Wilmington, North Carolina

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Wilmington, North Carolina
City
Downtown Wilmington from across the Cape Fear River
Downtown Wilmington from across the Cape Fear River
Official seal of Wilmington, North Carolina
Seal
Location of Wilmington
Location of Wilmington
Coordinates: 34°13′24″N 77°54′44″W / 34.22333°N 77.91222°W / 34.22333; -77.91222Coordinates: 34°13′24″N 77°54′44″W / 34.22333°N 77.91222°W / 34.22333; -77.91222
Country United States
State North Carolina
County New Hanover
Incorporated February 20, 1739/40
Government
 • Mayor Bill Saffo
Area
 • City 41.5 sq mi (107.4 km2)
 • Land 41.0 sq mi (106.2 km2)
 • Water 0.5 sq mi (1.2 km2)
Elevation 30 ft (9 m)
Population (2012)
 • City 109,922 (US: 243th)
 • Density 1,849.8/sq mi (714.2/km2)
 • Urban 219,957 (US: 161th)
 • Metro 263,429 (US: 175th)
Demonym Wilmingtonian
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 28401-28412
Area code(s) 910
FIPS code 37-74440
GNIS feature ID 1023269[1]
Sister cities Dandong, Liaoning, China
Doncaster, South Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Bridgetown, Barbados
San Pedro Town, Belize
Website http://www.wilmingtonnc.gov/
The Bellamy Mansion draws many tourists annually to downtown Wilmington.
U.S. Courthouse in Wilmington, the backdrop of Andy Griffith's Matlock television series
Across from the Bellamy Mansion is the First Baptist Church, established in Wilmington in 1808.
Grace United Methodist Church, established in Wilmington in 1797
U. S. Post Office in downtown Wilmington

Wilmington is a port city in and is the county seat of New Hanover County in coastal southeastern North Carolina, United States.[2] The population is 106,476; according to the 2010 Census it is the eighth most populous city in the state. Wilmington is the principal city of the Wilmington Metropolitan Statistical Area, a metropolitan area that includes New Hanover, Brunswick, and Pender counties in southeastern North Carolina,[3] which has a population of 263,429 as of the 2012 Census Estimate.

Wilmington was settled by European Americans along the Cape Fear River. Its historic downtown has a one-mile-long Riverwalk, developed as a tourist attraction. It is minutes away from nearby beaches. The National Trust for Historic Preservation named Wilmington, North Carolina, one of its 2008 Dozen Distinctive Destinations.[4] City residents live between the river and the ocean, with four nearby beach communities: Fort Fisher, Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, and Kure Beach all within half-hour drives from downtown Wilmington.

In 2003 the city was designated by the US Congress, as a "Coast Guard City".[5] It is home port for the USCGC Diligence, a United States Coast Guard medium endurance cutter.[6] The World War II battleship USS North Carolina is held as a war memorial; located across from the downtown port area, the ship is open to public tours. Other attractions include the Cape Fear Museum, the Wilmington Hammerheads United Soccer Leagues soccer team, and the training camp site for the Charlotte Bobcats. The University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) provides a wide variety of programs for undergraduates, graduate students, and adult learners, in addition to cultural and sports events open to the community.

Wilmington is the home of EUE Screen Gems Studios, the largest domestic television and movie production facility outside of California. "Dream Stage 10," the facility's newest sound stage, is the third-largest in the US. It houses the largest special-effects water tank in North America. Since the studio's opening in 1984, Wilmington has become a major center of American film and television production. Numerous movies in a range of genres and several television series, including Iron Man 3 and NBC's Revolution (TV series), have been produced there.

History[edit]

Colonial beginnings[edit]

Mitchell-Anderson House (built 1738)

The area had long been inhabited by indigenous peoples; at the time of European encounter, historic Native Americans were tribes belonging to the Algonquian language family.

The ethnic European and African history of Wilmington spans more than two and a half centuries. Giovanni da Verrazano is reportedly the first European to observe the area, including the city's present site, in the early 16th century. The first permanent European settlement in the area came in the 1720s when English colonists began settling the area. In 1733, a community was founded on land owned by John Watson on the Cape Fear River, at the confluence of its northwest and northeast branches. The settlement was first called "New Carthage," then "New Liverpool," but gradually took on the name "New Town" or "Newton".[7] Governor Gabriel Johnston soon after established his provincial government there for the North Carolina colony. In 1739 or 1740, the town was incorporated with a new name, Wilmington, in honor of Spencer Compton, Earl of Wilmington.

Some early settlers of Wilmington came from the Albemarle and Pamlico regions of the state, as well as from Virginia and South Carolina, but most new settlers arrived from the northern colonies, the West Indies, and the British Isles.[8] Many of the settlers were indentured servants, mainly of European origin. As the indentured servants gained their freedom, the colonists imported an increasing number of (permanent and much less expensive) African slaves into the port city.[7] By 1767, slaves accounted for more than 62% of the population of the Lower Cape Fear region.[9] Many worked in the port as laborers, and some in ship-related trades.

Naval stores and lumber fueled the region's economy, both before and after the American Revolution. During the Revolutionary War, the British maintained a garrison at Fort Johnson near Wilmington.

