Places to Visit
Historic Downtown Burgaw
The Burgaw Historic District was entered in the National Register of Historic Places in August of 1999. The National Register is a list of properties significant in American history, architecture, archaeology and culture. Properties listed therein deserve to be preserved by their owners as a part of their cultural heritage of our nation.
The Burgaw Historic District is located in the heart of the town of Burgaw, in Pender County, North Carolina. Designated the county seat in 1879, Burgaw is positioned near the center of Pender County. There are many historic homes and buildings within the downtown district. The oldest building in the district is the train depot which was built prior to the Civil War. The depot has recently been restored and renovated but the significant historical values have been preserved. The tree lined streets and the large canopy of oaks around the court house square is conducive to walking at a leisurely pace while enjoying the fresh air, shopping in the stores or stopping for a bite to eat at a local eatery. The Burgaw Presbyterian Church and the Macedonia AME Church were constructed in the late 1800’s and still stand faithful today as evidence of strong religious values. The historic Pender County Court House stands proudly in the center of town on what is known as “Court House Square”. The court house is the focal point of the downtown area and defines the charm and character of the downtown area.
A self-guided walking tour is available. Brochures may be picked up at the Municipal Building located at 109 N Walker Street.
Historic Burgaw Train Depot
The Burgaw Depot is the oldest railroad depot in North Carolina declared the NC Division of Archives & History in 1986 (Oswald, March 6, 1986). The structure was examined by state officials in conjunction with its nomination to the National Register of Historic Places by the Burgaw Jaycees, a local civic group. It has been said that “Burgaw’s heart beat first at the depot” because it predated the incorporation of the town by nearly 30 years (Olson, Sept. 15, 1986). The US Postal Service opened a post office in the depot in 1854.
State historians have identified the original building, the present warehouse section, as being built circa 1850. As it stands today, the depot mirrors the historical development of the railroad in NC in the 19th and 20th centuries. In 1898, passenger waiting rooms and rail offices were added to the south end as passenger rail travel became more refined. This was followed by expansion of the freight platform to the north in 1916/17 as the rail lines opened northern cities as markets for local fresh fruits and vegetables.
As one of two pre-Civil War depots in the state, the building has survived the times since 1850. The interior of the warehouse still bears the scars of a Union cavalry attack in 1863. In 1865, the depot was a Confederate headquarters for retreating generals and their troops for nearly six weeks after the fall of Fort Fisher and Wilmington. It was also the holding site for six thousand or more northernprisoners for several days while a massive prisoner exchange across the Northeast Cape Fear River was arranged in February 1865.
Today, the depot has been restored and renovated to showcase the historical value of the structure and to make the structure useable as an event center for the town and its citizens. Every effort was made to preserve the main structure as it was including preserving an area that was actually burned by Union soldiers during the Civil War. The depot houses a banquet room, conference room, offices, a large outside dock area and an incubator kitchen for the purpose of helping start-up businesses.
The Historic Burgaw Train Depot is a part of the “Civil War Discovery Trails”. The depot is located at 115 South Dickerson Street.
Historic Pender County Court House
The Pender County Court House is the “heart” of downtown Burgaw. Nestled among an inviting canopy of oak trees is a very attractive three story building which was built in 1935. The current building replaces the original court house which was built in 1885. The vast grounds surrounding the court house have served as home for many festivals, weddings, movie backgrounds and also as a quiet place to take a stroll and enjoy the outdoors. The court house is located at 100 South Wright Street.
Pender County Museum
The Pender County Museum is housed in the first brick house ever built in Burgaw (circa 1917) known as the Burton-Noel House. In 1979 the house was donated to the Pender County Historical Society in memory of Kate Buck Noel by her daughters. The Historical Society restored the house and dedicated the new museum in 1982. Step inside and step back into the past among numerous displays of artifacts associated with the town’s history. The museum is located at 200 West Bridgers Street.
The Burgaw Cemetery is comprised of ten acres of land just to the north of downtown. In 1893 the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad Company donated the land to the town for use as a burial ground. A small portion of the grounds were already being used as a cemetery with graves dating back to the 1860’s. Although the town is no longer selling cemetery plots, the cemetery is connected to the Osgood Canal Greenway and Urban Trail and is used as a quiet place to walk by many citizens.
The Burgaw Cemetery is located at 200 East Wallace Street.
