Wilmington, North Carolina facts for kids

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Wilmington, North Carolina
City
Clockwise, from top left: USS North Carolina, the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge, Hoggard Hall on the campus of UNC Wilmington, and Downtown Wilmington on the Cape Fear River
Clockwise, from top left: USS North Carolina, the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge, Hoggard Hall on the campus of UNC Wilmington, and Downtown Wilmington on the Cape Fear River
Official seal of Wilmington, North Carolina
Seal
Official logo of Wilmington, North Carolina
Logo
Location in New Hanover County and the state of North Carolina.
Location in New Hanover County and the state of North Carolina.
Country United States
State North Carolina
County New Hanover
Incorporated February 20, 1739/40
Named for Spencer Compton, 1st Earl of Wilmington
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 112,067 (US: 243rd)
 • Density 1,849.8/sq mi (714.2/km2)
 • Urban 219,957 (US: 161st)
 • Metro 263,429 (US: 175th)
Demonym(s) 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
Sister cities Dandong, Liaoning, China
Doncaster, South Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Bridgetown, Barbados
San Pedro Town, Belize
Website http://www.wilmingtonnc.gov/

Wilmington is a port city and the county seat of New Hanover County in coastal southeastern North Carolina, United States. The population is 112,067; 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 and Pender counties in southeastern North Carolina, 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, originally developed as a tourist attraction, and in 2014 Wilmington's riverfront was named the "Best American Riverfront" by USA Today. It is minutes away from nearby beaches. The National Trust for Historic Preservation named Wilmington, North Carolina, as one of its 2008 Dozen Distinctive Destinations. 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". It is the home port for the USCGC Diligence, a United States Coast Guard medium endurance cutter. 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. 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. After the studio's opening in 1984, Wilmington became a major center of American film and television production. Numerous movies in a range of genres and several television series, including Iron Man 3, Fox's Sleepy Hollow, One Tree Hill, Dawson's Creek and NBC's Revolution, were produced there. In recent years, however, the end of state tax credits to the industry has severely impacted filmmaking in the entire area.

History

Colonial beginnings

Mitchell-Anderson House
Mitchell-Anderson House (built 1738)

The area had long been inhabited by various cultures of indigenous peoples; at the time of European encounter, historic Native Americans were tribes belonging to the Algonquian languages 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 September 1732, 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, founded by the first royal governor, George Burrington, was called "New Carthage," and then "New Liverpool;" it gradually took on the name "New Town" or "Newton". Governor Gabriel Johnston soon after established his 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, as well as from the colonies of Virginia and South Carolina, but most new settlers arrived from the northern colonies, the West Indies, and the British Isles. Many of the settlers were indentured servants, mainly from the British Isles and northern Europe. As the indentured servants gained their freedom, the colonists imported an increasing number of (permanent and much less expensive) African slaves as laborers into the port city. By 1767, slaves accounted for more than 62% of the population of the Lower Cape Fear region. 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

Bellamy Mansion in Wilmington, NC IMG 4280
The Bellamy Mansion draws many tourists annually to downtown Wilmington.
U.S. Courthouse, Wilmington, NC IMG 4357
U.S. Courthouse in Wilmington, the backdrop of Andy Griffith's Matlock television series

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.

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.

Governor William Tryon made attempts to mitigate the opposition to no avail. On November 18, 1765, he pleaded 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 were the functions of the courts.

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.

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

U.S. Post Office, Wilmington, NC IMG 4277
U. S. Post Office in downtown Wilmington

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.

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. 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.

Civil War

Canon fire at the Battle of Forks Road
Cannon firing at a reenactment of the Battle of Forks Road near the Cameron Art Museum in February 2009
Another glimpse of Wilmington National Cemetery IMG 4396
Wilmington National Cemetery has markers dating to the American Revolution and the American Civil War.

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

Wilmington 1898
Wilmington in 1898

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.

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.

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.

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.

20th century

Wilmington 1918
1918 panorama of downtown Wilmington
Waterfront - Wilmington, North Carolina
1918 panorama of Wilmington's waterfront

World War II

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.

