Wilmington, North Carolina

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Wilmington is a city in and the county seat of New Hanover County, North Carolina, United States.[3] The population was 75,838 at the 2000 Census.[1] A July 1, 2009, United States Census Bureau estimate placed the population at 101,350.[4] Wilmington is the principal city of the Wilmington Metropolitan Statistical Area, a metropolitan area that covers New Hanover, Brunswick, and Pender counties in southeastern North Carolina,[5] which had an estimated population of 354,525 as of July 1, 2009.[6] It was named in honor of Spencer Compton, the Earl of Wilmington, who was Prime Minister under King George II.

Wilmington was settled on the Cape Fear River. It offers an historic downtown with a one-mile-long Riverwalk as a main tourist attraction. It is minutes away from nearby beaches. The National Trust for Historic Preservation named Wilmington, North Carolina, one of its 2008 Dozen Distinctive Destinations.[7] City residents have the advantage of living between the river and the ocean, with Wrightsville Beach a short 20-minute drive from downtown.

In 2003 the city was designated by the US Congress, as "A Coast Guard City".[8] The city is home port for the USCGC Diligence, a United States Coast Guard medium endurance cutter.[9]

It is the site of the World War II battleship USS North Carolina (BB-55). Now a war memorial, the ship is open to public tours and is on display across from the downtown port area. Other attractions include the Cape Fear Museum, the Wilmington Hammerheads USL soccer team, and the training camp site for the Charlotte Bobcats. The University of North Carolina Wilmington provides a wide variety of programs for undergraduates, graduate students and adult learners, in addition to cultural and sports events open to the community.

Wilmington is the home of EUE Screen Gems Studios, the largest domestic television and movie production facility outside of California. "Dream Stage 10," the facility's newest sound stage, is the third-largest in the US. It houses the largest special-effects water tank in North America. Since the studio's opening in 1984, Wilmington has become a major center of American film and television production. Movies such as A Walk To Remember, Blue Velvet, Weekend at Bernie's, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Empire Records, Cape Fear, Black Knight, 28 Days, The Crow, Nights in Rodanthe and Hounddog; as well as television shows such as Matlock, Surface, The WB's Dawson's Creek and One Tree Hill have been produced there. Hundreds of films, documentaries, and television series have been filmed here.[10]

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