Honored for its journalism in print and online, The Free Press and Kinston.com serve a section of eastern North Carolina known for its rich past and the promise of its manufacturing sector. Kinston, our home, is located midway between the state capital of Raleigh and the Atlantic Ocean beaches and is one of the state's oldest towns, founded in 1762 as a tobacco trading center. Today, heritage tourism, agriculture and manufacturing drive the local economy. The state's newest museum, the CSS Neuse Gunboat Museum, exhibits thousands of Civil War artifacts and the remains of the ironclad berthed here until the town fell to Sherman's Union forces in 1865. A state leader in crop, hog and poultry production, Lenoir County, of which Kinston is the county seat, is also home to nationally known food processors like Smithfield Foods and Sanderson Farms. Focal point of the area's varied manufacturing base is the N.C. Global TransPark, location for Spirit AeroSystems and other operations that are the center of a growing aerospace manufacturing hub.