Lexington, North Carolina
South Main Street
South Main Street
Official seal of Lexington, North Carolina
Barbecue Capital of the World
Location in Davidson County and the state of North Carolina
Location in Davidson County and the state of North Carolina
Coordinates: 35°47′50″N 80°16′27″W / 35.79722°N 80.27417°W / 35.79722; -80.27417
CountryUnited States
StateNorth Carolina
 • TypeCouncil-Manager government
 • MayorJason Hayes
 • Total19.22 sq mi (49.78 km2)
 • Land19.22 sq mi (49.78 km2)
 • Water0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
Elevation728 ft (222 m)
 • Total19,632
 • Density1,021.44/sq mi (394.39/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
Area code336
FIPS code37-38060[3]
GNIS feature ID2404923[2]

Lexington is the county seat of Davidson County, North Carolina, United States. As of the 2020 census, the town had a population of 19,632.[4] It is located in central North Carolina, 20 miles (32 km) south of Winston-Salem. Major highways include I-85, I-85B, U.S. Route 29, U.S. Route 70, U.S. Route 52 / I-285 and U.S. Route 64. Lexington is part of the Piedmont Triad region of the state.

Lexington has been noted as one of America's top four best cities for barbecue by U.S. News & World Report. The City calls itself the "Barbecue Capital of the World".

Lexington, Thomasville, and the rural areas surrounding them are slowly developing as residential bedroom communities for nearby cities such as Winston-Salem, Greensboro, High Point and, to a lesser extent, Charlotte and its northeastern suburbs.[5]


The Lexington area was at least sparsely settled by Europeans in 1775. The settlers named their community in honor of Lexington, Massachusetts, the site of the first skirmish of the American Revolutionary War. Lexington was incorporated as a city in 1828. Silver Hill Mine, located a few miles south of Lexington, opened in 1838, and was the first operating silver mine in the country.[citation needed]

Lexington's oldest home, The Homestead, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The oldest surviving house in Lexington is The Homestead, built by Dr. William Rainey Holt (1798–1868), a physician born in what is today Alamance County.[6] The Homestead has windows, sidelights and other Palladian details characteristic of the pattern books of architect Asher Benjamin.[7]

In addition to The Homestead, the Erlanger Mill Village Historic District, First Reformed Church, Grace Episcopal Church, Grimes Brothers Mill, Grimes School, Hedrick's Grove Reformed Church, Junior Order United American Mechanics National Orphans Home, Lexington Memorial Hospital, Lexington Residential Historic District, Old Davidson County Courthouse, Pilgrim Reformed Church Cemetery, Henry Shoaf Farm, Uptown Lexington Historic District, and John Henry Welborn House are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[8][9]

Business and industry

In the twentieth century until the late 1990s, Lexington's economy was mainly based on textile and furniture manufacturing. Since then, most local manufacturers have moved their production facilities to Asia and Mexico as a way to reduce costs and remain competitive in a global market. This caused the closure of most textile and furniture factories and contributed to economic difficulties for a community that was heavily dependent on these two industries for employment. The Lexington industrial portfolio has since diversified.

In 2023, Siemens Mobility announced that Lexington will be the home of their new railcar manufacturing facility.[10] Siemens Mobility broke ground on the 220 acre facility in August, 2023 with construction estimated to be completed in Fall, 2024 with manufacturing to begin by October, 2024. This facility is going to manufacture railcar's as well as provide railcar and locomotive overhauling services on the east coast.[11]

Other large employers include:



Pigs in the City and the Lexington Barbecue Festival bring in tourists from all over the country.

Main article: Lexington Barbecue Festival

Lexington calls itself the "Barbecue Capital of the World".[12] Since 1984, the city has hosted the Lexington Barbecue Festival, one of the largest street festivals in North Carolina. As of 2003, the city has over twenty barbecue restaurants, an average of more than one per thousand residents. In 2012, U.S. News & World Report ranked Lexington #4 on its list of the best cities for barbecue.[13]

Lexington-style barbecue is made with pork shoulder cooked slowly over a hardwood fire, usually hickory. It is basted in a sauce (called "dip" locally) made with vinegar, ketchup, water, salt, pepper and other spices.[14] The ingredients vary from restaurant to restaurant, with each restaurant's recipe being a closely guarded secret. While each is vinegar-based, the taste varies widely from tangy to slightly sweet or spicy.

