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Southern Pines

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A Sandy Beginning

While the central region of North Carolina known as the Sandhills had been settled by Highland Scots since the early 1700s, the area was at first slow to develop. The sandy soil could not produce many crops except the sprawling forests of pine trees, nor was it solid enough to allow easy travel by carriage. With the coming of the railroad in the mid-nineteenth century, however, everything changed.

Suddenly, the pine trees became a cash crop that could be easily harvested and shipped away as lumber and the people traveling through the area on the railroad between the North and Florida discovered Southern Pines as a convenient stopping point.

In 1884, John T. Patrick bought 675 acres of land for a grand total of $1,265, and began forming the town of Southern Pines. The very sandy soil that had hindered the area’s development for so long was in fact one of the causes of the Sandhills’ pleasant climate, which is drier and milder than the rest of the surrounding state. Patrick’s dream for the town – for it to be a health resort – relied on this lovely weather. Even though Patrick’s dream was never fully realized, the health aspect was the impetus for the early development of the town. Southern Pines quickly grew into a vibrant and prosperous community and became a favorite winter resort, especially for those seeking to escape the harsh weather of the north.

A Unified Town

Two communities by the name of Southern Pines sprouted up and grew in the later 19th and early 20th centuries:

  • “East” Southern Pines, home primarily to locals of Scottish descent and seasonal visitors from the north
  • “West” Southern Pines, one of the first incorporated African American towns in North Carolina

West Southern Pines was annexed into the larger Southern Pines municipality in 1931, bringing with it a rich cultural heritage that we continue to recognize and honor today. The unified town has flourished over the years, surviving world wars, the Depression, and changing economies to become the active community it is today with a shared vision for growth and development.

The Boyd Legacy

The town owes much of its prosperity to the activities of the Boyd family, who resided in the town since the beginning of the 20th century. The first James Boyd, a successful businessman in the steel and railroad industry, made his home in Southern Pines and established the 1,200-acre Weymouth estate. After the World War I, his grandsons, James and Jackson, divided the estate, and James moved to Weymouth to make his own mark on both the family home and the Town of Southern Pines.

This younger James Boyd began his life in Southern Pines by building what would become known as the Weymouth House. In his new home, James wrote his first and most well-known novel, Drums (1925). During his time there, the Weymouth House became a social center for other great writers, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Wolfe, and Paul Green, beginning a literary tradition in Southern Pines that remains a core aspect of the town’s heritage today. In fact, Weymouth Center, its beautifully restored house and gardens, is now home to numerous cultural programs, including the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame. Visitors may tour the grounds daily and the house during limited hours on weekdays.

James and his wife Katherine left a legacy in Southern Pines and Moore County that extended beyond the literary. They were benefactors to the Moore County Hospital, the Southern Pines Library, the Weymouth Woods Nature Preserve, Penick Village, and Sandhills Community College, to name but a few. Their generosity, culture, and commitment to the community played key roles in our town’s growth and success.

We welcome you to visit our many historic sites around town to experience Southern Pines’ history first-hand. Find more information about points of interest at the Southern Pines Welcome Center, which hosts a historic photo display of young Southern Pines and offers local maps and brochures. Learn more at the Moore County Historical Association website, or the office in the Shaw House.


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Beautiful Southern Pines

The greater Pinehurst, Southern Pines, and Aberdeen area is world-famous as the Home of American Golf, but our town has plenty to offer in addition to luscious green fairways.

Come stroll through the gorgeous streets in our downtown shopping district, with its many fine restaurants, locally-owned boutiques, and coffee shops.

Weymouth Center

Tour the magnificent Weymouth Center and grounds and explore other historic sites.


Catch a concert, play, or indie flick at one of North Carolina’s pre-eminent arts theaters, Sunrise Theater, located in the center of downtown.


Stop in the library for copy machine services, a pay for use computer, free WiFi, and for those needing a little relaxation reading, a collection of “honor” books (to be brought back at your leisure). The library offers many programs for all ages, so check out our calendar of events to see what is happening during your visit.


Treat your eyes and mind to the galleries of the Arts Council of Moore County housed in the grand Campbell House.

Parks & Nature

Stretch your legs and breathe some fresh air in one of our many parks. From basketball courts to grills to a reservoir perfect for kayaking, you’ll be able to satisfy almost any outdoor craving.

If you’re a bird watcher, bring your binoculars and be on the lookout for the protected Red-Cockaded Woodpecker, native to our area.

You can even use our ConnectGIS interactive map to locate specific areas these birds can be found. Just log in according to the instructions provided, open “Planning” and check “Red-Cockaded Woodpecker Partitions.” This will show you areas protected due to the presence of the woodpecker.

Points of Interest

Shaw House

The oldest home in Southern Pines, the Shaw House was built by Charles C. Shaw and his wife Mary when they settled in the Pine Barrens at the crossroads of Morganton and Pee Dee Roads in 1821. A first generation Scottish settler, Shaw acquired 2500 acres to farm and harvest timber for the production of naval stores. Land from this estate was purchased from his heirs for the establishment of Southern Pines.

One of his 12 children, Charles Washington (Squire Wash) Shaw, inherited and lived in the house, becoming the first mayor of Southern Pines in 1887. The house remained in the Shaw family until it was acquired in 1946 by the newly formed Moore County Historical Association in a grassroots effort to ensure its preservation.

The Shaw House property is open to visitors as an historic site. From the Pine Barrens to Shaw’s Ridge to Southern Pines, the Shaw House is a constant reminder of the legacy of the town and its transformation from an intersection of ancient Indian trails to a thriving community.

Train Station

Rail service was critical to the development of the Sandhills region and the Town of Southern Pines. With the establishment of rail service into Moore County in the late 1800’s came the expansion of the production of naval stores from the vast pine forests of the region.

Then, as the area became denuded of trees, efforts were made to encourage settlement. The train brought John T. Patrick, founder of Southern Pines, to the area known as Shaw’s Ridge. He conceived the ideas of promoting the climate of the Sandhills to restore the health of consumptives and of building resort communities along the rail lines.

The Seaboard Airline Railway system supported his scheme and financed his tour of the North to promote the area first called Vineland and then renamed Southern Pines. The Seaboard Airline Railway constructed the current depot in 1898 and the station continues to serve passengers today via Amtrak.


Weymouth was established in 1903 by Pennsylvania coal baron James Boyd as a winter country retreat. Later, as the home of his grandson, noted author James Boyd, it served as a gathering place for many prominent authors of the 1920s and 30s. Rescued from demolition and restored by Friends of Weymouth, it is now the home of Weymouth Center for the Arts and Humanities.

When he inherited the property from his grandfather, James commissioned architect Aymar Embury II to create a design from his sketches, incorporating a wing of the original structure. Embury, a renowned New York architect, designed many of the early homes and public buildings in the Sandhills area.

Designed for entertaining and family life, the Boyd family tradition continues as Weymouth hosts wedding receptions, writers-in-residence, and community concerts.


The essence of downtown Southern Pines is embodied in its unique array of shops. This streetscape includes historic buildings that-over the years-have housed an assortment of businesses providing life’s necessities and pleasures in colorful and friendly style.

Downtown’s present vitality is linked to its historic boom in the 1920’s, when it first grew rapidly as a center of commerce and resort living.