Things to Do
Historical and Architectural Downtown Burgaw Walking Tour
The Town of Burgaw has an extensive “Historical and Architectural Downtown Burgaw Walking Tour” brochure which includes photos and detailed architectural descriptions of the historical buildings in the downtown area. This is a self-guided tour that can be done at your own pace. Brochures are available at the Burgaw Municipal Building located at 109 North Walker Street.
Events to Attend
Pender Spring Festival
The Pender Spring Festival is held every May on the Court House Square. The purpose of the Spring Festival is to showcase the cultural heritage of the area. Many vendors will be on the square selling their crafts, plants, food etc. all of which must be home grown or hand made in Pender County. There is usually a street dance on Friday night preceding the festival which is the first Saturday of May. There is always entertainment, fun and games for all.
NC Blueberry Festival
The North Carolina Blueberry Festival celebrates the historic, economic, and cultural significance of blueberries in the southeastern region of our state. The first cultivated blueberry production in North Carolina began in the Pender County area in the 1930’s. Today, Pender County ranks second in blueberry production for the entire state.
Since its inception, the Festival has become a premiere event in Southeastern North Carolina and attracts more than 30,000 people who have come to enjoy some of the area’s finest entertainment, artisans nestled around the courthouse square, antique cars lining the streets, food vendors serving up an array of delicacies and of course the Festival’s main attraction Blueberries! The Festival is a non-profit civic organization and is sponsored in part by the Town of Burgaw.
The Blueberry Festival is held on the third Saturday of June of each year. The festival begins with an early morning bike ride, a 5k run-walk and the vendors open for business at 9:00AM. The festival runs until 9:00PM ending with music and a street dance. For more information please visit the website at www.ncblueberryfestival.com.
Lighted Christmas Parade
Christmas in Burgaw is an absolute delight! Not only is the quaint and charming downtown area decorated with thousands of lights throughout the month of December, on the second Saturday night of December the town comes alive with a lighted Christmas parade. The parade winds through the downtown streets after dark with floats, cars, fire trucks and other emergency vehicles strung with colorful lights. There are also local celebrities, bands, dancers, beauty queens and of course Santa Claus!
The parade usually begins at 6:30PM. This event is an exciting venue for young and old and one of very few lighted parades in the area. The parade is sponsored by the Burgaw Area Chamber of Commerce. For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Parks and Recreation
Hankins Park is a passive park which includes a pavilion with picnic tables, charcoal grill and restrooms surrounded by large grassy areas. Hankins Park is connected to the Osgood Canal Greenway and Urban Trail. The pavilion can be reserved for parties etc., but the remaining grassy areas are open to the public at all times. Hankins Park is located at 310 North Walker Street. For more information, please click here.
Harrell Memorial Park
Harrell Memorial Park is a children’s playground which includes play equipment for all ages. There are also tennis courts connected to the park. Since this park is diagonally across the street from Hankins Park, restrooms are within walking distance. Harrell Memorial Park is located at 108 East Ashe Street.
Johnson Park is a passive park located along the Osgood Canal and is a part of the Osgood Canal Greenway and Urban Trail. This park is quiet, well landscaped and inviting. It is the perfect place for a quiet lunch or a good book. There are no facilities at this park. Johnson Park is located at the corner of South Walker Street and East Hayes Street.
Osgood Canal Greenway and Urban Trail
Osgood Canal Greenway and Urban Trail is a 2.2 mile loop of asphalt and concrete walking trails in and around the central portion of the town limits. The trail follows the Osgood Canal through town and offers walks through wooded areas along the canal, through urban areas in the downtown, connects to the schools located in town and offers the convenience of both passive parks and playground parks along the way. The trail is a great benefit to the health and well-being of those who take advantage of all it has to offer. There are several streets and areas throughout town that access the trail.
Pender Memorial Park
Pender Memorial Park is a county owned baseball/softball/soccer facility bordering the edge of town in the southwestern quadrant of town. In addition to numerous athletic fields there are also grassy areas and a playground facility for children. Pender Memorial Park is located at 601 South Smith Street.
Rotary Park includes play equipment for all ages including a tot lot, play structure for older children and swings. There is also a pavilion with restrooms and picnic tables. The pavilion at this park cannot be reserved and is on a first come, first served basis. Rotary Park is nestled among large shade trees with plenty of grassy areas for children to run and play. Rotary Park is located on Industrial Drive between the Burgaw Middle School and Cape Fear Community College and is just off the Osgood Canal Greenway and Urban Trail.