Wilmington Tourism and Travel: Best of Wilmington


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. Powered by Weather Underground.

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By mid-century, the churchyard of St. James Episcopal Church and other town cemeteries had become filled with graves. On November 16, , 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, , was six-year-old Annie deRosset. James churchyard were relocated to the new cemetery. The Wilmington Gas Light Company was established in Soon after, street lights were powered by gas made from lightwood and rosin , replacing the old street oil lamps.

On December 27, , 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. In the city opened its first public school, named the "Union Free School", on 6th Street between Nun and Church streets, serving white students. Wilmington had a black majority population before the Civil War. For a period up to Nat Turner 's Rebellion, they had been allowed to vote, carry arms and serve in the militia.

Fears after the rebellion resulted in the state legislature passing laws to restrict the rights of free blacks. During the Civil War , the port was the major base for Confederate and privately owned blockade runners , which delivered badly needed supplies from England. The Union mounted a blockade to reduce the goods received by the South. The city was captured by Union forces in the Battle of Wilmington in February , 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, numerous antebellum houses and other buildings survived the war years.

During the Reconstruction era, former free blacks and newly emancipated freedmen built a community in the city. Most blacks voted for the Republican Party, which had brought the slaves freedom. There was increasing violence around elections in this period, as armed white paramilitary insurgents, known as Red Shirts , worked to suppress black and Republican voting. Conservative white Democrats regained control of the state legislature and sought to impose white supremacy , but some blacks continued to be elected to local offices.

The Wilmington Insurrection of formerly and inaccurately 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 by white Democrats to reestablish white supremacy and overturn black voting.

In the s, a coalition of Republicans and Populists had gained state and federal offices. The Democrats were determined to reassert their control. In , 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, in which a white Republican was elected mayor and both white and black aldermen were elected, more than white men attacked and burned the only black daily newspaper in the state and ran off the new officers.

They overthrew the legitimately-elected municipal government. On November 10, , nearly white men, led by the Democrat Alfred M. Waddell , an unsuccessful gubernatorial candidate in , 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, which 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 blacks. No whites died in the violence. As a result of the attacks, more than blacks permanently left the city, leaving a hole among its professional and middle class.

The demographic change was so large that the city 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 that raised barriers to voter registration, imposing requirements for poll taxes and literacy tests that effectively disfranchised most black voters, following the example of the state of Mississippi.

Blacks were essentially disfranchised and excluded from the political system until after Congressional passage in the mids of the civil rights acts. In , Charlotte passed Wilmington to become North Carolina's largest city.

The shipyard was created as part of the U. Workers built ships in Wilmington during the five years the company operated. At their peak, the camps held 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. This road passes through many major cities and state capitals along the way.

According to the United States Census Bureau , the city has a total area of Wrightsville Beach is a popular destination in the Wilmington area. Carolina and Kure beaches also add to the city's beach attractions.

Wilmington has a humid subtropical climate Köppen Cfa , with the following characteristics:. Wilmington boasts a large historic district encompassing nearly blocks. Abandoned warehouses on downtown's northern end have been recently demolished making room for multi-million dollar projects, such as the World Headquarters of Pharmaceutical Product Development PPD and a state-of-the-art convention center.

Between and , crime rates, as reported through the Federal Bureau of Investigation 's Uniform Crime Reports , decreased in 6 of the 8 reported categories. Wilmington has an increasing problem with gang violence [31] and on October 15, the WPD and NHC Sheriffs department created a joint task force to combat gang violence.

According to census estimates, [36] there were , people and 47, households in the city. The population density was 2, The racial composition of the city was: There were 34, households out of which The average household size was 2. In the city, the population was spread out with The median age was 34 years. For every females, there were For every females age 18 and over, there were Less than half of Wilmington's population is religiously affiliated The two largest Christian denominations in Wilmington are Protestant: There are also a significant number of Presbyterians 3.

Other Christian denominations make up 7. Much smaller is the proportion of residents who follow Islam 0. A small percentage of people practice Eastern religions 0.

