Established in 1776, Washington is the first city named after George Washington, the first president of the United States.
This small rural town, was recently dubbed the "Heart of the Inner Banks" in an award-winning campaign by the Tourism Department to increase visitors, it is complimented by its historical buildings and landmarks--some dating back to colonial times. Recent efforts to construct condominiums and townhouses on the city's waterfront were reviewed by the Historic Preservation division and are up to spec with historic requirements and guidelines. The Turnage Theatre, a restored historic vaudeville and movie theater, has opened in the downtown area and hosts plays and other types of live entertainment. Washington was attacked during the American Civil War. An attorney's office located on historic Water Street still contains a cannon ball shot from a Confederate ship from the Tar River during the Union's occupation of the town. Union soldiers evacuated the town after the intense shelling, joining the Confederate troops in burning most buildings as both armies retreated. Civil War and other types of historical enthusiasts follow the Albemarle Tour through Washington.
Visitors and residents alike enjoy the self-guided Historic Walking Tour. Beautiful homes, some with Victorian design, some arts & crafts, others the traditional early-20th century dwellings stand side-by-side on sidewalks lined with crepe myrtle trees. (Visitors should note: Washington sidewalks do not meet Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 standards.) To find out more about Washington's history, go to the Brown Library (located downtown) and ask to see a copy of Pauline Worthy's "Washington on the Pamlico" an out-of-print book filled with enjoyable anecdotes and historical information, most of it derived from interviews with local citizens in 1976.
People from all over eastern North Carolina enjoy Washington's many activities: fishing, boating along the Pamlico River, dining in the downtown restaurants, Washington High School Pam Pack football games, and a monthly downtown music and art festival called "Music in the Streets," which is followed by a Farmer's and Artisan's Market on the town's green areas on the waterfront. American Civil War re-enactors meet in the outskirts of Washington every year. (See historical reenactment.) Many near-by towns also contain Civil War artifacts and museums.
The North Carolina Estuarium, located in Washington on the Pamlico River, describes the ecology of North Carolina's estuaries, especially the Tar-Pamlico River and Pamlico Sounds. It houses more than 200 scientific and historic exhibits, and features a scenic ¾ mile boardwalk along the Pamlico River.
The Beaufort County Arts Council, founded in 1972 and located in the restored Atlantic Coastline Railroad Station in Washington, offers cultural programs including an annual juried fine arts show, a holiday arts and crafts show, a student art show, year-round exhibitions in the adjacent Washington Civic Center gallery, a series of free public concerts, an annual art camp for youth, workshops, lectures, and organized trips to attend cultural events throughout the region.
The town is also near Chocowinity, NC, home to Fountain Powerboats, Inc., a company that specializes in luxury powerboats and powerboat racing. It is here, on the Pamlico River, that Fountain has set its numerous high-speed world records.
The town also has 2 major Super Center retailers. Wal-Mart Super Center, and Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse.
The town is served by several tv stations which include: WITN-7, WNCT-9, WCTI-12, WYDO-14, WUNK-25, and WEPX-38. WITN-TV/DT is located across the bridge in Chocowinity but is labled being from Washington.
There were 3,968 households out of which 28.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.3% were married couples living together, 21.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.8% were non-families. 33.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.93.
In the city the population was spread out with 24.7% under the age of 18, 8.6% from 18 to 24, 24.5% from 25 to 44, 22.6% from 45 to 64, and 19.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 77.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 70.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $22,057, and the median income for a family was $30,280. Males had a median income of $26,053 versus $21,641 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,319. About 23.3% of families and 28.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 42.8% of those under age 18 and 19.3% of those age 65 or over.
The major highways that go through Washington flow north to south on US17 and west to east on US264. There is also many state highways such as: NC32, NC92, NC33, and NC171 (forms north of the city). The state is constructing the US-17 Bypass which will eliminate all the truck traffic and make it easier to go to the coastal towns such as New Bern, Nags Head The new 17 Bypass will include a bridge that extends from Washington across the Tar River to the south side of Chocowinity. This will be one of the longest bridges in NC.