Burlington, North Carolina

Coordinates: 36°5′23″N 79°26′44″W / 36.08972°N 79.44556°W / 36.08972; -79.44556
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Atlantic Bank and Trust Company Building in Burlington
Flag of Burlington
Official seal of Burlington
Official logo of Burlington
B-Town, The Buck, Bucktown
"Belong in Burlington"
Location of Burlington within North Carolina
Location of Burlington within North Carolina
Burlington is located in North Carolina
Burlington is located in the United States
Coordinates: 36°5′23″N 79°26′44″W / 36.08972°N 79.44556°W / 36.08972; -79.44556
Country United States
State North Carolina
CountiesAlamance, Guilford
Founded1857 (Company Shops)
Founded1886 (Burlington)
IncorporatedFebruary 14, 1893
Named forWord seen on a passing train
 • MayorJames B. Butler
 • City31.82 sq mi (82.41 km2)
 • Land30.27 sq mi (78.38 km2)
 • Water1.55 sq mi (4.03 km2)  0.82%
 • Urban
92.02 sq mi (238.3 km2)
633 ft (193 m)
 • City57,303
 • Estimate 
 • Density1,893.38/sq mi (731.05/km2)
 • Urban
145,311 (US: 243rd)[2]
 • Urban density1,579.2/sq mi (609.7/km2)
 • Metro
171,415 (US: 248th)
Time zoneUTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP Code
27215, 27216, 27217
Area code336/743
FIPS code37-09060[3]
GNIS feature ID0982279[4]

Burlington is a city in Alamance and Guilford counties in the U.S. state of North Carolina. It is the principal city of the Burlington, North Carolina Metropolitan Statistical Area, which encompasses all of Alamance County, in which most of the city is located, and is a part of the Greensboro-Winston-Salem-High Point Combined Statistical Area. The population was 57,303 at the 2020 census,[5] which makes Burlington the 18th largest city in North Carolina.


Alamance County was created when Orange County was partitioned in 1849. Early settlers included several groups of Quakers, many of which remain active in the Snow Camp area, German farmers, and Scots-Irish immigrants.

The need of the North Carolina Railroad in the 1850s to locate land where they could build, repair and do maintenance on its track was the genesis of Burlington, North Carolina. The company selected a piece of land slightly west of present-day Graham. On January 29, 1856, the last spikes were driven into the final tie of the North Carolina Railroad project, uniting the cities of Goldsboro and Charlotte by rail. The next day, the first locomotive passed along the new route. When the iron horse arrived in Alamance County, locals referred to it as "the eighth wonder of the world".

Company Shops train depot

Not long after this historic opening, the railroad realized a pressing need for repair shops. With Alamance County's position along the new line, it became the logical choice for the shops' location. After several debates concerning where the shops would be located, Gen. Benjamin Trollinger, a progressive Alamance County manufacturer, made an offer that settled the matter. Gen. Trollinger owned land just northwest of Graham, and he convinced several other prominent citizens owning adjacent lots to join him and sell their property to the railroad. 57 buildings were constructed between 1855 and 1859, including structures for engine and machine shops, carpentry, blacksmithing, houses for workers and railway officials, and company headquarters. For a brief period, railroad directors changed the name of official name of "Company Shops" to "Vance" (1863–1864), but the town returned to the "Company Shops" moniker in July 1864, and officially incorporating as Company Shops in 1866.[6] Thirty-nine white men and two free African-Americans were employed in or around the shops, with twenty enslaved individuals constrained to assist. Sale of town lots soon started, but not surprisingly, the sale of lots was slow until after the Civil War. By 1864, Company Shops numbered about 300 persons.

Through a series of leases and mergers, the railroad was leased to Richmond & Danville Railroad (1871), working as part of the Pennsylvania Railroad, and in 1893, the North Carolina Railroad was folded into the Southern Railway system. Following the leasing of the railroad to Richmond & Danville, many of the railroad jobs transferred to Richmond and Manchester. With the railroad shops no longer operated there, the citizens of Company Shops decided a new name was needed. In February 1887,[6] a contest was held to decide a name, and one person submitted the name "Burlington" after seeing it on a passing train.[7] An appointed committee for the town selected the name, and the name was officially changed through North Carolina State Legislature.[6]

Around the turn of the century, E. M. Holt established small textile operations along the Haw River and Great Alamance Creek. In 1908, E. M. Holt built the first cotton mill in the South. From the establishment of this single factory, Alamance County grew to eventually operate 30 cotton mills and 10 to 15 yarn manufacturing plants employing 15,000 people. Eventually, the early textile venture of E. M. Holt became known all over the world as Burlington Industries, and is now headquartered in nearby Greensboro. Throughout this period, Burlington became a prosperous and vibrant little city filled with schools, churches, newspapers, telegraph and telephone lines, roads and a streetcar line—all in keeping with the latest "modern progress" of the times.