National Register of Historic Places

The Audubon Trolley Station, Brookwood Historic District, Carolina Heights Historic District, Carolina Place Historic District, City Hall/Thalian Hall, Delgrado School, Federal Building and Courthouse, Fort Fisher, Gabriel's Landing, William Hooper School (Former), Market Street Mansion District, Masonboro Sound Historic District, Moores Creek National Battlefield, Sunset Park Historic District, USS NORTH CAROLINA (BB-55) National Historic Landmark, James Walker Nursing School Quarters, Westbrook-Ardmore Historic District, Wilmington Historic District, and Wilmington National Cemetery are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Geography

Welcome To Wilmington
"Welcome to Wilmington" sign

Wilmington is located at Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'Module:mw' not found.. 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

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 daily high temperatures usually ranging from the upper 80s to lower 90s °F (31–34 °C), and daily low temperatures usually from 70 to 75 °F. 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 and prevailing tropical-system tracks, the Wilmington area is subject to hurricane or tropical storm activity, mostly from August to early October, with an average frequency of once every seven years. Such tropical systems can bring high winds and very heavy rains, sometimes 4 or more inches in a single tropical system. Precipitation in Wilmington occurs year-round, but with April the driest month, with less than 3 inches of rain on average, and July to September the wettest months, with over 7 inches of rain each, on average. In an average year, the July to September period delivers about 40% of annual rainfall.
  • Autumn is also generally humid at the beginning, with the threat from tropical weather systems (hurricanes, tropical storms and tropical depressions) peaking in September. Some of the deciduous trees may lose their leaves; however most trees in the area are evergreens and therefore remain green year-round.


  • Normal January mean temperature: 46.0 °F (7.8 °C). The coldest month in recorded history was January 1977, averaging 35.7 °F (2.1 °C). However, January 1981 had a colder average minimum of 25.8 °F (−3.4 °C).
  • Normal July mean temperature: 81.1 °F (27.3 °C). The hottest month in recorded history was July 2012, averaging 84.7 °F (29.3 °C). However, July 1993 had a hotter average maximum of 94.0 °F (34.4 °C).
  • Average 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
  • Average days ≥ 90 °F (32 °C): 43, but historically as low as 9 in 1909 and as high as 71 in 1980.
  • First and last 90 °F highs: May 15, September 15
  • Highest recorded temperature: 104 °F (40 °C) on June 27, 1952
  • Lowest daily maximum temperature: 16 °F (−9 °C) on February 13, 1899 and December 30, 1917
  • Highest daily minimum temperature: 83 °F (28 °C) on August 1, 1999 and August 9, 2007
  • Lowest recorded temperature: 0 °F (−18 °C) on December 25, 1989
  • Normal annual precipitation: 57.6 inches (1,460 mm), but historically ranging from 27.68 in (703 mm) in 1909 to 83.65 in (2,125 mm) in 1877.
  • Wettest day: 13.38 in (339.9 mm) on September 15, 1999
  • Driest month: 0.16 in (4.1 mm) in April 1995
  • Wettest month: 23.41 in (594.6 mm) in September 1999
  • Winter average snowfall: 1.6 inches (4.1 cm) (the median amount is 0)
  • Snowiest day (midnight-to-midnight): 11.1 in (28.2 cm) on December 18, 1896
  • Snowiest month: 15.3 in (38.9 cm) in December 1989, making the winter of 1989–90 the snowiest

Cityscape

Wilmington theater and banking area
Wilmington theater and banking area
Downtown Wilmington to the north
Downtown north
Ppdtowerwilm
PPD building in Northern downtown Wilmington

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

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

Demographics

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. 2015 115,933 8.9%
U.S. Decennial Census
2012 Estimate

According to 2013 census estimates, there were 112,067 people and 47,003 households in the city. The population density was 2,067.8 people per square mile (714.2/km²)and there were 53,400 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, 0.5% 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.

Religion

First Baptist Church, Wilmington, NC IMG 4313
Across from the Bellamy Mansion is the First Baptist Church, established in Wilmington in 1808.
Grace United Methodist Church, Wilmington, NC IMG 4372
Grace United Methodist Church, established in Wilmington in 1797

Less than half of Wilmington's population is religiously affiliated (47.30%), with the majority of practitioners being Christian. The largest Christian denomination in Wilmington is Baptist (14.66%) followed by Methodist (8.29%) and Roman Catholic (7.42%). There is also a significant number of Presbyterians (3.19%), Episcopalians (2.30%), Pentecostals (1.45%), and Lutherans (1.32%). Latter-Day Saints make up 0.90%, and the remaining Christians are affiliated with other Christian denominations (7.02%). The second largest religion in Wilmington after Christianity is Islam (0.46%), followed by Judaism (0.25%). There is also a small percentage of people who practice Eastern religions (0.04%).

