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Whiteville, North Carolina
Columbus County Courthouse
Columbus County Courthouse
Whiteville, North Carolina is located in North Carolina
Whiteville, North Carolina
Whiteville, North Carolina
Location in North Carolina
Country United States
State North Carolina
County Columbus
 • Total 5.53 sq mi (14.33 km2)
 • Land 5.53 sq mi (14.33 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
101 ft (30 m)
 • Total 5,394
 • Estimate 
 • Density 957.54/sq mi (369.73/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 910
FIPS code 37-73660
GNIS feature ID 1025798

Whiteville is a city in Columbus County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 5,394 at the 2010 census. It is the largest city in Columbus County and is the county seat.


The city was named in 1810 for James B. White, the original owner of the town site. A post office called Whiteville has been in operation since 1821.

In 1950, Whiteville fielded a professional minor league baseball team in the Class D Tobacco State League. Named the Tobs, the club lasted only one season before disbanding with the entire league.

The Columbus County Courthouse was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.


Whiteville is located in north-central Columbus County at 34°19′48″N 78°42′16″W / 34.33000°N 78.70444°W / 34.33000; -78.70444 (34.330096, -78.704533). Combined U.S. Routes 74 and 76 bypass the city on its north side and lead east 46 miles (74 km) to Wilmington. US 74 leads northwest 32 miles (51 km) to Lumberton, and US 76 leads west 67 miles (108 km) to Florence, South Carolina. U.S. Route 701 passes through the west side of Whiteville, leading north 23 miles (37 km) to Elizabethtown and southwest 44 miles (71 km) to Conway, South Carolina.

According to the United States Census Bureau, Whiteville has a total area of 5.4 square miles (14.1 km2), all of it land.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 372
1900 634 70.4%
1910 1,368 115.8%
1920 1,604 17.3%
1930 2,203 37.3%
1940 3,011 36.7%
1950 4,238 40.8%
1960 4,683 10.5%
1970 4,195 −10.4%
1980 5,565 32.7%
1990 5,078 −8.8%
2000 5,148 1.4%
2010 5,394 4.8%
2019 (est.) 5,299 −1.8%
U.S. Decennial Census

2020 census

Whiteville racial composition
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 2,253 47.27%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 1,963 41.19%
Native American 63 1.32%
Asian 39 0.82%
Other/Mixed 209 4.39%
Hispanic or Latino 239 5.01%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 4,766 people, 2,153 households, and 1,337 families residing in the city.

Arts and culture

The city is the site of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences at Whiteville, a satellite museum of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.

Annual events include the North Carolina Pecan Harvest Festival. In addition, the state-recognized Waccamaw Siouan tribe holds an annual powwow in October with numerous public events.

The News Reporter, the official newspaper that serves Columbus County, is based in Whiteville. It has been published since 1896.

The stretch of U.S. Route 701 through Columbus County is named for Whiteville's founder, James B. White, who was elected as Columbus County's first state )senator. (State senators originally represented the geographic jurisdictions of counties. The state legislature was long biased in favor of rural counties with less population as a result. In the late 20th century reapportionment was required in order to reflect population and the one man, one vote principle of fair representation.)

Representation in other media

  • Whiteville was the site of filming for the courthouse-burning scene in the 1996 Bastard out of Carolina, adapted from Dorothy Allison's novel of the same name.


Although the railroad tracks leading from west of town toward Lake Waccamaw have long been disconnected, Whiteville is served by the Columbus County Municipal Airport and several highways, which include U.S. Route 74, U.S. Route 76, U.S. Route 701, North Carolina Highway 130, and North Carolina Highway 131.


The Whiteville City School system includes the following schools:

Whiteville High School, home of the Wolfpack, competes in the NCHSAA 2A sports division and has won 19 state championships: nine in baseball (1983, 1985, 1989, 1991, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2017, and 2018), four individual track championships, one in team golf (1986), two in football (1965 and 1987), and three in basketball (1969, 1999, and 2000).

Waccamaw Academy, which opened in 1968, closed in 2012.

Southeastern Community College is located a few miles to the west of Whiteville.

Notable people

  • A. R. Ammons, American poet who won the National Book Award for Poetry in 1973 and 1993
  • Chinaka Barbour, American public servant/philanthropist, first African American woman fiscal administrator for Fairfax County's Fire and Rescue Department, who also distributes winter jackets to underserved and vulnerable communities
  • Ulysses Currie, American politician who represented Maryland
  • Dax Harwood, professional wrestler for AEW
  • MacKenzie Gore, professional baseball player and third overall selection in 2017 MLB Draft
  • Tommy Greene, MLB pitcher
  • Pat Lennon, MLB outfielder
  • Chester McGlockton, three-time All-Pro NFL defensive tackle
  • Millie and Christine McKoy, conjoined twins
  • Jane McNeill, stage, film, and television actress
  • Ida Stephens Owens, first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in Physiology from Duke University, in 1967
  • Charlie Ripple, MLB pitcher
  • Reggie Royals, professional basketball player
  • Ralph E. Suggs, retired Real admiral in the United States Navy
  • Chris Wilcox, NBA player
  • Maggie Will, professional golfer and three-time winner on the LPGA Tour
  • Harvey D. Williams, African-American U.S. Army major general
  • Mike Wright, MLB pitcher
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