Jacksonville, North Carolina
The City of Jacksonville is the commercial hub of Onslow County and home to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station New River. The City has grown rapidly since 1941, when Camp Lejeune was established and possesses a rich history dating back to 1731.
The strength and pride of our leaders and Citizens has helped the city progress in a productive and positive way. Close to 82,000 people make the city their home, and the 2010 US census calculates Jacksonville number 14 in population in the state. also according to the census, demographically, Jacksonville is the youngest city in the United States with an average age of 22.8 years old, which can be attributed to the large military presence.
This once quiet farming community has grown into the business, retail, medical, banking, and cultural center for Onslow County. Jacksonville is also designated as a “Tree City”, an honor bestowed by the National Arbor Day Association, because of the City’s dedication to nurturing it’s green spaces.
In 1992, Jacksonville was named an All-America City by the National Civic League. We celebrate the fact that this award was a direct result of the active involvement and service of Citizens in the governance of the community. Jacksonville promotes the collaborative interaction of our hometown heroes, the Citizens, government, business, and the voluntary sector in the resolution of public issues and the solving of shared problems.
Onslow County was formed in 1731 and the County Court sat at several different locations until it located at the County seat at Wantland’s Ferry, along the New River in what is today the downtown area of Jacksonville. The downtown waterfront park is built on the site of Wantland's Ferry, with bridges on either side of the original ferry site. Still standing at the site is also the historic Pelletier House, maintained by the Onslow Historical Society and open to the public on special occasions. The grounds and park are open to the public year round.
It was not until 1849, that the town of Jacksonville was laid out. Agriculture and products could be shipped along the New River and were the mainstays of the economy during this time. In December of 1940, a decision was made to locate Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville and at that time Jacksonville was described as quiet town where the most profitable business was operating a restaurant that fed the 10-member Kiwanis Club.
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 New River Air Station.