City of Kinston, North Carolina
—  City  —
Location of Kinston within North Carolina.
Coordinates: 35°16′14″N 77°35′6″W / 35.27056, -77.585Coordinates: 35°16′14″N 77°35′6″W / 35.27056, -77.585
 • Mayor B.J. Murphy (R)
 • Total 16.9 sq mi (43.7 km2)
 • Land 16.7 sq mi (43.3 km2)
 • Water 0.2 sq mi (0.4 km2)
Elevation 43 ft (13 m)
Population (2008)
 • Total 22,360
 • Density 1,416/sq mi (546.7/km2)
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 28501-28504
Area code(s) 252
FIPS code 37-35920[1]
GNIS feature ID 0988015[2]

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 22,360 in 2008.[3] It has been the county seat of Lenoir County since its formation in 1791 [4]. 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 through 2011; Caswell Center, a campus providing support services and boarding for mentally handicapped; and Lenoir Memorial Hospital. Kinstons' Bill Fay Park is home to the Annual Allen Pearson Foundation Softball Tournament held each year annually during the first weekend in October. Annual festivities in Kinston include the Sand in the Streets concert series held at Pearson Park, the popular train rides, nature center, and planetarium located at Neuseway Park, and the Festival on the Neuse.

In 2009, it was announced that Kinston is a recipient of the prestigious All-America City Award. This marks the second time in twenty years the city has won the title, the last time being in 1988.[5]


Early history[]

At the time of English settlement, the area was inhabited by the Neusiok Indians. Preceding the historic tribe, indigenous peoples of a variety of cultures had lived in the area for thousands of years. Before the English colonists established the city, they called the area Atkins Bank, referring to a bluff once owned by Robert Atkins just above the Neuse River. Atkins Bank was the site of farms, a tobacco warehouse, and a Church of England mission.

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. After victory in the American Revolution, the citizens renamed the city Kinston in 1784 to show the population's disavowal of royalty. In 1833, Kinston briefly became Caswell, in honor of governor Richard Caswell, but the name was reverted to Kinston the following year.

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 the Neuse River. The two principal roads within these borders were named for King George and Queen Charlotte. 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 to abolish Dobbs County and form Lenoir and Glasgow counties. At that time, Kinston was designated the county seat for Lenoir County.

Throughout this period, Kinston was an unincorporated town. 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 American 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 Wyse Fork aka 'Battle of Southwest Creek' (March 7–10, 1865) also occurred very near the city. It was at this later battle that the Confederate Ram Neuse was scuttled to avoid capture by Union troops. Remnants of the ship have been salvaged, and are on display at Richard Caswell Park on West Vernon Ave. A climate-controlled museum is currently under construction on downtown Queen Street, with plans to move the hulk there to prevent further deterioration of the original ship's remains. A full-scale replica vessel (Ram Neuse II) has been constructed near the original's resting place (known as the "Cat's Hole") beside the bank of the Neuse River on Heritage St. in Kinston. Union Army forces occupied the city following the battle.

United States troops were assigned to the area 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.

During the late nineteenth century, there was expansion into new areas of industry, most notably the production of horse-drawn 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 annually in Kinston's warehouses. 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[]

New industries were founded, including lumber and cotton mills, as North Carolina businessmen invested in processing their own crops. Professional sports was introduced 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, and manufacturing plants for pharmaceuticals. Growth finally slowed following the 1960s, with the shift in textile production overseas. Efforts to reinvigorate the economy through various means have had limited success.

Kinston was heavily impacted by flooding 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.,[6] causing the Neuse River to flood portions of the city. On September 16, 1999, Hurricane Floyd struck the area, bringing 17 inches (430 mm) of rain. It caused what locals have called "The Flood of the Century."[7]


As of the census[1] 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 per square mile (259.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 35.27% White, 62.64% African American. 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.


As with most of North Carolina, Kinston is predominately Christian Protestant with large concentrations of Baptists, Methodists, and various other evangelical groups. Episcopalians, Presbyterians, and Disciples of Christ also constitute a significant portion of the population.

The Roman Catholic community in Kinston has seen steady growth over the years with the migration of hispanic workers to the area. Catholic migrants have also come from the northeastern United States who work for the North Carolina Global TransPark and in nearby Greenville, North Carolina.

For many years, Kinston had a sizeable Jewish community. As with most Jewish communities in the rural South, it has seen a steady decline. Temple Israel (Kinston, North Carolina), Kinston's only synagogue, currently supports around 20 families.



  • Lenoir Community College

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

K-8 schools[]

  • Contentnea-Savannah K-8 School
  • Kinston Charter Academy

Elementary schools[]

  • Banks Elementary School-
  • Northwest Elementary School
  • Moss Hill Elementary School
  • Southeast Elementary School
  • Southwood Elementary School
  • Northeast Elementary School
  • LaGrange Elementary School
  • Pink Hill Elementary School

Alternative school[]

  • Sampson School
  • Kennedy Home

Private schools[]

  • Arendell Parrott Academy
  • Bethel Christian Academy

Charter schools[]

  • Children Village Academy
  • Kinston Charter 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.[8]

The CSS Neuse, listed on the National Register of Historic Places,[9] and Caswell Memorial house 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.[10]

