Wilson, North Carolina

Wilson, North Carolina

Infobox Settlement
official_name = City of Wilson
settlement_type = City
nickname = Wide-Awake-Wilson
motto =
postal_code_type = Zip Code
postal_code = 27893/27896/27894/27895

imagesize =
image_caption =


mapsize = 250px
map_caption = Location of Wilson shown within North Carolina

mapsize1 =
map_caption1 =
subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_name = United States
subdivision_type1 = State
subdivision_name1 = North Carolina
subdivision_type2 = County
subdivision_name2 = Wilson
government_type =
leader_title =
leader_name =
established_title =
established_date =
established_title2 =
established_date2 =
established_title3 =
established_date3 =
area_magnitude =
area_total_km2 = 60.7
area_total_sq_mi = 23.4
area_land_km2 = 60.3
area_land_sq_mi = 23.3
area_water_km2 = 0.4
area_water_sq_mi = 0.2
area_water_percent =
area_urban_km2 =
area_urban_sq_mi =
area_metro_km2 =
area_metro_sq_mi =
population_as_of = 2000 census
population_note =
population_total = 44,405
population_density_km2 = 736.3
population_density_sq_mi = 1906.9
population_metro =
population_density_metro_km2 =
population_density_metro_sq_mi =
population_urban =
timezone = Eastern Time Zone (USA/Canada)
utc_offset = -5
timezone_DST = -4
utc_offset_DST = -4
latd = 35 |latm = 43 |lats = 52 |latNS = N
longd = 77 |longm = 55 |longs = 25 |longEW = W
elevation_m = 33
elevation_ft = 108
website = http://www.wilsonnc.org
area_code = 252
blank_name = FIPS code
blank_info = 37-74540GR|2
blank1_name = GNIS feature ID
blank1_info = 1023273GR|3
footnotes =

Wilson is a city and the county seat of Wilson CountyGR|6 in the Coastal Plain region of the U.S. state of North Carolina. The 17th largest city in the state, Wilson had a population of 44,405 at the 2000 census.


Wilson is located at coor dms|35|43|52|N|77|55|25|W|city (35.731093, -77.923509).GR|1

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 23.4 square miles (60.7 km²), of which, 23.3 square miles (60.3 km²) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.4 km²) of it (0.64%) is water.

Wilson is located at the intersection of Interstate 95 and US 264; approximately 40 minutes east of Raleigh, the state capital.


As of the censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 44,405 people, 17,296 households, and 11,328 families residing in the city. The population density was 736.1/km² (1,906.9/mi²). There were 18,660 housing units at an average density of 309.3/km² (801.3/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 46.67% White, 47.53% African American, 0.31% Native American, 0.58% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 3.89% from other races, and 1.01% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7.29% of the population.

There were 17,296 households out of which 31.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.0% were married couples living together, 19.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.5% were non-families. 29.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 3.06.

In the city the population was spread out with 26.0% under the age of 18, 9.8% from 18 to 24, 28.9% from 25 to 44, 21.8% from 45 to 64, and 13.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 88.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $31,169, and the median income for a family was $41,041. Males had a median income of $30,682 versus $22,363 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,813. About 16.5% of families and 21.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 29.5% of those under age 18 and 20.4% of those age 65 or over.


In 2006, Wilson was ranked first in North Carolina for economic strength among micropolitan cities(<50K population)by the Policom Corporation [http://www.policom.com/microrank.htm] . Wilson was ranked 13th nationally.

The city has a large supply of water (seven billion gallons capacity) thanks to the 1999 expansion of Buckhorn Lake. City leaders say it should provide water for the next 50 years of growth. The city provides electrical service (since 1893), natural gas, water, wastewater, recycling and garbage collection.

The city of Wilson is building a fiber to the premise (FTTP) network [http://www.wilsonnc.org/FiberOpticProject/index.asp] that will make high-speed Internet available to homes (up to 100M) and businesses (up to 1G). The first customers will be business customers. The first residential customers are expected to receive service in early 2008. City leaders believe the all-fiber system will lure new employers and provide a boost to existing employers, although the costs and results of a fiber optics network of this scale are debatable. City facilities have operated on a fiber backbone since early 2006. The system will enable citizens to subscribe to high-speed broadband Internet, cable TV and/or telephone service.


Wilson is served by three airports: Wilson Industrial Airport, Rocky Mount-Wilson Airport (RWI) about 15 minutes from town, and Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) about 55 minutes from town. The city has an Amtrak station. The city of Wilson owns and operates a bus transit system. The following highways travel through Wilson: I-95, U.S. 264, U.S. 301, U.S. 117, N.C. 42, and N.C. 58. Ward Boulevard is a local 5-lane loop road that circles the original city limits (circa 1970).


Imagination Station is a children's interactive science museum located in the former Courthouse/Post Office building in downtown Wilson.

The Edna Boykin Center for Performing Arts is owned by the city of Wilson, and operated by the Arts Council of Wilson. The restored Vaudeville theater, built in 1919, seats about 650 guests. During the 1970s it was an X-rated Adult theater. It was beautifully restored in the 1990s. In 2006 and 2007 the theater was home to the Theater of the American South, a production that celebrated southern history and culture. Live plays are a mainstay in the Boykin Center, some of which involve youth actors.

The City of Wilson operates Wilson TV [http://www.wilsonnc.org/Government/PublicInformation/wtv/index.asp] , a public information cable television channel announcing upcoming events and activities. Wilson TV features original programming such as "City Talk" and "Around Town", both of which address issues and events in the community. Wilson TV also shows meetings of the Wilson City Council and the city Planning Board and Board of Adjustment.

