Cornbread Maxwell

Kinston, North Carolina

Kinston is a city in Lenoir County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 23,688 at the 2000 census. The population was estimated at 22,729 in 2006. It has been the county seat of Lenoir County since its formation in 1791 . Kinston is located in North Carolina's Inner Banks region.

Kinston is home of the N.C. Global TransPark (GTP), a combined airport and industrial complex developed by the state in Lenoir County; Grainger Stadium, home to the Kinston Indians minor league baseball team; Caswell Center, a campus providing support services and boarding for mentally handicapped; and Lenoir Memorial Hospital.


Early history

Prior to the establishment of the city, the area was known as Atkins Bank, which referred to a bluff just above the Neuse River once owned by Robert Atkins. Atkins Bank was the site of farms, a tobacco warehouse, and a Church of England mission. Prior to English settlement, the area was inhabited by the Neusiok Indians.

Kinston was created by an act of the North Carolina General Assembly in December of 1762 as Kingston, in honor of King George III who had just recently ascended to the throne. The bill to incorporate it was introduced by Richard Caswell, who made his home there and later served as the first Governor of the State of North Carolina from 1776 to 1780. The conclusion of the American Revolution brought a change of name to Kinston in 1784 in order to show the population's new distaste with royalty. In 1833, Kinston briefly became Caswell, in honor of governor Richard Caswell, but reverted to Kinston the following year.

Once created, commissioners appointed to design the town began to accept "subscriptions" for numbered lots. To keep a lot, subscribers were required to build brick homes of specific dimensions within three years or lose their rights to the property. The town was laid out with border streets named East, North, and South, with the western border of the town being composed of the Neuse River. The two principal roads within these borders were named for King George and Queen Charlotte, and they remain King and Queen Street to this day. Other streets were named in honor of Governor Dobbs (later renamed Independent Street) and the commissioners.

In December of 1791, an act was passed in the General Assembly abolishing Dobbs County and forming Lenoir County and Glasgow County. At that time, Kinston was named the county seat for Lenoir County.

Throughout this period, Kinston was an unincorporated town, but it finally became incorporated through an act of the legislature in January 1849. Following incorporation, the population grew rapidly. In 1850, the population was estimated at 455 people, and just ten years later, it had more than doubled to over one thousand.

Civil War

During the onset of the Civil War, Camp Campbell and Camp Johnston were established near the city as training camps, and a bakery on Queen Street was converted to produce hardtack in large quantities. There was also a factory for the production of shoes for the military located in Kinston. The Battle of Kinston took place in and around the city on December 14, 1862. The Battle of Southwest Creek (March 8, 1865) also occurred very near the city. It was at this later battle that the Confederate Ram Neuse was destroyed. Remnants of this ship have been salvaged, and the construction of a replica vessel has been completed. The replica was placed close to the original resting place at the bank of the Neuse River on Heritage St. in Kinston NC. Union forces occupied the city following the battle and remained through the Reconstruction period.


Despite the hardships of war and Reconstruction, the population of the city continued to grow. By 1870, the population had increased to eleven hundred people and grew to more than seventeen hundred within a decade. The late nineteenth century saw expansion into new areas of industry, most notably the production of carriages. Kinston also became a major tobacco and cotton trading center. By the start of the twentieth century, more than five million pounds of tobacco were being sold in Kinston's warehouses annually. Along with the growth in population and industry was a growth in property values. Some parcels increased in value more than fivefold within a twenty year period.

20th Century

The twentieth century saw a variety of industries come to Kinston including lumber mills, cotton mills, and even professional sports in the form of a minor league baseball team. Later growth would come in the form of a Du Pont plant for the manufacture of polyester fibers as well as pharmaceutical factories. Growth finally slowed following the sixties, but there has been some effort to reinvigorate the economy through various means with limited success.

Kinston was heavily impacted by floods in 1996 and 1999. Hurricane Fran struck the North Carolina coast on September 5, 1996 and brought 16 inches (406 mm) of rain to the area., causing the Neuse River to flood portions of the city. Hurricane Floyd struck the area on September 16, 1999 and after 17 inches (430 mm) of rain had fallen caused what is now known by locals as "The Flood of the Century. The Neuse River reached a 500 year flood level and flooded many homes, businesses and roads.


