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North Carolina Gazetteer now available online in NCpedia

NCpedia and the North Carolina GazetteerNCpedia and the N.C. Government and Heritage Library in cooperation with the University of North Carolina Press now make the entirety of The North Carolina Gazetteer available online through NCpedia at

The free online encyclopedia features thousands of articles and resources about North Carolina culture and history. It is hosted by NC LIVE, and managed by the State Library of North Carolina’s Government and Heritage Library within the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.

The North Carolina Gazetteer is a dictionary of North Carolina's geographical place names documenting their location, history and origins. First published by the UNC Press in 1968, it was compiled by noted North Carolina historian William S. Powell, professor emeritus of history at UNC-Chapel Hill. A revised edition in 2010 by Michael Hill of the N.C. Office of Archives and History updated and expanded the volume. It contains information on over 20,000 places in North Carolina.

“The key is that, whereas other sources list just the name, Powell’s book included the stories and derivations behind the names,” says Michael Hill. “No other state has anything like it. I was pleased to work with Professor Powell and UNC Press on the revised edition.”

"The North Carolina Gazetteer has had a prominent place on the bookshelf of North Carolinians for more than a generation,” says UNC Press Editorial Director Mark Simpson-Vos. “I’ve spoken to journalists, librarians, and teachers who have told me they cannot do their work without its handy reference to our state’s places. Together, Mike Hill and Bill Powell were able to update this resource for the 21st century, and we are thrilled that it is now so easily accessible for all readers through the NCpedia web site. I know plenty of folks are going to spend hours like I have losing myself in the important, surprising, and sometimes quirky history of these places and their names."

The North Carolina Gazetteer is a tremendous resource for anyone who lives in, or has ever traveled through, North Carolina,” says State Librarian Cal Shepard. “Where else would you go to find out Hanging Dog Creek was named after a Cherokee legend, or that Wolf Pit Township was named for the way colonists tried to trap wolves in the area? It also explains how to pronounce the names of places that have been frequently mispronounced, like Robeson County. We are excited to make it available online to everyone through the NCpedia site.”

The Gazetteer is the third work to be made available online through NCpedia's partnership with UNC Press. The agreement to make the content from both the Encyclopedia of North Carolina and the six volumes of the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography available online was announced Feb. 9, 2012.

All articles from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina were added by the end of 2012. NCpedia is on schedule to complete the process of integrating articles from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography this year.

The NCpedia expansion to include resources from the University of North Carolina Press has been funded through a Library Services and Technology Act grant through the Institute of Museum and Library Services.