Kannapolis, North Carolina

Coordinates: 35°28′38″N 80°38′22″W / 35.47722°N 80.63944°W / 35.47722; -80.63944
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Kannapolis City Hall
Kannapolis City Hall
Flag of Kannapolis
Official seal of Kannapolis
City of Looms
"Imagine Kannapolis"
Location in North Carolina
Location in North Carolina
Coordinates: 35°28′38″N 80°38′22″W / 35.47722°N 80.63944°W / 35.47722; -80.63944
Country United States
StateNorth Carolina
CountiesCabarrus and Rowan[1][2]
Named forCannon Mills
 • TypeCouncil–manager
 • MayorMilton Darrell Hinnant
 • Total34.06 sq mi (88.22 km2)
 • Land33.50 sq mi (86.76 km2)
 • Water0.56 sq mi (1.46 km2)  1.64%
Elevation764 ft (233 m)
 • Total53,114
 • Estimate 
 • Density1,585.54/sq mi (612.18/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
28081, 28082, 28083
Area codes704, 980
FIPS code37-35200[5]
GNIS feature ID2404816[4]

Kannapolis (/kəˈnæpəlɪs/) is a city in Cabarrus and Rowan counties, in the U.S. state of North Carolina,[1][2] northwest of Concord and northeast of Charlotte and is a suburb[6] in the Charlotte metropolitan area. The city of Kannapolis was incorporated in 1984. The population was 53,114 at the 2020 census,[7] which makes Kannapolis the 19th-most populous city in North Carolina. It is the home of the Kannapolis Cannon Ballers, the Low-A baseball affiliate of the Chicago White Sox, and it is the hometown of the Earnhardt racing family. It is also the headquarters for the Haas F1 racing team. The center of the city is home to the North Carolina Research Campus, a public-private venture that focuses on food, nutrition, and biotech research.



Early meaning and usage of the city's name was a direct reference to Cannon Mills Corporation, or James William Cannon himself. Early published name variations include "Cannon-opolis" and "Cannapolis". A widely accepted origin of the word "Kannapolis" comes from the combination of the Greek words kanna (reeds, not looms) and polis (city), which some believed meant "City of Looms".[8] Dr. Gary Freeze, Catawba College history and politics department chairman, said a Concord newspaper used the name "Cannon City" in 1906. After mill workers or newspapers called the town "Cannapolis", J.W. Cannon asked Cabarrus County commissioners to give the town the name, but starting with a "K". Kannapolis historian Norris Dearmon said the K might have been to distinguish the town from his Concord mill village. Since, Freeze said, "Jim Cannon didn't study Greek," Cannon did not name the town "city of looms".[9] In 1906 J.W. Cannon purchased the land that later became Kannapolis, and acquired a total of 1,008 acres in Cabarrus and Rowan Counties. Approximately 808 of those acres of farmland, purchased along the historic wagon road between Salisbury and Charlotte, became the location of the new textile mill, Cannon Manufacturing. Cannon Manufacturing began production in 1908. In 1914 Cannon Manufacturing became known as the world's largest producer of sheets and towels. Shortly after, Cannon opened plants in Rowan County, Concord and in South Carolina totaling 20,000 workers. Mill founder J.W. Cannon's youngest son, Charles A. Cannon, consolidated all the separate mills into the giant Cannon Mills Company in 1928.


Interactive map of Kannapolis

Kannapolis is located on the boundary of Cabarrus and Rowan counties, with a greater portion of its area in Cabarrus County. U.S. Route 29 (Cannon Boulevard) passes through the city east of the downtown area; U.S. 29 leads northeast 15 miles (24 km) to Salisbury and south 7 miles (11 km) to Concord. Interstate 85 bypasses the city on the south and the east, with access from Exits 54 through 63 (five exits total). I-85 leads northeast 65 miles (105 km) to Greensboro and southwest 21 miles (34 km) to Charlotte.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 34.06 square miles (88.2 km2), of which 33.50 square miles (86.8 km2) is land and 0.56 square miles (1.5 km2) (1.64%) is water.[3]


Historical population
2023 (est.)59,321[7]11.7%
U.S. Decennial Census[10]

2020 census[edit]

Kannapolis racial composition[11]
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 29,003 54.61%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 11,636 21.91%
Native American 159 0.3%
Asian 1,301 2.45%
Pacific Islander 23 0.04%
Other/Mixed 2,530 4.76%
Hispanic or Latino 8,462 15.93%

As of the 2020 census, there were 53,114 people, 17,248 households, and 12,092 families residing in the city.

