Hamlet, North Carolina
|Hamlet, North Carolina|
|• Total||5.14 sq mi (13.3 km2)|
|• Land||5.05 sq mi (13.1 km2)|
|• Water||0.09 sq mi (0.2 km2)|
|Elevation||299 ft (91 m)|
|• Density||1,192.4/sq mi (460.4/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|GNIS feature ID||1020599|
Hamlet is located at (34.887936, -79.706201).
As of the census of 2000, there were 6,018 people, 2,453 households, and 1,682 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,192.4 inhabitants per square mile (460.4 /km2). There were 2,738 housing units at an average density of 542.5 /sq mi (209.5 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 61.85% White, 34.51% African American, 1.61% Native American, 0.35% Asian, 0.48% from other races, and 1.20% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.26% of the population.
There were 2,453 households out of which 30.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.4% were married couples living together, 20.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.4% were non-families. 28.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 2.98.
In the city the population was spread out with 26.0% under the age of 18, 8.5% from 18 to 24, 25.2% from 25 to 44, 23.9% from 45 to 64, and 16.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 88.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 80.5 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $29,013, and the median income for a family was $36,234. Males had a median income of $28,958 versus $23,397 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,764. About 18.4% of families and 22.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 33.9% of those under age 18 and 18.2% of those age 65 or over.
Hamlet is home to a Fairview Heights Elementary School (K-5), Monroe Avenue Elementary School (K-5), Hamlet Middle School (6-8), Richmond Early College High School (9-13) and Richmond Community College.
Hamlet chicken plant fire of 1991
On September 3, 1991, a grease fire broke out at the Imperial Foods chicken processing plant in the city, killing 25 people. A monument now stands where the plant was. Jello Biafra and Mojo Nixon wrote a song about this called "Hamlet Chicken Plant Disaster".
Hamlet is at the junction of two major CSX rail lines, one running north towards Washington D.C., and the Northeast as well as south towards Florida, and the other running east towards Wilmington, North Carolina, and west towards Atlanta, Georgia and Birmingham, Alabama. It has been cited as the prime spot in North Carolina for train watchers.
The recently reopened Hamlet Passenger Station, served by Amtrak, sits downtown at the junction of the lines. Hamlet yard resides to the north of downtown. This is the former Seaboard Air Line Railroad yard built in 1954, replacing an older yard closer to downtown. A six-axle diesel locomotive preserved on static display at the depot is the former Seaboard Air Line 1114, an EMD SDP35; one of only 35 ever built, it has been repainted into her original SAL scheme and numbered with her original number on "The Seaboard", 1114.
The National Railroad Museum and Hall of Fame is also located in Hamlet.
Hamlet was the largest city in Richmond County at one time, but it has been surpassed by neighboring Rockingham. In the early part of the 20th Century, more than 30 trains stopped in Hamlet daily, en route to New York City, New Orleans, Norfolk and cities in Florida. Known as "The Hub of the Seaboard," Hamlet had seven hotels and numerous boarding houses and restaurants catering to transferring rail passengers. "Hamlet was like the Charlotte airport is today," said Miranda Chavis, manager of the railroad museum.
The Annual Seaboard Festival, honoring the Seaboard Air Line, is a major local event.
In the 1960s, North Carolina license plates proclaimed Hamlet as "The Hub of The Seaboard."
The Seaboard Air Line merged with its rival, the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, on July 1,1967, becoming the Seaboard Coast Line; in 1983 this became the Seaboard System, and in 1986, after combination with the holdings of the Chessie System, was renamed CSX. Recently the diesel repair shop, which first opened in 1954 but had later been closed, has been reopened and tracks that were removed in the 1980s were reinstalled to accommodate the growing diesel shop.
- Tom Wicker, former Washington bureau chief and columnist for The New York Times.
- Frederick C. Branch, the first African-American Marine officer.
- Wayne Goodwin, a former legislator, was the first Hamlet native elected to statewide office. He became North Carolina's Insurance Commissioner as a result of the 2008 election.
- Louis Breeden, former American football player, defensive back with the Cincinnati Bengals.
- Perry Williams, former American football player, cornerback with the New York Giants.
- Dannell Ellerbe, American football player, linebacker with the Miami Dolphins.
- John Coltrane, American jazz saxophonist and composer.
- Mike Quick, former American football player, wide receiver with the Philadelphia Eagles.
- Melvin Ingram, American football player, linebacker with the San Diego Chargers.
- J. Kenneth Lee, Attorney, one of the first two African-American graduates of the Law School at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, member of the UNC Law School's Hall of Fame. Lee was the first lawyer[page needed] for the "Greensboro Four/A&T Four", who were instrumental in one of the earliest of the "Sit-Ins" during the Civil rights movement, and who were students of his alma mater, North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, NC . Lee also founded the American Federal Savings and Loan--the first Black/African-American owned Savings and Loan in North Carolina.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "North Carolina -- Place GCT-PH1. Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2000". American Fact Finder. US Census Bureau. Retrieved 15 September 2010.
- Washburn, Mark. (2013, May 26). Love of railroads spans the Carolinas. The Charlotte Observer.
- Fletcher, Winona Lee; editor and ghostwriter; Lee, J. Kenneth (2008). No Way!: Memoirs of J. Kenneth Lee, Esq.. Denver, Colo.: Outskirts Press. p. 164. ISBN 9781432725303. Retrieved 17 June 2012.
- City Of Hamlet Information about the town of Hamlet.
- HUB OF THE CSX STREAM Railroad internet stream dedicated to broadcasting CSX radio traffic in and around Hamlet, NC over the internet.
- Our Hamlet* History and pictures of Hamlet, NC
-  Article on J. Kenneth Lee, with Chronology of life and career highlights
-  Oral history interview with J. Kenneth Lee by Eugene Pfaff, circa 1980
-  Oral history interview with J. Kenneth Lee by Kathleen Hoke, June 6, 1990
-  Press release for publication of J. Kenneth Lee memoir, "No Way!"