Whiteville is a city in Columbus County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 5,148 at the 2000 census. It is the only city of Columbus County and is the county seat. Whiteville was the birthplace and hometown of the important 20th century poet A. R. Ammons. Whiteville is notable for being the location of the courthouse-burning scene in the 1996 film adaptation of Dorothy Allison's novel Bastard Out of Carolina. It is also regionally known for its Harvest Days Festival and Fire Ant Festival. Whiteville was also the scene of then-President Bill Clinton's 1999 "Bridging the Digital Divide" speech at the Vineland Station Railroad Depot, which is now refurbished as a museum. Clinton revisited in the spring of 2008. Whiteville is also the home of the North Carolina Museum of Forestry, a satellite museum of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. The official newspaper serving Columbus County, The News Reporter, is also based in Whiteville and has been in circulation since 1896. The stretch of U.S. Route 701 through Columbus County is named for Whiteville's founder, James B. White.