Columbus is the seat of Polk County, which was founded in 1855. Actually, the county has the odd history of being organized twice. On the first attempt, people couldn’t settle upon a location for a county seat.
More structure was given the second time around, and the seat was established in the center of the county and named in honor of Dr. Columbus Mills to recognize his efforts to form the county. Today, Columbus has remained a small community, retaining several interesting buildings from its past. The historic courthouse, finished in 1857, is one of the oldest still in use in North Carolina and has been lovingly restored. The brick, columned Board of Education building was one of our first schools. Both properties have park areas that are host to town festivals throughout the year. The one-block downtown features local businesses, an antique shop and several restaurants. Scenic drives abound around Columbus, whether you drive along the base of White Oak Mountain, or take the winding road 1,000+ feet to the top for spectacular views, including a drive-by waterfall. New shops and modern conveniences greet visitors where I-26 passes through.