Kinston is located at (35.270676, -77.585130).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 16.9 square miles (43.7 km²), of which, 16.7 square miles (43.3 km²) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.4 km²) of it (0.95%) is water.


As of the census of 2000, there were 23,688 people, 9,829 households, and 6,074 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,415.7 people per square mile (546.7/km²). There were 11,229 housing units at an average density of 671.1/sq mi (259.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 35.27% White, 62.64% African American, 0.16% Native American, 0.57% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.66% from other races, and 0.67% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.14% of the population.

There were 9,829 households out of which 28.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.7% were married couples living together, 22.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.2% were non-families. 34.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.94.

In the city the population was spread out with 24.4% under the age of 18, 7.3% from 18 to 24, 24.9% from 25 to 44, 24.5% from 45 to 64, and 18.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 81.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 74.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $26,630, and the median income for a family was $35,867. Males had a median income of $28,688 versus $21,442 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,779. About 19.7% of families and 23.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 32.0% of those under age 18 and 18.9% of those age 65 or over.



High schools

  • Kinston High School
  • Lenoir County Early College
  • North Lenoir High School
  • South Lenoir High School

Middle schools

  • Rochelle Middle School
  • Woodington Middle School
  • E.B. Frink Middle School
  • Savannah Middle School

Elementary schools

  • Banks Elementary School
  • C.H. Bynum Middle School
  • Teacher's Memorial Elementary School
  • Contentnea Elementary School
  • Northwest Elementary School
  • Moss Hill Elementary School
  • Southeast Elementary School
  • Southwood Elementary School

Alternative school

  • Sampson School
  • Kennedy Home

Private schools

  • Arendell Parrott Academy
  • Kinston Charter Academy
  • Bethel Christian Academy


The Neuse Regional Library system is headquartered in Kinston and operates braches in Kinston, LaGrange, Pink Hill, as well as locations in Greene and Jones Counties.

The CSS Neuse, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and Caswell Memorial houses the remains of the hull of the Confederate ironclad. A video detailing the history of the CSS Neuse is available for viewing at the Caswell Memorial. The Lenoir County Confederate Memorial, the Caswell family cemetery, and the Lenoir County Korean and Vietnam War Memorial are located at the site. There is also a Civil War Trails marker.

The Cultural Heritage Museum (CHM) was organized in the Winter of 2000 to create a new economic development catalyst for Kinston, Lenoir County and eastern North Carolina through development of a new museum on South Queen Street. The heritage tourism project pays tribute to the more than 200,000 black soldiers and their 7,000 white officers who fought with the Union forces in the American Civil War. It also pays tribute to black military veterans from all wars, Carl Long and the Negro Baseball League players, local heroes, Africa and Black History in general. The primary aim of the CHM is to generate jobs, promote economic expansion opportunities and create a unified community vision for progress.

Sports and recreation


Grainger Stadium is home to the Kinston Indians minor league baseball team as well as youth and college level baseball tournaments. The town has hosted professional baseball since 1908, and among the many alumni is Rick Ferrell who has been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, and Manny Ramerez.

The Kinston Drag Strip is a facility that hosts a variety of motor sports events throughout the year. Kinston is home to three golf courses at the Kinston Country Club, Falling Creek Golf Course, and Bill Fay Park Par 3 Golf Course.

In 1956, Kinston was the site of an extremely rare perfect game of billiards as Willie Mosconi sank 150 balls in a row in one inning against Jimmy Moore.

Parks and recreation

The city contains the following parks:

  • Neuseway Nature Park, Campground and Meeting Facility
  • Bill Fay Memorial Park
  • Emma Webb Park
  • Fairfield Park
  • Holloway Park
  • Lovit Hines Park
  • Southeast Park




  • The main highway in Kinston is US 70, which offers access to the North Carolina coast and I-95.
  • Other highways that serve Kinston include US 258, NC 11, NC 58, and NC 55.

Notable people born in Kinston



External links

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