North Carolina is a state with a rich history and culture, as well as some unique and interesting facts that are not widely known. From being the location of the first successful powered flight to having the world’s largest collection of Venus flytraps, North Carolina has a lot to offer. Let’s take a look at these 6 interesting facts about our favorite southern state. 

1. The Beginning of the Gold Rush

North Carolina was home to the first gold rush in the United States. In 1799, a 17-pound gold nugget was found in Midland, sparking a gold rush that lasted until the mid-1800s. A small boy named Conrad Reed discovered the gold, and you can still visit the Reed Gold Mine today. 

2. The Birthplace of Flight

North Carolina is the birthplace of the first successful powered flight by the Wright Brothers. On December 17, 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright made history by flying their airplane at Kitty Hawk, NC. Thanks to the strong North Carolina winds, they were able to fly for 59 seconds and made it 852 feet. 

3. New Bern was the Original Capital

The town of New Bern, North Carolina was the colonial capital of North Carolina and served as the first capital of the independent state of North Carolina from 1776 to 1788. Today, the capital of this state is Raleigh, but New Bern is still a beautiful place to visit, full of historic and scenic views.  

4. Home to the Largest Number of American Idol Finalists

Somebody go get Ryan Seacrest because North Carolina is a talent hot spot. Since the show began in 2002, North Carolina has produced 28 American Idol finalists, more than any other state in the country. Of those finalists, three were winners: Fantasia Barrino (2004), Scotty McCreery (2011), and Caleb Johnson (2014).

5. Features the Vanderbilt Mansion

The Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina is the largest privately-owned home in the United States. The estate, which was built by George Vanderbilt in the late 1800s, includes 250 rooms, over 40 bathrooms, and covers over 8,000 acres. And next door, you can find one of eight stunning gardens in the state designed by landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted. 

6. Has the World’s Largest Collection of Venus Flytraps

The carnivorous plant known as a Venus Flytrap is actually native to the state. And the biggest collection of them can be found in a bog near Wilmington, North Carolina. Surprisingly, this plant is protected by the state, and it’s actually a felony to poach them. In fact, over 50% of American carnivorous plant species can be found in North Carolina. Would you make the trip to check out these resilient bug-eating flytraps?

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Last Update: April 21, 2023