Lexington, North Carolina
—  City  —
Nickname(s): Barbecue Capital of the World
Location in Davidson County and the state of North Carolina
Coordinates: 35°49′0″N 80°15′31″W / 35.816667, -80.25861Coordinates: 35°49′0″N 80°15′31″W / 35.816667, -80.25861
Country United States
State North Carolina
County Davidson
 • Type Mayor-council government
 • Mayor John T. Walser, Jr.
 • Total 17.6 sq mi (45.6 km2)
 • Land 17.6 sq mi (45.6 km2)
 • Water 0 sq mi (0 km2)
Elevation 809 ft (246.5 m)
Population (2007)
 • Total 21,149
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 27292-27295
Area code(s) 336
FIPS code 37-38060[1]
GNIS feature ID 0988406[2]

Lexington is the county seat of Davidson County, North Carolina, United States. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 19,953. It is located in central North Carolina, twenty miles (32 km) south of Winston-Salem. Major highways include I-85, U.S. Route 29, U.S. Route 70, U.S. Route 52 (soon to be I-285) and U.S. Route 64. Lexington is part of the Piedmont Triad region of the state.

Lexington, Thomasville, and the rural areas surrounding them are slowly turning into bedroom communities for nearby cities such as Winston-Salem, Greensboro and High Point.


Dr. William Rainey Holt built Lexington's oldest home, The Homestead, listed on the National Register of Historic Places

The Lexington area was at least sparsely settled by Europeans in 1775. The settlers named their community in honor of Lexington, Massachusetts, the site of the first skirmish of the American Revolutionary War. Lexington was incorporated as a city in 1828. Until the late 1990s, Lexington's economy was mainly textile and furniture manufacturing-based. Since then, most local manufacturers have moved their production facilities to Asia and Mexico as a way to reduce costs and remain competitive in a global market. This caused the closure of most textile and furniture factories and has contributed to economic difficulties for a community that was heavily dependent on these two industries for employment.

Silver Hill Mine, located a few miles south of Lexington, opened in 1838, and was the first operating silver mine in the country.

The oldest remaining house in Lexington is The Homestead, built by Dr. William Rainey Holt (1798–1868), a physician born in what is today Alamance County.[3] The Homestead has windows, sidelights and other Palladian details characteristic of the pattern books of architect Asher Benjamin.[4] The home's owner was a Pennsylvania-trained physician who practiced medicine after relocating to Davidson County. An ardent Secessionist, Dr. Holt lost three sons during the Civil War and his home was occupied by Union Army soldiers. Following the War, Holt spent an increasing amount of time at his plantation Linwood, located southwest of Lexington, where he operated a scientific farm on his 1,600 acres (6.5 km2), and where, as President of the North Carolina Agricultural Society, Holt was among the first to introduce purebred breeds of livestock to North Carolina.[5]

Local Culture[]


Pigs in the City and the Lexington Barbecue Festival bring in tourists from all over the country

Lexington calls itself the "Barbecue Capital of the World".[6] Since 1984, the city has hosted the Lexington Barbecue Festival, one of the largest street festivals in North Carolina. As of 2003, the city has over twenty barbecue restaurants: an average of more than one per thousand residents.

Lexington-style barbecue is made with pork shoulder cooked slowly over a hardwood fire, usually hickory wood. It is basted in a sauce (called "dip" locally) made with vinegar, ketchup, water, salt, pepper and other spices. The actual ingredients will vary from restaurant to restaurant, with each restaurant's recipe being a closely guarded secret. While each is vinegar based, the taste varies widely from tangy to slightly sweet or spicy.

The most distinguishing feature of the "Lexington Barbecue Sandwich" is the inclusion of red slaw (sometimes called barbecue slaw). Red slaw is a combination of cabbage, vinegar, ketchup and crushed/ground black pepper. Red slaw is distinguishable from coleslaw because red slaw contains no mayonnaise. Many Lexingtonians (and visitors) consider red slaw a staple for a quality barbecue experience. Red slaw is commonly served as a side dish with barbecue, grilled poultry and other meats, and on hotdogs as a relish.

Pigs in the City[]

Pigs in the City is a public art initiative coordinated by Uptown Lexington, Inc.,[7] a non-profit organization created to revitalize the downtown (or locally called "uptown") area of Lexington. It includes an annual event held in the fall in the uptown business district. Pigs in the City began in 2003[8] when the event drew over 40,000 visitors from all over the state in its first year.[9]It became an annual event after 2006. The cost to "sponsor" one of the 20 pigs on display was $1,000 during the first exhibition, which paid for the initiative.[9]

High Rock Lake[]

High Rock Lake

High Rock Lake is the second largest lake in North Carolina and located just a few miles south of Lexington. Its water surface covers 15,180 acres (61 km2) and there are 365 miles (587 km) of shoreline. It begins at the confluence of the Yadkin River and the South Yadkin River.

