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About Kinston

Explore the Town of Kinston, NC

Life in Kinston, NC offers a blend of Southern charm, cultural richness, and a strong sense of community. Here’s what you can expect:

  1. Historic Downtown: Kinston boasts a beautifully preserved historic downtown district with cobblestone streets, historic buildings, and charming storefronts. The area is home to boutique shops, art galleries, restaurants, and cafes, making it a popular destination for residents and visitors alike.
  2. Cultural Scene: Despite its small size, Kinston has a vibrant cultural scene with a variety of museums, theaters, and art galleries. The Mother Earth Brewery, located in downtown Kinston, is a popular spot for craft beer enthusiasts, while the CSS Neuse Civil War Interpretive Center offers insights into the region’s history.
  3. Outdoor Recreation: Kinston is surrounded by natural beauty, with opportunities for outdoor recreation including fishing, boating, and hiking. The nearby Neuse River and Contentnea Creek provide scenic spots for water activities, while the Harmony Hall Plantation offers walking trails and historical exhibits.
  4. Community Events: Throughout the year, Kinston hosts a variety of community events and festivals, including the BBQ Festival on the Neuse, the Kinston Winter Bluegrass Festival, and the Kinston Music Park Concert Series. These events bring residents together for fun and entertainment, fostering a strong sense of community spirit.
  5. Southern Cuisine: Food plays a central role in Kinston’s culture, with a thriving culinary scene that celebrates Southern cuisine and local ingredients. The town is home to several award-winning restaurants, including Chef and the Farmer, owned by chef Vivian Howard, which has gained national acclaim for its farm-to-table fare.
  6. Education: Kinston is served by the Lenoir County Public School System, which provides educational opportunities for students in the area. Additionally, there are several private schools and higher education institutions nearby, including Lenoir Community College.
  7. Affordable Living: The cost of living in Kinston is lower than many other parts of North Carolina, making it an attractive option for individuals and families looking to stretch their budget. Housing options range from historic homes in the downtown area to newer developments on the outskirts of town.

Overall, life in Kinston, NC offers a unique blend of culture, history, and outdoor recreation, with a strong sense of community and a welcoming atmosphere that makes it a wonderful place to call home.


Kinston, North Carolina, has a rich and diverse history dating back to colonial times. Here’s an overview of its historical journey:

  1. Colonial Era: The area around present-day Kinston was originally inhabited by various Native American tribes, including the Tuscarora. In the early 1700s, European settlers began arriving in the region, attracted by its fertile soil and proximity to waterways.
  2. Founding and Growth: Kinston was officially established in 1762 when it was chosen as the seat of newly formed Dobbs County. The town was named in honor of King George III’s Secretary of State, William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, whose title was Viscount Pitt of Burton Pynsent and later the Earl of Chatham.
  3. Civil War Era: During the Civil War, Kinston played a significant role as a strategic transportation hub and Confederate stronghold. The town was occupied by Union forces at various times, and several battles were fought in the surrounding area, including the Battle of Kinston in December 1862.
  4. Reconstruction and Industrialization: After the Civil War, Kinston experienced a period of reconstruction and industrialization. The town’s economy flourished with the development of textile mills, tobacco warehouses, and other industries, attracting workers from across the region.
  5. Civil Rights Movement: Like many Southern towns, Kinston was also a battleground during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Local activists, including Julius Chambers and Floyd McKissick, led protests and demonstrations to challenge segregation and discrimination.
  6. Cultural and Culinary Hub: In recent years, Kinston has gained recognition as a cultural and culinary destination. Chef Vivian Howard’s acclaimed restaurant, Chef & the Farmer, has drawn national attention to the town’s farm-to-table cuisine and Southern culinary traditions.
  7. Natural Disasters: Kinston has faced challenges from natural disasters, including hurricanes and flooding. The Neuse River, which flows through the town, has been prone to flooding during severe weather events, leading to damage and disruption for residents.
  8. Community Resilience: Despite its challenges, Kinston has shown remarkable resilience throughout its history. The town’s strong sense of community, cultural heritage, and commitment to progress have helped it overcome adversity and continue to thrive in the 21st century.

Overall, the history of Kinston, NC, is a testament to its enduring spirit and rich cultural heritage, with each chapter contributing to the vibrant tapestry of this historic Southern town.