Revolutionary era[edit]

Wilmington's commercial importance as a major port afforded it a critical role in opposition to the British in the years leading up to the Revolution. Additionally, the city was home to outspoken political leaders who influenced and led the resistance movement in North Carolina. The foremost of these was Wilmington resident Cornelius Harnett, who served in the General Assembly at the time, where he rallied opposition to the Sugar Act in 1764. When the British Parliament passed the Stamp Act the following year, designed to raise revenue for the Crown with a kind of tax, Wilmington was the site of an elaborate demonstration against it.

On October 19, 1765, several hundred townspeople gathered in protest of the new law, burned an effigy of one town resident who favored the act, and toasted to "Liberty, Property, and No Stamp Duty." On October 31, another crowd gathered in a symbolic funeral of "Liberty". But before the effigy was buried, it was found that Liberty still had a pulse, and celebration ensued.[10][11]

Dr. William Houston of Duplin County was appointed Stamp Receiver for Cape Fear. When Houston visited Wilmington on business, still unaware of his appointment, he recounted,

"The Inhabitants immediately assembled about me & demanded a Categorical Answer whether I intended to put the Act relating [to] the Stamps in force. The Town Bell was rung[,] Drums [were] beating, Colours [were] flying and [a] great concourse of People [were] gathered together." For the sake of his own life, and "to quiet the Minds of the inraged [sic] and furious Mobb...," Houston resigned his position at the courthouse.[10][12]

Governor William Tryon made attempts to mitigate the opposition to no avail. On November 18, 1765, he pled his case directly to prominent residents of the area. They said the law restricted their rights. When the stamps arrived on November 28 on the H.M. Sloop Diligence, Tryon ordered them to be kept on board. Shipping on the Cape Fear River was stopped, as did the functions of the courts.[10]

Tryon, after having received his official commission as governor (a position he had only assumed after the death of Arthur Dobbs), was brought to Wilmington by Captain Constantine Phipps on a barge from the Diligence, and "was received cordially by the gentlemen of the borough." He was greeted with the firing of seventeen pieces of artillery, and the New Hanover County regiment of militia who had lined the streets. This "warm welcome" was spoiled, however, after a dispute arose between Captain Phipps and captains of ships in the harbor regarding the display of their colors. The townspeople became infuriated with Phipps and threats were made against both sides. After Tryon harangued them for their actions, the townspeople gathered around the barrels of punch and ox he had brought as refreshments. The barrels were broken open, letting the punch spill into the streets; they threw the head of the ox into the pillory, and gave its body to the slaves. Tryon moved his seat of government to New Bern instead of Wilmington.[7][13]

On February 18, 1766, two merchant ships arrived at Brunswick Town, without stamped papers. Each ship provided signed statements from the collectors at their respective ports of origin that there were no stamps available, but Captain Jacob Lobb of the British cruiser Viper seized the vessels. In response, numerous residents from southern counties met in Wilmington. The group organized as the Sons of Liberty and pledged to block implementation of the Stamp Act. The following day, as many as a thousand men, including the mayor and aldermen of Wilmington, were led by Cornelius Harnett to Brunswick to confront Tryon. The governor was unyielding to their defiance but a mob retrieved the seized ships. They forced royal customs officers and public officials in the region to swear never to issue stamped paper. Parliament repealed the Stamp Act in March 1766.

Antebellum period[edit]

In the 1830s, citizens of Wilmington became eager to take advantage of railroad transportation. Plans were developed to build a railroad line from the capital of Raleigh to Wilmington. This was later changed when the citizens of Raleigh did not care to make the venture of a stock subscription to secure the railroad. The end point was changed to Weldon. When construction of the railroad line was finally completed in 1840, it was the longest single line of railroad track in the world. The railroad also controlled a line of steamboats that ran from Wilmington to Charleston; it was widely used for passenger travel and transportation of freight. Regular boat lines served Fayetteville, and packet lines traveled to northern ports. The city was a main stop-over point, contributing greatly to its commerce.[7]

By mid-century, the churchyard of St. James Episcopal Church and other town cemeteries had become filled with graves. On November 16, 1853, a group of citizens, organized as "The Proprietors of the Wilmington Cemetery," was formed to develop a new cemetery. Sixty-five acres of land around Burnt Mill Creek was chosen as the site for what would be called Oakdale Cemetery. It was the first rural cemetery in North Carolina. The cemetery's first interment, on February 6, 1855, was six year-old Annie DeRosset.[14] Many remains from St. James churchyard were relocated to the new cemetery.

The Wilmington Gas Light Company was established in 1854. Soon after, street lights were powered by gas made from lightwood and rosin, replacing the old street oil lamps. On December 27, 1855, the first cornerstone was laid and construction began on a new City Hall. A grant from the Thalian Association funded the attached opera house, named Thalian Hall. The city opened its first public school, named the "Union Free School", in 1857 on 6th Street between Nun and Church Streets.[15]

Cannon firing at a reenactment of the Battle of Forks Road near the Cameron Art Museum in February 2009. Photo by Zach Rudisin

Civil War[edit]

During the Civil War, the port was the major and busiest base for Confederate and privately owned blockade runners delivering badly needed supplies from England. It was captured by Union forces in the Battle of Wilmington in February 1865, approximately one month after the fall of Fort Fisher had closed the port. As nearly all the military action took place some distance from the city, a number of antebellum houses and other buildings survived the war years.

