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

North Carolina Facts and Figures

Gleaned from the Historical Marker Database

 

on February 6, 2023

 
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 101 of them have entries in this database. In North Carolina we have discovered historical markers in 497 cities and towns lying in 498 different ZIP Codes.

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There are at least 3,755 historical markers in North Carolina, by our count. We have cataloged 3,721 historical markers and 189 war memorials—each individually presented on 3,872 illustrated, annotated, and searchable pages of the Historical Marker Database. Pages for historical markers from this state make up 2.0% of our total. In addition, we are reasonably certain of another 34 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.

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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 February 2, 2023, and titled The Earl Scruggs Center. It is in Shelby in Cleveland County. 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
754 • Civil War
557 • Industry and Commerce
423 • Education
413 • Churches and Religion
402 • Settlements and Settlers
355 • Colonial Era
324 • Revolutionary War
309 • African Americans
292 • Government and Politics
214 • Waterways and Vessels
    ... 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—754 of them—than about any other historical topic. It is followed by Industry and Commerce with 557 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 21, 2023, and titled Egypt Coal Mine. It had been erected in 1948 in Sanford in Lee 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 Plymouth in Washington County. It is Ausbon House.

Counties, Cities and Towns

The North Carolina county with the most historical markers listed in this database is Guilford County, with 241 of them. It is followed closely by Forsyth County with 229 markers. The Greensboro area of Guilford County has the highest number of markers within its limits, 143. In Forsyth County the area with the most markers, 133, is Winston-Salem.

Historical Markers in These
North Carolina Counties
241 • Guilford County
229 • Forsyth County
143 • Mecklenburg County
140 • Buncombe County
124 • Alamance County
121 • Wake County
113 • Cumberland County
109 • Dare County
102 • New Hanover County
80 • Carteret 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 143 markers in or near it. And Winston-Salem also shows up again in next place, with 133 markers. For the ZIP Code with the most markers it’s 27101 at the top of the list with 98 markers in its delivery area. (ZIP Code 27101 is assigned to Winston Salem NC.) It is followed closely by ZIP Code 27601 with 90 markers. (27601 is assigned to Raleigh NC.)

Historical Markers Near These
North Carolina Cities and Towns
143 • Greensboro
133 • Winston-Salem
116 • Raleigh
114 • Charlotte
90 • Asheville
76 • Wilmington
68 • Burlington
62 • Fayetteville
53 • Blowing Rock
53 • New Bern
    ... 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 January 16, 2023, and is titled Greensboro Massacre and was erected in 2015, 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 Cosmos Mariner, April 23, 2022
Latest Entry from North Carolina
“The Earl Scruggs Center”

And finally the first, last, and oldest markers from Winston-Salem. The first: First Sit-In Victory In North Carolina, was added March 9, 2009. It had been erected in 2000. The last: Nissen Building added on December 7, 2021. The earliest marker erected was erected in 1905: Our Confederate Dead, added on May 19, 2012.

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 1,332 of their markers in the database.

In addition, North Carolina Civil War Trails—not government affiliated—also erected numerous historical markers, and we have 1,082 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 J. J. Prats, February 18, 2017
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 Pamlico County, Jones County and Scurry County. We've only found two historical markers in the first and one in each of the other two. 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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Feb. 6, 2023