

In addition, Stough, Cornelius & Co. would extend an open book or credit to farmers. When the cotton crop would come in, the farmers would pay off their debt. This ensured the farmers traded with the Stough, Cornelius & Co. for seed and other merchandise. More importantly, they would bring their cotton in to sell to their brokerage. 

From an article in the Asheville Citizen-Times June 16, 1887, edition, “Stough, Cornelius & Co., will put up a factory on the Virgin Springs Place 1 ¼ miles south of the town (Davidson), on the A.T. & O. Railroad, and Mr. Hood (Hood, Shelton & Co.) and others will build one within the corporate limits of the town.” 

Stough, Cornelius, and Charles W. Johnston decided to construct a cotton mill. While the Stough-Cornelius Mill was incorporated in 1891, construction began around 1888. The mill’s machinery began arriving and was installed between 1889 and 1890. The Stough-Cornelius Mill would process the locally grown cotton into cloth, and the mill was considered in full operation in January of 1891. The mill eventually just became known as the Cornelius Cotton Mill

Sometime in the 1890s, the community became known as “Cornelius.” The Southern Railway station that arrived in May of 1899 called Cornelius on the railway schedules. The first post office opened on November 17, 1899, and was called the Cornelius Post Office. The Bank of Cornelius was established in March of 1903. It was decided by the residences when the town was incorporated in 1905 to name the town in honor of Joseph Benjamin Cornelius.

The Bethel Presbyterian Church was founded in 1829 and began with a small sanctuary constructed in 1830 on a 3.5-acre lot. A larger sanctuary was built in 1895. The first minister was Reverend Thomas Espy. There were eleven charter members of the church. 

The Cornelius Presbyterian Church was founded in 1909. The Reverend J.E. Wool was the first minister.  This church was an offshoot of the larger Bethel Presbyterian Church.

The Cornelius Baptist Church was found around 1904. Located on Catawba Avenue, the first pastor was Reverend C.M. Murchison.

Mount Zion Methodist Church was founded in 1827. Its first location was on what is now NC Highway 73, about a half-mile south of Bethel Presbyterian Church. The church moved to its current site on Highway 115 in 1835. The original church constructed was a 25 by 35 clapboard structure that served until 1870, when a larger structure was built. There have been numerous additions through the years to enlarge this church to accommodate the ever-growing congregation.

J.B. Cornelius was a large benefactor of the Davenport Female College that was located in Lenoir, North Carolina. The college was a Methodist Episcopal Church school for women founded in 1859. J.B. Cornelius donated funds for the construction of Cornelius Hall on campus. 

Entering the 20th century, textiles played a large part in the economy within and around Cornelius. The two largest factors affecting Cornelius in the second half of the 20th century were the creation of Lake Norman and the population growth. 

U.S. Census Historical population

Census Pop. %±

1910 833 —

1920 1,141 37.0%

1930 1,230 7.8%

1940 1,195 −2.8%

1950 1,548 29.5%

1960 1,444 −6.7%

1970 1,296 −10.2%

1980 1,460 12.7%

1990 2,581 76.8%

2000 11,969 363.7%

2010 24,866 107.8%

2020 31,412 22.3%

Construction on Lake Norman was begun in 1959 and completed in 1964. Lake Norman is the largest man-made body of fresh water in North Carolina. The shoreline length of Lake Norman is 520 miles and has a maximum depth of 110 feet. One of the major economic and population drivers for Cornelius has been the housing boom around the lake. The housing boom has brought a great deal of commerce to the area as well. This boom started in the 1990s, and the population increase from the 1990 U.S. Census to the 2000 U.S. Census was a 363.7% increase.  Cornelius is considered a bedroom community for Charlotte and is conveniently located on U.S. Interstate 77, with downtown Charlotte 14 miles drive.

Cornelius NC

Lake Norman offers endless options for recreation, the town is safe and family-friendly, and its quaint downtown is charming for residents and visitors alike. Homeowners have good reason to want to preserve the value and integrity of their communities, and William Douglas Property Management has the local expertise to take Cornelius-based HOAs to the next level.

Cornelius is a town located in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. It is situated in the northern part of Mecklenburg County adjacent to Lake Norman. Cornelius has a total land area of 12.08 square miles per the 2010 U.S. Census. Cornelius falls within the Piedmont region of North Carolina. Cornelius is bordered on the south by Huntersville, on the east, and northeast by Davidson. To the west, across Lake Norman by Denver. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, the Cornelius population was 24,866. The 2020 U.S. Census population was calculated at 31,412.  

– Coordinates per Google Earth – Latitude: 35°29′13.67″N, Longitude: 80°51′21.06″ W

– Elevation above sea level per Google Earth: 814 feet

– The zip code for Cornelius is 28031

– Telephone area codes for Cornelius are 704 and 980

– Cornelius is around 22 miles from downtown Charlotte, N.C. Cornelius is around 160 miles to Raleigh, N.C., the state capital. Cornelius is around 87 miles to Greensboro, N.C. Cornelius is around 127 miles to Asheville, N.C.

