Christopher Columbus' Profile
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Our History

While Christopher Columbus never set foot in his namesake Columbus County, NC, the county and its citizens have been touched by many of the major episodes of American history--the Indian presence, the Colonial period, the Revolutionary War, the establishment of railroads, the Civil War and Reconstruction.

Natural history also shapes Columbus County's heritage. Lake Waccamaw, the largest natural lake between New York and Florida, was the site of the Indian habitation long before the arrival of white men. The Waccamaw River, which flows from the lake, has linked the southeastern section of the county with South Carolina and its coastal ports. Lake Waccamaw sits at the edge of the Green Swamp Preserve, one of the best examples of the region's longleaf pine savanna with an understory filled with carnivorous plants, including pitcher plants, Venus flytraps, and sundews. The swift, dark waters of the Lumber River define the western limits of the county, while the Cape Fear River comprises a section of the northeastern border. Access to the Cape Fear and the port city of Wilmington has been a major factor in the settlement and commercial development of Columbus County. Before construction of roads, the Cape Fear, Lumber and Waccamaw Rivers were the main arteries that penetrated the dense woodlands of the area.

Railroad history is still alive in the depot museums of Chadbourn, Fair Bluff and Lake Waccamaw and Whiteville. The North Carolina Museum of Forestry celebrates the importance of the forestry industry in Columbus County both past and present. And the Horace Carter Museum will introduce you to the pages of our Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper, the "Tabor City Tribune." Other historic sites to visit include the Reuben Brown House, the Columbus County Courthouse, Mille-Christine Gravesite, Bogue Chapel, the Trading Post and Mt. Tabor School.

Columbus County lies only a short distance from the Atlantic Ocean, in the fertile lowlands of the coastal plain, occupying one of the most southeastern sections of North Carolina. Its position along the South Carolina state line is flanked by Brunswick County to the east and Robeson County to the west. Bladen and Pender counties bound Columbus on the north.

 

DISCOVER THE HISTORY OF A COUNTY CALLED COLUMBUS
Whiteville, Hallsboro, Lake Waccamaw, Chadbourn, Fair Bluff & Tabor City

Come and explore the hidden treasures of Columbus County . History, festivals and our natural wonders make us the perfect destination for your group. Your adventure begins in Columbus County .Founded nearly 200 years ago, it's a county rich in history highlighting the ways of a bygone era.

Begin your day in Whiteville , the county seat, with a self-guided tour which will include such sites as the historic courthouse , courthouse square and scenic Madison Street with its downtown movie theater. (1 hour)

Visit the Reuben Brown House , home of the first principal of Whiteville Academy in 1852. (30 minutes) Afterwards you will want to stop and have a old fashioned lemon-aid or orange-aid at Guition's Drug Store in downtown Whiteville.

Next stop, the North Carolina Forestry Museum , where the natural history and cultural heritage of North Carolina 's forests and forestry is celebrated through interpretive and interactive exhibits and educational programs. (1 hour)

Lunch at one of Whiteville's famous downtown lunch grills will round out your morning here before heading out to other parts of the county. Sit at the counter and watch your burger and fries being prepared.(1 hour)

As you head to Lake Waccamaw , you will drive by the gravesite of Mille-Christine McCoy, the world famous Siamese twins born in 1851 and Bogue Chapel , built in 1875 in Hallsboro. (45 minutes)

Built in 1904, the Lake Waccamaw Depot Museum is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Lake Waccamaw Museum showcases the natural history of the area, Native American artifacts, local family history, the turpentine industry and railroad memorablia. (1 hour)

Opened in 1810 by the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, the Chadbourn Depot is a must for railroad lovers. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the picturesque depot displays a variety of historical artifacts, including model railroads, period furnishings, Audubon prints, railroad memorabilia and even fashions from the 1900's. (1 hour)

The Old Trading Post in Fair Bluff, probably the oldest building in Columbus County , stands on the banks of the Lumber River . Built in the late eighteenth century, people from Robeson, Bladen and Columbus counties brought farm produce and naval goods to be sold or exchanged for other products. (30 minutes)

