The North Carolina Visitor Center




St Pauls, NC

Visit St Pauls
by Duncan Mackie

St. Pauls dates back to 1799 when the St. Pauls Presbyterian Church was built on land donated by William Davis. During the early 1800's only four buildings comprised the town: the church, the post office, a livery stable, and Davis' home. The first community and businesses grew up around the sixteen-mile post on the stage road from Fayetteville to Lumberton, where coaches changed horses at Davis' livery stable.

The town's growth resulted in the establishment of an academy, Robeson Institute, in 1845. A 1925 paper reports that "It was a mixed school (gender), but was taught by competent teachers." In 1885 the academy burned and was never rebuilt. A new school, combined with the Masonic Lodge, was built in 1886.

The textile industry flourished during the early part of this century with the building of three cotton mills by 1920. The worldwide depression of the 30's helped contribute to the selling of the mills in 1943 to Burlington Mills Corporation. While the textile industry has been in decline, other industries such as Mueller Steam, Smithfield Packing, Paraclete Armor and Prestage Farms have located and prospered in this area.

The railroad industry contributed much to the history of St. Pauls. The Virginia and Carolina Railroad, connecting St. Pauls with Lumberton and Elizabethtown and branching with the Atlantic Coast Line at Hope Mills, was built between 1907 and 1910 by the Atlantic Improvement Company. This influenced the surveying and sale of home lots and establishment of the business section next to the railway station. The town was incorporated in 1909, the same year of the town's first telephone line. An electric light line came to St. Pauls in 1912. Both of these local companies were bought in the 1920's by companies offering statewide service.

In 1923 St. Pauls was described as a "rosebud of nature's beauty "with its three cotton mills, flour mill, bank newspaper, lumber company, ice company, three doctors, and three lawyers and "nice wide streets with plans to pave". Today, the area surrounding St. Pauls is known for its diversified farming and improving economic base.

St. Pauls is known as "The Little Town with the Big Heart" and for good reason. People here take care of each other, and this care transcends all economic, racial and ethnic differences.

The people of this community care. This caring manifests itself in many ways. There are enough volunteers to staff two volunteer fire departments, one rural and one city, and a rescue squad. When a fire does occur, and leaves a family homeless and/or possession-less, the community pitches in to lend a hand. Ministers and pastors from many area churches have formed an organization which collects and disburses money for families facing emergency situations, and this includes travelers off I-95 whose vehicles break down or who just run out of money. But the most amazing example of how St. Pauls cares is its Loflin-Walker Memorial Christmas Fund, a Lions Club project which began in 1986. Each year, in about six weeks, citizens donate thousands of dollars, over $40,000.00 in 2011, to assist less fortunate families at Christmas.

We know we are all in this small place together, so we respect one another. But we also know we have something that most people do not have. We have serenity, peace of mind, plenty of space, in short, we have almost everything you need. There is continuity of thought, continuity of life, continuity of business relationships, and personal growth beyond what one could ever have in a large populated city. The benefits of living and making a living in Saint Pauls, North Carolina, with events as they are today, are just beginning to get noticed by entrepreneurs. We have sun, we have land, we have a great labor pool, and we have the potential for some incredible business and industry locating here.. Come to Saint Pauls. Check us out. Visit with us a while. You may decide to never leave!