Wilmington Insurrection of 1898[edit]

The Wilmington Insurrection of 1898 (formerly called a race riot) occurred as a result of the racially charged political conflict that had occurred in the decades after the Civil War and efforts to establish white supremacy. In the 1870s, the Red Shirts, a white paramilitary organization, used violence and intimidation to suppress black voting, helping Democrats to regain power in the state legislature and end Reconstruction. In 1898, a cadre of white Democrats, professionals and businessmen, planned to overthrow the city government if their candidates were not elected. Two days after the election, more than 1500 white men attacked and burned the only black newspaper in the state and ran off the white Republican mayor and aldermen (both white and black), overthrowing the legitimately elected municipal government. This is the only such coup d'état in United States history.[16]

On November 10, 1898, nearly 1500 white men, led by the Democrat Alfred M. Waddell, an unsuccessful gubernatorial candidate in 1896, marched to the offices of the Daily Record, as they had been angered by its publisher Alex Manly. The mob broke out of control, shattering windows and setting fire to the building. Violence later broke out across town in Brooklyn, the black neighborhood that was attacked by mobs of whites. Waddell and his men forced the elected Republican city officials to resign at gunpoint and replaced them with men selected by leading white Democrats. Waddell was elected mayor by the newly seated board of aldermen that day. Prominent African Americans and white Republicans were banished from the city in the following days.[16]

Whites attacked and killed an estimated 10-100 blacks. No whites died in the violence. As a result of the attacks, more than 2100 blacks permanently left the city, leaving a hole among its professional and middle class. It became majority white, rather than the majority black it was before the white Democrats' coup.[16]

Following these events, the North Carolina legislature passed a new constitution with voter registration requirements for poll taxes and literacy tests that effectively disfranchised black voters, following the example of the state of Mississippi. Blacks were essentially disfranchised until after Congressional passage of the civil rights acts of the mid-1960s.[16]

20th century[edit]

1918 panorama of downtown Wilmington
1918 panorama of Wilmington's waterfront

World War II[edit]

During World War II, Wilmington was the home of the North Carolina Shipbuilding Company. The shipyard was created as part of the U.S. government's Emergency Shipbuilding Program. Workers built 243 ships in Wilmington during the five years the company operated.

The city was the site of three prisoner-of-war (POW) camps from February 1944 through April 1946. At their peak, the camps held 550 German prisoners. The first camp was located on the corner of Shipyard Boulevard and Carolina Beach Road; it was moved downtown to Ann Street, between 8th and 10th avenues, when it outgrew the original location. A smaller contingent of prisoners was assigned to a third site, working in the officers’ mess and doing grounds keeping at Bluethenthal Army Air Base, which is now Wilmington International Airport.

Geography[edit]

Welcome to Wilmington

Wilmington is located at 34°13′24″N 77°54′44″W / 34.22333°N 77.91222°W / 34.22333; -77.91222 (34.223232, −77.912122).[17] It is the Eastern Terminus of a major East-West Interstate 40 which ends at Barstow, California, where it joins I-15, the Gateway to Southern California, some 2,554 miles away, passing through many major cities and state capitals along the way.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 41.5 square miles (107 km2). 41.0 square miles (106 km2) of it is land and 0.5 square miles (1.3 km2) of it (1.16%) is water.

Climate[edit]

Wilmington has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa), with the following characteristics:

  • Winters are generally mild with January highs in the mid 50s °F (11–14 °C) and lows in the mid 30s °F (1–3 °C). Snowfall does not occur in most years, and when it does, is generally light.
  • Spring is reasonably lengthy, beginning in late February and lasting to early May. The presence of abundant dense vegetation in the area causes significant pollen dusting in the springtime that tends to turn rooftops and cars yellow.
  • Summer brings high humidity with temperatures usually in the upper 80s to lower 90s °F (31–34 °C). Heat indices can easily break the 100 °F (38 °C) mark, though the actual temperature does not in most years. Due to the proximity of warm Atlantic Ocean waters, the area may be hit by a tropical cyclone during the summer, at an average of once every seven years. About 40% of the annual rainfall is delivered from July to September.
  • Autumn is also generally humid at the beginning, with the same tropical threats as the summer. Some of the deciduous trees may lose their leaves; however most trees in the area are evergreens and therefore remain green year-round.
Climate data for Wilmington, North Carolina (Wilmington Int'l, 1981–2010 normals)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 56.4
(13.6)
59.9
(15.5)
66.4
(19.1)
74.2
(23.4)
80.7
(27.1)
86.9
(30.5)
89.7
(32.1)
88.1
(31.2)
83.7
(28.7)
75.7
(24.3)
68.0
(20)
59.3
(15.2)
74.1
(23.4)
Average low °F (°C) 35.6
(2)
37.9
(3.3)
43.8
(6.6)
51.6
(10.9)
60.0
(15.6)
68.7
(20.4)
72.6
(22.6)
71.3
(21.8)
65.6
(18.7)
54.6
(12.6)
45.4
(7.4)
37.8
(3.2)
53.7
(12.1)
Precipitation inches (mm) 3.79
(96.3)
3.62
(91.9)
4.18
(106.2)
2.72
(69.1)
4.37
(111)
5.06
(128.5)
7.62
(193.5)
7.75
(196.9)
7.54
(191.5)
3.85
(97.8)
3.17
(80.5)
3.62
(91.9)
57.27
(1,454.7)
Snowfall inches (cm) 0.7
(1.8)
0.2
(0.5)
0.1
(0.3)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0.6
(1.5)
1.7
(4.3)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 10.1 9.3 9.5 7.4 9.5 10.4 13.7 12.8 9.7 7.1 8.4 9.2 117.2
Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 0.3 0.3 0.1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.3 0.9
Mean monthly sunshine hours 181.5 182.1 238.0 276.3 285.3 280.1 280.7 254.3 230.0 229.3 197.4 181.1 2,816.1
Source: NOAA (sun 1961–1990)[18][19]
  • January mean temperature: 46.0 °F (7.8 °C)
  • July mean temperature: 81.1 °F (27.3 °C)
  • Nights ≤ 32 °F (0 °C): 39
  • First and last freezes of the season: November 18 and March 20, allowing a growing season of 244 days
  • Days ≥ 90 °F (32 °C): 43
  • First and last 90 °F highs: May 15, September 15
  • Highest recorded temperature: 104 °F (40 °C) on June 27, 1952[20]
  • Lowest daily maximum temperature: 16 °F (−9 °C) on February 13, 1899 and December 30, 1917[20]
  • Highest daily minimum temperature: 83 °F (28 °C) on August 1, 1999 and August 9, 2007[20]
  • Lowest recorded temperature: 0 °F (−18 °C) on December 25, 1989[20]
  • Annual precipitation: 57.3 inches (1,460 mm)
  • Wettest day: 13.38 in (339.9 mm) on September 15, 1999[20]
  • Driest month: 0.16 in (4.1 mm) in April 1995[21]
  • Wettest month: 23.41 in (594.6 mm) in September 1999[21]
  • Winter average snowfall: 1.7 inches (4.3 cm) (the median amount is 0)[21]
  • Snowiest day: 11.1 in (28.2 cm) on December 18, 1896[20]
  • Snowiest month: 15.3 in (38.9 cm) in December 1989[21]

