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Jacksonville City

Jacksonville City Hall is located at 804 New Bridge Street, Jacksonville, NC 28540; phone: 910-938-5200.

Beginnings [1]

The site of Jacksonville was chosen as the location for Onslow County's courthouse in 1753. Attempts were made to establish a town at the site in 1785 and again in 1821, but none succeeded until the town of Jacksonville was officially established.

The town established in 1842 (and reincorporated in 1849) functioned as a support community for the county seat and consisted of a cluster of houses, stores, a turpentine distillery, and a tavern during the mid-19th century. The town was advantageously located at a point where the estuary of the New River narrowed and could be bridged. However, the bead of navigation on the New River was located three miles further upstream at Tar Landing. The community of Tar Landing vied with Jacksonville for inland freight during the 1870's. By the 1880's Jacksonville appears to have edged ahead of Tar Landing in population and volume of business. Population estimates for Jacksonville during the early 1880's range from 94 to 159. The population of the town in 1890 stood at 170 according to the U.S. census.

The leading figures in Jacksonville's railroad and lumber boom of the 1890's were New York financier Thomas McIntyre and Jacksonville doctor Richard Ward. McIntyre built the Wilmington, Onslow and East Carolina Railroad which was completed to Jacksonville by December 1890, and with Richard Ward established the Onslow Lumber Company in 1889, building a mill (now demolished) on the New River to the west of the Mill Avenue neighborhood shortly thereafter.

Over the thirty-five year period between 1890 and 1925 a succession of lumber mills and other woods products industries operated along the Jacksonville waterfront within a mile of the Mill Avenue neighborhood. In 1896 the population of the town was estimated to be 450. The 1900 United States census of population set the figure at 309. From 1910 until 1940 the town's population grew steadily. In 1910 the population was 505; in 1920: 656; in 1930: 788; and in 1940 on the eve of the establishment of Camp LeJeune, 873 (U. S. Census).

  1. Daniel Pezzoni, Preservation Consultant, Mill Avenue Historic District, Jacksonville, Onslow County, North Carolina, nomination document, 1989, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
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