The most distinguishing feature of the "Lexington Barbecue Sandwich" is the inclusion of red slaw (sometimes called "barbecue slaw"). Red slaw is a combination of cabbage, vinegar, ketchup and crushed/ground black pepper; it is distinguishable from coleslaw because it contains no mayonnaise. Many Lexingtonians (and visitors) consider red slaw a staple for a quality barbecue experience. Red slaw is commonly served as a side dish with barbecue, grilled poultry and other meats, and on hot dogs as a relish.

Pigs in the City

Main article: Pigs in the City

"Pigs in the City" is a public art initiative coordinated by Uptown Lexington, Inc., a non-profit organization created to revitalize the downtown (locally called "uptown") area of Lexington. People paid commissions to artists to decorate life-sized sculptures of pigs, which were installed throughout the city. Pigs in the City began in 2003, and the event drew more than 40,000 visitors from all over the state in its first year.[15] The cost to "sponsor" one of the 20 pigs on display was $1,000 during the first exhibition, which paid for the initiative.[16] The event ran from 2003–2005, and 2008–2009. In 2019, it was announced that Pigs in the City will return in 2020.[17]

High Rock Lake

High Rock Lake

Main article: High Rock Lake

The second largest lake in North Carolina, High Rock Lake is located a few miles south of Lexington. Its water surface covers 15,180 acres (61 km2), and it has 365 miles (587 km) of shoreline. It begins at the confluence of the Yadkin and South Yadkin rivers.

High Rock Lake has long been considered one of the best fishing lakes of North Carolina.[18] It is the site of the Bassmaster Tournaments, including the Bassmaster Classic in 1994, 1995, 1997 and 2007[19] and frequently is used for other angling competitions. The lake is stocked with channel, blue, and flathead catfish, plus crappie and several different sunfish, such as bluegill, shellcracker and others. Striper and their hybrids, as well as white bass, are also abundant.

The lake is best known for its quantity and quality of largemouth bass, which attract anglers from all over the United States. This is likely due to the relatively shallow nature of the lake and the favorable habitat for the bass.


Davidson County Governmental Center

Lexington is located in the Piedmont Triad region. Lexington is 11 miles (18 km) northeast of High Rock Lake, part of the Yadkin-Pee Dee chain of lakes in central North Carolina.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 18.0 square miles (46.6 km2), all land.[20]

Interstate 85 Business passes north and west of the center of Lexington, and Interstate 85 passes to the south. The highways merge at the southwest end of the city. Additionally, four U.S. highways, U.S. Route 29, 64, 52, Interstate 285 (co-signed with US 52) and 70, and state highways 8 and 47 intersect in the city.


Thunderstorms are common during the spring and summer months, including some severe storms. Located in central North Carolina, between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mid-Atlantic coast, Lexington has a humid subtropical climate, with moderate temperatures during spring and autumn and warm to hot summers. Winters are relatively mild and wet with highs typically in the 40s to 50s and overnight lows averaging just below freezing.

Climate data for Lexington, North Carolina
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Mean daily maximum °F (°C) 49.6
Mean daily minimum °F (°C) 28.6
Average precipitation inches (mm) 4.06
Average snowfall inches (cm) 2.4
Average precipitation days 10.2 9.3 10.2 9.0 10.0 9.5 10.4 8.4 7.7 6.6 8.8 9.6 109.7
Average snowy days 0.8 0.9 0.4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.3 2.4
Mean monthly sunshine hours 170.5 175.2 229.4 246.0 260.4 270.0 269.7 248.0 225.0 220.1 174.0 164.3 2,652.6
Source: NOAA,[21] HKO (sun)[22]


Historical population
2022 (est.)19,679[23]0.2%
U.S. Decennial Census[24]
Davidson County Courthouse

2020 census

Lexington racial composition[25]
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 9,094 46.32%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 5,419 27.6%
Native American 110 0.56%
Asian 586 2.98%
Pacific Islander 6 0.03%
Other/Mixed 963 4.91%
Hispanic or Latino 3,454 17.59%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 19,632 people, 7,448 households, and 4,607 families residing in the city.

2010 census

As of the census[3] of 2010, there were 18,931 people in the city, organized into 7,376 households. This represents a population reduction of 1022 persons, or 5%, when compared to the 2000 census. The median age was 37.4 years for all persons (39.4 for females, 35.2 for males).

Of the total population, 15.1% were at least 65 years old, 24.6% were under the age of 18, with the remaining 60.3% of the population being persons from 18 to 64. Males comprise 48.1% and females make up 51.9% of the total population. Caucasians make up 54.7% of the total population (including 16.3% who were Latino), African-Americans 28.4% and Asians represent 2.9% of the population. Fully 10.7% of the population identifies themselves as some other race, while 2.6% were of two or more races. Other races each represent less than 1% each of the total population.

