The North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office statewide inventory contains information on over 300 prehistoric and historic archaeological sites in Richmond County. Richmond County has many archaeological sites related to Town Creek Indian Mound (in Montgomery County) and the Pee Dee Indians. Among these are the Leak and Stanback Ferry sites, which represent major villages of the Pee Dee culture, c. A.D. 1000-c. A.D. 1600. The earliest identification of beans in North Carolina (c. A.D. 1275) was made at the Leak Site. An outstanding exhibition of Pee Dee Indian artifacts may be seen at the Rankin Museum in Ellerbe.
An architectural survey of Rockingham was conducted in 1980-1981 with funding and supervision from the Historic Preservation Office. A federal matching grant and Historic Preservation Office staff are assisting a comprehensive architectural survey of Richmond County, which began in 1999.
Federal grants of $39,300 have included $10,300 for the Railroad Museum in Hamlet, $2,000 for the Hamlet Downtown Historic District Nomination, $11,000 for the Rockingham historic resources survey, and $16,000 for a Richmond County survey. State appropriations totaling $101,000 include $85,000 for the Railroad Museum, $10,000 to assist the restoration of the Rockingham Theater, and $6,000 for the Hamlet Opera House.
NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES
Twelve individual properties and two historic districts have been listed in the National Register, including the Rockingham Historic District and the Main Street Commercial Historic District in Hamlet. Individual listings include the Ellerbe Springs Hotel, the Seaboard Coastline Passenger Depot in Hamlet, the county courthouse, and several other institutional, commercial, and industrial buildings in Rockingham.
LOCAL PRESERVATION COMMISSIONS
The Historic Preservation Office provides technical assistance to the Rockingham Historic District Commission which oversees the locally-designated Rockingham Historic District. The city of Rockingham became a Certified Local Government in 1997.
PRESERVATION TAX CREDITS
The Manufacturers' Building, an income-producing preservation tax credit project in Rockingham, has been completed at a total construction investment of $200,000. One residence is currently undergoing renovation to utilize the new state tax credit for non-income-producing structures. The Historic Preservation Office reviews and provides restoration technical services for all preservation tax credit projects.
The Historic Preservation Office provided technical assistance for the stabilization of the Hamlet Depot, the Hamlet Opera House, the Leak-Wall House in Rockingham, and many other buildings throughout the county. Paint color schemes and rehabilitation recommendations were provided, in conjunction with the Division of Community Assistance, for all buildings in downtown Hamlet.