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What was Lingo City?

Ben Steelman

A vanished neighborhood of Wilmington, Lingo City was a working-class white community along the railroad tracks in the vicinity of what is now Oleander Drive.

According to the late Dr. Robert M. Fales (who made house calls there in the 1930s), Lingo City consisted of not more than two dozen one-story frame houses, about where Longley Supply Co. and Farmers Supply Co. now stand. None of its roads were paved, and the main thoroughfare was a muddy track that led to Delgado, on what is now Wrightsville Avenue. Most of the residents worked at the nearby Delgado/Spofford Mills complex, although Fales added that some of them worked for the Atlantic Coast Line. As in Delgado, many of the local boys found jobs as caddies at the nearby Cape Fear Country Club.

The neighborhood might have taken its name from the Lingo Box Factory, which was active outside Wilmington in 1911.

Lingo City still appeared on fire insurance maps as late as 1943 but was erased by rapid development not long after World War II. The name is preserved today by Lingo Avenue, a short, L-shaped street linking Colwell Avenue to South 19th Street.

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