Wilmington is home to some significant historical religious buildings, such as the Basilica Shrine of St. Mary and the Temple of Israel.

Transportation

Airport

The Wilmington International Airport (ILM) serves the area with commercial air service provided by American Airlines and Delta Air Lines. American Airlines 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

WilmingtonBarstow
Barstow, California, distance sign, as seen from I-40 in Wilmington

U.S. Routes

WilmingtonAerialViewCoastGuard
The Cape Fear Memorial Bridge (foreground) carries US 17 Business, US 76 and US 421 across the Cape Fear River
  • US 17

    • US 17 Bus.
  • US 74
  • US 76
  • US 117
  • US 421

North Carolina state highways

  • NC 132
  • NC 133

Alternate transportation options

Public transit in the area is provided by the Cape Fear Public Transportation Authority, 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.

The City of Wilmington offers transient docking facilities 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.

Culture

Performing arts

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.

The Hannah Block Historic USO/Community Arts Center, 120 S. Second Street in historic downtown Wilmington, is a multiuse facility owned by the City of Wilmington and managed by the Thalian Association, the Official Community Theater of North Carolina. 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. 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.

The Brooklyn Arts Center at St. Andrews is a 125 year old building on the corner of North 4th and Campbell St in downtown Wilmington. The Brooklyn Arts Center at Saint Andrews (BAC) is on the National Register of Historic Places. The BAC is used for weddings, concerts, fundraisers, art shows, vintage flea markets, and other community-driven events.

Film

Wilmington, otherwise known as Hollywood East, is home to EUE/Screen Gems Studios. Popular televisions series' like Sleepy Hollow, Dawson's Creek, One Tree Hill and Under The Dome used the stages, and multiple locations throughout the city, as well as popular movies like Iron Man 3. and The Choice

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

The Cape Fear Independent Film Network also hosts a film festival annually.

Literature

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

Birthplace of Robert Ruark (1915-1965)

Music

Chamber Music Wilmington was founded in 1995 and presents its four-concert "Simply Classical" series every season. The concerts are performed by world-class chamber musicians and are held at UNC-Wilmington's Beckwith Recital, acoustically designed for intimate music performances.

The Wilmington Symphony Orchestra was established in 1971 and offers throughout the year a series of five classical performances, and a Free Family Concert. 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.

Celebrating its 37th year, February 2nd thru 4th, 2017, the North Carolina Jazz Festival is a three-day traditional jazz festival which features world-renowned jazz musicians.

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.

Museums and historic areas

USS North Carolina-27527
The USS North Carolina Battleship Memorial, seen from downtown Wilmington across the Cape Fear River
Railroad Museum in Wilmington, NC IMG 4452
The Railroad Museum is located behind the Hilton Hotel in Wilmington.
  • Cameron Art Museum
  • The Bellamy Mansion
  • The Confederate Memorial, Wilmington
  • Cape Fear Museum of History and Science
  • The Children's Museum of Wilmington
  • First Baptist Church (founded 1808)
  • Fort Fisher Historic Area
  • Grace United Methodist Church (founded 1797)
Clear Skies for Battleship
The battleship USS North Carolina on a beautiful day in downtown Wilmington.
  • St. James Episcopal Church - the oldest church in Wilmington
  • St. Mary Catholic Church - historic Roman Catholic church in Wilmington
  • First Presbyterian Church - historic Presbyterian church
  • Latimer House Museum
  • Sunset Park Historic District
  • Temple of Israel - the oldest synagogue in North Carolina
  • USS North Carolina Memorial
  • Wilmington Railroad Museum
  • Hannah Block Historic USO

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, an all volunteer 501(c)(3) preservation organization, is the de facto preservationist of the building's history and maintains the home front museum.

Festivals

Wilmington is host to many annual festivals, including, most notably, the Azalea Festival. The Azalea Festival, sponsored by the Cape Fear Garden Club, features a garden tour, historic home tour, musical performances, a parade, and a fireworks show. It takes places every year in April.

Sister cities

Wilmington is a sister city with the following cities:

Points of interest

  • Airlie Gardens
  • New Hanover County Extension Service Arboretum
  • North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher
  • North Carolina Azalea Festival
  • Screen Gems Studios
  • USS North Carolina Battleship & Museum
  • University of North Carolina at Wilmington Arboretum
  • Cameron Art Museum
  • Cape Fear Museum
  • Carolina Beach
  • Kure Beach
  • Wrightsville Beach
  • Fort Fisher State Recreation Area

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Wilmington, North Carolina Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.