What makes Southern Pines special among similar North Carolina towns is its unique combination of small-town ambience and big-city attractions. Retired folks, active duty military personnel, working families, singles -- all make up a diverse population.
Varied tastes and interests support a range of cultural events, from musical and theatrical performances to art exhibits and lecture series. Our local community college offers many continuing education classes, as well as opportunities for instruction from basic skills to advanced degrees.
A moderate climate -- daytime highs average in the 40s in winter and in the 80s in summer -- means that outdoor activities are possible twelve months a year. Residents and visitors alike enjoy golf, tennis, hiking, horseback riding, etc. From youth soccer tournaments to summer softball leagues to Senior Games in the Pines, there is something for every age and interest.
The economy of Southern Pines balances manufacturing, tourism, health services, education, and retirement. Tourism continues to show growth trends, with meeting/convention business remaining strong. The area is the site of past and future major golf championship play, as well as a destination for those shopping for pottery and antiques. Southern Pines has a vibrant downtown area as well as outlying shopping districts. A big plus is the variety of hotels, meeting sites, and restaurants available.
Besides all these local attractions, our central geographical position in the state puts us within easy driving distance to Charlotte, Fayetteville, and the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill triangle. Or, a drive of a few hours can lead west to the Appalachian Mountains or east to the Atlantic seashore.
Southern Pines is proud of its rich heritage. Early settlers in the area were Highland Scots. Sandy soil produced few crops and made travel in the area difficult. However, the coming of the railroad allowed first for the export of harvested pine trees, then for the import of visitors to resort hotels! The Town's founder, John T. Patrick, bought the first 675 acres of land for the town in 1884 on a place known as Shaw's Ridge for the sum of $1,265. He called it Vineland, but soon changed the name to Southern Pines. Originally conceived of as a health resort, Patrick saw the climate as the area's biggest asset. Parallel to the development of "East" Southern Pines was "West Southern Pines", which was one of the few -- and among the first -- incorporated African American towns in North Carolina. The two communities were merged through its annexation into Southern Pines in 1931. The town has flourished over the years, surviving World Wars and the Depression and changing economies to become the active community it is today.