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Wilmington is a city in and the county seat of New Hanover Countymarker, North Carolinamarker, United Statesmarker. The population was 75,838 at the 2000 Census. A July 1, 2008 United States Census Bureau estimate places the population at 100,192. Wilmington is the principal city of the Wilmington Metropolitan Statistical Area, a metropolitan area that covers New Hanover, Brunswickmarker, and Pendermarker counties in southeastern North Carolina, which had an estimated population of 347,012 as of July 1, 2008. It was named in honor of Spencer Compton, the Earl of Wilmington, who was Prime Minister under George II.

Wilmington was settled on the Cape Fear Rivermarker and offers its historic downtown with its one mile long Riverwalk as a main 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. City residents have the advantage of living nestled between the river and the ocean with Wrightsville Beachmarker a short 20 minute drive from downtown.

In 2003 the city received, through an act of Congress, the designation of "A Coast Guard City". The city is also home port for the USCGC Diligence, a United States Coast Guard medium endurance cutter..

Wilmington is also known as the childhood home of basketball great Michael Jordan and journalist David Brinkley; famous Wilmington natives include Robert Ruark, Sonny Jurgenson, Charles Kuralt, Charlie Daniels, Roman Gabriel, Meadowlark Lemon, Trot Nixon and Alge Crumpler. The city produced four Medal of Honor recipients, Edwin Anderson, Jr. who won it in Vera Cruz, Mexico, in 1914; Eugene Ashley, Jr., posthumously in Vietnam in 1971; William D. Halyburton, Jr. posthumously on Okinawa in 1945 and Charles P. Murray, Jr., in France in 1944. It is also home to the World War II Battleship . Now a war memorial, the ship is open to public tours and is on display across from the downtown port area. The town is home to the University of North Carolina Wilmingtonmarker, the Wilmington Hammerheads USL soccer team, the training camp site for the Charlotte Bobcats and the Cape Fear Museum.

The city is home to EUE Screen Gems Studios, the largest TV and movie production facility outside of California. "Dream Stage 10," the facility's newest soundstage is the third largest in the US and houses the largest special effects water tank in North America. Since the studios opening in 1984, Wilmington has become a major center of American film and television production; motion pictures such as A Walk To Remember, Blue Velvet, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Empire Records, Cape Fear, Black Knight, 28 Days, The Crow (death place of Brandon Lee), Nights in Rodanthe and the controversial Dakota Fanning film Hounddog; as well as television shows such as Matlock, Surface, The WB's Dawson's Creekmarker and One Tree Hill have been produced there. Hundreds of films, documentaries, and television series have been filmed here.


Welcome to Wilmington
Wilmington is located at (34.223232, -77.912122). . It is the Eastern Terminus of a major East-West Interstate 40 which ends at Barstow, Californiamarker 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 (107.4 km²). 41.0 square miles (106.2 km2) of it is land and 0.5 square miles (1.2 km2) of it (1.16%) is water.yep


Wilmington has a humid subtropical climate.
  • Winters are generally cool with temperatures in the 50s and 60s (°F).
  • Spring has temperatures in the 70s and 80s. 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 humidity with temperatures in the 80s and 90s °F. Heat Indexes can easily break the 100 °F mark. 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.
  • Fall is also generally humid at the beginning, with the same tropical threats as the summer. Temperatures hover mostly in the 70s and 80s. Some of the deciduous trees may lose their leaves; however most trees in the area are evergreens and therefore remain green year-round.