Cityscape[edit]

Wilmington theater and banking area
Downtown north
Northern downtown redevelopment

Wilmington boasts a large historic district encompassing nearly 300 blocks. Old abandoned warehouses on downtown's northern end have been recently demolished making room for multi-million dollar projects such as PPD's World Headquarters and a state of the art convention center.

Downtown/Old Wilmington is home to Historic Neighborhoods and buildings such as the Sir Water Wilmington Hotel, built during the late 20th century, and the restored City Market.

Downtown Monuments and Historic Buildings
The George Davis Monument
The Confederate Memorial
The Bellamy Mansion
Cotton Exchange of Wilmington
The Temple of Israel
The Murchison Building

Economy[edit]

Wilmington's industrial base includes electrical, medical, electronic and telecommunications equipment; clothing and apparel; food processing; paper products; nuclear fuel; and pharmaceuticals. Wilmington is part of North Carolina's Research coast, adjacent to the Research Triangle Park in Raleigh, NC.

Also important to Wilmington's economy is tourism due to its close proximity to the ocean and vibrant nightlife. Film production has grown to play an important role in the city's economy. Wilmington North Carolina was #2 in the Nation in a national study for 2007 projected job growth. This list of 25 top cities, compiled by the Milken Institute, an Economic "Think Tank" based in California, also included the NC cities of Charlotte and Raleigh.

Crime[edit]

Wilmington
Crime rates (2012)
Crime type Rate*
Homicide: 8
Robbery: 261
Aggravated assault: 326
Total Violent crime: 618
Burglary: 1,694
Larceny-theft: 3,843
Motor vehicle theft: 373
Arson: 9
Total Property crime: 5,910
Notes
* Number of reported crimes per 100,000 population.
2012 population: 109,370
Source: 2012 FBI UCR Data

Between 2006 and 2008, crime rates, as reported through the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform Crime Reports, decreased in 6 of the 8 reported categories.

Year Murder Rape Robbery Assault Burglary Larceny MVT Arson
2006 7.4 65.4 431.5 398.8 1,787.0 4,078.2 682.5 23.2
2007 10.4 60.3 358.9 424.4 1,703.8 3,761.2 667.8 16.6
2008 12.2 49.8 324.2 404.5 1,489.0 3,511.5 535.6 15.2

Wilmington has an increasing problem with gang violence [22] and on October 15, 2013 the WPD and NHC Sheriffs department created a joint task force to combat gang violence.[23] Just a day later the city council approved $142,000 in funding for a gang investigative unit.[24]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1800 1,689
1820 2,633
1830 3,791 44.0%
1840 5,335 40.7%
1850 7,264 36.2%
1860 9,552 31.5%
1870 13,446 40.8%
1880 17,350 29.0%
1890 20,056 15.6%
1900 20,976 4.6%
1910 25,748 22.7%
1920 33,372 29.6%
1930 32,270 −3.3%
1940 33,407 3.5%
1950 45,043 34.8%
1960 44,013 −2.3%
1970 46,169 4.9%
1980 44,000 −4.7%
1990 55,530 26.2%
2000 75,838 36.6%
2010 106,476 40.4%
Est. 2012 109,922 3.2%
U.S. Decennial Census[25]
2012 Estimate[26]

As of the census of 2010, there were 106,476 people, 53,400 households in the city. The population density was 2,067.8 people per square mile (714.2/km²)and there were 47,799 housing units. The racial composition of the city was: 73.5% White, 19.9% Black or African American, 6.1% Hispanic or Latino American, 1.2% Asian American, 0.1% Native American, 0.1% Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander.

There were 34,359 households out of which 20.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 33.5% were married couples living together, 14.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 49.5% were non-families. 36.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.10 and the average family size was 2.77.

