Published by Carl Hedinger. Last Updated on February 27, 2024.
Whether you live in the area or have never visited, we think you should know these facts about Fayetteville, North Carolina, and its Cumberland County surroundings. History is all around this wonderful city and we’re happy to share it with you in this guide.
Through a series of bullet-pointed facts, we hope you enjoy the journey from the city’s original inhabitants through today. Of course, we’re also happy to share some interesting stats and geographical tidbits!
Here’s a look at how we’ve laid out our guide before you jump in:
- Facts About Fayetteville (Stats and Geography)
- The History of Fayetteville (and Cumberland County)
- Facts About Fayetteville Today
- Surrounding Towns
Facts About Fayetteville (Stats and Geography)
Stats lovers and geographers will enjoy these facts about Fayetteville.
- What county is Fayetteville NC in? Fayetteville is a city in northwestern Cumberland County.
- The city is also the Cumberland County seat.
- Fayetteville and Cumberland County are both located in the Sandhills region of Eastern North Carolina, between the Coastal Plain and the Piedmont.
- The Cape Fear River runs through the city and Fayetteville was built along this important waterway.
- However, the Cape Fear River isn’t the only water that surrounds Fayetteville. Carver Creek (and Carver’s Falls) lies northeast of the city.
- Cross Creek flows from west to east through Fayetteville into the Cape Fear Valley.
- I-95 is one of many prominent highways that run through the Fayetteville area.
- It is within an hour’s drive from Raleigh and 1-1/2 hours from Durham and Chapel Hill. Fayetteville is also within two hours’ drive from Wilmington on the coast and Greensboro in the Piedmont Triad. In fact, there are quite a few more places within a short day trip from Fayetteville.
- According to the 2020 census, Fayetteville has a population of 208,000.
- It’s the 6th largest city in North Carolina by population.
- The Fayetteville metropolitan area is estimated to hold roughly 530,000 people. That is the largest in Southeastern North Carolina.
- Fort Liberty is responsible for a good portion of the city’s population, as one of the world’s largest military bases.
- Fayetteville occupies 150 square miles, with all but 2 miles of that on land.
Read More: The NC Tripping North Carolina Travel Map
The History of Fayetteville (and Cumberland County)
These facts about the historic Fayetteville NC, and Cumberland county will help us all better understand it.
Native Americans in Fayetteville
- Prior to the European settlement of the Cumberland County area, successive cultures of Siouan Native Americans inhabited it.
- For more than 12,000 years, people such as the Eno, Shakori, and Cape Fear occupied this land.
- Today, the Cumberland County Association for Indian People works to help and improve the lives of people in the area.
If you have any info about Native Americans in Fayetteville and Cumberland County, please feel free to email us!
Cumberland County Origins
- A group of Highland Scots are the first recognized European group to have settled the region, starting around 1730.
- The Colonial Legislature created Cumberland County from parts of Bladen County in 1754.
- Its name is attributed to Prince William, son of King George II and officially recognized as Duke of Cumberland.
Campbellton and Cross Creek become Fayetteville
- In 1755, John Newberry built a gristmill on a plot of land that stretched more than 1,400 acres on Cross Creek. Today, this land is where you’ll find downtown Fayetteville.
- Newberry sold parts of his land for homes to be built, as well as stores, shops, and more commercial operations.
- Additional parts of what we know today as Fayetteville was chartered as the town of Campbellton in 1762.
- In 1775, the Liberty Point Resolves (also known as the Cumberland Association) were signed by 50 Cumberland County residents. This was a written protest of Great Britain’s actions following the early Revolutionary War battles of Lexington and Concord.
- Patriots occupied the area for much of the Revolutionary War, except for a brief period between 1781 and 1782.
- In April 1781, Lord Cornwallis’s army camped here for two days. This was after their retreat at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse.
- In 1778, Campbellton joined the community of Cross Creek to form Upper Campbellton and Lower Campbellton.
