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City of Greenville
—  City  —
City hall in downtown Greenville, 2005


Nickname(s): The Spirit of the East, The Emerald City, G-Vegas
Location of Greenville shown within North Carolina
Coordinates: 35°36′6″N 77°22′21″W / 35.60167°N 77.3725°W / 35.60167; -77.3725Coordinates: 35°36′6″N 77°22′21″W / 35.60167°N 77.3725°W / 35.60167; -77.3725
Country United States
State North Carolina
County Pitt
Settled 1771
Founded 1774 (Martinsborough)
Founded 1786 (Greenville)
 - Mayor Patricia C. "Pat" Dunn
 - City 26.3 sq mi (68 km2)
 - Land 25.6 sq mi (66.3 km2)
 - Water 0.7 sq mi (1.8 km2)  2.59%
 - Urban 44.9 sq mi (72.3 km2)
 - Metro 685 sq mi (1,102 km2)
Elevation 56 ft (17 m)
Population (2007)
 - City 84,986
 Density 2,364.6/sq mi (912.8/km2)
 Urban 85,000
 Metro 183,000
 - Metro Density 301/sq mi (187/km2)
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP Code(s) 27834, 27858
Area code(s) 252
FIPS code 37-28080[1]
GNIS feature ID 1023721[2]

Greenville is the county seat of Pitt County and principal city of the Greenville, North Carolina Metropolitan Statistical Area. Greenville is the health, entertainment, and educational hub of North Carolina's Tidewater and Coastal Plain and in 2008 was listed as the Tenth Largest City in North Carolina. In January 2008, Greenville was named one of the nation’s “100 Best Communities for Young People” by the America’s Promise Alliance.[3] In March 2008, Greenville was ranked in the top ten of the nation's "Best Places For Business And Careers" by Forbes Magazine.[4] In 2004, Greenville was named Sportstown USA for the state of North Carolina by Sports Illustrated and the National Parks & Recreation Association.[5] The city is also known as "BMX Pro Town USA" [6], as it is home for many top professional BMX riders. The city's official population estimate as of July 1, 2009 is 84,986 residents[7]. The Greenville Metro Area includes 183,000 people.[8] It is the home of East Carolina University and Pitt County Memorial Hospital, one of the largest hospitals in North Carolina and employs over 6,000 people.[9]




Greenville was founded in 1771 as "Martinsborough," after the Royal Governor Josiah Martin. In 1774 the town was moved to its present location on the south bank of the Tar River, three miles (5 km) west of its original site. In 1786, the name was changed to Greenesville in honor of General Nathanael Greene, the American Revolutionary War hero, and later shortened to Greenville.[10]

19th century

During Greenville’s early years, the Tar River was a navigable waterway; and by the 1860’s there were several established riverboat lines transporting passengers and goods. Cotton was the leading agricultural crop, and Greenville became a major cotton export center. Before the turn of the century, however, tobacco surpassed cotton and became the leading money crop. Greenville became one of the state’s leading tobacco marketing and warehouse centers.[10]

20th century

For over a century, Greenville was recognized only for being an important tobacco market and the home of a small state-supported college. By the mid 1960’s, East Carolina Teachers College had become the third largest state-supported college, and enrollment approached 8,000 students—twice the 1960 enrollment figure. In 1967, it became East Carolina University. The ECU Medical School admitted its first four-year class in 1977. At the turn of the century, enrollment at ECU topped the 18,000 mark, and now exceeds 27,500 students.[11]

Greenville’s current economic development began in 1968 when Burroughs Wellcome, a major pharmaceutical research and manufacturing firm, chose Greenville as its home. The site is now owned by DSM Pharmaceuticals, which employs approximately 1,400 people. The city and Pitt County have also become home to many other major industries and businesses including Harper Brush, NACCO Materials Handling Group, Grady-White Boats, and ASMO.[10]

