“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

North Carolina Facts and Figures

Gleaned from the Historical Marker Database


on January 23, 2021

1876 artwork by Henry Mitchell, via Wikipedia Commons

 North Carolina ranks 14th among states and provinces with markers in this database. North Carolina is a state in the United States of America located in the American South. It is also in the South Atlantic region. North Carolina is some 54 thousand square miles in size with a population of around 10.5 million people. The state is divided into 100 counties and 98 of them have entries in this database. In North Carolina we have discovered historical markers in 447 cities and towns lying in 451 different ZIP Codes.

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There are at least 2,989 historical markers in North Carolina, by our count. We have cataloged 2,960 historical markers and 115 war memorials—each individually presented on 3,048 illustrated, annotated, and searchable pages of the Historical Marker Database. Pages for historical markers from this state make up 2.1% of our total. In addition, we are reasonably certain of another 29 historical markers in North Carolina that we don’t yet have, and instead show on our Want List. Our correspondents have been finding and adding hundreds of markers a month to the database from all over the world, so next time you visit this page you will probably find that the numbers here have changed.

The first North Carolina marker in the database, Nat’l Rochester, was added February 3, 2007. It was photographed in Oxford in Granville County and was erected in 2003. The last one added was submitted on January 21, 2021, and titled Stephen B. Weeks. It is near Elizabeth City in Pasquotank County and had been erected in 1978. Keeping in mind that the erection date of many markers in the database is not known, the earliest historical marker we know of in North Carolina was erected in 1806. It was this one: Wachovia Settlement, and one of our correspondents found it in Oldtown in Forsyth County on March 12, 2012.

North Carolina Historical Topics
716 • Civil War
359 • Industry and Commerce
320 • Education
299 • Settlements and Settlers
273 • Colonial Era
267 • Churches and Religion
262 • Revolutionary War
227 • African Americans
216 • Government and Politics
179 • Cemeteries and Burial Sites
    ... and others ...

North Carolinians don’t want to forget their Civil War history. How do we know? Because there are more historical markers in the database from North Carolina about the Civil War—716 of them—than about any other historical topic. It is followed by Industry and Commerce with 359 markers.

The first marker added to the database with the Civil War topic was Bennett Place, added July 1, 2007. It had been erected in 1962 in Durham in Durham County. The last one submitted was submitted on January 20, 2021, and titled Eastern North Carolina. It had been erected in Camden in Camden County. The earliest marker erected with the Civil War topic that we have listed was erected in 1868. It is Confederate War Memorial, found in Fayetteville in Cumberland County on May 19, 2010.

What is the most interesting historical marker in North Carolina? What we know is that Cherokee Indian Reservation / (Leaving) Cherokee Reservation is the most viewed entry in the database from North Carolina since it was added in 2008. It is located near Cherokee in Swain County. This year so far, the most viewed North Carolinian entry is located in Hendersonville in Henderson County. It is Ninth Avenue School.

Counties, Cities and Towns

The North Carolina county with the most historical markers listed in this database is Guilford County, with 194 of them. It is followed closely by Forsyth County with 191 markers. The Greensboro area of Guilford County has the highest number of markers within its limits, 128. In Forsyth County the area with the most markers, 95, is Winston-Salem.

Historical Markers in These
North Carolina Counties
194 • Guilford County
191 • Forsyth County
122 • Alamance County
118 • Wake County
111 • Cumberland County
102 • New Hanover County
90 • Buncombe County
85 • Dare County
77 • Johnston County
74 • Henderson County
    ... and others ...

Checking the database for the city or town in North Carolina with the most markers we again find Greensboro at the top of the list with 128 markers in or near it. It is followed by Raleigh in Wake County with 113 markers. For the ZIP Code with the most markers it’s 27601 at the top of the list with 89 markers in its delivery area. (ZIP Code 27601 is assigned to Raleigh NC.) It is followed by ZIP Code 27410 with 69 markers. (27410 is assigned to Greensboro NC including the Friendship, Greensboro High Point Winsto, Guilford, Guilford College, and Ridgefield delivery areas.)

Historical Markers Near These
North Carolina Cities and Towns
128 • Greensboro
113 • Raleigh
95 • Winston-Salem
75 • Wilmington
66 • Asheville
66 • Burlington
62 • Fayetteville
51 • New Bern
45 • Oldtown
45 • Durham
    ... and others ...

Getting back to Guilford County, the first marker added to the database from there, Confederate Hospital, was added September 3, 2007. It was erected in 1950 in Greensboro. The last one submitted was uploaded on June 28, 2020, and is titled Polio Hospital and was erected in 2019, in Greensboro. The earliest marker erected in Guilford County that we have listed was erected in 1887. It was Col. Arthur Forbis, found in Greensboro on September 19, 2008.

Latest entry from North Carolina. Click to go there
By Devry Becker Jones, January 18, 2021
Latest Entry from North Carolina
“Stephen B. Weeks”

And finally the first, last, and oldest markers from Raleigh. The first: Lamar Stringfield, was added May 2, 2008. It had been erected in 1988. The last: Berry O'Kelly School added on February 11, 2020. It had been erected in 1968. The earliest marker erected was erected in 1870: Confederate Monument, added on February 12, 2013.

Who Puts Up Historical Markers?

The North Carolina Division of Archives and History is currently in charge of the familiar silver and black official historical markers found all over the state and the Division of Highways typically installs and maintains those that are roadside. You will also find official markers erected by the Department of Conservation and Development, a predecessor. They erected their first marker in 1936, and we have 1,182 of their markers in the database.

In addition, North Carolina Civil War Trails—not government affiliated—also erected numerous historical markers, and we have 968 of their North Carolina markers in the database. Also, a number of counties have erected historical markers on their streets and roads and within their public areas, as have some cities and towns.

Latest entry from North Carolina. Click to go there
By Devry Becker Jones, January 18, 2021
A Division of Archives and History Historical Marker

Then there are federal government agencies that put up historical markers, especially in national parks and other areas under their jurisdiction. And finally, there are the numerous public and private organizations and individuals that erect markers. Some do this as a continual endeavor, and others once in a while, to mark something, someone, or someplace they find important or interesting. When one of our correspondents comes across one that satisfies our criteria, we add it to the database.

Off the Beaten Path

You’ll find that even the smallest, least populated, or most rural areas of North Carolina have been marked with history. Check out Ashe County, Stanly County and Jones County. We've only found, respectively, 4, 1, and 1 historical markers there. Visiting one or more of these parts of North Carolina might make for a pleasant road trip, and maybe you’ll discover more historical markers while you’re there. If you do, perhaps you’ll take the time to photograph them and, when you get home, become an HMdb correspondent by adding them to the database. Happy Hunting!

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Jan. 23, 2021