2000 census[edit]

At the 2000 census,[5] there were 36,910 people, 14,804 households, and 10,140 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,236.5 people per square mile (477.4 people/km2). There were 15,941 housing units at an average density of 534.0 per square mile (206.2/km2). The racial makeup of the city was: 77.74% White, 16.45% Black or African American, 6.33% Hispanic or Latino American, 0.86% Asian American, 0.34% Native American, 0.01% Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, 3.43% some other race, and 1.16% two or more races.

There were 14,804 households, out of which 30.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.4% were married couples living together, 13.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.5% were non-families. 26.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 2.96.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 24.2% under the age of 18, 9.0% from 18 to 24, 30.4% from 25 to 44, 20.8% from 45 to 64, and 15.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $35,532, and the median income for a family was $42,445. Males had a median income of $30,990 versus $23,277 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,539. About 7.7% of families and 10.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.6% of those under age 18 and 10.7% of those age 65 or over.

Arts and culture[edit]

National Register of Historic Places[edit]

The Meek House and Harvey Jeremiah Peeler House are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[12]


  • Curb Museum for Music and Motorsports [13]


Parks and recreation[edit]


Kannapolis has several public recreational areas. These include parks, athletic fields and greenways. One public park in the city, Vietnam Veterans Park (formerly, North Cabarrus Park) is maintained and operated by Cabarrus County.[14]

  • Bakers Creek Park
  • Dale Earnhardt Plaza
  • Veterans Park
  • Vietnam Veterans Park (formerly, North Cabarrus Park)
  • Village Park
  • Walter M. Safrit Park


  • The Club at Irish Creek (formerly, Kannapolis Country Club)[15]
  • Kannapolis Recreation Park[16]



Kannapolis City Schools is the primary school system for the city. Two additional systems also serve its jurisdiction: Cabarrus County Schools and Rowan–Salisbury School System.

Faith Christian Academy (FCA) is a private, non-profit Christian educational institution that is operated by Faith Baptist Church. Faith Christian Academy offers a combination of the A Beka program (K5-2nd grade) and the Alpha-Omega computerized, individual learning program (3rd-12th grade). FCA was organized in 1982.

Franklin Heights Christian Academy (FHCA) is a private, non-profit Christian educational institution that is operated by Franklin Heights Baptist Church. FHCA was organized in 2009. This school is now closed.

Higher education[edit]

Shaw University has an extramural site in Kannapolis offering undergraduate, graduate and continuing educational programs.

Ambassador Christian College has a campus in Kannapolis offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in theology. The school was founded in 2003 by Dr. Keith Slough.

North Carolina Research Campus[edit]

Aerial image of the North Carolina Research Campus

The North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis is a 350-acre (140 ha) research center.



Kannapolis is located adjacent to Interstate 85, approximately 20 miles (32 km) northeast of Charlotte.

Concord Kannapolis Area Transit, also known as Rider, provides multiple local bus routes, with its farthest point reaching Concord Mills Mall.

Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) provides multiple transportation options including bus, vanpool or carpool. CATS provides a bus stop and parking at Kannapolis' Home Depot parking lot.