Of the total 7,376 households, 4,581 were considered family households, including 2067 that had children under 18. The average household size was 2.44 persons, and the average family size was 3.08 persons. There were 8,938 total housing units, of which the 7376 were households, for an occupancy rate of 82.5%. 47.6% of these households were owner-occupied, while 52.4% were renters.

According to the 2000 census, The median income for a household in the city was $26,226, and the median income for a family was $32,339. Males had a median income of $25,555 versus $20,939 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,310. 21.2% of the population and 16.7% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 31.7% of those under the age of 18 and 18.0% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line. The global outsourcing of textile and furniture manufacturing has negatively impacted Lexington's economy.[26]

Notable people

Image gallery

See also


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  2. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Lexington, North Carolina
  3. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  4. ^ "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved October 27, 2023.
  5. ^ "County-to-County Commuting Patterns". August 17, 2015. Retrieved September 4, 2018.
  6. ^ Ashe, Samuel A'Court (1908). "Biographical History of North Carolina from Colonial Times to the Present". google.com.
  7. ^ "Historic Uptown Lexington, North Carolina" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on September 2, 2009. Retrieved August 14, 2022..
  8. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  9. ^ "National Register of Historic Places Listings". National Park Service. June 1, 2012.
  10. ^ Vitale, Cat (August 25, 2023). "Siemens Mobility breaks ground on its $220m North Carolina factory". Railway Technology. Retrieved May 11, 2024.
  11. ^ "Investing in The Future of Rail in Lexington, North Carolina". Siemens Mobility Global. Retrieved May 11, 2024.
  12. ^ "Welcome to Lexington, NC". Lexington Tourism Authority. Retrieved August 14, 2022.
  13. ^ Bratcher, Emily H. (2012). "America's Best BBQ Cities". U.S. News & World Report. Archived from the original on June 6, 2012. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
  14. ^ James Boo (February 26, 2019). "What's So Great About North Carolina Barbecue? An Exam of the Lexington Style". Serious Eats. Retrieved February 6, 2022.
  15. ^ "Lexington: Pigs in the City" Archived July 2, 2004, at the Wayback Machine, Electric Cities
  16. ^ Dominello, Amy; Firesheets, Tina; Schultz, Sue; Swensen, Eric. "Life-size porker promotion proves popular to public". Greensboro News-Record.
  17. ^ Myers, Sharon (September 17, 2019). "Uptown Lexington announces the return of Pigs in the City". The Dispatch. GateHouse Media, LLC. Retrieved October 5, 2019.
  18. ^ North Carolina Summer Bass Fishing Archived July 24, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ Camping in Piedmont, North Carolina. campingfriend.com
  20. ^ "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Lexington city, North Carolina". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved November 24, 2015.
  21. ^ "Climatography of the United States No. 20 (1971–2000)" (PDF). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 2004. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 13, 2014. Retrieved April 17, 2011.
  22. ^ "Climatological Normals of Greensboro". Hong Kong Observatory. Archived from the original on November 7, 2011. Retrieved June 15, 2010.
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  24. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  25. ^ "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved December 20, 2021.
  26. ^ (Lexington, NC). The Dispatch. Retrieved on 2016-12-02.
  27. ^ "Mike Dillon Career Statistics - Racing-Reference.info". racing-reference.info.
  28. ^ Grimes, William (May 17, 2017). "Lee Hall, Artist and de Kooning Biographer, Dies at 82". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 4, 2022.
  29. ^ Huffman, Steve (February 18, 2011). "'The Old Man' from 'Pawn Stars' recalls growing up in Lexington". The-Dispatch.com. Retrieved June 2, 2012.
  30. ^ Carter, Susan (December 2, 2012). "How Rich is Rick Harrison?". How Rich? Retrieved March 9, 2019.
  31. ^ "Deems May". Pro-Football-Reference.com.
  32. ^ "JOE MCINTOSH". profootballarchives.com. Archived from the original on November 29, 2014. Retrieved November 21, 2014.
  33. ^ "Harmonica Wizard Terry McMillan Dead at 53". CMT News.
  34. ^ "Johnny Temple Baseball Stats by Baseball Almanac". baseball-almanac.com.
  35. ^ "Rick Terry". Pro-Football-Reference.com.
  36. ^ "Bob Timberlake Biography". bobtimberlake.com. Archived from the original on October 5, 2011.
  37. ^ "Perry Tuttle". Pro-Football-Reference.com.