Originally built in 1897 as a combined Atlantic Coast Line passenger and freight depot, Fair Bluff Depot museum offers a step back into the past. Today it houses railroad memorabilia and equipment from the early 1900's until its closing in the 1960's. (1 hour)

You will end your day in Tabor City , and a visit to the Mt. Tabor School which was built in 1870 using a floor plan and building technique which had been in use since 1820. It was not only the first school in Tabor City but also in 1905 served as the original meeting place for St. Paul United Methodist Church . (30 minutes)

Visit the Horace Carter Museum and explore the pages of the Pulitzer Prize winning newspaper, the Tabor City Tribune. Mr. Carter himself may even be around to share his stories with you.

What a better way to end your day than with dinner at the Todd House , serving good food since Mary Todd opened her boarding house in 1928. Known throughout for its delightful old-fashioned homestyle cooking, the Todd House is one of Tabor City 's oldest businesses. (1 hour)

Enjoy an overnight stay at one of Columbus County 's accommodations.

 

DISCOVER THE HISTORY OF A SMALL RIVER TOWN
Fair Bluff, NC

Come & explore the hidden treasures of Columbus County . History, festivals and our natural wonders make us the perfect destination for your group. The adventure begins in Columbus County .Home to the North Carolina Watermelon Festival in July; scenic Fair Bluff is located in the southeastern corner of Columbus County .

Begin your day in Fair Bluff strolling the streets and shopping in the antique mall and quaint stores of the downtown district. Take a walk on the Riverside Boardwalk where visitors from all over enjoy the beautiful Lumber River and Cypress Swamp . Discover the indigenous trees of the river as you relax in the serenity of the river. (1 hour)

Visit the Fair Bluff Depot Museum , built in 1897 as a combined Atlantic Coast Line passenger and freight depot. Today it houses railroad memorabilia and equipment from the early 1900's until its closing in the 1960's. (1 hour)

Experience a true southern country lunch at one of Fair Bluff's downtown eateries. (1 hour)

Enjoy an afternoon in the quiet world of the Lumber River whose meandering leads toward another bend and new discoveries with River Bend Outfitters. You can paddle a canoe or kayak along nature's highway observing wildlife among cypress trees draped with Spanish moss on the Lumber River - one of the most scenic and wild black water rivers on the East Coast. For the fishing enthusiast, cast your lures against cypress knees and wait for the impending explosion of bream, catfish, bass, pike and other fresh water fish. (3 hours)

Dinner and overnight accommodations at one of Columbus County 's accommodations and restaurants.

 

SMALL TOWN CHARM WITH A "MAYBERRY" TWIST
Whiteville , NC

Come and explore the hidden treasures of Columbus County..History, festivals and our natural wonders make it the perfect destination for your group. The adventure begins in Columbus County . Tree lined streets with historic homes, steepled churches, dogwoods and azaleas in spring bloom, all make Whiteville a quaint southern town for your group to discover.

Begin your day with a tour of the North Carolina Museum of Forestry and discover the importance of timber to the history of Columbus County and North Carolina . See the preservation of natural and man-made materials that demonstrate the ongoing relationships of forest and people. (1 hour)

A self-guided tour of Whiteville will include sites such as the historic courthouse, courthouse square, Reuben Brown House and scenic Madison Street with its downtown movie theater . Enjoy the tree lined streets as you learn about Whiteville, the county seat. (1 hours)

Step back in time as you lunch at one of Whiteville's famous downtown lunch grills . Sit at the counter and watch your burger and fries being prepared and talk with the locals about the daily happenings. Experience the charm of days gone by.(1 hour)

Stroll the streets of downtown Whiteville and shop at one of the many specialty stores. Stop and enjoy an orange aid or milk shake at the old fashioned soda fountain at Guiton's Drug Store or visit the Columbus County Arts Council and see what's on display. (2 hours)

A tour of Gurganus Milling Company will round out your afternoon as you experience the process of grain milling. (45 minutes)

Overnight at one of Whiteville's accommodations and enjoy dinner at one of our many fine restaurants.

 
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