Tar River flooding homes after Hurricane Floyd

Hurricane Floyd

In September 1999, Hurricane Floyd made landfall in eastern North Carolina, dropping nearly 17 inches (430 mm) of rain during the hours of its passage. Many residents weren’t aware of the flooding until the water came into their homes. Most localized flooding happened overnight, and the Tar River suffered the worst flooding, exceeding 500-year flood levels along its lower stretches.[12]

Damages in Pitt County alone were estimated at $1.6 billion (1999 USD, $1.87 billion 2006 USD).[13] Some residents in Greenville had to swim six feet underwater to reach the front doors of their homes and apartments. Due to the heavy flooding in downtown Greenville, the East Carolina Pirates were forced to relocate their football game against #9 Miami to N.C. State's Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh where they beat the Hurricanes 27-23.[14]


Greenville is located at 35°36′6″N 77°22′21″W / 35.60167°N 77.3725°W / 35.60167; -77.3725 (35.601613, -77.372366).[15]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 26.3 square miles (68.0 km²), of which, 25.6 square miles (66.3 km²) of it is land and 0.7 square miles (1.8 km²) of it (2.59%) is water.


As of the census[1] of 2007, there are 172,473 residents in the Greenville MSA, 130,204 households, and 110,997 residents residing within five miles (8 km) of the city limit. The population density was 2,364.6 people per square mile (912.8/km²). There are 130,204 housing units at an average density of 1,100.4/sq mi (424.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city is 60.20% White, 32.14% African American, 0.80% Native American, 1.82% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.01% from other races, and 1.29% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.06% of the population.

There were 25,204 households out of which 23.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 30.8% were married couples living together, 13.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 52.4% were non-families. 35.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.18 and the average family size was 2.91.

In the city the population was spread out with 18.8% under the age of 18, 28.7% from 18 to 24, 28.2% from 25 to 44, 15.5% from 45 to 64, and 8.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 26 years. For every 100 females there were 86.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $28,648, and the median income for a family was $44,491. Males had a median income of $31,847 versus $26,324 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,476. About 15.6% of families and 26.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.1% of those under age 18 and 20.4% of those age 65 or over.


As with most of North Carolina, Greenville is predominately Christian protestant with large concentrations of Baptists, Methodists, and various other evangelical groups. Episcopalians, Presbyterians, and Disciples of Christ also constitute a significant portion of the population.

The Roman Catholic community in Greenville has seen steady growth over the years with the migration of hispanic workers to the area along with persons from the northeastern United States who work for East Carolina University and the Pitt County Memorial Hospital. St. Peter's Catholic Church in Greenville supports a day school for grades K-8.

Over the years, Greenville's Jewish community has seen continued growth. Congregation Bayt Shalom, a congregation affiliated with both Reform Judaism and Conservative Judaism, has around 80 member families and is led by the first African-American female rabbi in the United States, Alysa Stanton.


Elementary schools

  • Belvoir Elementary School
  • Chicod School (K-8)
  • Eastern Elementary School
  • Elmhurst Elementary School
  • Falkland Elementary School
  • Northwest Elementary School
  • Pactolus Elementary School
  • Sadie Saulter Elementary School
  • South Greenville Elementary School
  • Wahl Coates Elementary School
  • Wintergreen Primary School
  • Wintergreen Intermediate School

Middle schools

  • C.M. Eppes Middle School
  • E.B. Aycock Middle School
  • Wellcome Middle School
  • Hope Middle School

High schools

Higher learning

Private schools

Health care

The health care community in Greenville is one of the largest in the state of North Carolina. Pitt County Memorial Hospital is one of four academic medical centers in North Carolina and serves as the teaching hospital for the adjacent Brody School of Medicine. The hospital hosts over 1700 licensed medical providers and serves over 1.2 million residents of the region. Many medical offices and clinics along with the hospital and university teaching facilities lie on Greenville's west side, comprising what is locally known as the Medical District.[16] Currently the East Carolina Cardiovascular Institute is under construction and will add 250 jobs at the hospital along with a state-of-the-art six floor medical center.[17]