  • Annual Average High Temperatures: 90 °F (summer) 60 °F (winter)
  • Annual Average Low Temperatures 72 °F (summer) 38 °F (winter)
  • Highest Recorded Temperature: 104 °F (1952)
  • Lowest Recorded Temperature: 0 °F (1989)
  • Warmest Month: July
  • Coolest Month: January
  • Highest Precipitation: July
  • Annual Precipitation: 57.07 inches


Although there had been attempts to settle the Cape Fear region in the 1600s, the first permanent English settlers established themselves in the area in the 1720s. The town of Wilmington was incorporated in 1739. A number of the first settlers of the region came from South Carolina and Barbadosmarker. The British maintained a garrison at Fort Johnson near Wilmington during the Revolutionary War. Slavery came early to the region as landowners used slave labor to exploit the region's natural resources. The forest provided the region's major industries through the 18th and most of the 19th century: naval stores and lumber fueled the economy both before and after the American Revolution. A significant event in Wilmington's history is the coup d'état and Massacre of 1898.

Civil War

During the Civil War the port was a major base for Confederate blockade runners. It was captured by Union forces in the Battle of Wilmington in February 1865, approximately one month after the fall of Fort Fishermarker had closed the port. Since almost all the action was some distance from the city itself, a number of Antebellum homes and other buildings are still extant.

Massacre of 1898

In November 1898 Wilmington was the scene of a violent attack by a well-organized group of whites who destroyed the printing press of the African American newspaper The Daily Record and set fire to the building in response to an editorial that "insulted white womanhood", which was credited to editor Alex Manly. The mob then went to the north side of town, where an unknown number of African Americans were murdered by lynching and many hundreds more were run out of town. No whites were killed during the incident.

At the same time, the Republican mayor and city council were forced to resign their offices and the leader of the white mob was then installed as mayor, effectively establishing a de facto coup d'état. The events in Wilmington—which was the largest city in the state at the time—helped make North Carolina into a controlled state. They also helped institute Jim Crow and disenfranchisement which lasted until the African-American Civil Rights Movement in the United States in the second half of the 20th century.

In 2006 the 1898 Wilmington Race Riot Commission completed its official report on the event. Consisting of thirteen commissioners appointed by the legislature, the governor, mayor and city council of Wilmington, the commission was assisted by the staff of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. They used the experience of the Rosewoodmarker Report (completed 1993), and the Tulsa Report (completed 2001) as a model and set out to provide detailed explanations for the causes and effects of the riots and to propose a series of recommendations to address the wrongs perpetrated by earlier generations. The resolution also apologized to those affected by the riots and their repercussions and renounced these actions.
500 px
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 and built 243 ships during the five years it was in operation.

The city also was the site of a POW camp from February 1944 through April 1946. The camp was first located on the corner of Shipyard Blvd and Carolina Beach Rd and moved downtown to Ann Street between 8th Ave and 10th Ave when it outgrew the original location. At it's peak it housed 550 German prisoners.


Wilmington theater and banking area
Downtown north
Northern downtown redevelopment
Wilmington boasts one of the largest historic districts 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 due to open in 2010.

Downtown/Old Wilmington is home to Historic Neighborhoods and buildings such as the Sir Water Wilmington Hotel Build in the late 20th Century, 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 Israelmarker


Wilmington's industrial base includes electrical, medical, electronic and telecommunications equipment; clothing and apparel; food processing; paper products; and pharmaceuticals. Wilmington is part of North Carolina's Research coast,one of the Country's largest and most successful research parts and major center in the United States. Also important to Wilmington's economy is tourism film production. 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 Miliken Institute, an Economic "Think Tank" based in California, also included the NC cities of Charlotte and Raleigh.


Over the last 3 years crime rates, as reported through the Federal Bureau of Investigationmarker's Uniform Crime Reports, have 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


As of the census of 2000, there were 75,838 people, 34,359 households, and 17,351 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,849.8 people per square mile (714.2/km²). There were 38,678 housing units at an average density of 943.4/sq mi (364.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 70.57% White, 25.82% African American, 0.35% Native American, 0.90% Asian, 0.09% Pacific Islander, 1.14% from other races, and 1.13% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.63% of the population.

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.

A 2008 U.S. News & World Report study named Wilmington as the 7th "smokiest" city in the US, with 26.5% of the population listed as smokers.