The Kannapolis Amtrak station is located at 201 South Main Street.[17]

Notable people[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

In 2004, a silent film about Kannapolis, showing the everyday behavior of ordinary people, which was made in 1941 by itinerant filmmaker H. Lee Waters, was selected by the Library of Congress for listing in the United States National Film Registry, as a representative of this kind of filmed "town portrait" popular in the 1930s and 1940s.[25][26][27][28]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Subcounty population estimates: North Carolina 2000-2006". United States Census Bureau, Population Division. June 28, 2007. Archived from the original (CSV) on September 29, 2008. Retrieved May 28, 2008.
  2. ^ a b "NC State Law 2009-430". NC State Laws. Retrieved August 30, 2011.
  3. ^ a b "ArcGIS REST Services Directory". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 20, 2022.
  4. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Kannapolis, North Carolina
  5. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  6. ^ "Search for Public Schools - School Detail for A L Brown High". ed.gov. Retrieved August 9, 2015.
  7. ^ a b c "QuickFacts: Kannapolis city, North Carolina". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 16, 2024.
  8. ^ Dearmon, Norris (July 20, 2006). "Name Origin File". History Room at the Kannapolis Branch of the Cannon Memorial Library. Retrieved November 12, 2007.[dead link]
  9. ^ Staff Report (December 11, 2009). "Kannapolis might not be city of looms". Salisbury Post. Retrieved March 5, 2023.
  10. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  11. ^ "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved December 20, 2021.
  12. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  13. ^ "Mike Curb -Curb Museum for Music". Archived from the original on January 30, 2015. Retrieved July 27, 2017.
  14. ^ "Overview of Parks Facilities". City of Kannapolis. Retrieved August 30, 2015.
  15. ^ "The Club". The Club at Irish Creek. Retrieved July 9, 2012.
  16. ^ "Kannapolis Recreation Park". Kannapolis Recreation Park. Retrieved July 9, 2012.
  17. ^ "Kannapolis, NC (KAN)". Amtrak. Retrieved July 9, 2012.
  18. ^ Pacek, Groover Jessica. (January 7, 2014). Earnhardt family honored for 20 years of Kannapolis education support. Independent Tribune. Retrieved November 2, 2020.
  19. ^ Carl Ford's Biography. justfacts.votesmart.org. Retrieved Feb 13, 2020.
  20. ^ Wilkerson, Isabel (June 26, 1993). "New Yorker to Head Chicago Schools". The New York Times. Retrieved August 9, 2021.
  21. ^ Plemmons, Mark. (Oct 23, 2013). Cabarrus Hall induction set for Thursday. Independent Tribune. Retrieved Feb 13, 2020.
  22. ^ NFL Alumnus Mike Morton: Dentist, Game Official and Father of Quadruplets Archived 2020-02-13 at the Wayback Machine. nflalumni.org. Retrieved Feb 13, 2020.
  23. ^ NFL Draft & Combine Profile - Brandon Parker Archived February 13, 2020, at the Wayback Machine. nfl.com. Retrieved Feb 13, 2020.
  24. ^ Haskel Stanback Stats. Pro-Football-Reference. Retrieved November 2, 2020.
  25. ^ "Librarian of Congress Adds 25 Films to National Film Registry". Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 20540 USA. Retrieved November 6, 2022.
  26. ^ "Complete National Film Registry Listing". Library of Congress. Retrieved November 17, 2020.
  27. ^ Eagan, Daniel (2010). America's Film Legacy: The Authoritative Guide to the Landmark Movies in the National Film Registry. New York, NY, USA: Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 343–344. ISBN 978-0826429773.
  28. ^ "kannapolis / Browse: Item / H. Lee Waters Film Collection / Duke Digital Repository". Duke Digital Collections. Retrieved November 6, 2022.

Further reading[edit]

  • Minchin, Timothy J., "'It Knocked This City to Its Knees': The Closure of Pillowtex Mills in Kannapolis, North Carolina, and the Decline of the U.S. Textile Industry," Labor History 50 (Aug. 2009), 287–311
  • Vanderburg, Timothy W. Cannon Mills and Kannapolis: Persistent Paternalism in a Textile Town (University of Tennessee Press; 2013) 255 pages

External links[edit]