Marching Through North Carolina: Burlington, North Carolina
(Editor’s Note: Each weekday in March we will be featuring a city in North Carolina in our “Marching Through North Carolina” series aimed at getting to know your state better from the mountains to the coast. In our firm, we serve all of North Carolina and enjoy learning about what makes us the same and different throughout the Tar Heel state. If you have any tidbits or suggestions about a featured city, please leave a comment on that city or town’s blog post)
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County: Alamance & Guilford County
The history of Burlington started well before the city was known as “Burlington.” In fact, the area that Burlington lies today was an important part of United States history. The most famous battle, which some historians note as the catalyst for the American Revolutionary War, was the War of Regulation, also known as the Regulator Movement. Other battles included the Battle of Lindley’s Mill, the Battle of Clapp’s Mill, and Pyle’s Defeat.
Like many of the cities we covered in this series, Burlington’s early advancement was fueled by the railroad and textile mills. In the mid 1800’s citizens of the area, after learning about a state wide railroad construction, offered the builders a plot of land that would be known as “Company Shops.” The land would serve as the maintience and repair shops for the railroad. According to Don Bolden, who wrote this piece about Burlington’s early history, the railroad was the only industry in the area for three decades. In 1886, the shops closed down and the railroad was gone.
The area needed a new industry and they also needed a new name since the shops were gone. This was when the area was renamed “Burlington” and textile plants and hosiery manufacturers began popping up in the area. Burlington’s success in the hosiery industry lead it to be nicknamed “The Hosiery Center of the South” as it rolled into the 1900’s.
Even today, Burlington’s hosiery and textile history is still present in the community as Gold Toe Brands, a large sock manufactorer, calls Burlington home to its operations division. The “Company Shops”, which were mentioned in the history section, still serve as a place to visit to this day. The Company Shops Depot isn’t at the same location they were many years ago, but the nostalgia is still present with paintings.
If you’re a baseball fan, you can check out a Burlington Royals game at Burlington Athletic Stadium which is located at Fairchild Park. Through the years, many famous Major Leaguers including Manny Ramirez, Jim Thome and C.C. Sabathia have stepped foot in Burlington on their way to The Show.