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About Smithfield

Explore the Town of Smithfield, NC

Life in Smithfield, NC offers a blend of Southern charm, historic significance, and modern conveniences. Here’s what you can expect:

  1. Historic Downtown: Smithfield boasts a charming and well-preserved historic downtown area, featuring brick-lined streets, historic buildings, and a quaint atmosphere. Downtown Smithfield is home to a variety of shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions, making it a popular destination for residents and visitors alike.
  2. Community Events: Throughout the year, Smithfield hosts a variety of community events and festivals that bring residents together for fun and entertainment. From the Ham & Yam Festival to Fourth of July celebrations and holiday parades, there’s always something happening in Smithfield.
  3. Outdoor Recreation: Smithfield is surrounded by natural beauty, offering plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation. The nearby Neuse River provides opportunities for fishing, kayaking, and canoeing, while local parks and green spaces offer hiking trails, picnic areas, and playgrounds for families to enjoy.
  4. Cultural Attractions: Smithfield is home to several cultural attractions, including the Ava Gardner Museum, which celebrates the life and career of the iconic Hollywood actress who was born in Smithfield. The Johnston County Heritage Center and the Howell Theatre are also popular destinations for history buffs and movie enthusiasts.
  5. Family-Friendly Environment: With its safe neighborhoods, quality schools, and abundance of parks and recreational facilities, Smithfield is an ideal place for families to call home. Children have access to excellent educational opportunities and plenty of activities to keep them entertained.
  6. Diverse Dining Scene: Smithfield has a diverse dining scene with restaurants serving a wide range of cuisines, from Southern comfort food to international flavors. Whether you’re craving barbecue, seafood, or gourmet burgers, you’ll find plenty of options to satisfy your appetite in Smithfield.
  7. Convenient Location: Smithfield’s convenient location just off Interstate 95 makes it easy to travel to nearby cities such as Raleigh, Fayetteville, and Wilmington. Residents enjoy easy access to urban amenities while still enjoying the relaxed pace of small-town life.

Overall, life in Smithfield, NC offers a welcoming community, rich cultural heritage, and plenty of opportunities for recreation and entertainment, making it a wonderful place to live, work, and play.


Smithfield, North Carolina, has a rich history that dates back to its founding in the 18th century. Here’s an overview of its historical journey:

  1. Early Settlement: The area where Smithfield is located was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Tuscarora. European settlers began to arrive in the region in the 1700s, attracted by its fertile soil and abundant natural resources.
  2. Founding of Smithfield: Smithfield was officially established in 1777 when the North Carolina General Assembly designated it as the county seat of Johnston County. The town was named in honor of General William Smith, a Revolutionary War hero who played a significant role in the state’s history.
  3. Early Industry: In its early years, Smithfield thrived as a center of trade and commerce, with farmers bringing their crops to market and merchants selling goods to residents and travelers passing through the area. The town’s location along the Neuse River made it a hub for transportation and shipping.
  4. Civil War Era: During the Civil War, Smithfield was occupied by Union forces at various times, and several skirmishes were fought in the surrounding area. The town played a strategic role in the Confederate war effort, supplying troops and resources to the Southern cause.
  5. Postwar Reconstruction: After the Civil War, Smithfield experienced a period of reconstruction and growth. The town’s economy rebounded, and new industries such as tobacco processing and textile manufacturing emerged, contributing to its prosperity.
  6. Agricultural Heritage: Agriculture has long been a cornerstone of Smithfield’s economy, with farmers in the area growing crops such as tobacco, cotton, corn, and soybeans. The town’s annual Ham & Yam Festival celebrates its agricultural heritage and culinary traditions.
  7. Transportation and Infrastructure: Smithfield’s growth has been closely tied to its transportation infrastructure. The town’s location along major highways and railroads has facilitated the movement of goods and people, making it an attractive location for businesses and industries.
  8. Cultural and Educational Institutions: Smithfield is home to several cultural and educational institutions, including the Johnston County Heritage Center, the Ava Gardner Museum, and Johnston Community College. These institutions preserve the town’s history and provide opportunities for learning and enrichment.

Today, Smithfield continues to thrive as a vibrant and diverse community with a strong sense of history and heritage. Its historic downtown, cultural attractions, and thriving economy make it a beloved place to live, work, and visit for residents and visitors alike.