Wilson Walking Tour

See the Wilson Walking Tour map


Wilson County is located in Eastern North Carolina and is known for being a tobacco farming region. The county seat is the town of Wilson and county communities include Lucama, Black Creek, Elm City, Sims, Saratoga, Rock Ridge, and Stantonsburg. Neighboring counties are Edgecombe, Greene, Johnston, Nash, Pitt, and Wayne.

From the beginning of and most of the 20th century, Wilson was known for being a large producer of bright leaf tobacco. While tobacco may not be a leading industry anymore, it is something that continues to define Wilson, even modern-day Wilson County, which has a one-of-a-kind city owned fiber optic network. Today’s leading industries consist of pharmaceuticals, automotive parts, aerospace, packaging and food preparation.

“Golden Leaf” is a commonly used word in and around Wilson. This term makes reference to bright leaf tobacco which turns into a deep golden color during harvest. It is used in a reminiscent way, as a semi-revered, semi-forgotten state of life yet still defines everyday life here. Coon High School, named for Charles Lee Coon, has been remodeled into the Golden Leaf Apartments for seniors; while everything about the Wilson Tobs baseball team reflects tobacco history.

Notable points of interest are the Imagination Station for kids, scoping out the giant redwood trees, Oliver Nestus Freeman Roundhouse Museum, and many more. The Imagination Station is an interactive science museum located downtown on Nash Street. Barton College was previously named Atlantic Christian College and boasts of a student population of approximately 1,200. And the Roundhouse Museum proudly preserves African-American history which is deeply integral to rural Eastern NC history. The Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park, begun in 2010, is currently under construction in downtown Wilson. Artist Vollis Simpson created the wind-powered sculptures out of recycled parts, along with generating a large tourism destination. You can find whirligigs dotting the landscape of Wilson County as well as many other landmarks statewide and further.