Southern Pines History
Southern Pines history really began when John T Patrick, North Carolina’s
first Commissioner of Immigration, bought 675 acres in 1884 on Shaw’s Ridge.
Appointed by governor Zebulon Vance in the 1850’s, he was assigned the task of
bringing newcomers to the area. The Raleigh Augusta railroad came through Manly
(a town located 1 mile north of Southern Pines) in 1876, and shortly thereafter
Patrick stepped off the train and headed south.
He began visiting various towns and felt Southern Moore County had a lot of
appeal due to the healthy climate and potential for development. Patrick saw the
climate as the area's biggest asset. Some swore that the clean, fresh air and
the smell put off by the pines had medicinal properties. Patrick came from New
England and had a vision for a health resort.
Patrick ended up at Shaw’s Ridge where he purchased 675 acres from Charles C.
Shaw for $1265- less than $2 an acre. Residents had little faith in Patrick and
began referring to his project as “Patrick’s Folly”. Patrick initially called
his town “Vineland”, but shortly thereafter changed the name to “Southern
Patrick designed Southern Pines with the railroad running straight down the
center of town, 60-foot streets, and planned alleys going down the middle of
each of the four sides of the grid to meet in the center square. He named the
streets after northern states as part of his marketing plan. The layout is still
much the same today as it was early on in Southern Pines history. Check out the
map and aerial views here. He built a hotel
called The Flattop directly across from the train depot. Patrick’s plan was for
visitors from the North to step off the train and be able to find lodging within
a few blocks.
In order to draw people to the area, Patrick contacted newspaper editors from
the North and offered them property in Southern Pines in exchange for free
advertising. He selected doctors as useful references and gave them tours
highlighting the advantages of Southern Pines for their patients, especially
those with tuberculosis. His plan worked and started drawing doctors and
visitors from the north, seeking the pines’ healing properties.
John Patrick would soon
find his way some 7 or 8 miles south to establish Pinebluff, after making
Southern Pines history.
In 1903, James Boyd the first, a steel and railroad magnate from
Pennsylvania relocated to Southern Pines. He purchased 1200 acres on which he
created a marvelous estate that included stables, tennis courts, gardens, and a
nine-hole golf course. He named it Weymouth because it reminded him of Weymouth
in England. Weymouth today remains a crucial part of Southern Pines history and
hosts several events and parties throughout the year.
James Boyd’s grandsons- James and Jackson loved Weymouth and visited often.
Because of their love for fox hunting, they founded Moore County Hounds in 1914.
After World War 1 they divided the original home of their grandfather. The main
part was pulled by mule across Connecticut Avenue and is now known as the
Campbell House, home of the Moore County Arts Council.
In 1920, the remaining portion of the original home was redesigned and enlarged
by Aymar Embury II, Princeton University’s official architect. He also designed
many buildings and residences in this area, including Mid Pines resort, Market
Square in Pinehurst, and several buildings on NW Broad Street in Southern Pines. James and
Katherine Boyd entertained in their new home extensively. Weymouth became the
center of a very lively social life in the 1920’s and 1930’s. They had visiting
literary friends such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Wolfe, Paul Green and
Sherwood Anderson. The Boyd’s were very active in their community; they
supported the Moore County Hospital as well as the Southern Pines Libraries.
In 1941, James Boyd purchased and edited THE PILOT, the local
newspaper, until his death in 1944. His wife Katherine then managed it until it
was sold to Sam Ragan (a well known NC poet and journalist) in 1969.
In 1963, Katherine Boyd gave a wooded tract of land to the state, which
became Weymouth Woods Nature Preserve. Weymouth Woods, an 898 acre natural
preserve, is a beautiful area to go to observe wildlife here in the Sandhills. Being a natural preserve, it is different from normal parks in that it's use
is very limited to keep all wildlife intact. Weymouth Woods is a perfect
opportunity to really discover the landscape and wildlife as it was here, in the
beginning of Southern Pines history.
Currently Southern Pines is
thriving. The population is over 11,000 people, which makes Southern Pines
the biggest town in the county. It’s easy to see why so many people have chosen
this small town as their home, with so much Southern Pines history and charm as
the backdrop for an incredible place to live and play. With the cosmopolitan flare, shopping,
restaurants, hotels, resorts, horse farms, golf courses, shopping, cultural
centers, festivals, activities, and growing arts movement,
Southern Pines is the
perfect combination of new and old, north, south, big city and small town. With
all the warmth and character of a small New England village, there's no doubt
that this town has something for everyone.
Does your family have ties to Southern Pines History? Tell Us About It Here.
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