J.Y. Joyner Library clock tower

Greenville is home to a wide range of cultural events on and off the East Carolina University campus. East Carolina University offers musical concerts, theatrical and dance productions, travel films, and lectures. The Greenville Museum contains local art, as well as rotating exhibitions. Annually over 3,000 children participate in programs offered by the Museum and over 12,000 people visit the museum.[18]

Theater is beginning to emerge in Greenville as well. Local groups such as the Greenville Theater Project[19] and the Magnolia Arts Center[20] offer outlets for both performers and audiences alike. Smiles and Frowns Playhouse[21] produces children's theatre. Additionally, student groups such as SWASH Improv offer entertainment at the university and local establishments.[22]

Restaurants and nightclubs offer live entertainment on the weekends and Uptown Greenville has a district that includes numerous venue options. The downtown area is known for its large annual Halloween street party and live music bars. Considering the size of the city, Greenville has a large number of bars and nightclubs located downtown, due in large part to the location of ECU's campus a few blocks away.


Greenville is the regional shopping destination for the Inner Banks area since many big-box retailers and specialty shops are located in the city. Greenville Mall (formally Colonial Mall Greenville and The Plaza) is the city's enclosed center, featuring over 60 shops anchored by Belk and JC Penney. Other large centers include University Commons, Lynncroft and Arlington Village. Greenville Grande, Carmike Cinemas, a mix of cafes, restaurants, shops, and a fourteen screen movie theater recently opened. A new development called 11 Galleria, on the site of the former Carolina East Mall, will feature a number of big-box retailers, including Sears, Kohl's, and the Fresh Market. This new shopping center will contain 400,000 sq ft (37,000 m2). of retail space.[23]

Pirates football at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium


ECU's sports teams, nicknamed the Pirates, compete in NCAA Division I-A as a full-member of the 12 team Conference USA.[24][25] Facilities include the 50,000 seat Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium for football, the 8,000-seat Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum for men's and women's basketball, and the Clark-LeClair Stadium, with a seating capacity of 3,000 (max capacity of 6,000+ when including outfield "Jungle" areas) for baseball.

Greenville has a strong tradition in Little League Baseball. Greenville Little Leagues was founded in 1951 and has two leagues; North State and Tar Heel. Along with Little League success, Pitt-Greenville softball teams have won multiple world series titles. Since 2006, Greenville has sent Babe Ruth baseball teams to Southeast Regional competition each year in two different age groups, with two teams reaching the Babe Ruth World Series; the '06 15 yr. old team, and the '08 13 yr. old team. The 2006 team became the first Greenville Babe Ruth team to reach the World Series in 30 years, along with becoming the first Babe Ruth team to ever win a World Series game, defeating Clifton Park, NY 12-0.


Several major U.S. and state highways converge in the area to provide easy access to the interstate highway system. Major highways that run through the area include US 264(Martin Luther King Jr. Highway), NC 11(Memorial Drive), US 13, NC 33, NC 43, and NC 903. Greenville is North Carolina's largest city without a major interstate; however, Interstate 95 is located 29 miles (47 km) to the west of the city. Greenville is currently widening lanes on Memorial, and the intersection of Fire Tower. Greenville's busiest roads are along Memorial, Greenville Boulevard, Arlington, and Fire Tower. Greenville is the most congested city in Eastern NC. Greenville is expected to complete the southwest bypass in 2018. It stems from the 264 intersection on Statonsburg Rd. It has currently been stalled due to funding cost.[citation needed]

Greenville is also served by railroads. CSX Transportation moves the northern and southern parts of Greenville, Norfolk Southern Railway serves the eastern and western parts of Greenville.