Though textiles continued to dominate the local economy well into the 1970s, the people of Burlington knew they could not survive with only one industry. The country's involvement in World War II brought important local economic changes. In 1942, the federal government purchased and leased a 22-acre (8.9 ha) site to Fairchild Aircraft Corporation for the construction of test aircraft. After two years of production, the site was leased to Firestone Tire Company for the Army's tank rebuilding program. At the close of the war, the federal government chose not to leave, but to utilize the property for government contract business. This decision would bring Western Electric to town along with new employees from around the country. Their contracts ensured Burlington's participation during the Cold War manufacturing and testing of emerging defense technologies. Four decades later (1991), however, the doors to Western Electric (then AT&T Federal Systems Division) were locked, and another chapter of Burlington's history was over.

Historic train depot in downtown Burlington

During this century-and-a-half of economic change, Burlington grew, adapted and prospered. Originally the center of commerce for Company Shops, the downtown area still serves as the heart of today's community with financial services, government services, an expanded library, small shops, eateries and a restored theater. Downtown has also returned to its status as a major employment center, becoming the home to Laboratory Corporation of America, one of the world's largest biomedical testing firms and Burlington/Alamance County's largest employer.

The Alamance Hotel, Allen House, Atlantic Bank and Trust Company Building, Beverly Hills Historic District, Downtown Burlington Historic District, East Davis Street Historic District, Efird Building, First Baptist Church, First Christian Church of Burlington, Polly Fogleman House, Holt-Frost House, Horner Houses, Lakeside Mills Historic District, McCray School, Menagerie Carousel, Moore-Holt-White House, South Broad-East Fifth Streets Historic District, Southern Railway Passenger Station, St. Athanasius Episcopal Church and Parish House and the Church of the Holy Comforter, Stagg House, Sunny Side, US Post Office, West Davis Street-Fountain Place Historic District, and Windsor Cotton Mills Office are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[8]


Interactive map of Burlington city limits

Burlington is located at 36°5′23″N 79°26′44″W / 36.08972°N 79.44556°W / 36.08972; -79.44556 (36.089636, -79.445578).[9]

Located in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, Burlington is characterized as having mostly flat land with a few rolling hills.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 25.4 square miles (65.7 km2), of which 25.2 square miles (65.2 km2) is land and 0.19 square miles (0.5 km2), or 0.82%, is water.[10]


The climate in this area is characterized by relatively high temperatures and evenly distributed precipitation throughout the year. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Burlington has a Humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.[11]

Climate data for Burlington, North Carolina (1991–2020 normals, extremes 1952–present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 89
Average high °F (°C) 51.4
Daily mean °F (°C) 41.1
Average low °F (°C) 30.7
Record low °F (°C) −6
Average precipitation inches (mm) 3.96
Source: NOAA[12][13]

Parks and sports[edit]

There are a variety of parks that can be found in Burlington, including Joe Davidson Park and the Burlington City Park. Upon visiting these parks one can find a variety of things for various activities, such as baseball fields, basketball courts, soccer fields, playgrounds, disc golf and tennis courts.

The Alamance County Recreation and Parks Commission is composed of seven citizen volunteers and one representative from both the Alamance-Burlington Board of Education and the Alamance County Board of Commissioners. ACRPD Mission Statement: The Alamance County Recreation and Parks Department will provide parks, trails and programs that inspire visitors and welcome all participants.

The Alamance County Recreation and Parks Department manages parks and community centers at the following locations:

  • Cedarock Park
  • Shallow Ford Natural Area
  • Great Bend Park at Glencoe
  • Pleasant Grove Recreation Center
  • Eli Whitney Recreation Center

Alamance County offers many hiking and paddle opportunities including the Haw River Trail and the NC Mountains-to-Sea Trail. The Alamance County Recreation and Parks Department manages accesses to the Haw River Paddle and Hiking Trail at the following locations:

Burlington Athletic Stadium
  • Altamahaw Paddle Access
  • Shallow Ford Natural Area
  • Great Bend Park at Glencoe
  • Glencoe Paddle Access
  • Saxapahaw Lake Paddle Access
  • Saxapahaw Mill Race Paddle Access

The Burlington Sock Puppets, members of the Appalachian League, a wood-bat collegiate summer league, play their home games at Burlington Athletic Stadium in Fairchild Park. They were previously known as the Burlington Royals from 2007–2020. The Royals were rebranded as the Sock Puppets following the contraction and reorganization of minor league baseball prior to the 2021 season. 2021 was the inaugural season for the revamped Appalachian League and the Sock Puppets. Prior to being known as the Royals, the team was also known as the Burlington Indians from 1986–2006. Several current and former MLB players began their careers in Burlington, including Jim Thome, CC Sabathia, Manny Ramirez, and Bartolo Colon

The city of Burlington also operates the nearby Indian Valley Municipal Golf Course.

