Matthews is a town located in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina and a suburb of the city of Charlotte. As of the 2000 census, the town had a total population of 22,127.
Matthews is located at 35°7'1" North, 80°42'59" West (35.116851, -80.716409).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 36.8 km2 (14.2 mi2). 36.8 km2 (14.2 mi2) of it is land and none of the area is covered with water.
As of the census of 2000, there are 22,127 people, 7,837 households, and 6,144 families residing in the town. The population density is 601.2/km2 (1,557.1/mi2). There are 8,138 housing units at an average density of 221.1/km2 (572.7/mi2). The racial makeup of the town is 90.25% White, 5.34% African American, 0.33% Native American, 2.36% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.78% from other races, and 0.92% from two or more races. 2.50% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 7,837 households out of which 43.1% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 69.1% are married couples living together, 7.0% have a female householder with no husband present, and 21.6% are non-families. 17.7% of all households are made up of individuals and 6.0% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.79 and the average family size is 3.19.
In the town the population is spread out with 29.3% under the age of 18, 6.1% from 18 to 24, 32.2% from 25 to 44, 23.3% from 45 to 64, and 9.2% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 36 years. For every 100 females there are 94.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 90.5 males.
The median income for a household in the town is $67,034, and the median income for a family is $75,791. Males have a median income of $52,143 versus $32,288 for females. The per capita income for the town is $27,471. 4.0% of the population and 2.7% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 3.0% of those under the age of 18 and 7.9% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.
Matthews began as a small farming community in the 1800s. Cotton farmers completely cleared the land, leaving tree stumps in every direction; thus, the first name for the community became Stumptown. In 1825, the name changed to Fullwood for John Fullwood who operated Stagecoach Inn and became the first postmaster for this area. Nearby residents received mail at the inn, and the stagecoach made regular stops on its way from Charlotte to Monroe.
In 1874, the Carolina Central Railway Company built a railroad through the town as part of the line from Wilmington, North Carolina to Tennessee. The first train rolled into the community on December 15, 1874 and people from miles around came to see the "Iron Horse." The name of the town was changed to Matthews in honor of Watson Matthews, a director of the railroad. The town was incorporated in 1879 and the first census in 1880 showed a population of 191. When originally surveyed, the Town of Matthews was laid out to include a one mile radius from what is now the town square at the intersection of John and Trade Streets. Election records of 1886 show that 51 people voted for the mayor -- Wilson T. Carpenter, 24 years old, a teacher and a registered pharmacist. Mr. (or Doctor as he was sometimes addressed ) Carpenter was born March 22, 1855 and is buried in the Matthews Cemetery. T. M. Chambers was the first Marshall of the town and, like his counterparts in the wild west, dispensed justice with a gun slung on his hip.
As cotton farming covered the South, around the turn of the century, small towns flourished as suppliers for the farmers' needs.The railroad became the lifeline of Matthews. Five passenger trains and eight freight trains came through town each day and the Depot did thousands of dollars in business. By 1901 Matthews' downtown boasted two cotton gins, three general stores, a bank, two doctors, a pharmacy, a grist mill, a blacksmith shop, a livery stable and a hotel.
Baptist, Methodist and Presbyterian churches were organized around 1877. The churches at first operated private schools until 1895 when a three-room public school was built in Carpenter's Grove, where Stumptown Park now stands. All too soon, the little wooden schoolhouse was filled to bursting and in 1906 a modern brick building was erected at the cost of $14,000. The property was purchased by the Town of Matthews in 1984, and is now known as the Matthews Community Center. It is recognized as a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Property and renovations to the structure are under way.
Dr. Selma Burke, world-renowned sculptress and creator of the image of President Roosevelt on the dime, has her roots in Matthews. She credits the "good Matthews mud" as the beginning of her artistic endeavors. Dr. Burke donated an outdoor sculpture entitled "Family" to the Fullwood Trace neighborhood which is proudly displayed in front of a resident's home.
Johnny Crowell, the only North Carolinian ever inducted into the aviation hall of fame, was a Matthews native. He was the parade marshall of the Stumptown Festival in 1977.
After World War II, the farming community began to change. As Charlotte's booming growth spread, the Matthews community became filled with businesses, housing developments, and thousands of people. Large corporations founded their headquarters in Matthews. In 1994 a 240,000 square foot hospital facility was built and annexation for further growth spread Matthews' boundaries. Construction of the I-485 outer beltway connects Matthews directly with major interstate highways I-77 and I-85, to Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, and increases its accessibility to regional and national commerce.