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Lexington, North Carolina

Lexington, North Carolina
Location in Davidson County and the state of North Carolina
Location in Davidson County and the state of North Carolina
Country United States
State North Carolina
County Davidson
 • Type Council-Manager government
 • Mayor Newell Clark
 • Total 17.6 sq mi (45.6 km2)
 • Land 17.6 sq mi (45.6 km2)
 • Water 0 sq mi (0 km2)
Elevation 809 ft (246.5 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 18,931
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 27292-27295
Area code(s) 336
FIPS code 37-38060[1]
GNIS feature ID 0988406[2]

Lexington is the county seat of Davidson County, North Carolina, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 18,978. It is located in central North Carolina, twenty miles (32 km) south of Winston-Salem. Major highways include I-85, I-85B, U.S. Route 29, U.S. Route 70, U.S. Route 52 (soon to be I-285) and U.S. Route 64. Lexington is part of the Piedmont Triad region of the state.

Lexington, Thomasville, and the rural areas surrounding them are slowly developing as residential bedroom communities for nearby cities such as Winston-Salem, Greensboro and High Point.


  • History 1
  • Business and industry 2
  • Culture 3
    • Barbecue 3.1
    • Pigs in the City 3.2
    • High Rock Lake 3.3
  • Geography 4
    • Climate 4.1
  • Demographics 5
  • Notable residents 6
  • Images gallery 7
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10


Dr. William Rainey Holt built Lexington's oldest home, The Homestead, listed on the National Register of Historic Places

The Lexington area was at least sparsely settled by Europeans in 1775. The settlers named their community in honor of Lexington, Massachusetts, the site of the first skirmish of the American Revolutionary War. Lexington was incorporated as a city in 1828. Silver Hill Mine, located a few miles south of Lexington, opened in 1838, and was the first operating silver mine in the country.

The oldest surviving house in Lexington is The Homestead, built by Dr. William Rainey Holt (1798−1868), a physician born in what is today Alamance County.[3] The Homestead has windows, sidelights and other Palladian details characteristic of the pattern books of architect Asher Benjamin.[4] The home's owner was a Pennsylvania-trained physician who practiced medicine after relocating to Davidson County. An ardent Secessionist, Dr. Holt had three sons killed during military service for the Confederacy in the Civil War. His home was occupied by Union Army soldiers.

Following the War, Holt spent an increasing amount of time at his plantation Linwood, located southwest of Lexington, where he operated a scientific farm on his 1,600 acres (6.5 km2). As president of the North Carolina Agricultural Society, Holt was among the first to introduce purebred breeds of livestock to the state.[5]

In addition to The Homestead, the Erlanger Mill Village Historic District, First Reformed Church, Grace Episcopal Church, Grimes Brothers Mill, Grimes School, Hedrick's Grove Reformed Church, Junior Order United American Mechanics National Orphans Home, Lexington Memorial Hospital, Lexington Residential Historic District, Old Davidson County Courthouse, Pilgrim Reformed Church Cemetery, Henry Shoaf Farm, Uptown Lexington Historic District, and John Henry Welborn House are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[6][7]

Business and industry

In the twentieth century until the late 1990s, Lexington's economy was mainly based on textile and furniture manufacturing. Since then, most local manufacturers have moved their production facilities to Asia and Mexico as a way to reduce costs and remain competitive in a global market. This caused the closure of most textile and furniture factories and contributed to economic difficulties for a community that was heavily dependent on these two industries for employment. The Lexington industrial portfolio has since diversified.