In the city the population was spread out with 18.4% under the age of 18, 17.2% from 18 to 24, 28.5% from 25 to 44, 20.6% from 45 to 64, and 15.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 87.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $31,099, and the median income for a family was $41,891. Males had a median income of $30,803 versus $23,423 for females. The per capita income for the city was $21,503. About 13.3% of families and 19.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.9% of those under age 18 and 12.0% of those age 65 or over.

Transportation[edit]

Airport[edit]

The Wilmington International Airport (ILM) serves the area with commercial air service provided by , Delta Air Lines and US Airways. US Airways carries a large share of the airport's traffic, and therefore flies the largest of the aircraft in and out of the airport. The airport serves over 800,000 travelers per year. The airport is also home to two fixed base operations (FBO's) which currently house over 100 private aircraft. The airport maintains a separate International Terminal providing a full service Federal Inspection Station to clear international flights. This includes U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Dept of Agriculture and the U.S. Dept of Immigration. The airport is 4 miles from downtown.

Interstate highways[edit]

Barstow, Calif. distance sign, as seen from I-40 in Wilmington, NC.

U.S. Routes[edit]

North Carolina state highways[edit]

Alternate transportation options[edit]

Public transit in the area is provided by the Cape Fear Public Transportation Authority,[27] which operates fixed bus routes, shuttles, and a free downtown trolley under the brand name Wave Transit. A daily intercity bus service to Raleigh is provided by Greyhound Lines.

The NC-DOT Cape Fear Run bicycle route connects Apex to Wilmington and closely parallels the RUSA 600 km brevet route.[28]

The City of Wilmington offers transient docking facilities[29] in the center of Downtown Wilmington along the Cape Fear River approximately 12.5 miles from the Intracoastal Waterway. The river depth in the run up from the ICW is in excess of 40 feet. Taxicab service is available from several vendors, however, as the price of fuel rises, yet the City's Taxi Commission keeps meter rates artificially low, there is a real likelihood that no drivers will continue to work, as their income, before taxes, now averages 30% of what it was in 1998.

The Gary Shell Cross City trail is currently under construction. The Gary Shell Cross-City Trail is primarily a multi-use trail which will provide bicycle and pedestrian access to numerous recreational, cultural and educational destinations in Wilmington. The Gary Shell Cross-City Trail will provide a future bicycle and pedestrian connection from Wade Park, Halyburton Park and Empie Park to the Heide-Trask Drawbridge at the Intracoastal Waterway.[30]

Business[edit]

Wilmington experienced staggering growth in the 1990s, ranking at one point as the second fastest growing city in the country, behind only Las Vegas, Nevada. Economists have forecast growth in the Greater Wilmington area to be the fastest in the state between 2004 and 2010, averaging 7%.

Wilmington Ranks #32nd in the nation on Forbes Magazine's "Best Places for Business and Careers" 2010.

Wilmington Ranks #14 in the nation on Fortune Small Business Magazine's "Best Places for a Start-Up"

The Cape Fear Memorial Bridge (foreground) carries US 17 Business, US 76 and US 421 across the Cape Fear River
Port of Wilmington
Wilmington City Hall, with movie crews filming in July 2012
Graystone Inn, an elegant bed and breakfast in colonial architecture is located in downtown Wilmington

Located on the Cape Fear River, which flows into the Atlantic Ocean, Wilmington is a sizable seaport, including private marine terminals and the North Carolina State Ports Authority's Port of Wilmington.

Wilmington is home to the Greater Wilmington Chamber of Commerce, the oldest Chamber in North Carolina, organized in 1853.

Top employers[edit]

According to the City's 2010 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:[31]

# Employer # of Employees
1 New Hanover Health Network 4,890
2 New Hanover County Schools 4,130
3 General Electric 3,000
4 University of North Carolina Wilmington 1,810
5 Pharmaceutical Product Development 1,800
6 New Hanover County 1,670
7 Cape Fear Community College 1,260
8 Verizon Wireless 1,200
9 City of Wilmington 1,075
10 Corning 1,000

Education[edit]

Universities and colleges[edit]

Schools[edit]

Public Schools in Wilmington are operated by the New Hanover County School System.

High schools[edit]

Middle schools[edit]

  • Holly Shelter Middle School
  • Murray Middle School.
  • Myrtle Grove Middle School
  • Noble Middle School
  • Roland-Grise Middle School
  • Trask Middle School
  • Williston Middle School
  • Lake Forest Academy School
  • Friends School of Wilmington
  • St. Mark Catholic School (Wilmington, North Carolina)

Elementary schools[edit]

  • Walter L. Parsley Elementary School
  • Alderman
  • Anderson
  • Bellamy
  • Blair
  • Bradley Creek
  • Codington
  • College Park
  • Eaton
  • Forest Hills
  • Freeman School of Engineering
  • Gregory School of Science, Mathematics, and Technology
  • Holly Tree
  • Lake Forest Academy
  • New Horizons Elementary School
  • Ogden
  • Pine Valley
  • Snipes Academy of Arts and Design
  • Sunset Park
  • Winter Park
  • Wrightsville Beach
  • Friends School of Wilmington
  • St. Mark Catholic School (Wilmington, North Carolina)

Academies and alternate schools[edit]

Culture[edit]

Performing arts[edit]

The city supports a very active calendar with its showcase theater, Thalian Hall, hosting about 250 events annually. The complex has been in continuous operation since it opened in 1858 and houses three performance venues, the Main Stage, the Grand Ballroom, and the Studio Theater.[32]

The Hannah Block Historic USO/Community Arts Center,[33] 120 S. Second Street in historic downtown Wilmington, is a multiuse facility owned by the City of Wilmington and managed by the Thalian Association,[34] the Official Community Theater of North Carolina.[35] Here, five studios are available to nonprofit organizations for theatrical performances, rehearsals, musicals, recitals and art classes. For more than half a century, the Hannah Block Historic USO Building has facilitated the coming together of generations, providing children with programs that challenge them creatively, and enhance the quality of life for residents throughout the region.

