Unlimited possibilities in all directions
Few North Carolina destinations offer a more vivid glimpse into the state’s history than Nash County. The Tuscarora native tribes, likely the state’s earliest residents, used to hunt, fish, gather and fight at what is now Rocky Mount’s 57-acre Battle Park, located at the “Great Falls of the Tar River.” By the 19th Century, the county had emerged as a booming tobacco and railroad hub as farmers moved their harvests to buyers via Rocky Mount and unloaded manufactured products arriving from the industrial North. Nash County quickly earned its reputation as one of North Carolina’s most important commercial gateways to the U.S. economy.
Much of Nash County’s economic legacy has been preserved and is appreciated by throngs of tourists routinely traversing the county via I-95. At Stonewall Manor, for example, visitors can tour an impressively restored c.1830 farmhouse that looks out at the Tar River. Nearby, a century-old tobacco mill has been given new life as the Imperial Centre for the Arts and Sciences, a 135,000-sq.-ft. complex devoted to culture, education and live entertainment. Rocky Mount’s historic district and several local museums keep Nash County’s stimulating past visible. Jazz legend Thelonius Monk, NBA and Tar Heel great Phil Ford and Jerry Richardson, majority owner of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers, are among numerous county natives who have risen to fame.
Today, Nash County remains a key portal into the Research Triangle Region from Eastern North Carolina and elsewhere. I-95, Amtrak and a railway mainline continue to move people and products in and out. An impressive roster of global corporations reflects Nash County’s broadly diversified economy. Health industry leaders such as Nash Health Care Systems and Hospira, the global provider of injectable drugs and infusion technologies, employ thousands of workers. They are joined by numerous manufacturers such as LS Tractor USA, a unit of South Korea’s LS Mtron Ltd., diesel-engine maker Cummins, Inc., and Honeywell, which produces aviation components there. Among consumer food names is The Cheesecake Factory, whose 100,000-sq.-ft. baking facility in Rocky Mount supplies the restaurant chain’s East Coast locations. MBM Corporation and McLane Carolina each operate large food and grocery distribution centers in Nash County.
Strong educational institutions ready workers for a wide range of career opportunities. Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools excels at technology-based instruction, and Nash Community College (NCC) offers over 80 degree, diploma and certificate programs, in addition to its customized workforce training. North Carolina Wesleyan College welcomes students from across the world to its 200-acre campus. The college also is home to the Gateway Technology Center, a unique partnership between North Carolina State University and East Carolina University that brings graduate-level curricula to Nash County via state-of-the-art distance learning technologies.
Past, present or future: As a commercial gateway to the U.S. economy, Nash County continues to enjoy unlimited possibilities in all directions.