Historic Plaques 

The Columbus County Historic Plaque Program

Columbus County has a rich collection of historic homes and buildings. We’re proud to celebrate our unique heritage through the Reuben Brown House Preservation Society (RBHPS) Historic Landmark Plaque Program.

The historic plaque program, which began in 2015, strives to recognize historic sites in Columbus County that are at least 75 years old 

including houses, schools, churches, barns, cemeteries or other structure.

Contact reubenbrownhouse@gmail.com if you would like more information on the historic plaque program or click through these links for the Historic Plaque Program Outline and Application Information and Plaque Application.

Reuben Brown House historic plaque
Larry Beltz is all smiles as he displays
Byrne- Maxwell House
Circa 1867

Byrne-Maxwell House owner Larry Beltz and researcher Karen Dawsey at the home built in 1867 by Eliza Byrne and husband John Henry Maxwell shortly after their marriage. Dawsey spent “hours and hours” locating 18 deeds to verify all the times the house had changed owners in the past 150 years.

Dr. James Williamson owned 908 Pinckney Street (206 Pinckney back then) in the 1890s, selling it to his mother and father-in-law, Penelope and McQueen Coleman in January, 1897. Many years later, Dr. Williamson explained to R.H. Burns Jr. that the house was already in existence at the time of the transfer, hence the 1896 estimate for the date of construction.

Burns Law Office
Circa 1896

Mr. and Mrs. Coleman sold the house to Lon Grady in 1914. Mr. Grady was a lawyer in the firm of Schulken, Toon and Grady. The Schulkens and Toons were already residents of Pinckney Street. The Grady family lived in the house until they sold it to R. H. Burns Sr. in 1926. Mr. Burns, also a lawyer, lived there with his family and used part of the first floor for his own law office.Following R.H. Burns Sr.’s death in 1957, R.H. Burns Jr. (Bob to everyone) bought out the interest of his brother John in 1958 and moved his own law office to the first floor. Bob, Martha and their family lived in the house behind the law office on East Frink St. After the death of Bob and Martha, their children sold the house in 2014 to Susan and William Wood, who had lived across the street on the East Frink Street corner from 1975 to 1986. The Burns house has been rented as a succession of law, financial adviser and real estate offices and is still used as professional offices today.

Circa 1906
Bank of Whiteville

Land for the Bank of Whiteville was purchased for $500 June 22, 1903, and the primary bank owner was J.D. Maultsby and family. The building, the third site recognized by the RBHPS historic plaque program, was completed in 1906.

The Bank of Whiteville Building is largely original and unchanged. The exterior is Italianate in style, stucco over brick and embellished with an original faux marble detail of plaster-like material. The stairway to the second floor is now through a door on the southwest corner but was originally an open doorless stairway to the upstairs offices, typical detail for lawyers’ offices in 1900. In the back corner of the main room is the original vault, containing the original safe and two cabinets used for storing ledger sheets.

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The two-story Classical Revival style building was designed by Joseph F. Leitner of Wilmington, N.C.  and was constructed in 1914–1915. It is made with rectangular brick with concrete accents and features a pedimented and Doric order portico. It was listed on the National Register of Public Places in 1979. 

Historic Columbus County Courthouse

Circa 1915

St. Mark AME Zion Church

Circa 1915

The building has stood at 114 W. Virgil St. in Whiteville since 1915, but the church was founded 50 years earlier, in 1865.

Pictured is  is Charelean Mapson uncovering the historical marker with the help of Donna Scott, historical marker committee chair for the preservation society. Looking on are (L-R) Morris Pridgen Jr., Elder Alexander L. Jones Sr., Thomas Jones and LaMont Davis. 

St. Mark is the first church recognized in the historical plaque program. 

Circa 1927

Colonel N.B. and Mabel Chestnutt Home

The 11th building inducted in the Reuben Brown House Preservation Society Historic Landmark Plaque Program is the Madison Street home in Whiteville of  Colonel N.B. and Mabel Chestnutt.

The home, built in 1927, features distinctive arched windows, wrought iron railings and a terra cotta tile roof.

Patricia L. Woodard, who bought the home  in 2018, found while researching its history that Colonel and Mrs. Chestnutt were known for their hospitality and frequently entertained at home. 

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Mill Pond Camp
Circa 1929

Plaque number 8, at Mill Pond Camp, circa 1929, was unveiled by Vinson Bowers. He grew up on the Mill Pond property and has written a history entitled “The Mill Pond…A Southern Legacy.”  Visitors were invited to ask questions and tour the cabin, which originally served as a men’s clubhouse.

The spacious two-story brick home facing the Lumber River was built in 1932 for Dr. Lawrence D. Floyd and his bride, Mary Grissett Powell Potts Floyd. Wilmington architectural firm Lynch and Foard designed the blueprints for the home. The property was given to Mary Floyd by her father, Dr. Absalom Floyd, who practiced medicine in Fair Bluff for many years. The property extended from the river to the railroad adjacent to other Powell property.
The Floyd house was purchased in 1971 and became the home of Chris and Maud Scott and their children. After Maud Scott was killed in a car accident, her husband continued to raise the young children in their home. Years later, he married Esther Scott, who has continued to live in the home since his death in 2015.

Dr. Lawrence D. Floyd Home
Circa 1932

Current owner of Floyed historic home, Esther Scott.

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Thompson House
Circa 1935

The Reuben Brown House Preservation Society (RBHPS) unveiled its fifth historical plaque in 2015 at the home of John and Sara Thompson on North Madison Street.

The home was built by Thompson’s father, John Elbert Thompson, in 1935. It was designed by Boney of Wilmington and built by the Smith Brothers of Whiteville. Thompson kept a record of everything he spent on the house in a small notebook, which shows a grand total of $7,172.