Rockingham: Star of the Sandhills

Rockingham, North Carolina was once a thriving textile community known as the “Star of the Sandhills.” But by the early 1990s, impacted by the closing of mills and loss of jobs, Rockingham’s star status had diminished and the town struggled to identify new opportunities for civic and economic development.

At the same time, Discovery Place was considering expanding beyond Charlotte. When a casual conversation between Foundation For The Carolinas and Discovery Place sparked a big “what if…” discussion, the idea for Discovery Place KIDS-Rockingham was born.

With extensive research, planning, fundraising, community support and partnerships, Discovery Place KIDS opened in downtown Rockingham in 2013. The children’s museum attracted thousands of families and visitors from day one and opened the door for new restaurants and retail to serve them.

In 2021, thanks to similar efforts and foundation support, Richmond County Community College opened a satellite campus in downtown Rockingham.

Hear about Rockingham’s rich history and recent revitalization journey as funders, city leaders, partners and residents help tell the story in this video produced by FFTC.