- After the Revolutionary War, North Carolina’s government conducted a lot of business in Fayetteville, possibly indicating establishment of the permanent capitol here.
- A committee of the North Carolina State Legislature made two major moves in 1783. They combined the two Campbelltons and named it Fayetteville.
- It was the first of numerous North American cities, counties, and streets named for Marquis de Lafayette.
- In 1783, the government also transformed Fayetteville from an unplanned town into one with straight roads and squares.
- Fayetteville hosted the Constitutional Convention where North Carolina ratified the US Constitution in 1789.
- Also in 1789, the legislative session that chartered the University of North Carolina was held in Fayetteville.
Read More: Interesting Facts about North Carolina
19th Century Facts About Fayetteville
- Fayetteville became the largest and most important city in Cumberland County.
- Fayetteville was also the largest inland town in North Carolina for much of the early 19th century.
- Trade along the Cape Fear River among textile and sawmill operators greatly benefited Fayetteville.
- Hiram Rhodes Revels was born in Fayetteville in 1822. Among his many accomplishments, he was the first African-American member of the United States Congress, representing Mississippi.
- In 1825, the great Marquis de Lafayette actually visited the town. This was the first and only “Fayetteville” visited by him.
- The early and more fortunate era of Fayetteville came to an end in 1831 when a fire destroyed much of the city.
- Miraculously, nobody died in the fire. One interesting note is that this event indirectly led to a fire months later in Raleigh.
- In the 1840s, the US Government built a military armory in Haymount.
Civil War in Fayetteville
- When the Civil War broke out, many local citizens joined the Confederate Army and fought for the South from the beginning to the war’s end. Many of those who served are buried at Cross Creek #1, the oldest municipal cemetery in Fayetteville.
- The armory in Haymount transformed into a Confederate gun factory.
- General Sherman and his Union Troops paid a visit to the armory near the end of the war and burned it, along with large sections of Fayetteville.
- You can learn about Fayetteville’s role in the Civil War at the Fayetteville Area Transportation and Local Fayetteville History Museum.
Post-Civil War History
- After the war, Fayetteville experience a period of slow growth as it tried to rebuild.
- However, one positive development occurred immediately after the war. In 1867, Howard School was established for the purpose of educating black children. Today, it’s known as Fayetteville State University and remains North Carolina’s second oldest state-supported school, after UNC-Chapel Hill.
- In the 1890s, Railroad lines eventually made their way through the area and led to a renewed economic boost.
- Factories seen in other parts of the state began popping up in Fayetteville. These included sawmills, textile factories, and turpentine distilleries.
- In 1897, the Poe House was built by local businessman E.A. Poe—as everyone says, not that Poe!
20th Century Facts About Fayetteville
- While World War I was breaking out in Europe, Fayetteville was the site of a happier historic moment. Babe Ruth hit his first professional home run here in 1914.
- The biggest development in the area happened near the end of World War I. The United States Army established Camp Bragg (now Fort Liberty), which housed Pope Field’s artillery and planes. It would eventually earn a new designation as Fort Bragg.
- During World War II, Fort Liberty was called upon to become the largest Army training site.
- Liberty’s importance during WWII and the Korean and Vietnam wars led to a huge boom in Fayetteville’s population.
- As a result, multiple industries have come to the area, making Cumberland County an important hub of commerce.
- Fayetteville Technical Community College opened in 1960.
- In 1988, the Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex opened. It is an excellent showcase of Fayetteville NC history. Since opening, the complex has expanded to include the 1897 Poe House and other important buildings/artifacts.
- A group of local gardening enthusiasts began work on what would become the Cape Fear Botanical Garden in 1989.
- Crown Coliseum opened in 1997, and remains the flagship venue of the Crown Complex.
- Also in 1997, Fayetteville’s first modern brewery opened in the old Huske Hardware building. There are more than a handful of breweries in Fayetteville today.