The Wilmington International Airportmarker (ILM) serves the area with commercial air service provided by Allegiant Air, Delta Air Lines and US Airways. Allegiant Air has coast-to-coast service, however, when you select the departure city, your options for arrival city are extremely narrowed. For instance, if you want to fly out of Wilmington, you only have 2 destinations to choose from, Orlando, Florida and Daytona Beach, Florida. 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

U.S. Routes

North Carolina State Highways

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 Raleighmarker is provided by Greyhound Lines.

The NC-DOT Cape Fear Run bicycle route connects Apexmarker 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.


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

Wilmington Ranks #13th in the nation on Forbes Magazine's"Best Places for Business and Careers" 2009.

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

Located on the Cape Fear Rivermarker, 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. A major international seaport, the North Carolina International Port, is being planned down the river in Southportmarker.

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

Top employers

Company (Product/Service) - Employee Count

  • New Hanover Regional Medical Center/Cape Fear Hospital (Hospitals) - 4,887

  • New Hanover County Schools (Education) - 4,129

  • General Electric (Global Nuclear Fuel/Aircraft/Nuclear Energy/Nuclear Energy) - 2,128

  • University of NC Wilmington (Higher Education) - 1,809

  • PPD, Inc. (Discovery & Development Services to Pharmaceutical & Biotech) - 1,800

  • New Hanover County (County Government) - 1,673

  • Cape Fear Community College (Education) - 1,256

  • City of Wilmington (Government) - 1,200

  • Verizon Wireless (Communications) - 1,200

  • Progress Energy - Southport & Wilmington (Electricity) - 1,100

  • WalMart (Retail) - 1,000

  • aaiPharma (Pharmaceutical Product Sales and Drug Development) - 915

  • Corning, Inc. (Optical Fiber) - 900

  • International Paper - Riegelwood Operations (Bleached Pulp & Paperboard) - 743

  • DEL Laboratories (Cosmetic & Over-the-counter Pharmaceutical Manufacturing & Distribution) - 589

  • Wachovia (Banking Services) - 500

Primary and secondary education

Universities and colleges

Primary schools

Public Schools in Wilmington are operated by the New Hanover County Public School System. Observers have praised the New Hanover County Public School System for its innovative efforts to maintain a socially, economically and racially balanced system by using income as a prime factor in assigning students to schools.

High schools

Academies and alternate schools


Performing arts

The city supports a very active calendar with its showcase theater, the Thalian Hall Center for the Performing Arts, 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 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.

Local stages include:
  • The Red Barn Studio
  • Level 5 at City Stage
  • Opera House Theater
  • The Brown Coat Pub & Theater
  • The Cape Fear Playhouse (home of Big Dawg Productions)


Wilmington also hosts a nationaly recognized independent film festival, the Cucalorus. It has been in existence since 1995 and is the keystone event of The Cucalorus Film Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. The Foundation also maintains an active presence throughout the year through a combination of weekly screenings, several short documentary projects and the annual Kids Festival with hands on filmaking workshops.


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 29th year, The North Carolina Jazz Festival is a three-day traditional jazz festival which features world-renowned jazz musicians.

The Blues Society of the Lower Cape Fear was formed in 1987 by a small group of blues supporters in Wilmington, N.C. The festival features local, regional & national acts at a Main Stage Concert, All-Day Blues Jam, Blues Cruise, Kick-Off Party, and Blues Workshops. This also includes the "Women in Blues" music festival..

Museums and Historic Areas



The Star-News is Wilmington's daily newspaper; read widely throughout the Lower Cape Fear region and now owned by the New York Times. 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


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:


The region is also served by a cable-only affiliate of The CW, WBW (channel 29 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. 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. W47CK did not participate due to its low-power status; FCC rules currently exempt low-powered stations from the 2009 analog shutdown. WILM-LP and W51CW chose to participate, even though they are exempt as LPTV stations.

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.