The Cultural Heritage Museum (CHM) was organized in the winter of 2000 on South Queen Street as a new economic development catalyst for Kinston, Lenoir County and eastern North Carolina. The heritage tourism project was created to recognize the contributions of African Americans in numerous fields. It pays tribute to the more than 200,000 black soldiers and 7,000 white officers of the United States Colored Troops who fought with the Union forces in the American Civil War. It also honors black military veterans from all wars, Carl Long and the Negro Baseball League players, local heroes, and Africa and Black History in general. The CHM intends to generate jobs and promote economic expansion opportunities.[11]

Kinston is also home to notable restaurants and a successful craft brewery. Kings BBQ is located on Highway 70 East near Lenoir Community College and has been a popular stop among locals and for people traveling to the beach for decades. The Chef and the Farmer restaurant is unlike any restaurant in North Carolina, unbelievably fresh food and atmosphere. It's like being in New York City or Chicago, except you're in Kinston. The Barn steakhouse, formerly the Beef Barn, and The Baron and the Beef are both fine dining establishments, featuring locally sourced produce and meats on their menus and supporting sustainable agriculture. Also a proponent of sustainable practices and local ingredients, Mother Earth Brewing was founded in Kinston in the summer of 2008.

Since 1882, The Kinston Free Press has been published in Kinston.

Sports and recreation[]


Granger 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 Ramirez.[12]

The Kinston Drag Strip hosts a variety of motor sports events throughout the year. Kinston has three golf courses: the Kinston Country Club, Falling Creek Golf Course, and Bill Fay Park Par 3 Golf Course. Barnet Park is home to Kinston Disc Golf. Fairfield Park has the Sprayground. The "Galaxy of Sports" is a recreational facility including a bowling alley, skating rink, and a health club.

In 1956, Kinston was the site of a rare, perfect game of billiards, as Willie Mosconi sank 150 balls in a row in one inning against Jimmy Moore.[13]

Parks and recreation[]

The city contains the following parks:[14]

  • Neuseway Nature Park, Campground and Meeting Facility
  • Pearson Park
  • Bill Fay Memorial Park - Par 3 Golf Course
  • Emma Webb Park
  • Fairfield Park - Sprayground
  • Holloway Park
  • Lovit Hines Park
  • Southeast Park
  • Barnet Park - Kinston Disc Golf



  • Air: Kinston is served by the Kinston Regional Jetport (IATA: ISOICAO: KISO). Raleigh-Durham International Airport is the closest major airport with service to more than 45 domestic and international destinations.
  • I-95 is the closest Interstate Highway to Kinston.
  • Kinston is not served directly by passenger trains. The closest Amtrak station is located in Wilson.
  • Bus: Kinston is served by Greyhound.


  • 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[]

  • Larry Beck, professional golfer
  • Maxwell Becton, manufacturer
  • Jocelyn Brown, singer
  • James Tim Brymn, jazz musician
  • Dwight Clark, retired NFL player
  • Richard Cray, singer
  • Tony Dawson, NBA player
  • Donna Horton White, 1976 U.S. Women's Amateur champion, LPGA professional
  • Malcolm Howard, federal judge in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina
  • Sherry Jones, author
  • Cedric "Cornbread" Maxwell, retired NBA Player
  • Richard McCoy, Jr., hijacker
  • Mitchell's Christian Singers, gospel group
  • Susan Owens, Washington State Supreme Court Justice
  • Maceo Parker, musician
  • Melvin Parker, drummer
  • Marion A. Parrott, lawyer, activist
  • Jaime Pressly, actress, model
  • Rickie "Allen" Pearson, Jr., Lenoir County Sheriff's Detective, 1st Law Enforcement Officer Killed in the Line of Duty in Lenoir County history.
  • Barbara Roy, singer
  • Christa Sauls, actress, model
  • Charles Shackleford, retired NBA player
  • J. Carlyle Sitterson, educator
  • Frank Snepp, journalist
  • Jerry Stackhouse, NBA player on the Dallas Mavericks
  • George Suggs, MLB pitcher
  • Tyrone Willingham, college football coach
  • George Parker, educator President of The Washington Teachers' Union in D.C
  • Reggie Bullock,Basketball Player at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
  • Ray Moseley, musician and poet
  • Rinde' Carter, rapper
  • Chris Hatcher, MLB Pitcher

See also[]

  • West Pharmaceutical Services explosion


  • Cooper, Edwin B., Jr., et al. (eds.) (1981). The Heritage of Lenoir County. The Lenoir County Historical Association. ISBN 0-894-59155-X. 
  • Johnson, Talmage C., and Charles R. Holloman (1954). The Story of Kinston and Lenoir County. Edwards and Broughton Company. ASIN B000FRTZB8. 
  • Kohler, Mike (1976). 200 Years of Progress: A Report of the History and Achievements of the People of Lenoir County, 1776-1976. Kinston-Lenoir County Bicentennial Commission. ASIN B0006CVK5G. 
  • Little, M. Ruth, and Robbie D. Jones (1998). Coastal Plain and Fancy: The Historic Architecture of Lenoir County and Kinston, North Carolina. The Lenoir County Historical Association. ISBN 0-966-83190-X. 
  • Powell, William S. (1963). Annals of Progress: The Story of Lenoir County and Kinston, North Carolina. State Department of Archives and History. ISBN 0-86526-124-5. 


External links[]

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Kinston, North Carolina. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.