Columbus was established in 1855 on a 100-acre site of wild, rugged foothills, nestled up to White Oak Mountain. The town was named after Columbus Mills, a NC senator whose grandfather, Ambrose Mills, was one of the first settlers in the area. Columbus has been the county seat since being established. Known for it’s historic courthouse completed in 1859 from bricks made of local clay and baked nearby, the courthouse still stands in the center of town and is the 8th oldest courthouse in NC that is still in use today.


Columbus also houses an extensive flag museum, known as the House of Flags. The museum has replicas of all the flags, which have flown over the White House as well as from all 50 states. There are flags representing the US armed services and flags donated by other Nations.  Polk County Historical Museum is also in Columbus.