Shortly after 1840, Mount Tabor Baptist Church was organized. The original church building was located near the present intersection of Stake Road and East Fifth Street. The church, now known as Tabor City Baptist Church, is located at Live Oak and Anderson Street. Earliest records indicate business activity began in the mid-1850s. These businesses included a sawmill, turpentine still, grocery store, and dry goods store. In 1886 Atlantic Coast Line located a terminus in Tabor City.
In 1905 the Town of Tabor City was incorporated. Today a mayor, town manager and four councilmen govern the town. Over the years the local economy grew. In 1909 the first tobacco warehouse was built. The number of tobacco warehouses increased to three, but no tobacco warehouses are in operation today. In 1910 a crate factory was built to handle the increasing distribution of food products from Tabor City. In 1940 Waccamaw Lumber and Tabor City Lumber companies were formed.
Until the mid-1930s the railroad used the name of Mt. Tabor while the Post Office used the name Tabor. Both names have since changed to Tabor City. It was not until the mid-1930s that Tabor City became known as the “Yam Capitol of the World”. An annual festival was initiated in 1948 to pay tribute to the sweet potato. Today, this festival is known as the “North Carolina Yam Festival”. The festival is always held on the fourth Saturday in the month of October.
Today the Town is transitioning from tobacco-based agriculture and textiles to one based on light manufacturing, service, retail, and tourism. Agriculture remains an important part of the local economy, but its future impact on the economy is expected to decline. The proximity to the Grand Strand beaches in Horry County, South Carolina and the North Carolina beaches of Brunswick County, North Carolina has driven the local economy over the past ten years. Growth is anticipated in the housing sector as retirees continue to relocate to the coastal areas.