– The Town of Cornelius is within the Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia Metropolitan Statistical Area. These are established by the United States Office of Management and Budget or OMB. A Metropolitan Statistical Area or MSA is an urban area with a population of 50,000 or more. A Metropolitan Statistical Area must consist of at least one urbanized area. The overall objective of establishing Metropolitan Statistical Areas is to combine related areas, typically counties and cities, into defined geographic areas to calculate population and to compile statistical data related to that population. 

The counties that comprise the Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia Metropolitan Statistical Area, in North Carolina; Anson: Cabarrus, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Rowan, and Union counties. In South Carolina: Chester, Lancaster, and York counties. The Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia Metropolitan Statistical Area population was 2,660,329 as of the 2020 U.S. Census. This was a population increase of 416,369 from the 2010 Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia Metropolitan Statistical Area U.S. Census, totaling 2,243,960.

Based on population, Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia Metropolitan Statistical Area is the 23rd largest in the United States and the largest with North Carolina and South Carolina. , the Charleston-North Charleston–Summerville MSA is third in size. The Greenville Metropolitan Statistical Area is the largest, and the Columbia Metropolitan Statistical Area is the second largest.

About the Town of Cornelius and the Surrounding Area

The Town of Cornelius did not originate in the traditional sort of way by which homesteaders arrived and built log cabins. Or even by a more 19th-century method of the railroad arriving and a town developing around a train stop. The two men credited with founding Cornelius, Richard Johnston Stough (1844 – 1926) and Joseph Benjamin Cornelius (1833 -1914), could hardly be called founding residents of the town. As a matter of fact, the man the town is named after never lived in Cornelius. The other founder, Stough, built a home and moved to Cornelius well after the town was founded in 1903. It is probably more accurate to say the founders founded a business that was the genesis of Cornelius. 

The Town of Cornelius was incorporated in 1905 but had been an active community or at least a hub of commerce since the 1880s. During this time frame, the area was known as Liverpool, and the predecessor’s name had been Virgin Springs. Virgin Springs was a 250-acre plantation dating back at least to the early 1800s. This plantation was situated along the “Great Road leading from Charlotte to Statesville.” The plantation land that constituted Virgin Spring is today well absorbed within the town limits of Cornelius.   

Stough and J.B. Cornelius founding Cornelius was reportedly a convoluted tale beginning with the nearby town of Davidson having one predominant cotton merchant, Hood, Shelton & Co. There was some type of falling out and split within that firm. The cotton merchant firm of Stough, Cornelius, Co. was formed around 1884. Then a dispute arose between these two firms over the weighing of cotton, or more precisely, the appointment of the Town of Davidson’s Cotton Weigher. 

Cotton is traditionally measured in bales, and bales would typically weigh around 500 pounds, give or take a hundred pounds. In the middle 1880s, cotton sold for from 10 to 18 cents a pound depending on grade, demand, etc. The weighing was a serious aspect of the cotton business, and accurate weighting was in everyone’s best interests. 

In the late 1860s, North Carolina municipalities began appointing Cotton Weighers. Before this time, cotton farmers typically would bring their products to cotton brokers to be weighted. This government service was originally sold to cotton farmers as a way to ensure a fair weighing of their cotton bales. Issues arose as municipalities saw weighing cotton as a method to increase municipal revenues. Cotton farmers were required to pay for these weighings. Weighings these farmers received for free from cotton brokers. This became an especially popular tax with municipalities as most of these farmers did not live within the municipality that was taxing them. In 1889, the North Carolina Legislature enacted legislation to make the position of Cotton Weigher, in certain counties, an elected office. In all likelihood, this was an attempt to reduce patronage hiring and corruption in the position.

As the story goes, the appointment of the Town of Davidson’s Cotton Weigher spurred the move of Stough, Cornelius, Co. operations to Virgin Springs around 1884. At around that time, what would eventually become Cornelius was described as a small settlement of four homes. With a “planked up” general store building which was also a cotton buying station. 

Stough and Cornelius were quite the entrepreneurs before the term was fashionable. The planked-up general store was called Stough Cornelius Company. The general store offered area farmers every convenience to attract their patronage. Along with the general store, there was a cotton gin that separated cotton fibers from the cottonseed that farmers harvested. The utilization of cotton gins was crucial to the production of short-staple cotton being profitable. This general store grew and was in continuous operation until 1941.

Stough’s brother-in-law Charles Worth Johnston (1861 – 1941) (married to his sister Jennie) operated the general store. Johnston eventually operated and owned a number of textile mills. He was president of Highland Park Mills, and he owned Johnston Mill in the NoDa section of Charlotte. C.W. Johnston built the 16 stories Johnston Building at 212 South Tryon Street in Charlotte in 1924. This historic building still stands there today, one of the most iconic buildings in downtown Charlotte.  