- In 2000 (yes, the 21st century), the US Army Airborne and Special Operations Museum opened. It is a wonderful tribute to the Army Airborne and Special Operations Command Forces history.
- Speaking of history, Fayetteville continues to remember its own, throughout nine designated historic districts:
- Averasboro Battlefield National Register Historic District
- Downtown Fayetteville National Register Historic District
- Haymount National Register Historic District
- Hope Mills National Register Historic District
- Liberty Point National Register Historic District
- Long Valley Farm Historic District
- Market House Square National Register Historic District
- Old Post National Register Historic District on Fort Liberty
- Pope Army Airfield Historic District
Read More: Amazing Museums in North Carolina
Facts About Fayetteville Today
Developments continue in the city, as evidenced by its thriving downtown adding shops and businesses to serve residents and visitors.
Fort Liberty is also about 20 minutes from Fayetteville, which is home to the 82nd Airborne Division. This division is an independent light infantry specializing in parachute operations in areas of crisis.
We look forward to sharing more experiences as we continue uncovering more facts about Fayetteville.
If you have any to share with us, we’d love to hear about them in the comments section or by email. Before you do, here’s some info on Fayetteville’s remarkable surrounding towns.
One of the most important facts about Fayetteville is that it’s surrounded by an amazing collection of towns and communities. Here are more than a handful that you’ll find within the Cumberland County lines.
- Eastover: Until its incorporation in 2007, it was known as Eastover Township. Before that, the town was originally named Flea Hill. Like a few other towns and communities that we’ll mention, Dunn Road (US 301) runs through it. There, you’ll find a variety of locally owned businesses.
- Falcon: Cumberland and Sampson counties share Falcon, which is primarily known for Falcon Tabernacle. That building is where two religious denominations merged to form the Pentecostal Holiness Church. It’s currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
- Fort Liberty: As we mentioned earlier, Fort Liberty is responsible for much of Fayetteville’s growth. It’s our nation’s largest military installation and with 50,000-plus active-duty troops and staff, the world’s largest by population. Hoke, Harnett, and Moore counties also claim parts of Fort Liberty within their borders.
- Godwin: US 301 runs parallel to I-95 as it passes through Godwin, one of the smaller communities found in Cumberland County. Many of these towns share a wonderful sense of community, and the Godwin Presbyterian Church’s annual homecoming each October offers a hard-to-top example of that.
- Hope Mills: Our thoughts of Hope Mills first turn to Dirtbag Ales right off I-95 (Exit 41), but there are tons more things going on here. The town hosts a series of events throughout the year, including a Memorial Day Ceremony, 4th of July Festivities, Gallberry Corn Maze (September to November), and various Christmas celebrations in December.
- Linden: NC 217 cuts through Linden north from Erwin before merging with US 401. The town sits on the northern edge of the Cumberland-Harnett County line. Leaders originally founded it as a proposed residential and commercial hub, with Little River Academy driving its initial growth. Today, roughly 130 people live in Linden.
- Spring Lake: Proximity to Fayetteville and Fort Liberty has treated Spring Lake well over the years. Many folks also know it for Carvers Creek State Park, though there are plenty of more ways to get outside in this town. Spring Lake’s Sandhills Sankofa Festival in April and September’s Renaissance Faire are a couple of awesome events that happen here each year.
- Stedman: Before it was Stedman, the town was known as Blockersville and eventually Blockers. Just over 1,000 people call Stedman “home” today. Annual events include a “Party in the Park” each May and a fall “Farmer’s Day.”
- Wade: This is another town you’ll drive through if you opt for US 301. Wade sits just south of the Cape Fear River and is home to more than 500 people. Old Bluff Presbyterian Church in town is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
A special thanks to these sources that helped us compile these facts about Fayetteville:
Beyond Facts About Fayetteville (Area Travel Guides)
For everything else, take a look through our collection of travel guides dedicated to Fayetteville and its surroundings. We hope you enjoy your time in this awesome part of our state