The town of Wilmington was incorporated in 1739. Numerous early settlers came from the colonies of South Carolina and Barbados, bringing with them their reliance on African slave labor, which was soon part of the culture in the area.
Planters and small farmers used slave labor to exploit the region's natural resources. The forest provided the region's major industries through the 18th and most of the 19th century: naval stores and lumber fueled the economy both before and after the American Revolution. During the Revolutionary War, the British maintained a garrison at Fort Johnson near Wilmington.
During the Civil War, the port was a major base for Confederate blockade runners. It was captured by Union forces in the Battle of Wilmington in February 1865, approximately one month after the fall of Fort Fisher had closed the port. Since almost all the military action took place some distance from the city, a number of antebellum homes and other buildings are still extant.
During World War II, Wilmington was the home of the North Carolina Shipbuilding Company. The shipyard was created as part of the U.S. Government's Emergency Shipbuilding Program. Workers there built 243 ships during the five years it was in operation.
The city also was the site of a prisoner-of-war (POW) camp from February 1944 through April 1946. At its peak the camp held 550 German prisoners. The camp was first located on the corner of Shipyard Boulevard and Carolina Beach Road; it was moved downtown to Ann Street, between 8th and 10th avenues, when it outgrew the original location.
Today Wilmington is located at the Eastern Terminus of a major East-West Interstate 40 which ends at Barstow, California and about 15 minutes from the Atlantic Ocean. Area beaches Carolina Beach and Wrightsville beach are only a few minutes away.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 41.5 square miles . 41.0 square miles of it is land and 0.5 square miles of it is water. Population is about 101,000.
Winters are generally mild with January highs in the mid 50s °F (12-13 °C) and lows in the mid 30s °F (1-2 °C). Snowfall occurs only on some years, and is generally light.
Spring is reasonably lengthy, beginning in late February and lasting to early May. The presence of abundant dense vegetation in the area causes significant pollen dusting in the springtime that tends to turn rooftops and cars yellow.
Summer brings high humidity with temperatures frequently in the upper 80s - lower 90s °F (32 - 34 °C). Heat indices can easily break the 100 °F (37.8 °C) mark, though highs normally do not. Due to the proximity of warm Atlantic Ocean waters, the area may be hit by a tropical cyclone during the summer, at an average of once every seven years.
Wilmington boasts one of the largest historic districts encompassing nearly 300 blocks. Some of the Historic houses include:
Meadow Lark Lemon