Possibly even more beneficial than avoiding the Davidson Cotton Weigher was the fact Virgins Springs was located between the cotton farmers and their other competitors in Davidson. Virgin Springs was on the Statesville Road, which was convenient for farmers up and down that road. Farmers in Lincoln County would come over the Catawba River via Cowan’s Ford, and this route would pass through Virgin Springs. Thus, making it more convenient for the cotton farmers to do business with Stough, Cornelius & Co. than with their competitors. Additionally, the rural roads were many times washed out, making it easier to reach their operations over their competitor’s operations in Davidson. This, too, played a role in the success of Stough and J.B. Cornelius operations in Virgin Springs.

Stough and Mr. W.A. Brown built a one-room schoolhouse beside Mt. Zion Methodist Church in 1885. Miss Emily Thompson (1866 – 1953) of Davidson was the first teacher. This was the first free school in what would become Cornelius. In 1886, Mr. Stough married Miss Thompson, and another teacher was found to replace her. Mr. & Mrs. Stough had eight children. Mr. & Mrs. Stough named their fourth child after J.B. Cornelius, Frank Cornelius Stough (1894 – 1970).

Today, operations such as Stough and J.B. Cornelius would probably be best described as a form of vertical integration business. Vertical integration in that the general store sold cotton seed to the farmers, the cotton gin separated the cotton fiber. Then Stough-Cornelius Mill purchased the raw cotton fiber. There was so much cotton trading going on around the general store and cotton gin that the area got the moniker “Liverpool,” as in Liverpool, England, which was the world center for cotton trading at that time. 

In addition, Stough, Cornelius & Co. would extend an open book or credit to farmers. When the cotton crop would come in, the farmers would pay off their debt. This ensured the farmers traded with the Stough, Cornelius & Co. for seed and other merchandise. More importantly, they would bring their cotton in to sell to their brokerage. 

From an article in the Asheville Citizen-Times June 16, 1887, edition, “Stough, Cornelius & Co., will put up a factory on the Virgin Springs Place 1 ¼ miles south of the town (Davidson), on the A.T. & O. Railroad, and Mr. Hood (Hood, Shelton & Co.) and others will build one within the corporate limits of the town.” 

Stough, Cornelius, and Charles W. Johnston decided to construct a cotton mill. While the Stough-Cornelius Mill was incorporated in 1891, construction began around 1888. The mill’s machinery began arriving and was installed between 1889 and 1890. The Stough-Cornelius Mill would process the locally grown cotton into cloth, and the mill was considered in full operation in January of 1891. The mill eventually just became known as the Cornelius Cotton Mill

Sometime in the 1890s, the community became known as “Cornelius.” The Southern Railway station that arrived in May of 1899 called Cornelius on the railway schedules. The first post office opened on November 17, 1899, and was called the Cornelius Post Office. The Bank of Cornelius was established in March of 1903. It was decided by the residences when the town was incorporated in 1905 to name the town in honor of Joseph Benjamin Cornelius.

The Bethel Presbyterian Church was founded in 1829 and began with a small sanctuary constructed in 1830 on a 3.5-acre lot. A larger sanctuary was built in 1895. The first minister was Reverend Thomas Espy. There were eleven charter members of the church. 

The Cornelius Presbyterian Church was founded in 1909. The Reverend J.E. Wool was the first minister.  This church was an offshoot of the larger Bethel Presbyterian Church.

The Cornelius Baptist Church was found around 1904. Located on Catawba Avenue, the first pastor was Reverend C.M. Murchison.

Mount Zion Methodist Church was founded in 1827. Its first location was on what is now NC Highway 73, about a half-mile south of Bethel Presbyterian Church. The church moved to its current site on Highway 115 in 1835. The original church constructed was a 25 by 35 clapboard structure that served until 1870, when a larger structure was built. There have been numerous additions through the years to enlarge this church to accommodate the ever-growing congregation.

J.B. Cornelius was a large benefactor of the Davenport Female College that was located in Lenoir, North Carolina. The college was a Methodist Episcopal Church school for women founded in 1859. J.B. Cornelius donated funds for the construction of Cornelius Hall on campus. 

Entering the 20th century, textiles played a large part in the economy within and around Cornelius. The two largest factors affecting Cornelius in the second half of the 20th century were the creation of Lake Norman and the population growth. 

U.S. Census Historical population

Census Pop. %±

1910 833 —

1920 1,141 37.0%

1930 1,230 7.8%

1940 1,195 −2.8%

1950 1,548 29.5%

1960 1,444 −6.7%

1970 1,296 −10.2%

1980 1,460 12.7%

1990 2,581 76.8%

2000 11,969 363.7%

2010 24,866 107.8%

2020 31,412 22.3%

Construction on Lake Norman was begun in 1959 and completed in 1964. Lake Norman is the largest man-made body of fresh water in North Carolina. The shoreline length of Lake Norman is 520 miles and has a maximum depth of 110 feet. One of the major economic and population drivers for Cornelius has been the housing boom around the lake. The housing boom has brought a great deal of commerce to the area as well. This boom started in the 1990s, and the population increase from the 1990 U.S. Census to the 2000 U.S. Census was a 363.7% increase.  Cornelius is considered a bedroom community for Charlotte and is conveniently located on U.S. Interstate 77, with downtown Charlotte 14 miles drive.

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