Stellar Award

Rocky Mount, North Carolina

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

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 35.8 square miles (92.7 km²), of which, 35.6 square miles (92.1 km²) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.5 km²) of it (0.59%) is water.

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.

Education

The City of Rocky Mount is served by the Nash-Rocky Mount Public School System, along with a number of private and charter schools in the area. Post-secondary institutions include Nash Community College,Shaw University, North Carolina Wesleyan College and Edgecombe Community College.

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.

Highways/Major Roads

There are 3 major highways that intersect in Rocky Mount: U.S. Route 64, Interstate 95, and US 301. Interstate 95 runs through a portion of West Rocky Mount, US 64 runs east to west through Rocky Mount, and US 301 runs north to south through Rocky Mount. Buck Leonard Blvd is also a 4-lane divided highway in Rocky Mount that connects Sunset Ave to US 64. US 64 puts Rocky Mount less than 45 minutes east of Raleigh, and US 301 puts Rocky Mount 15 minutes north of the city of Wilson. The city of Rocky Mount is currently in the works of constructing a new multi-lane highway called the Northern Connector which will connect West Rocky Mount to North Rocky Mount. The highway is being built to settle traffic on Wesleyan Blvd., and other roads in the Northern Rocky Mount area.

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).

History of Rocky Mount

"Rocky Mount had its beginning in the early part of the 19th century. It centered around the first post office which was established at the Falls of the Tar River on March 22, 1816. It was at that point that the name Rocky Mount appeared in documented history. The name undoubtedly derived from the rocky mound at the falls of the Tar River, which was also the site of one of the first cotton mills in North Carolina: Rocky Mount Mills was established in 1818. The Wilmington-Weldon Railroad was built about 2 miles east of the mill in 1845 and became the main connection for Rocky Mount to the outside world.

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."

Demographics

As of the census of 2000, there were 55,893 people, 21,435 households, and 14,682 families residing in the city. The population density was 606.7/km² (1,571.4/mi²). There were 24,167 housing units at an average density of 262.3/km² (679.5/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 40.92% White, 56.02% African American, 0.35% Native American, 0.70% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.91% from other races, and 1.07% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.85% of the population.

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.

Notable Rocky Mount natives

  • Julius Peppers, Carolina Panthers Defensive End
  • J.J. Arrington, NFL running back
  • Thurbert Baker, current Attorney General of the state of Georgia.
  • FC Barnes, national gospel recording artist of 14 releases (AIR), North Carolina, Folk Heritage Award, 2000, Hall of Fame, 2005, Pastor and Founder and Bishop of Red Budd Holy Church, Rocky Mount, NC, May 1959.
  • Luther Barnes, international and national gospel recording artist, preacher, composer, producer, songwriter, community servant, retired school teacher, Nash County, Hall of Fame in 2005. President, Luther Barnes Song Ministries. Grammy nomination, Stellar Award winner. Since 1996, host North Carolina Fall Gospel Classic, held at Red Budd Holy Church, Rocky Mount, NC. in October.
  • Herman Boone, the coach on which the movie Remember the Titans was based, was born in Rocky Mount, North Carolina on October 28, 1935. Boone graduated from Booker T. Washington High School in 1954. He coached high school football in Virginia and North Carolina.
  • Jim Boyd, 1956 Olympic Gold Medaist in boxing.
  • Jim Clack, center for the 1970's Terry Bradshaw-led Pittsburgh Steelers(Deceased)
  • Roy Cooper, current Attorney General of the state of North Carolina.
  • Mike Easley, current Governor of the state of North Carolina.
  • Phil Ford, a former assistant coach at UNC-Chapel Hill and the school's all-time leading scorer, currently with the Detroit Pistons as an assistant to Larry Brown.
  • Kaye Gibbons, Critically Acclaimed Novelist
  • Allan Gurganus, the American writer whose work is often set in North Carolina, was born in Rocky Mount in 1947.
  • William B. Harrison, Jr. Chairman of JPMorgan Chase.
  • Earle Hyman was born in Rocky Mount, North Carolina on October 11, 1926. He is best known for his role as Russell Huxtable, Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable's father, on the The Cosby Show.
  • Kay Kyser, big band leader of the 1930s and 1940s.
  • Walter Fenner Leonard, better known as Buck Leonard, was a famous Negro League first baseman.
  • Thelonious Monk, famous jazz musician.
  • Harold Vick, jazz bandleader and session-man, best known for his first solo album Steppin' Out (1963) and his appearance in the Spike Lee film School Daze backing vocalist Phyllis Hyman.
  • Charles Linwood Williams, better known as "Buck Williams", was born in Rocky Mount on March 8, 1960, and was the 1982 NBA Rookie of the Year and a 3-time NBA All-Star. Buck was also a President of NBA Players Association.
  • Mary Elizabeth Winstead, rising Hollywood star born in 1984, her most notable roles are in Sky High, Final Destination 3, Black Christmas, Grindhouse - Death Proof, Live Free or Die Hard.
  • Harold Ray Denton, born in Rocky Mount February 24, 1936, Director of Reactor Regulation for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and spokesperson for President Jimmy Carter during the THREE MILE ISLAND accident in Pennsylvania. He was inducted in the Tri-County Hall of Fame in 2005.
  • James Carson "Jim" Gardner , first Republican Lieutenant Governor of North Carolina of the 21st century. He also opened the first franchise store of the fast food restaurant Hardee's in Rocky Mount.
  • Jimmy Robbins, acoustic singer-songwriter signed to Universal Motown Records
    • Bill Winters, radio disc jockey b. 9/9/40, d. 11/26/75. Bill began is career at WEED-AM in Rocky Mount and went on to many major markets including NYC, working at WCBS-FM 101.1.
  • Lloyd W. Bailey, a faithless elector in the 1968 presidential election, who cast his vote for George Wallace instead of Richard Nixon.

Other

Rocky Mount, NC was the home of R.M.I. (Rocky Mount Instruments), best known for the 368x Electra Piano Harpsichord, which was a significant instrument in the world of rock and jazz in the late 60's-early 70's, most famously used by the likes of John Lennon, Leon Russell, Rick Wakeman, Tony Banks, and Keith Jarrett. Rocky Mount was also the home of Centura Bank until it was bought the Royal Bank of Canada and moved the United States headquarters to nearby Raleigh. The first Hardee's fast food restaurant was in Rocky Mount, ironically it was on McDonald Street. It has since been torn down. Rocky Mount and nearby Nashville have some of the few Hardee's restaurant still owned by the corporation and not a franchise. Rocky Mount is also the corporate headquarters of Boddie-Noell, which owns many Hardee's franchises and all of the Texas Steakhouse restaurants. Composer Ben Johnston lives in Rocky Mount.

References

External links

Search another word or see Stellar Awardon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature