Situated in rural southeastern North Carolina, Red Springs has a colorful history that dates to the colonial period. George III granted land in 1775 to Hector McNeill, one of the first Europeans to settle in the region. McNeill’s descendents remained the most prominent family, the founder’s grandson, Hector McNeill III serving as the first mayor. The town that sprang up on the site of the land grant was called “Dora,” at least between 1852 and 1887, when it was renamed “Red Springs.” The new name was inspired by its health giving waters. By the end of the nineteenth century it had become a summer and winter resort with several hotels to accommodate visitors attracted by the six mineral springs in and around the town.
In addition to its reputation as a resort, Red Springs became an education center. The Fayetteville Presbytery established a seminary, which evolved into a four year college and musical conservatory for women known as Flora Macdonald College. Though the college closed in 1961, the beautiful campus was preserved and is currently Flora Macdonald Academy, a comprehensive private school for grades one to twelve. The benefits of Flora Macdonald College lasted into the twenty first century as some of the talented musicians trained at the conservatory married locally and remained in the Red Springs area as church organists.
Today Red Springs boasts many beautiful homes that were built during the boom in the early twentieth century. It has also become a bedroom community for the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, which is situated less than ten miles away. The charm of the town has attracted many artists, including several members of the Art Department at UNCP. For a town this size, approximately 3800 residents, it has a vibrant art scene. Several of its artists are known both nationally and internationally. This website is designed to provide just a small sample of their work.