Colony superintendent poses on the porch of his house at New Berlin, Columbus County, c. 1909.
We’re highlighting Columbus County today as a part of our newest departmental initiative, Hello NC, where we celebrate the people, culture, and stories of rural North Carolina.
New Berlin, later renamed Delco, was one of six planned farm colonies developed in southeastern North Carolina between 1905 and 1912. The dream of Wilmington utilities magnate Hugh MacRae, the colonies were visualized as an experiment in "human engineering" to create a "back to the land" movement as a remedy to the economic ills of the rural South. Hugh Macrae was often quoted as saying, "The South will come into its own when its fields are green in winter."
The six communities (Castle Haynes, Marathon, St. Helena, Van Eeden, New Berlin and Artesia) were anomalies in that they were miniature "melting pots" for the flood of European immigrants who flocked to America in the early 1900s.
From the Hugh MacRae Photograph Collection, State Archives; Raleigh, NC.