Other large employers include:



Pigs in the City and the Lexington Barbecue Festival bring in tourists from all over the country

Lexington calls itself the "Barbecue Capital of North Carolina.[8] Since 1984, the city has hosted the Lexington Barbecue Festival, one of the largest street festivals in North Carolina. As of 2003, the city has over twenty barbecue restaurants: an average of more than one per thousand residents. In 2012, the US News and World Report ranked Lexington as #4 on its list of the best cities for barbecue.[9]

Lexington-style barbecue is made with pork shoulder cooked slowly over a hardwood fire, usually hickory. It is basted in a sauce (called "dip" locally) made with vinegar, ketchup, water, salt, pepper and other spices. The ingredients vary from restaurant to restaurant, with each restaurant's recipe being a closely guarded secret. While each is vinegar based, the taste varies widely from tangy to slightly sweet or spicy.

The most distinguishing feature of the "Lexington Barbecue Sandwich" is the inclusion of red slaw (sometimes called barbecue slaw). Red slaw is a combination of cabbage, vinegar, ketchup and crushed/ground black pepper. Red slaw is distinguishable from coleslaw because red slaw contains no mayonnaise. Many Lexingtonians (and visitors) consider red slaw a staple for a quality barbecue experience. Red slaw is commonly served as a side dish with barbecue, grilled poultry and other meats, and on hot dogs as a relish.

Pigs in the City

Pigs in the City is a public art initiative coordinated by Uptown Lexington, Inc., a downtown (or locally called "uptown") area of Lexington.[10] People pay commissions to artists to decorate life-sized sculptures of pigs, which was installed throughout the city. The event includes an annual celebration held in the fall in the uptown business district. Pigs in the City began in 2003, and the event drew more than 40,000 visitors from all over the state in its first year.[11] The cost to "sponsor" one of the 20 pigs on display was $1,000 during the first exhibition, which paid for the initiative.[12] Since 2006, it has been established as an annual event.[12]

High Rock Lake

The second largest lake in North Carolina, High Rock Lake is located a few miles south of Lexington. Its water surface covers 15,180 acres (61 km2) and it has 365 miles (587 km) of shoreline. It begins at the confluence of the Yadkin and the South Yadkin rivers.

High Rock Lake has long been considered one of the best fishing lakes of North Carolina.[13] It is the site of the Bassmaster Tournaments, including the Bassmaster Classic in 1994, 1995, 1997 and 2007[14] and frequently is used for other angling competitions. The lake is stocked with channel, blue, and flathead catfish, plus crappie and several different sunfish, such as bluegill, shellcracker and others. Striper and their hybrids, as well as white bass, are also abundant.

The lake is best known for its quantity and quality of largemouth bass, which attract anglers from all over the United States. This is likely due to the relatively shallow nature of the lake and the favorable habitat for the bass.


Davidson County Governmental Center

Lexington is located in the Piedmont. It is centered at 35°49'0" North, 80°15'31" West (35.816768, -80.258643),[15] in the valley of the Yadkin River. Lexington is 11 miles (18 km) northeast of High Rock Lake, part of the Yadkin-Pee Dee chain of lakes in central North Carolina.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 17.6 square miles (46 km2), of which, 17.6 square miles (46 km2) of it is land and none of the area is covered with water.

It is bordered to the north and west by Interstate 85 Business, to the south and east by Interstate 85. Both interstates merge just southwest of the city. Additionally, 4 U.S. Highway Routes, U.S. Route 29, U.S. Route 64, U.S. Route 52, U.S. Route 70 and state highways NC Highway 8 and NC Highway 47 intersect the city.


Thunderstorms are common during the spring and summer months, including some severe storms. Being located in central North Carolina, between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mid-Atlantic coast, Lexington has a humid subtropical climate, with moderate temperatures during spring and autumn and warm to hot summers. Winters are relatively mild and wet with highs typically in the 40s to 50s and overnight lows averaging just below freezing.