High Rock Lake has long been considered one of the best fishing lakes of North Carolina.[10] It has been the host of Bassmaster Tournaments, including the Bassmaster Classic in 1994, 1995, 1997 and 2007 [11] and is the site of frequent other angling competitions. The lake has ample channel, blue, and flathead catfish, plus crappie and several different sunfish such as bluegill, shellcracker and others. Striper and their hybrids as well as white bass are also abundant. The lake is best known for its quantity and quality of largemouth bass, which attract anglers from all over the United States. This is likely due to the relatively shallow nature of the lake and the tremendous amount of habitat that favor the bass.


Davidson County Governmental Center

Lexington is located in the Piedmont. It is centered at 35°49'0" North, 80°15'31" West (35.816768, -80.258643)[12], in the valley of the Yadkin River. Lexington is 11 miles (18 km) northeast of High Rock Lake, part of the Yadkin-Pee Dee chain of lakes in central North Carolina.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 17.6 square miles (45.6 km²), of which, 17.6 square miles (45.6 km²) of it is land and none of the area is covered with water.

It is bordered to the north and west by Interstate 85 Business, to the south and east by Interstate 85. Both interstates merge just southwest of the city. Additionally, 4 U.S. Highway Routes, U.S. Route 29, U.S. Route 64, U.S. Route 52, U.S. Route 70 and state highways NC Highway 8 and NC Highway 47 intersect the city.


Thunderstorms are common during the spring and summer months, including some severe storms. Being located in central North Carolina, between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mid-Atlantic coast, Lexington has a humid subtropical climate, with moderate temperatures during spring and autumn and warm to hot summers. Winters are relatively mild and wet with highs typically in the 40s to 50s and overnight lows averaging just below freezing.

Climate data for Lexington, North Carolina
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 49.6
Average low °F (°C) 28.6
Precipitation inches (mm) 4.06
Snowfall inches (cm) 2.4
Avg. precipitation days 10.2 9.3 10.2 9.0 10.0 9.5 10.4 8.4 7.7 6.6 8.8 9.6 109.7
Avg. snowy days 0.8 0.9 0.4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.3 2.4
Mean monthly sunshine hours 170.5 175.2 229.4 246.0 260.4 270.0 269.7 248.0 225.0 220.1 174.0 164.3 2,652.6
Source: NOAA,[13] HKO (sun) [14]


Davidson County Courthouse

As of the census[1] of 2000, there are 19,953 people in the city, organized into 7,926 households and 5,072 families. The population density is 1,132.6 people per square mile (437.2/km²). There are 8,510 housing units at an average density of 483.1 per square mile (186.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city is 58.80% White, 29.91% African American, 2.56% Asian, 0.46% Native American, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 6.02% from other races, and 2.21% from two or more races. 10.70% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 7,926 households out of which 28.6% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.0% are married couples living together, 17.4% have a female householder with no husband present, and 36.0% are non-families. 30.6% of all households are made up of individuals and 13.2% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.42 and the average family size is 3.00.

In the city the population is spread out with 24.6% under the age of 18, 9.4% from 18 to 24, 29.8% from 25 to 44, 20.8% from 45 to 64, and 15.3% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 36 years. For every 100 females there are 92.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 89.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $26,226, and the median income for a family is $32,339. Males have a median income of $25,555 versus $20,939 for females. The per capita income for the city is $15,310. 21.2% of the population and 16.7% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 31.7% of those under the age of 18 and 18.0% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line. The global outsourcing of textile and furniture manufacturing has negatively impacted Lexington's economy in the past few years.

Notable residents (former and current)[]

  • Bob Timberlake, local artist
  • Robert Sink, Lieutenant General for the United States Army during World World II. Sink was portrayed in the television miniseries Band of Brothers by Captain Dale Dye.
  • Perry Tuttle, former NFL wide receiver for the Buffalo Bills, Atlanta Falcons, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Deems May, former NFL tight end for the San Diego Chargers and the Seattle Seahawks
  • Mike Dillon, former NASCAR Busch Series race car driver. Spotter for RCR driver Clint Bowyer
  • Terry McMillan, musician
  • Rick Terry, NFL defensive tackle for the New York Jets and Carolina Panthers.
  • Richard "The Old Man" Harrison of the famous reality TV Show Pawn Stars.

Images of Lexington[]

See also[]


External links[]

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