Wilmington has significant historical religious buildings, such as the Basilica Shrine of St. Mary and the Temple of Israel. 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 , travelers per year. The airport is also home to two fixed-base operations FBO's which currently house over private aircraft.

The airport maintains a separate International Terminal providing a full service Federal Inspection Station to clear international flights. Customs and Border Protection, U. Dept of Agriculture and the U. The airport is 4 miles from downtown. Public transit in the area is provided by the Cape Fear Public Transportation Authority , [38] 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 City of Wilmington offers transient docking facilities [40] in the center of Downtown Wilmington along the Cape Fear River approximately The Gary Shell Cross-City Trail is primarily a multi-use trail which provides bicycle and pedestrian access to numerous recreational, cultural and educational destinations in Wilmington.

Wilmington's industrial base includes electrical, medical, electronic and telecommunications equipment; clothing and apparel; food processing; paper products; nuclear fuel; and pharmaceuticals. Also important to Wilmington's economy is tourism due to its close proximity to the ocean and vibrant nightlife. According to the City's Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are: The city supports a very active calendar with its showcase theater, Thalian Hall , hosting about events annually.

The complex has been in continuous operation since it opened in and houses three performance venues, the Main Stage, the Grand Ballroom, and the Studio Theater. 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 theater seats and is a popular performance venue for many community theater groups and other entertainment productions. 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 year old building on the corner of North 4th and Campbell St in downtown Wilmington. The BAC is used for weddings, concerts, fundraisers, art shows, vintage flea markets, and other community-driven events. Since , Wilmington hosts an annual, nationally recognized, independent film festival, the "Cucalorus". The Foundation also sponsors weekly screenings, several short documentary projects, and the annual Kids Festival, with hands on film-making workshops. In , governor Pat McCrory decided not to renew the film incentives which ended up taking a massive toll on not just Wilmington's but North Carolina's entire film industry.

Chamber Music Wilmington was founded in 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 and offers throughout the year a series of five classical performances, and a Free Family Concert.

It is currently in its 13th year. Celebrating its 37th year, February 2 thru 4th, , the North Carolina Jazz Festival is a three-day traditional jazz festival which features world-renowned jazz musicians. 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. Along with an identical structure on Nixon Street for African-American servicemen, it opened in December , the same month that the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. From to , the USO hosted 35, uniformed visitors a week. The building itself was rededicated in Ms. Block's name in and restored to its wartime character in The building is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The World War II Wilmington Home Front Heritage Coalition, [78] an all volunteer c 3 preservation organization, is the de facto preservationist of the building's history and maintains the home front museum.

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, garden party, musical performances, a parade, and a fireworks show.

It takes places every year in April. A daily online newspaper, Port City Daily portcitydaily. Two historically black newspapers are distributed and published weekly: Encore Magazine is a weekly arts and entertainment publication. On July 26, , WHQR announced that Star-News reporter Hunter Ingram has started a new project to sort out the fact from fiction of real life stories, mythical tales or legends of Wilmington. The broadcast stations are as follows:. Cable news station News 14 Carolina also maintains its coastal bureau in Wilmington.

Wilmington was chosen as the test market because the area's digital channel positions will remain unchanged after the transition. 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.

The roster is made up of top collegiate baseball players fine-tuning their skills using wood bats to prepare for professional baseball. The Wilmington Hammerheads are a professional soccer team based in Wilmington. Their stadium was the Legion Stadium. After the season, the USL discontinued their relationship with the franchise owner Chuck Sullivan. The Hammerheads franchise returned in They were founded in and hosts the annual Cape Fear Sevens Tournament held over July 4 weekend; hosting teams from all over the world.

They own their own rugby pitch located at 21st and Chestnut St. Off and on, from to , Wilmington has been home to a professional minor league baseball team. In the Philadelphia Phillies held spring training in Wilmington. Wilmington is a sister city with the following cities:. Wilmington travel guide from Wikivoyage.

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