Climate data for Lexington, North Carolina
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 49.6
Average low °F (°C) 28.6
Average precipitation inches (mm) 4.06
Average snowfall inches (cm) 2.4
Average precipitation days 10.2 9.3 10.2 9.0 10.0 9.5 10.4 8.4 7.7 6.6 8.8 9.6 109.7
Average snowy days 0.8 0.9 0.4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.3 2.4
Mean monthly sunshine hours 170.5 175.2 229.4 246.0 260.4 270.0 269.7 248.0 225.0 220.1 174.0 164.3 2,652.6
Source: NOAA,[16] HKO (sun)[17]


Davidson County Courthouse

As of the census[1] of 2010, there are 18,931 people in the city, organized into 7,376 households. This represents a population reduction of 1022 persons, or 5%, when compared to the 2000 census. The median age is 37.4 years for all persons (39.4 for females, 35.2 for males).

Of the total population, 15.1% are at least 65 years old, 24.6% are under the age of 18, with the remaining 60.3% of the population being persons from 18 to 64. Males comprise 48.1% and females make up 51.9% of the total population. Caucasians make up 54.7% of the total population (including 16.3% that are Latino), African-Americans 28.4% and Asians represent 2.9% of the population. Fully 10.7% of the population identifies itself as Some other race while 2.6% are Two or more races. Other races each represent less than 1% each of the total population.

Of the total 7,376 households, 4,581 are considered Family households, including 2067 that have children under 18. The average household size is 2.44 persons, and the average family size is 3.08 persons. There are 8,938 total housing units, of which the 7376 are households, for an occupancy rate of 82.5%. 47.6% of these households are owner-occupied, while 52.4% are renters.

According to the 2000 census, The median income for a household in the city is $26,226, and the median income for a family is $32,339. Males have a median income of $25,555 versus $20,939 for females. The per capita income for the city is $15,310. 21.2% of the population and 16.7% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 31.7% of those under the age of 18 and 18.0% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line. The global outsourcing of textile and furniture manufacturing has negatively impacted Lexington's economy.[20]

Notable residents

Images gallery

See also


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder".  
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names".  
  3. ^ "Biographical History of North Carolina from Colonial Times to the Present". 
  4. ^ Historic Uptown Lexington, North Carolina
  5. ^ William Rainey Holt, North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program
  6. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places.  
  7. ^ "National Register of Historic Places Listings". National Park Service. June 1, 2012. 
  8. ^ Lexington Tourism Authority, official website
  9. ^ Bratcher, Emily H. (2012). "America's Best BBQ Cities". US News and World Report. Retrieved June 12, 2012. 
  10. ^ [2]
  11. ^ "Lexington: Pigs in the City", Electric Cities
  12. ^ a b Staff writers Amy Dominello, Tina Firesheets, Sue Schultz and Eric Swensen. "LIFE-SIZE PORKER PROMOTION PROVES POPULAR TO PUBLIC". Greensboro News-Record. 
  13. ^ North Carolina Summer Bass Fishing
  14. ^ Camping in Piedmont, North Carolina
  15. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990".  
  16. ^ "Climatography of the United States No. 20 (1971–2000)" (PDF).  
  17. ^ "Climatological Normals of Greensboro".  
  18. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  19. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  20. ^ The Dispatch (Lexington, NC)
  21. ^ "Mike Dillon Career Statistics -". 
  22. ^ Steve Huffman (February 18, 2011). The Old Man' from ‘Pawn Stars' recalls growing up in Lexington"'". Retrieved June 2, 2012. 
  23. ^ "Deems May". 
  24. ^ "JOE MCINTOSH". Retrieved November 21, 2014. 
  25. ^ "Harmonica Wizard Terry McMillan Dead at 53". CMT News. 
  26. ^ "Johnny Temple Baseball Stats by Baseball Almanac". 
  27. ^ "Rick Terry". 
  28. ^ "Bob Timberlake Biography". 
  29. ^ "Perry Tuttle". 

External links

  • Official website
  • Lexington Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Lexington Tourism Authority
  • Lexington's Annexation
  • About Lexington's annexation
  • Uptown Lexington, Inc.
  • Arts United for Davidson County
  • Lexington's Barbecue Festival
  • Davidson Co. Tourism and Recreation
  • Photographs of Lexington buildings from the Library of Congress "Built in America" collection
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