Lumberton is the largest city in Robeson County and the County Seat. It is ideally situated on Interstate 95 in southeastern North Carolina, just 20 minutes north of the South Carolina border. To many travelers who stop along the I-95 corridor, Lumberton is the midpoint between New York and Florida. Just south of the City, east-west Interstate 74 intersects with Interstate 95. Situated at the crossroads of these two major interstates, Lumberton is sometimes referred to as the “Gateway to Southeastern North Carolina” and “The Main Street of the East Coast.” This ideal location makes Lumberton a choice place to dine, shop, and spend the night.
Founded in 1787 by John Willis, an officer in the American Revolution, the City of Lumberton was created by an Act of the NC General Assembly that same year and was named the County seat of Robeson County. Lumberton was incorporated in 1859 and was so named because of its location on the Lumber River and its designation as a shipping point for lumber to be used by the Navy. Lumberton has grown tremendously since its creation in 1787. Of the 134,168 people in Robeson County, 23,000 live within the city limits of Lumberton
Robeson County History Museum
This museum is located in downtown Lumberton in a former railway express station built in 1908. The museum has a collection of artifacts relative to Lumberton and Robeson County and a rotating display that recounts Robeson County history from the earliest inhabitants to the more recent past. Visit the website at www.robesoncountyhistory.org
Robeson County Public Library Hoyland Livermore Jennings Local History and Genealogy Room
This history and genealogy room is located in downtown Lumberton in the Robeson County Public Library. Trace your Robeson County ancestors by accessing over 2,000 books in the genealogy collection. Learn the history of local churches and small towns in the county and review cemetery records. “The Robesonian,” the local newspaper, is available on microfilm from 1900 to the present. For more information visit the Robeson County Public Library website at www.robesoncountylibrary.org
The true gem of our community is the Lumber River, which is part of the North Carolina State Park System. In 1989, the NC General Assembly established the Lumber River as a Natural and Scenic River and also as a State park. It is the only NC black water river to earn federal designation as a National Wild and Scenic River. The Lumber River State Park consists of 9,243 acres of land and 115 miles of natural and scenic waters, 81 of which are designated National Wild and Scenic Waters. The Lumber River was voted one of North Carolina’s Top Ten Natural Wonders and is one of the most highly prized recreation sites in North Carolina. Visit www.ncparks.gov/ and find our park on the drop down menu.
NORTH CAROLINA’S FIRST CERTIFIED RETIREMENT COMMUNITY
In 2010, the North Carolina Legislature designated Lumberton as THE FIRST Certified Retirement Community in North Carolina. This certification signals that Lumberton offers an unprecedented quality of living and range of amenities, services and opportunities which make it desirable to retirees. This program captured the Governor’s Innovative Small Business Community Award in 2011. For more information, visit www.ci.lumberton.nc.us
Robeson County has a high population of Lumbee Indians. They have been recognized as a Native American tribe by the state of North Carolina but have not received federal recognition by the US Government. The Lumbee Tribe is the largest tribe in North Carolina, the largest tribe east of the Mississippi River and the ninth largest non-federally recognized group in the nation. For more information, visit the Lumbee Tribe website at www.lumbeetribe.com
The Robeson County Arts Council (RCAC) believes that awareness and promotion of art and culture greatly enhance the quality of life in our City, County and State. RCAC is the administrator of the NC Arts Council Grassroots Grants for Robeson County. Events sponsored by this Council include the Great Getaway (Gatsby Style), Art Cruising, art and garden exhibits, juried art shows, receptions and more. Visit the Pinterest board on our website home page under the link “Art and Culture.” Also visit the Robeson County Arts Council website at www.robesoncountyartscouncil.org
Lumberton is home to nationally recognized author Patricia McClelland Terrell, pen name p.m. terrell. She is the author of more than 18 books and the founder of Lumberton’s nationally recognized annual event, Book ’Em North Carolina Writers Conference and Book Fair which is held the last Saturday in February at Robeson Community College. Lumberton is the only location in the state of North Carolina sanctioned to hold this national event. Book ‘Em brings together more than 75 authors, publishers and literary agents who sell and sign their books and participate in talks and panel discussions. Learn more about our local author at www.pmterrell.com and about Book ‘Em at www.bookemnc.org.
Carolina Civic Center Historic Theater
Located in the heart of historic downtown Lumberton, the Carolina Civic Center facility first opened its doors on June 18, 1928. Then known as the Carolina Theatre, a vaudeville and silent film house owned by the Lumberton Theatre Company, it served as the area’s primary cultural arts center for more than four decades. The Carolina Theatre closed its doors in 1975, but reopened June 1985 as the Carolina Civic Center. A two-year, $2 million renovation and upgrade project was completed in February 2009. The theater is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. For more information visit www.carolinaciviccenter.com
Givens Performing Arts Center (GPAC)
Located on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, Givens Performing Arts Center (GPAC) is one of the southeast region’s premier destinations for arts and entertainment. This Performing Arts Center has received national recognition from BestValueSchools for its enduring commitment to arts education as well as its desire to provide exceptional arts programming to the public at the highest levels. It was ranked 16th among 25 of the most amazing university performing arts centers in the United States. For more information, visit www.uncp.edu/gpac.