The Hannah Block Second Street Stage is home to the Thalian Association Children's Theater.[36] It is one of the main attractions at the Hannah Block Community Arts Center. The theater seats 200 and is a popular performance venue for many community theater groups and other entertainment productions.

The University of North Carolina at Wilmington College of Arts and Science Departments of Theatre, Music and Art share a state-of-the-art, $34 million Cultural Arts Building which opened in December 2006. The production area consists of a music recital hall, art gallery, and two theaters. Sponsored events include 4 theater productions a year.[37]

Film[edit]

Since 1995, Wilmington hosts an annual, nationally recognized, independent film festival, the "Cucalorus".[38] It is the keystone event of The Cucalorus Film Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. The Foundation also sponsors weekly screenings, several short documentary projects and the annual Kids Festival, with hands on film-making workshops.

Literature[edit]

Birthplace of Johnson Jones Hooper (1815-1862), Author of the Simon Suggs Series.

Birthplace of Robert Ruark (1915-1965)

Music[edit]

The Wilmington Symphony Orchestra was established in 1971 and offers throughout the year a series of five classical performances, and a Free Family Concert.[39] Wilmington is also home to numerous music festivals.

One of the largest DIY festivals, the Wilmington Exchange Festival, occurs over a period of 5 days around Memorial Day each year. It is currently in its 13th year.[40]

Celebrating its 29th year, the North Carolina Jazz Festival is a three-day traditional jazz festival which features world-renowned jazz musicians.[41]

The Cape Fear Blues Society is a driving force behind blues music in Wilmington, N.C. The organization manages, staffs and sponsors weekly Cape Fear Blues Jams and the annual Cape Fear Blues Challenge talent competition (winners travel to Memphis TN for the International Blues Challenge). Its largest endeavor is the Cape Fear Blues Festival, an annual celebration that showcases local, regional and national touring blues artists performing at a variety of events and venues, including the Cape Fear Blues Cruise, Blues Workshops, an All-Day Blues Jam, and numerous live club shows. Membership in the CFBS is open to listeners and musicians alike.[42]

The local music scene in Wilmington, is also very diverse and abundant. The Soapbox Bar and Lounge in downtown Wilmington is known for having the greatest bands around come and play once. Another popular venue is The Rusty Nail at 1310 S. 5th Ave. The Nail is likely the closest thing to an authentic juke joint in Wilmington and it regularly features blues, jazz and Americana music.

The USS North Carolina Battleship Memorial, seen from downtown Wilmington across the Cape Fear River
The Railroad Museum is located behind the Hilton Hotel in Wilmington.

The Whiskey on South Front Street is suitable to catch a show and friendly buzz. It is located near the river front, along with other enterprises.

Wilmington is also a popular spot for Carolina shag dancing.

Museums and historic areas[edit]

The batteship USS North Carolina on a beautiful day in downtown Wilmington.

The Second and Orange Street USO Club was erected by the Army Corps of Engineers at a cost of $80,000. Along with an identical structure on Nixon Street for African-American servicemen, it opened in December 1941, the same month that the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. From 1941 to 1945, the USO hosted 35,000 uniformed visitors a week. Recently renovated with sensitivity to its historic character, the Hannah Block Historic USO (HBHUSO) lobby serves as a museum where World War II memorabilia and other artifacts are displayed. The building itself was rededicated in Ms. Block’s name in 2006 and restored to its 1943 wartime character in 2008. The building is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The World War II Wilmington Home Front Heritage Coalition,[46] an all volunteer 501(c)(3) preservation organization, is the de facto preservationist of the building's history and maintains the home front museum.

Media[edit]

Newspapers[edit]

The Star-News is one of Wilmington's daily newspaper; read widely throughout the Lower Cape Fear region and now owned by the Halifax Media Group. A second daily newspaper, Port City Daily (portcitydaily.com) is also widely read, and owned by Local Voice Media. Two historic black newspapers are distributed and published weekly -- The Wilmington Journal and The Challenger Newspapers. Encore Magazine is a weekly arts and entertainment publication.

Television stations[edit]

Broadcast[edit]

The Wilmington television market is ranked 133 in the United States, and is the smallest DMA in North Carolina. The broadcast stations are as follows:

Subscriber[edit]

The region is also served by a cable-only affiliate of The CW, WBW (channel 20 on Time Warner Cable and channel 17 on Charter Communications). Cable news station News 14 Carolina also maintains its coastal bureau in Wilmington.