The flagship of the Burlington Parks System, City Park offers more than 75 acres of activities for the entire family. It serves as the home of an amusement area consisting of a carousel, miniature train, boat and car ride, playground, amphitheater, baseball field, picnic shelters, and walking trails. A fully restored Dentzel Carousel is the highlight of the amusement area. As part of the National Historical Register, the carousel attracts thousands of visitors yearly. The Burlington Carousel Festival, is held each September in the park, except for 2018 when it was cancelled due to adverse weather conditions associated with Hurricane Florence. Throughout the spring and summer the park comes alive with an Easter egg hunt, a concert series, and baseball and softball tournaments. The park is located one mile from Downtown Burlington on South Church Street.

Burlington City Park


Historical population
2022 (est.)59,287[14]3.5%
U.S. Decennial Census[15]

2020 census[edit]

Burlington racial composition[16]
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 25,810 45.04%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 16,118 28.13%
Native American 193 0.34%
Asian 1,353 2.36%
Pacific Islander 42 0.07%
Other/Mixed 2,296 4.01%
Hispanic or Latino 11,491 20.05%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 57,303 people, 22,009 households, and 12,978 families residing in the city.

2010 census[edit]

As of the census[3] of 2010, there were 49,963 people, 20,632 households, and 12,679 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,967.0 inhabitants per square mile (759.5/km2). There were 23,414 housing units at an average density of 921.8 per square mile (355.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 57.6% White, 28% African American, 0.7% Native American, 2.1% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 9.2% from other races, and 2.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 16% of the population.

There were 20,632 households, out of which 28.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.9% were married couples living together, 17.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.5% were non-families. 33% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 3.01.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 26.6% under the age of 20, 6.5% from 20 to 24, 26.1% from 25 to 44, 25.2% from 45 to 64, and 15.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The average age was 38.3 years.

The median income for a household in the city was $42,097, and the median income for a family was $49,797. The per capita income for the city was $23,465. About 15.9% of families and 19.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 34.9% of those under age 18 and 10.2% of those age 65 or over.

K-12 education[edit]

The local school system is known as the Alamance-Burlington School System, which was created by a merger between the Alamance County School System and the Burlington City School System in 1996.


  • Alexander Wilson Elementary School
  • Altamahaw-Ossipee Elementary School
  • R. Homer Andrews Elementary School
  • Eastlawn Elementary School
  • Elon Elementary School
  • Audrey W. Garrett Elementary School
  • Grove Park Elementary School
  • Haw River Elementary School
  • Highland Elementary School
  • Hillcrest Elementary School
  • E. M. Holt Elementary School
  • B. Everett Jordan Elementary School
  • Harvey R. Newlin Elementary School
  • North Graham Elementary School
  • Pleasant Grove Elementary School
  • Marvin B. Smith Elementary School
  • South Graham Elementary School
  • South Mebane Elementary School
  • Sylvan Elementary School
  • E. M. Yoder Elementary School


  • Broadview Middle School
  • Graham Middle School
  • Hawfields Middle School
  • Southern Middle School
  • Turrentine Middle School
  • Western Alamance Middle School
  • Woodlawn Middle School



  • Alamance Christian School
  • Blessed Sacrament School
  • Burlington Christian Academy
  • The Burlington School


  • River Mill Academy
  • Clover Garden School


  • Alamance-Burlington Early College
  • Career and Technical Education Center
  • Sellars-Gunn Education Center
  • ABSS Virtual School

Higher education[edit]

Alamance Community College (part of the public North Carolina Community College System) has campuses in Burlington and nearby Graham, offering multiple academic programs and specialized career training. Elon University (a private 4-year university) is in nearby Elon. Additionally, a number of colleges and universities are a short drive away in Greensboro.


Amtrak's Piedmont train connects Burlington to Raleigh, Durham, Charlotte, Greensboro, and other points in central North Carolina. The Carolinian train continues to New York with intermediate stops including Richmond, Washington, Baltimore, and Philadelphia. The Amtrak station is situated at 101 North Main Street.

Burlington opened its first public transit service, Link Transit, on June 6, 2016.[17] As of September 21, 2017, more than 100,000 people have used the service.[18] In addition, transportation services are available to its residents through the Alamance County Transportation Authority. Locals can also ride the BioBus from nearby Elon University.

