As we anticipate the 12th running of the Rumba on the Lumber, it may be interesting to learn about some of the sites and buildings you will pass on the course.
The first building is at registration, which is the old Black Water Grille. At the turn of the century, the rear part of the building once served as a mule stable. Folks from the county would come into town by train, rent a mule to do their shopping in Lumberton (purchasing supplies at the hardware stores), take their goods to the train depot and travel back home.
As you walk over to the starting line, you’ll pass a white building on the corner of Third and Elm streets that served as the National Bank of Lumberton, built in 1930. Continuing over to Chestnut Street on the left will be the Carolina Theater, once the center of Lumberton entertainment. Built in 1928, the theater presented “vaudeville, chautauquas (adult education, including current events, travel and stories) and movies, including the first sound movie show in Lumberton.” The main facade of the theater is an example of the Neo Classical Revival Style.
Once the race begins, at about the quarter-mile point, you’ll cross Carthage Road and soon make a hard right-hand turn. If you look to the left you will see the Caldwell House, built in the last decade of the 19th century. It was chosen to be on the National Register of Historic places in 1978 and is built in the Queen Anne style.
After a few turns, you’ll be running along “Drowning Creek,” or at least that is what the Lumber River was called by early European surveyors and settlers. Legislative action in 1809 changed the name to Lumber River, most likely because of the river’s heavy use by the lumber industry. The Lumber River has been designated as a National Wild and Scenic River and is part of the North Carolina Natural and Scenic River System. The river has been classified as natural, scenic, and recreational and is considered one of the most highly prized recreation sites in North Carolina. The Lumber River is also known for its cultural resources.
During the middle part of the race, you will be running through a relatively new part of Lumberton, commonly referred to as the Tanglewood section of town. Turning onto Elm Street, you will be heading back to the center of town. At the three-mile point, there is a small building on the left, known as the Historic Proctor Law Building. It is the oldest building in Lumberton, built in the 1830s. It has been used as an office, store, and post office. To the left is the old Post Office, a Neoclassical Revival building erected in 1931, now housing law offices.
The next building on the left is the courthouse. Notice the Confederate monument. It was unveiled on May 1907 before a reported crowd of 7,000 people, including 500 Confederate veterans. The soldier at the top stands as a silent reminder of the loss the county suffered during the War Between The States. On the right will be a three-story building, originally known as the McLeod Brick Building. This was the first masonry building on Elm Street. It was built in 1879 and once housed the First National Bank of Lumberton. The smaller building to the south was the site of the first motion picture show in Lumberton.
At the finish line, the building on the left was built by A.E. White & Frank Gough around 1895. Before World War II, it produced the largest single volume of business in Lumberton. It also housed the first telephone office before the 1910s.
— Matt Thompson is the race director for the Rumba on the Lumber.