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City HallCity of Jacksonville Vision

To provide the leadership, vision, and oversight necessary to ensure the responsible stewardship of Jacksonville’s environment and natural resources, for the effective and efficient delivery of municipal services, and for the proper planning for the future. 





Jacksonville has grown rapidly since 1941 when Camp Lejeune was established. The same qualities that drew the Marine Corps to build the “Worlds Most Complete Amphibious Base” in Onslow County were also some of the same qualities that caused the City to be formed along the New River.


Riverwalk Crossing Park, Jacksonville, NCThe County of Onslow was formed in 1731 from New Hanover. It was named in honor of Arthur Onslow, who for more than thirty years was speaker of the House of Commons in the British Parliament. In the early years the county Court, which also operated the government, sat at several different locations. After storms, a fire and other calamities destroyed or damaged early courthouses and homes where the court sat, a new courthouse was ordered built at Wantland’s Ferry. 

The first court was held there in July 1757. Jacksonville was authorized as a town in 1842 to honor President Andrew Jackson. It was not until 1849 that the town was laid out. Agriculture and products that could be shipped along the New River were the mainstays of the economy during this time. Historical writer Bill Sharpe described the time as “the river yielded world-famous oysters and the hogs, world-famous hams. The county seemed heedless of the restless yearning of its neighbors for development.

FIshing on the New River, Jacksonville, NCThat changed after December 15, 1940 when the decision was made to locate Camp Lejeune in Onslow County. Prior to that time, private business was conducted in the county courthouse because there was no other place. Former newspaper and magazine editor Billy Arthur wrote: “Agricultural income was $4 million from tobacco, corn, peanuts and hams. The fishing industry was comparably profitable.” He described the town before Camp Lejeune as quiet and where the most profitable business was operating a restaurant that fed the 10-member Kiwanis Club.

Public Launch & USO on the New RiverWithin a few days, the population doubled from 800, with hundreds more workers coming to the area to work on defense projects as part of the war effort. Property values escalated according to how close they were to the base of operations. The Riverview hotel, where now the USO sits, was taken over by the Navy for the construction headquarters. The Register of Deeds office stayed open late into the night to accommodate the condemnation of land and the recording of the deeds.

The City of Jacksonville’s growth was steady until 1990 when the City annexed portions of Camp Lejeune. The 2000 Census reported the population of Jacksonville at 66,715 with a growth to 82,000 by 2010. About half the population lives aboard Camp Lejeune and the New River Air Station.


North Carolina is a state in the SE United States. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean (E), South Carolina and Georgia (S), Tennessee (W), and Virginia (N).

Area, 52,586 sq mi (136,198 sq km).
Pop. (2000) 8,049,313, a 21.4% increase since the 1990 census.
Capital, Raleigh.
Largest city, Charlotte. 
Motto, Esse Quam Videri [To Be Rather than to Seem].
State bird, cardinal.
State flower, dogwood.
State tree, pine.

North Carolina, in the warm temperate zone, has a generally mild climate, with abundant and well distributed rainfall. The state's congenial climate, its many miles of beaches, and its beautiful mountains attract large numbers of visitors and vacationers each year. Chief among the tourist attractions are the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, the Cape Lookout National Seashore, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the Great Smoky Mts. National Park. Wildlife abounds in national forests (the state has four) and in the Dismal Swamp. Places of historic interest include Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, on Roanoke Island; the Wright Brothers National Memorial, at Kitty Hawk; Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site, at Flatrock; and Guilford Courthouse and Moores Creek national military parks.

North Carolina leads the nation in the production of tobacco and is a major producer of textiles and furniture. It grows 40% of all U.S. tobacco, but the continuing trend is toward diversification. Broilers, hogs, turkeys, greenhouse products, sweet potatoes, corn, soybeans, peanuts, and eggs are important. Plentiful forests supply the thriving furniture and lumber industries. The state has long been a major textile manufacturer, producing cotton, synthetic, and silk goods as well as various kinds of knit items. Other leading manufactures are electrical machinery, computers, and chemicals; the Research Triangle complex near Chapel Hill has spurred high-tech manufacturing, as well as bringing federal jobs into the state. The state also has mineral resources: It leads the nation in the production of feldspar, mica, and lithium materials and produces substantial quantities of olivine, crushed granite, talc, clays, and phosphate rock. There are valuable coastal fisheries, with shrimp, menhaden, and crabs the principal catches. Charlotte developed in the 1980s into a major U.S. banking center, and related businesses have flourished in the area.


*Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition, Copyright (c) 2003.