Wilson also hosts the Whirligig Festival [http://www.wilsonnc.org/whirligig/index.asp] , which celebrates local and regional artists in an event held the first weekend in November. Whirligigs are wind-driven works of "art", many of which have been created by nationally recognized folk artist Vollis Simpson of Wilson County.

The City of Wilson Human Relations Commission [http://www.wilsonnc.org/Departments/HumanRelations/hrc.asp] hosts the "1st Fridays" events [http://www.wilsonnc.org/Departments/HumanRelations/concerts.asp] each August through October on the library lawn. Musical entertainment and children's activities are featured, and refreshments are available. This year (2007) has seen the largest crowds since the events were created several years ago.

Wilson is also home to the Carmike 10 Cinema which opened in 2006 at Wilson Mall [http://www.hullstorey.com/intro_SRC.htm] .


Wilson Mall (formerly Parkwood Mall) recently completed a major renovation. The 25-year old mall is attracting new clients after several years of decline under a previous owner. Major anchors include J.C. Penney, Sears and Steve and Barry's.

Heritage Crossing Shopping Center includes a Target, Marshall's, Belk, Omega Sports, Ross' Dress for Less, and rue 21. A Bed Bath and Beyond, Harris Teeter and Petsmart opened Spring 2008. There are several acres available that will be developed in the next year or two. The shopping center will create additional retail jobs.

Wilson includes three new Starbucks Coffee locations and one more is on the way. (As of July 2008 the third location has announced it is closing).

Wilson's downtown, which at one time was the main shopping area and cultural hub, is still in decline. Although a new restaurant is planning to open. Downtown streets and sidewalks were renovated in the 1990s and utilities were buried. Free WiFi service is now provided by the city in parts of the downtown area.

Wilson also hosts a wide variety of grocery store chains. Harris Teeter, Food Lion, Piggly Wiggly, Fred's Food Club, Aldi and Wal-Mart all have locations in Wilson. A Farm Fresh store, being built in a former Winn Dixie,opened Spring 2008.

Home Depot opened February 2008 near the current Lowe's Home Improvement Store. The new Home Depot, built on the site of a former KMart, has 95,000 square feet.

Real Estate

The cost of living is approximately 12% less than that of the Raleigh-Durham area. Since January 2005, a typical 3 bedroom house sold for approximately $132,000, and larger 4 bedroom homes average $225,000.

In addition to new homes, Wilson is known for its numerous and varied historic bungalows. Historic homes dating from the mid-19th century feature outstanding architectural details and charm. The revitalization of the historic neighborhoods has been aided by the protection of the establishment of local historic districts complimenting the national historic districts. The Wilson Preservation Commission [http://www.wilsonnc.org/Departments/DevelopmentServices/HistoricPreservation/index.asp] oversees the protection of the local historic districts and the landmark properties including the Boykin Center [http://www.wilson-nc.com/Culture.cfm] the Jacob Tomlinson House [http://www.jacobtomlinsonhouse.com] the Arts Council Building [http://www.wilson-nc.com/Culture.cfm] The Charles Coon School and the Davis-Whitehead-Harriss House [http://www.whiteheadinn.com/] .


Public Schools

Wilson County Public Schools

Elementary Schools (K-5):Wells, Margaret Hearne, Vick, New Hope, Vinson-Bynum, B.O. Barnes, Winstead, Elm City, Stantonsburg, Lee Woodard, Lucama, Rock Ridge, Gardners, Jones.

Middle Schools:Darden, Forest Hills, Toisnot, Elm City, Speight, Springfield.

High schools: E. T. Beddingfield, Ralph L. Fike, James B. Hunt.

Alternative Schools:Adams Learning Center (K-5),Daniels Learning Center (6-8).

Sallie B. Howard School for the Arts and Education.

Deaf Education

Eastern North Carolina School for the Deaf

Private Schools

Wilson is home to several private schools: Community Christian School (K-12), Garnett Christian Academy, Wilson Christian Academy (K-12), St. Therese Catholic School (K-5) and Greenfield School (Pre-K-12) (non-sectarian).


Wilson is also home to Barton College, a liberal arts college, and Wilson Community College.

Notable Citizens

*Bunn Hearn, major league pitcher.
*G.K. Butterfield, U.S. Congressman for North Carolina's First Congressional District.
*Jim Hunt, only person to serve four terms as the Governor of North Carolina, (1977-1985, 1993-2001).
*The O'Kaysions, an R&B sextet known for their 1968 Top 5 pop hit "Girl Watcher."
*Julius Peppers (NFL Defensive End for Carolina Panthers), born in Wilson
*Leslie Keith Watson, bass player in WWE's Chris Jericho's band "Fozzy"

Tallest Buildings

# BB&T 11 floors
# Wilson County Nash Street Office Building 8 floors
# BB&T Raleigh Road Parkway (under construction) 6 floors
# Wilson Medical Center 6 floors
# Cherry Apartments 6 floors
# Hampton Raleigh Road Parkway (under construction) 5 floors
# Holiday Inn 5 floors
# Belle Meade cooperative (under construction) 4 floors
# Hampton Inn U.S. 264 4 floors
# Candlewood Inn and Suites (under construction) 4 floors
# Imagination Station Science Museum Building,Formerly Wilson's First Post Office & Courthouse from 1920-1975 4 Floors


External links

* [http://www.wilsonnc.org/ Official website of Wilson, NC]
* [http://www.ibest.net/WelcomeToWilson/ Wilson Chamber of Commerce]
* [http://www.wilson-nc.com/ Wilson Visitors Bureau]
* http://www.smm.org/sln/vollis/
*http://www.imaginescience.org (Imagination Station Science Museum of Wilson)

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