A.D. Art Gallery
The University of North Carolina at Pembroke is home to the A.D. Art Gallery. The Gallery provides a venue for student and faculty work, as well as that of local and regional artists. For more information, visit their website here.
Museum of the Native American Resource Center
Native American artwork and historical photography can be found at the Museum of the Native American Resource Center on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. The museum features authentic Indian artifacts, arts and crafts from Indian people all over North America, with emphasis on Robeson County Indian people, particularly the Lumbee Tribe. For more information, visit http://www.uncp.edu/nativemuseum/
African American Cultural Center
This Center is located in downtown Lumberton. It houses a collection of artifacts, paintings and photographs that highlight contributions and accomplishments of local African Americans. Open by appointment. For more information, call 910-738-7712.
Located in downtown Lumberton, this facility has interactive exhibits for toddlers and children through the second grade where they can learn while having fun. Come shop in the grocery store, put on a play in the castle, or pretend to be a fireman. The possibilities are endless! Keep an eye out for the Summer Camp schedule as well. This facility provides unique hands-on learning and is a place to book a child’s birthday party. Childcare Centers, Pre-K and Kindergarten classes can be booked with special group pricing. For more information, call 910-738-1114.
Robeson Planetarium and Science Center and One Room Schoolhouse
Located at 420 Caton Road in Lumberton, the Planetarium theatre uses light, sound and color to recreate the images of the universe. A one-room schoolhouse is located adjacent to the Planetarium, along with a science center and gift shop. For more information, call (910) 671-6015.
NOTABLE PEOPLE FROM LUMBERTON AND ROBESON COUNTY
Brad Allen – National Football League referee.
John Beard – Los Angeles television news anchor.
David Britt – Chief Justice of NC Supreme Court . His brother, Earl Britt, was also on the NC Supreme Court.
Joe Freeman Britt – Judge and District Attorney for Robeson County recognized as the “world’s deadliest prosecutor.”
Chris Chavis – World Wrestling Federation Native American professional wrestler better known as “Tatanka” and “The War Eagle.”
Adolph Dial – Author of “The Only Land I Know.”
Johna Edmonds – Miss North Carolina 2013.
Mary Florian – One of the top female ultracyclists in the nation.
Penny Fuller – Broadway and television actress.
Sheena West Gatehouse – Attorney and one of the first females from Robeson County to play NCAA Division I basketball. She is a member of the Big South Conference’s 500 Rebound Club with 569 rebounds.
Roderick Griffin – 1976-77 ACC Basketball Player of the Year.
Michael L. Holmes – US Navy Rear Admiral
Dr. Johnny Hunt – President of the Southern Baptist Convention in 2008.
Reef Ivey – Lawyer and Professor of Law who was principal owner of Nutri/System Inc., one of the largest professionally supervised weight loss programs in the world.
Allen Lamb – One of the most decorated fighter pilots in the Korean War.
Vonta Leach – National Football League fullback. He played for the Baltimore Ravens when they won the 2013 Super Bowl.
Drew Levinson – CBS News national correspondent.
Gene Locklear – Major league baseball player and sports artist.
Sean Locklear – National Football League offensive lineman.
B.F. “Jack” Lowery – Co-founder of Cracker Barrel. 1958 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. In 1969, he and 12 partners invested in the first Cracker Barrel.
Rebekah Revels Lowry – Miss North Carolina 2002
Margaret Marley Modlin – Surrealist painter, sculptor and photographer who spent most of her adult life in Spain.
Jana Mashonee – Native American singer, songwriter, actress, author.
William (“Bill”) McArthur – Retired United States Army Colonel, a NASA astronaut, and a veteran of three Space Shuttle missions and one expedition to the International Space Station via the Russian Soyuz capsule.
Jill McCorkle – Author
William McGirt – PGA touring pro
Mike McIntyre – United States Congressman who represented North Carolina’s 7th Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives.
Angus McLean – Governor of North Carolina from 1924-1928.
Malcolm McLean – Entrepreneur who was often called “the father of containerization.”
Kathy McMillan – Olympian
D. McMillan, Jr. – Served five terms in the NC House of Representatives, served as Vice President of the University of NC Consolidated System and was Chief Lobbyist for UNC-Chapel Hill.
Sam “The Dot Man” McMillan – Famous black folk artist
Ruffin McNeill – Head Football Coach at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC.
Joseph Mitchell – Journalist for The New Yorker.
Paul S. Oliver – Major General in the U.S. Army.
Tom Oxendine – First Native American Naval aviator (WW2)
Charla Tedder Parker – 2013 National Teacher of the Year.
Maria Parker – Winner of 2013 Race Across America
Lorna McNeill Ricotta – Miss North Carolina 2000.
Afeni Shakur – An early member of the Black Panther Party and the mother of rapper Tupac Shakur.
Cliff Sharpe – Admiral, US Navy, Retired
Jerry Shooter – Organizer and lead singer of the Carolina Breakers
Ida Van Smith – African American female aviator pioneer
Dick Taylor – Member of UNC-Chapel Hill Track and Field Hall of Fame.
p.m. terrell – Author
Donnell Thompson – Pro football player
Mary Carol Warwick – Famous opera composer
David Weinstein – North Carolina Senator
Ronnie Wilkins – Songwriter who co-wrote “Son of a Preacher Man” recorded by Dusty Springfield.
Tim Worley—Pro football player.