Air service is available through Pitt-Greenville Airport with scheduled flights daily to Charlotte/Douglas International Airport via USAirways. The airport and local officials are in discussion with United Airlines and its regional partner, Colgan Air, to provide 2 daily flights between PGV and Washington Dulles.[26]

The City of Greenville operates a mass transit bus system called Greenville Area Transit or GREAT.

Greenville is in the process of building a system of paved pathways (Greenway (landscape)) for bicycle and pedestrian transportation. The first section of the South Tar River Greenway opened in late 2009. Other sections have been in use for many years, and more are planned.[27][28]


Newspapers & Publications

The Daily Reflector serves as the main daily newspaper and is Greenville's oldest business.[29] Other notable newspapers that serve the city include The Greenville Times, The East Carolinian and Viva Greenville.

Radio stations licensed in Greenville

  • 1070 AM: - WNCT contemporary Christian
  • 1250 AM: - WGHB local sports talk
  • 1570 AM: - WECU Gospel
  • 1340 AM: - WOOW gospel
  • 91.3 FM: - WZMB East Carolina University
  • 103.7 FM: - WTIB talk radio
  • 107.9 FM: - WNCT oldies

Television stations licensed in Greenville

Other television stations serving Greenville

Voice of America/IBB

Greenville is one of the major transmitter sites for Voice of America shortwave broadcasts under the auspices of the U.S. government's International Broadcasting Bureau. Both transmitters and a large antenna 'farm' are located just outside Greenville.[30] The Greenville Transmitting Station provides shortwave broadcasts for U.S. government-funded, non-military, international broadcasting and serves as a standby, alternate gateway for the Satellite Interconnect System to use to uplink programming, should the Washington, D.C., SIS gateway become unavailable. The station is also a backup facility for uplinking programming to the Atlantic Ocean Region satellite and serves as the primary return link of that satellite. For the VOA, the main target areas for the station’s shortwave broadcasts are Latin America, Cuba, the Caribbean, and Africa. Three complexes, one for management, distribution, and monitoring, and the other two for actual transmitting, form an approximate nineteen mile (30 km) equalateral triangle around Greenville. At one time, these formed the largest international broadcasting site in the world.[31]

Notable people that are from or reside in Greenville


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ America's Promise Alliance - 2008 100 Best Winners List
  4. ^ Forbes Magazine - 2008 Best Places For Business And Careers
  5. ^ :: Greenville is Sportstown USA ::
  6. ^ "Greenville, NC: BMX "Pro Town USA"?". VisitNC.Com. Retrieved 2007-11-05. 
  7. ^ "City Manager's Office?". City of Greenville, North Carolina. Retrieved 2007-11-05. 
  8. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Population of Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2007 (CBSA-EST2007-01)" (CSV). 2007 Population Estimates. United States Census Bureau, Population Division. 2008-03-27. Retrieved 2008-03-29. 
  9. ^ Careers
  10. ^ a b c City of Greenville, NC
  11. ^ East Carolina University, North Carolina
  12. ^ USGS: 1999 North Carolina Flooding: Summary
  13. ^ NCDC: Climate-Watch, September 1999
  14. ^ CNN/SI - College Football - ECU stays focused despite misery all around - Wednesday September 29, 1999 01:33 PM
  15. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  16. ^ Maps & Directions; Greenville North Carolina NC
  17. ^ About University Health Systems
  18. ^ Greenville Museum of Art
  19. ^ [1]
  20. ^ Magnolia Arts Center
  21. ^ Smiles and Frowns Playhouse
  22. ^ The Swash Improv
  23. ^ Shopping Center Business
  24. ^ "East Carolina". Conference USA. 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-06. 
  25. ^ Myatt, Al (2004). "Bingo! Search mission accomplished". Retrieved 2007-06-06. 
  26. ^ Eastern N.C. city hopes revenue guarantees can lure United - Today In the Sky -
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^ The birth of a newspaper: From weekly to daily
  30. ^ North Carolina Office of Archives & History. "Voice of America, Historical Marker". 
  31. ^ VOA News - Voice of America Homepage

External links

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