Saturday, August 21, 2010

Wilmington, NC

At one point I wrote a number of posts on this blog about the city of Boise, in Idaho, (just put Boise in the search box above) never suspecting that this year I'd discover that my son's girlfriend comes from there.  Must have been premonition!   She has taught us exactly how it's pronounced, which was one of the foci of my posts in the past.  Good to have these things clarified, even if my son has to fall in love with a girl from the Northern Hemisphere to get it clarified.

There's no such difficulty in pronouncing Wilmington, (the home of Wilmington NC real estate), at least not as far as I'm aware.   Or am I about to get myself involved in a series of discussions about the actual, totally proper, correct pronunciation of the word?   Don't think so.   I suspect it's difficult for anyone who's spoken English since they were one year old to mistake the pronunciation of Wilmington.   It's more of an English word than American anyway. 

I knew nothing about Wilmington (nor Wilmington NC real estate - sorry, but I have to keep throwing that in; it's kind of a rhyming slang), so thought I'd do a little research on the place.   Firstly, it's very likely it's named after Wilmington in England, which is located 12 miles from Eastbourne and has been inhabited since Saxon times. The 12th Century Parish Church is dedicated to Saint Mary and Saint Peter. (That's not as old as the church where my parents-in-law are buried, though, which can clock up nearly a 1000 years.) The local public house is called The Giant's Rest, probably in homage to the Long Man of Wilmington, a giant chalk figure carved on the slopes of Windover Hill. It is one of only two human hill figures in England.

Wilmington NC isn't quite so old, but still has some impressive history: for instance, during the Civil War, the port was a major base for Confederate blockade runners.    A de facto coup d'etat (as Wikipedia puts it, nicely mixing Latin and French) took place there, when a mob ran a number of African Americans out of the town.  During the second world war, the city had a prisoner of war camp, which housed over 500 German prisoners at its peak. 

And for those creative people among you, the city is home to EUE Screen Gem Studios, the largest 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.

Surprisingly, the city's population is only just over 100,000, something I checked up on, as it seemed a small number of people for a place that has one of the largest historic districts in the country, encompassing nearly 300 blocks.   I mean, the city where I live, which has a population of about 130,000, would be lucky to be able to encompass 300 city blocks (!)
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