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What is the oldest continually operating business in New Hanover County?

Wayne Faulkner
Hanover Iron Works

An exterior view of Hanover Iron Works on Water Street as it looked in 1915. (Courtesy the Dr. Robert M. Fales Collection at the New Hanover County Public Library)

Owner Horace “Tommy” King III said he believes Hanover Iron Works, 1851 Dawson St., Wilmington [Map this], is the the oldest continually operating business in New Hanover County that’s always been run by the same family.

The company’s website says Hanover Iron Works is 107 years old.

Hanover Iron Works, which was founded April 3, 1903, started as a sheet metal shop at a time when all the roofs were metal, King said.

The company has changed over the years.

In 2000, it dropped out of the heating and air conditioning business, and now does commercial and residential roofing of all materials, including metal, King said.

In 2009, Hanover Iron Works Sheet Metal was formed and is owned by King’s son, Horace T. King IV, known as Thompson King.

Beverly Tetterton at the New Hanover County Public Library offered older businesses:

  • Andrews Mortuary opened in 1850.
  • Oakdale Cemetery, which is a private company, has operated since 1855.
  • The Roger Moore Brick Co. has been in business since 1866.
  • The Star News started out in 1867.

But truly the oldest business, though it has morphed into new entities several times is CSX railroad, Tetterton said.

It started in 1835 as the Wilmington & Raleigh Railroad, which became the Wilmington & Weldon Railroad, which became the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, which was bought up, along with a lot of lines, by CSX.

User-contributed question by:
Rick Kreitner

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