On September 8, 2008, at 12 noon, WWAY, WECT, WSFX, WILM-LP and W51CW all turned off their analog signals, making Wilmington the first market in the nation to go digital-only as part of a test by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to iron out transition and reception concerns before the nationwide shutoff. Wilmington was chosen as the test market because the area's digital channel positions will remain unchanged after the transition.[47] As the area's official conduit of emergency information, WUNJ did not participate in the early analog switchoff, and kept their analog signal on until the national digital switchover date of June 12, 2009.[48] W47CK did not participate due to its low-power status; FCC rules currently exempt low-powered stations from the 2009 analog shutdown.[49] WILM-LP and W51CW chose to participate, even though they are exempt as LPTV stations.[citation needed]

Despite Tropical Storm Hanna making landfall southwest of Wilmington two days before (September 6), the switchover continued as scheduled. The ceremony was marked by governmental and television representatives flipping a large switch (marked with the slogan "First in Flight, First in Digital") from analog to digital.[50]

Broadcast Radio[edit]

  • 88.1 FM WGHW - Christian Programs from Church Planters Of America
  • 91.3 FM WHQR - Public Radio
  • 93.1 FM WBPL - Wilmington Catholic Radio

Public and listener-supported[edit]

  • 88.9 FM WKVC - Contemporary Christian ("K-LOVE")
  • 89.7 FM WDVV - Worship & Praise Music ("The Dove, 89.7")
  • 90.5 FM WWIL - Christian Music ("Life 90.5")
  • 92.3 FM WQSL - Country ("92.3, The Wolf)
  • 93.7 FM WNTB - Country Radio ("The Dude FM")
  • 94.5 FM WKXS - Classic Hits ("94.5, The Hawk")
  • 95.5 FM W238AV - Contemporary Christian ("K-LOVE")
  • 95.9 FM W240AS - Talk Radio ("Port City Radio"),
  • 97.3 FM WMNX - Hip Hop/R & B ("Coast 97.3")
  • 98.3 FM WUIN - AAA ("The Penguin")
  • 98.7 FM WRMR - Modern Rock
  • 99.9 FM WKXB - Oldies ("Jammin' 99.9")
  • 100.5 FM W263BA - Contemporary Christian ("K-LOVE")
  • 101.3 FM WWQQ- Country ("Double Q, 101")
  • 102.7 FM WGNI - Hot AC ("102.7 GNI")
  • 103.7 FM WBNE - Classic Rock (103.7,"The Bone")
  • 104.5 FM WILT - Adult Contemporary ("Sunny 104.5")
  • 105.5 FM WXQR - Rock ("Rock 105")
  • 106.3 FM WUDE - Country Radio ("The Dude FM")
  • 106.7 FM WMYT - Talk Radio ("My Talk 106.7")
  • 107.5 FM WAZO - Top 40 ("Z 107.5")
  • 630 AM WMFD - Sports ("ESPN Radio, AM 630")
  • 980 AM WAAV - News, Talk, Sports ("News, Talk, & Sports 980 The Wave")
  • 1180 AM WLTT - Christian Teaching & Talk ("The Word, 1180 AM")
  • 1340 AM WLSG - Southern Gospel ("God's Country, 1340")
  • 1490 AM WWIL - Urban Gospel ("Gospel Joy, 1490")

Sports[edit]

Club League Venue Founded Titles
Wilmington Sharks CPL, Baseball Buck Hardee Field at Legion Stadium 1997 2
Wilmington Sea Dawgs PBL, Basketball Joe and Barbara Schwartz Center 2006 0
Wilmington Hammerheads USL Pro, Soccer Legion Stadium 1996 1

The Wilmington Sharks are a Coastal Plain League (CPL) baseball team in Wilmington that was founded in 1997 and was among the charter organizations when the CPL was formed that same year. The roster is made up of top collegiate baseball players fine-tuning their skills using wood bats to prepare for professional baseball. Their stadium is located at Buck Hardee Field at Legion Stadium in Wilmington. The Wilmington Sea Dawgs are a Premier Basketball League (PBL) team in Wilmington that began its inaugural season with the American Basketball Association (ABA) in November 2006.

The Wilmington Hammerheads are a professional soccer team based in Wilmington. They were founded in 1996 and played in the United Soccer Leagues Second Division. Their stadium was the Legion Stadium. After the 2009 season, the USL discontinued their relationship with the franchise owner Chuck Sullivan. The Hammerheads franchise returned in 2011.

The University of North Carolina Wilmington sponsors 19 intercollegiate sports and has held Division 1 membership in the NCAA since 1977. UNCW competes in the Colonial Athletic Association and has been a member since 1984.

The Cape Fear Rugby Football Club is an amateur rugby club playing in USA Rugby South Division II. They were founded in 1974 and hosts the annual Cape Fear Sevens Tournament held over 4 July weekend; hosting teams from all over the world. They own their own rugby pitch located at 21st and Chestnut St.[51]

In 1914 the Philadelphia Phillies held spring training in Wilmington.[52]

Shopping complexes[edit]

Local destinations[edit]

Sister cities[edit]

Wilmington is a sister city with the following cities:

Points of interest[edit]

