Monroe, North Carolina

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Monroe, North Carolina
Union County Courthouse in downtown Monroe
Union County Courthouse in downtown Monroe
Motto: "a heritage of progress"
Location of Monroe, North Carolina
Location of Monroe, North Carolina
Coordinates: Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
Country United States
State North Carolina
County Union
 • Total 24.9 sq mi (64.4 km2)
 • Land 24.6 sq mi (63.6 km2)
 • Water 0.3 sq mi (0.7 km2)
Elevation 591 ft (180 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 32,797
 • Density 1,067.5/sq mi (412.1/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 28110-28112
Area code(s) 704
FIPS code 37-43920[1]
GNIS feature ID 0990144[2]

Monroe is a fast-growing city and the county seat in Union County, North Carolina, United States. The population jumped from 26,228 in 2000 to 32,797 in 2010. It is the seat of government of Union County[3] and is also part of the Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill, NC-SC Metropolitan area. Monroe uses a council-manager form of government.


Monroe is located at Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found. (34.988760, -80.549792).[4] Charlotte-Monroe Executive Airport (EQY) is located five miles to the northwest of Monroe.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 24.9 square miles (64 km2), of which, 24.6 square miles (64 km2) of it is land and 0.3 square miles (0.78 km2) of it (1.13%) is water.


In 1843, the first Board of County Commissioners, appointed by the General Assembly, selected an area in the center of the county as the county seat and Monroe was incorporated that year. It was named for James Monroe, the country’s fifth president. It became a trading center for the agricultural areas of the region, which cultivated tobacco.

Since the early 20th century, Ludwig drums and timpani have been manufactured in Monroe. The Ludwig brothers developed a hydraulic action timpani and in 1916 invented a spring mechanism—the basis for the current Balanced Action Pedal Timpani.

Monroe was a center of activities in the late 1950s and early 1960s related to the Civil Rights Movement because of its pervasive segregation. At this time, the city had a population estimated at about 12,000, with an estimated 7500 members of the Ku Klux Klan, according to press reports.[5] Local NAACP chapter President Robert F. Williams, returned from service with the Marines during World War II in 1946, began to work to integrate public facilities, starting with the library and then the city's swimming pool, built with federal funds during the Great Depression of the 1930s.[5]

In 1958 Williams obtained Conrad Lynn, a civil rights attorney from New York City, to aid in defending two African-American boys, aged nine and seven, who were convicted of molestation and sentenced to a reformatory until age 21 for kissing a white girl their age on the cheek, in what became known as the Kissing Case. The former First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt, talked to the governor to urge restraint, and the case became internationally embarrassing for the United States. After three months, the governor pardoned the boys.

With rising Ku Klux Klan white violence against the minority black community of Monroe during the civil rights years, Williams began to advocate black armed resistance. The NAACP and black community in Monroe provided a base for some of the Freedom Riders in 1961, who were trying to integrate interstate bus travel, under federal constitutional provisions governing interstate commerce. Mobs attacked pickets marching for the Freedom Riders at the county courthouse. That year, Williams was accused of kidnapping an elderly white couple, when he sheltered them in his house during an explosive situation of high racial tensions. Williams and his wife fled the United States that year to avoid prosecution for kidnapping. They went into exile for years in Cuba and in the People's Republic of China before returning to the United States in 1969. After Williams' return in 1969 and scheduled trial in 1975, North Carolina quickly dropped the charges rather than going to trial.

The Helms family was prominent among the white community in the town during these years. Jesse Helms Sr. served as Police and Fire Chief of Monroe for many years. Jesse Helms, Jr. was born and grew up in the town. He became a politician and was elected five terms (1973–2003) as the U.S. Senator from North Carolina, serving as a Republican. He mustered support in the South for and played a key role in helping Ronald Reagan to be elected as President of the United States. Through that period, he was also a prominent (and often controversial) national leader of the Religious Right wing of the Republican Party. The Jesse Helms Center is in neighboring Wingate, North Carolina.

Monroe was home to the Starlite Speedway in the 1960s to 1970s. On May 13, 1966 the 1/2 mile dirt track hosted NASCAR's Independent 250. Darel Dieringer won the race.

The Malcolm K. Lee House, Monroe City Hall, Monroe Downtown Historic District, Monroe Residential Historic District, Piedmont Buggy Factory, John C. Sikes House, Union County Courthouse, United States Post Office, and Waxhaw-Weddington Roads Historic District are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[6]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 204
1860 239 17.2%
1870 1,144 378.7%
1880 1,564 36.7%
1890 1,866 19.3%
1900 2,427 30.1%
1910 4,082 68.2%
1920 4,084 0.0%
1930 6,100 49.4%
1940 6,475 6.1%
1950 10,140 56.6%
1960 10,882 7.3%
1970 11,282 3.7%
1980 12,639 12.0%
1990 16,127 27.6%
2000 26,228 62.6%
2010 32,797 25.0%
Est. 2014 34,331 [7] 4.7%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census[1] of 2010, there were 32,797 people, 9,029 households, and 6,392 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,067.5 people per square mile (412.2/km²). There were 9,621 housing units at an average density of 391.6 per square mile (151.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 60.12% White, 27.78% African American, 0.44% Native American, 0.65% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 9.37% from other races, and 1.60% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 21.39% of the population.

There were 9,029 households out of which 33.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.0% were married couples living together, 15.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.2% were non-families. 23.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.83 and the average family size was 3.27.

In the city the population was spread out with 26.9% under the age of 18, 11.6% from 18 to 24, 32.6% from 25 to 44, 18.0% from 45 to 64, and 10.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 102.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 101.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $40,457, and the median income for a family was $44,953. Males had a median income of $30,265 versus $22,889 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,970. About 11.7% of families and 17.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.7% of those under age 18 and 12.8% of those age 65 or over.

Local media

The local newspaper is The Enquirer-Journal, which is published three days a week (Wednesday, Friday and Sunday).[8]

The local radio station is WIXE 1190 AM radio, known as "The Mighty 1190".

Notable people


  1. 1.0 1.1 "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 Williams, Robert F. "1957: Swimming Pool Showdown", Southern Exposure, c. Summer 1980; the article appeared in a special issue devoted to the Ku Klux Klan, accessed 17 November 2013
  6. Staff (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "About Us". The Enquirer Journal. Retrieved July 6, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links