Radio stations

  • 88.1 FM WGHWmarker - Christian Programs from Church Planters Of America
  • 88.5 FM WZDGmarker - Christian Rock ("88.5, The Edge")
  • 88.9 FM WKVC - Contemporary Christian ("K-Love")
  • 89.7 FM WDVVmarker - Worship & Praise Music ("The Dove, 89.7")
  • 90.5 FM WWILmarker - Christian Music & Teaching Programs ("Life 90.5")
  • 91.3 FM WHQRmarker - Public Radio
  • 92.3 FM WQSL - Urban Contemporary ("92.3, The Touch")
  • 92.7 FM WBPLmarker - Wilmington Catholic Radio
  • 93.7 FM WNTBmarker - Talk Radio ("The Big Talker FM")
  • 94.5 FM WKXSmarker - Classic Hits ("94.5, The Hawk")
  • 95.5 FM W238AV - Contemporary Christian ("K-LOVE")
  • 95.9 FM W240AS - Christian Programs from WOTJ, Morehead City
  • 97.3 FM WMNXmarker - Hip Hop/R & B ("Coast 97.3")
  • 98.3 FM WSFMmarker - Alternative ("Surf 98.3")
  • 98.7 FM WLGDmarker - Popular Latin music ("La Grand D")
  • 99.9 FM WKXBmarker - Oldies ("Jammin' 99.9")
  • 100.5 FM W263BA - Contemporary Christian ("K-LOVE")
  • 101.3 FM WWQQmarker- Country ("Double Q, 101")
  • 102.7 FM WGNImarker - Hot AC ("102.7 GNI")
  • 103.7 FM WBNEmarker - Classic Rock (103.7,"The Bone")
  • 104.5 FM WILTmarker - Adult Contemporary ("Sunny 104.5")
  • 105.5 FM WXQR - Rock ("Rock 105")
  • 106.3 FM WLTTmarker - Talk Radio ("The Big Talker FM")
  • 106.7 FM WUIN - AAA ("The Penguin")
  • 107.5 FM WAZOmarker - Top 40 ("Z 107.5")
  • 630 AM WMFDmarker - Sports ("ESPN Radio, AM 630")
  • 980 AM WAAVmarker - News, Talk, Sports ("News, Talk, & Sports 980 The Wave")
  • 1180 AM WMYTmarker - Spanish Christian ("Radio Alegre")
  • 1340 AM WLSGmarker - Southern Gospel ("God's Country, 1340")
  • 1490 AM WWILmarker - Urban Gospel ("Gospel Joy, 1490")


Club League Venue Established Championships
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, Soccer Legion Stadiummarker 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, North Carolina. They were founded in 1996 and currently play in the United Soccer Leagues Second Division. Their stadium is the Legion Stadiummarker.

The University of North Carolina Wilmingtonmarker 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.

Notable shopping complexes

Sister cities

Wilmington is a sister city with the following cities:

Points of interest

Notable residents


  1. METROPOLITAN STATISTICAL AREAS AND COMPONENTS, Office of Management and Budget, 2007-05-11. Accessed 2008-07-30.
  2. Wilmington, North Carolina | Dozen Distinctive Destinations 2008 | The National Trust for Historic Preservation
  4. USCGC Diligence (WMEC-616)
  6. 1898 Wilmington Race Riot - Final Report, May 31, 2006
  8. [1]
  9. 600 Kilometers
  11. Thalian Hall
  12. UNCW Performing Arts Schedule
  14. Wilmington Symphony Orchestra Home Page
  15. WE Fest XII - May 22-26, 2009 - Wilmington, NC
  16. Cape Fear Jazz Asscociation, wilmington north carolina
  17. Cape Fear Blues Society - Wilmington, NC
  18. Wilmington, N.C., to test mandatory switch to digital TV -
  19. | Star-News | Wilmington, NC
  20. FCC Confirms Wilmington as Digital Test Market - TVWeek - News
  21. Star-News: "Local TV broadcasts make switch to digital" (9/8/2008)

External links

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