Rocky Mount is an All-America City Award-winning city in Edgecombe and Nash counties in the coastal plains of the U.S. state of North Carolina. Although it was not formally incorporated until February 28 1867, the North Carolina community that became the city of Rocky Mount dates from the beginning of the 19th century, and the first post office in the area opened in 1816. In 1996, the town of Battleboro merged with the city of Rocky Mount. The city's Population in July 2007 was 56,844.
Rocky Mount is the principal city of the Rocky Mount, North Carolina Metropolitan Statistical Area, which had a population as of 2000 of 143,026 and which encompasses all of both Edgecombe and Nash counties. Rocky Mount is also a part of a Combined Statistical Area which consist of both Rocky Mount and Wilson Metropolitan Areas. The Rocky Mount-Wilson CSA population is currently over 200,000 residents. Rocky Mount's population was 55,893 at the 2000 census. The city is about 45 minutes away from the state capital, Raleigh, which has a population of just under 400,000. The city is less than 36 miles east of the East Raleigh suburb of Knightdale
Rocky Mount has a growing arts community. The city operates an Arts Center, a Children's Museum & Science Center, and a Community Theatre at the Imperial Centre for the Arts & Sciences
Rocky Mount is situated uniquely in that the city straddles the county line, with part of it in Nash County and part of it in Edgecombe County. The CSX Railroad tracks also separate the city at the county line, meaning that going to the other side of town always means crossing the tracks.
Nash-Rocky Mount Schools include Benvenue Elementary, D.S.Johnson Elementary, Englewood Elementary School,O.R. Pope Elementary School, Susie C. Baskerville Elementary School, M.B. Hubbard Elementary School, Coopers School, Winstead Avenue Elementary School,Red Oak Elementary, Bullock Elementary, and Nashville Elementary
JFW Parker Middle School, Edwards Middle School, Southern Nash Middle, Red Oak Middle School, and Nash Central Middle School.
Rocky Mount High School, Northern Nash High School, Southern Nash High School, Nash Central High School, and Nash-Rocky Mount Early College High School. The private schools located in Rocky Mount are: Rocky Mount Academy, Faith Christian School and Falls Road Baptist School.
One N.C. charter school is located in Rocky Mount: Rocky Mount Preparatory School.
Interstate 95 Exits: N.C 4, Dortches Blvd., and U.S. 64 with a future exit at Sunset Avenue just south of the U.S. 64 exit.
U.S. 64 Exits: Raleigh. St, Atlantic. Ave, Centura. Hwy/Church. St, Benvenue. Rd/Peachtree. St, U.S 301(Wesleyan. Blvd) Buck Leonard Blvd. TO Sunset Ave, Winstead Ave, Interstate 95, and Old Carraige Rd.
U.S 301 (Wesleyan. Blvd) Exits: Benvenue Rd, U.S 64, Sunset Ave, Bethelehem Rd, West Mount Dr, and N.C 97(Raleigh Rd).
The advent of the railroad did not cause an immediate boom for Rocky Mount. One important innovation it produced, however, was the establishment of Rocky Mount as a point of departure for travelers from the north and south. The Raleigh-Tarboro stage route (roughly highways 95 and 64) passed just below Rocky Mount which became the logical debarking point for railroad travelers wishing to proceed east or west.
The Civil War and Reconstruction Era brought hard times to Rocky Mount but the town survived. On February 19, 1867 Rocky Mount was incorporated as a Town.
The establishment of the Rocky Mount tobacco market in the late 1800's is one of the town's most noteworthy development. The demand for bright leaf tobacco rose rapidly as the cigarette industry took shape and the growth of the tobacco market led to the establishment of the town's first bank in 1889.
Also during this period, the railroad exerted a powerful influence on the town. The tracks first reached Rocky Mount on Christmas Eve, in 1839. In 1840, a train of cars enroute to Wilmington stopped in Rocky Mount to import some "Old Nash" for special toasts at opening festivities. The fame of Nash County apple brandy had spread fast. As Rocky Mount encouraged the Atlantic Coast Line to locate shops and yard facilities in the town, there was an influx of railroad employees into Rocky Mount. In 1871, the county line moved from the Tar River to its present location in the center of the main tracks.
By the turn of the 19th century, Rocky Mount's population was approximately 3,000. A main railroad line, a well established cotton mill, and productive farmland were major contributors to the area's growth and prosperity. To encourage and promote further growth and development, the Chamber of Commerce was established in 1904.
In February 28, 1907 with a population of approximately 7,500 Rocky Mount was incorporated as a City. The 1900's brought a number of "firsts" to Rocky Mount - the first public school; one of the most modern hotels in the state, the Ricks Hotel; the first library; the establishment of the first daily newspaper, the Rocky Mount Evening Telegram; the first hospitals with services available to the public and the YMCA.
City Lake drew city-wide attention in the late 30's. The digging of this water reservoir, a project of the Works Project Administration, gave gainful employment to the unemployed and gave the citizens of Rocky Mount pride in a peaceful and beautiful site.
In view of the community's educational facilities, the 50's and 60's brought rapid growth. A new high school opened in 1953. North Carolina Wesleyan College opened in 1960. In 1968, Nash Community College and Edgecombe Community College opened in the twin counties in order to meet the needs of citizens in technical, vocational and general education programs.
1970 marked the year Rocky Mount was named an All-American city. The little town built upon a rock had become the progressive city on the Great Falls of the Tar. The 70's also brought a new post office building, completion of Nash General Hospital, a new campus for Nash Community College, recreational use of the reservoir on the Tar River, a new water plant, the Rocky Mount-Wilson airport and new highways.
The 80's brought in a new regional shopping mall located on Wesleyan Boulevard and an athletic center on Hardee's Boulevard. Now, in 2008 the city continues to grow and prosper with a population of over 60,000."
There were 21,435 households out of which 32.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.3% were married couples living together, 20.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.5% were non-families. 27.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 3.11.
In the city the population was spread out with 27.7% under the age of 18, 8.9% from 18 to 24, 28.5% from 25 to 44, 21.9% from 45 to 64, and 13.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age is 35 years. For every 100 females there were 85.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 79.4 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $32,661, and the median income for a family was $39,929. Males had a median income of $31,455 versus $34,409 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,804. About 15.8% of families and 20.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.6% of those under the age of 18 and 16.5% ages 65 or older.