Burlington is about 35 miles from the Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro and about 48 miles from Raleigh-Durham International Airport in Morrisville. In addition Burlington is served by both Interstate 40, Interstate 85 and US 70.


Labcorp headquarters in downtown Burlington
  • LabCorp has its headquarters and several testing facilities in Burlington. LabCorp is Alamance County's largest employer, employing over 3,000 people in the county.
  • Honda Aero, a subsidiary of Honda, recently announced that it will move its corporate headquarters to Burlington and build a $27 million plant at the Burlington-Alamance Regional Airport where it will build its HF120 jet engines for use in very light jets.
  • Glen Raven Inc., a fabric manufacturing and marketing company. Sunbrella is Glen Raven, Inc.'s flagship brand.
  • Biscuitville, a regional fast food chain, is based in Burlington.
  • Gold Toe Brands, a manufacturer of socks.
  • The Times-News is Burlington's only daily newspaper, and the area's dominant media outlet.
  • Zack's Hotdogs, a local restaurant opened by Zack Touloupas in 1928 is located in the revitalized downtown area.


Alamance Crossing shopping center

The city's only indoor mall, Holly Hill Mall, is located at the intersection of Huffman Mill Road and Church Street (US 70). An outdoor mall, Alamance Crossing, opened in 2007 at Interstate 40/85 and University Drive. Most shopping, restaurants and services can be found on Huffman Mill Road and Church Street (US 70). Just off I-85/40 at Exit 145 is North Carolina's original outlet mall, the Burlington Outlet Village (formerly known as the BMOC).[19]

Notable people[edit]

Sister cities[edit]

Burlington has two sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International:[32]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "ArcGIS REST Services Directory". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 20, 2022.
  2. ^ United States Census Bureau (December 29, 2022). "2020 Census Qualifying Urban Areas and Final Criteria Clarifications". Federal Register.
  3. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  4. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. October 25, 2007. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  5. ^ "U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Burlington city, North Carolina". www.census.gov. Retrieved September 14, 2022.
  6. ^ a b c Troxler, George (July 9, 2017). ""Company Shops"". NCPedia.
  7. ^ Tucker, Chad (February 17, 2022). "Couple put their heart into downtown Burlington". WGHP. Retrieved February 28, 2022.
  8. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  9. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  10. ^ "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Burlington city, North Carolina, revision 08-09-2012". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Archived from the original on February 12, 2020. Retrieved January 6, 2017.
  11. ^ "Burlington, North Carolina Köppen Climate Classification (Weatherbase)". Weatherbase.
  12. ^ "NowData – NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved May 11, 2021.
  13. ^ "Station: Burlington Fire STN #5, NC". U.S. Climate Normals 2020: U.S. Monthly Climate Normals (1991-2020). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved May 11, 2021.
  14. ^ "U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Burlington city, North Carolina". www.census.gov. Retrieved September 14, 2022.
  15. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  16. ^ "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved December 20, 2021.
  17. ^ "Link Transit bus system launches in Burlington". myfox8.com. June 6, 2016. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
  18. ^ Times-News, Kate Croxton /. "Link Transit reaches 100K riders, throws celebration". The Times. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
  19. ^ "Events that shaped the county". The Times News. July 24, 2007. Archived from the original on May 22, 2011. Retrieved June 20, 2008.
  20. ^ https://www.basketball-reference.com/players/b/bransje01.html. Basketball Reference. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  21. ^ https://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/C/CastCh20.htm. Pro Football Reference. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  22. ^ Simonetti, Kristin (Winter 2010). "Behind the Mask". The Magazine of Elon. p. 16. Retrieved April 11, 2022.
  23. ^ https://www.basketball-reference.com/players/c/crompge01.html. Basketball Reference. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  24. ^ Simpson, Doug (July 23, 1997). "DRAKE OFTEN LENT HELPING HAND; NOW HE NEEDS ONE". Greensboro News and Record. Archived from the original on June 24, 2021. Retrieved November 23, 2021.
  25. ^ Ellis, William Edward. Naval History and Heritage Command. Retrieved October 29, 2020.
  26. ^ http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/profile.asp?ID=191327. The Baseball Cube. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  27. ^ https://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/J/JohnSa00.htm. Pro Football Reference. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  28. ^ Burlington native Morrison steps down as president of Carolina Panthers. thetimesnews.com. Retrieved October 29, 2020.
  29. ^ Will Richardson Stats. Pro-Football-Reference. Retrieved October 29, 2020.
  30. ^ https://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/S/SpooBr20.htm. Pro Football Reference. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  31. ^ http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/profile.asp?ID=19637. The Baseball Cube. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  32. ^ "Burlington-Alamance Sister Cities". Raleighnc.gov. Retrieved February 2, 2013.

External links[edit]