Notable people[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ "Table 1. Annual Estimates of the Population of Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". Retrieved September 18, 2013. 
  4. ^ [1][dead link]
  5. ^ "USCG: Community Relations Branch (CG-09223)". Uscg.mil. Retrieved 2013-05-21. 
  6. ^ "USCGC Diligence (WMEC-616)". Uscg.mil. 2013-01-07. Retrieved 2013-05-21. 
  7. ^ a b c d Alan D. Watson Wilmington, North Carolina, to 1861. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 2003.
  8. ^ Donald R. Lennon and Ida B. Kellam, eds. The Wilmington Town Book, 1743-1778. Raleigh, NC: Division of Archives and History, 1973.
  9. ^ Marvin Michael Kay and Lorin Lee Cary. Slavery in North Carolina, 1748-1775, Chapel Hill: Univ of North Carolina Press, 1995.
  10. ^ a b c William L. Saunders, ed. The Colonial Records of North Carolina, 10 vols. Raleigh, NC: P.M. Hale, 1886-1980. 7: pp. 124-25, 131, 143.
  11. ^ E. Lawrence Lee. The Lower Cape Fear in Colonial Days. Chapel Hill, NC: Univ of North Carolina Press, 1965. p. 245.
  12. ^ Donna J. Spindel. "Law and Disorder: The North Carolina Stamp Act Crisis." North Carolina Historical Review, 56: 1981. p. 8.
  13. ^ Paul David Nelson. William Tryon and the Course of Empire. Chapel Hill, NC: Univ of North Carolina Press, 1990. pp. 42-43.
  14. ^ Janet L. Seapker "History of Oakdale Cemetery". Oakdale Cemetery. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  15. ^ Andrew J. Howell The Book of Wilmington. Wilmington, NC: Wilmington Printing Company, 1930.
  16. ^ a b c d "Chapter 5", 1898 Wilmington Race Riot Commission Report, North Carolina Dept. of Cultural Resources
  17. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  18. ^ "NowData - NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2012-02-26. 
  19. ^ "WILMINGTON WSO AP, NC Climate Normals 1961–1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved December 4, 2012. 
  20. ^ a b c d e f "Threaded Climate Extremes for Wilmington Area, NC". National Weather Service. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  21. ^ a b c d "Climatography of the United States No. 20 (1971–2000)" (PDF). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. June 2011. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  22. ^ http://www.wwaytv3.com/news-tags/gangs
  23. ^ http://www.wral.com/new-team-to-battle-gang-violence-in-wilmington/12996724/
  24. ^ http://www.wwaytv3.com/2013/10/15/city-council-approves-funding-for-wpd-gang-investigative-unit
  25. ^ United States Census Bureau. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved September 18, 2013. 
  26. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". Retrieved September 18, 2013. 
  27. ^ "Bus, Shuttle & Trolley Transportation – Wave Transit, Wilmington, NC". Wavetransit.com. 2013-04-07. Retrieved 2013-05-21. 
  28. ^ "400 Kilometers". Unc.edu. Retrieved 2013-05-21. 
  29. ^ "City of Wilmington, North Carolina > Community Services > Recreation > Docking". Ci.wilmington.nc.us. Retrieved 2013-05-21. 
  30. ^ "City of Wilmington, North Carolina > Community Services > Gary Shell Cross City Trail". Wilmingtonnc.gov. Retrieved 2013-05-21. 
  31. ^ "City of Santa Fe Springs CAFR" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-05-25. 
  32. ^ "Home". Thalian Hall. 2013-05-16. Retrieved 2013-05-21. 
  33. ^ "Welcome to the Hannah S. Block Community Arts Center". Wilmingtoncommunityarts.org. 2013-04-05. Retrieved 2013-05-21. 
  34. ^ "Thalian Association - The Official Community Theater of North Carolina". Thalian.org. Retrieved 2013-05-21. 
  35. ^ "North Carolina State Community Theater - Thalian Association". Statesymbolsusa.org. Retrieved 2013-05-21. 
  36. ^ "What is TACT? | Children's Theater". Thalian.org. Retrieved 2013-05-21. 
  37. ^ [2][dead link]
  38. ^ "Annual Festival of Independent Film". Cucalorus. Retrieved 2013-05-21. 
  39. ^ "Wilmington Symphony Orchestra | Wilmington NC". Wilmingtonsymphony.org. Retrieved 2013-05-21. 
  40. ^ "Wilmington Exchange Festival for Art, Music and More". We Festival. Retrieved 2013-05-21. 
  41. ^ "Cape Fear Jazz Society - Wilmington NC jazz musicians and events". Capefearjazz.com. Retrieved 2013-05-21. 
  42. ^ "Cape Fear Blues Society - Wilmington, NC". Capefearblues.org. Retrieved 2013-05-21. 
  43. ^ "Wilmington, NC". Cameron Art Museum. Retrieved 2013-05-21. 
  44. ^ "Cape Fear Museum". Cape Fear Museum. Retrieved 2013-05-21. 
  45. ^ "Welcome to the Children's Museum of Wilmington!". Playwilmington.org. Retrieved 2013-05-21. 
  46. ^ "WWII Wilmington Home Front Heritage Coalition – Wilbur Jones Compositions, L.L.C". Wilburjones.com. Retrieved 2013-05-21. 
  47. ^ Davidson, Paul (May 8, 2008). "Wilmington, N.C., to test mandatory switch to digital TV". USA Today. 
  48. ^ http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20080507/NEWS/118071900/1004/Wilmington_to_switch_to_digital_TV_signals_before_rest_of_country
  49. ^ Teinowitz, Ira. "FCC Confirms Wilmington as Digital Test Market : In Depth : TVWeek - Television Industry news, TV ratings, analysis, celebrity event photos". TVWeek. Retrieved 2013-05-21. 
  50. ^ Dunbar, John. "Wilmington TV broadcasters make switch to digital". StarNewsOnline.com. Retrieved 2013-05-21. 
  51. ^ http://www.fearrugby.com
  52. ^ The ESPN Baseball Encyclopedia. Sterling Publishing. 2007. p. 1789. ISBN 1-4027-4771-3. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]