Whiteville is a proud community, and one of the core communities of the entire Cape Fear region. With apologies to Christopher Columbus, the people here would love for you to discover Columbus County and Whiteville. Whiteville is known for its famous Harvest Days Festival which is held every fall. Harvest Days is all about pecans. Bill Clinton visited Whiteville in 1999 and again just a few months ago, campaigning for his wife. Whiteville is the home of the North Carolina Museum of Forestry. It is open 7 days a week and it is free. It even has a vault, and a fox inside the vault. But that's not all! Kellie Lewis, NC Museum of Forestry, said, "The bank vault, the piney woods vault, we have a bear in there, but we also have a lot of exhibits about naval stores." In the last census, Whiteville's population was listed as 5500 people. It isthe largest town in Columbus County whose population is just over 50,000. Whiteville has not experienced a lot of growth over the last 15 years. The economy was hurt by the loss of textile manufacturing jobs and a decline in the profitability of tobacco farminm, but the city's largest employer is thriving -- the Columbus Regional Healthcare System. Henry Hawthorne, president and CEO of Columbus Regional said, "We employ over 630 full-time equivalents here at the hospital, roughly $37 million worth of payroll every year, but probably more importantly we're a provider of healthcare for our community's citizens." On the subject of education, Whiteville has its own school system. There are two elementary schools, a middle school and of course, Whiteville High School. The school system is separate from the Columbus County school system. There has been discussion to merge the two, but it's a huge political issue. If you want to eat at an old fashioned grill in Whiteville there's Ed's Grill. The burgers are amazing. There is also Ward's Grill. At Ward's Grill they don't have a closing time. They shut down for the day when they run out of hamburgers. Then there's the old timey feel of Guiton's Drug Store. If you want fresh, squeezed ice-cold, homemade lemonade or orangeade, Guiton's is the place to go. Whiteville is inundated with restaurants. It seems like nobody eats at home. Shopping is popular as well. Joseph Stanely of All Tied Up has been a business owner for 15 years. "Whiteville is a small town and you get the chance to know people. I was born and raised here as a matter of fact, so it gives me a chance to see people on a regular basis," said Stanely. Whiteville has its fair share of historic, impressive homes as well. To check them out, just head down Pinkney Street or Madison Street in the heart of downtown, just down from the historic Columbus County Courthouse. We have to mention the great sports tradition in Whiteville as well, especially for baseball and football. Whiteville native Tommy Greene threw a major league no-hitter in 1991 for Philadelphia, Chester McGlockton was a first round draft pick in the NFL in 1992, and Chris Wilcox is currently in the NBA.
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