Selma came with the railroad in 1867
Two years after the Civil War ended, a settlement four miles northeast of Smithfield, known as Mitchener’s Station, became the Town of Selma.The town took its name from Selma, Alabama, which had become known as a rail center. The date was May 1, 1867, a day on which history reports lots were sold and a big barbecue dinner and dance were held at a new station on the North Carolina Railroad in Selma.
From those lots, the town was built and considered a railroad town for many decades. Selma was officially chartered as a town on February 11, 1873. The town recently renovated its 1924 passenger depot, which has Amtrak service. The town is also home to the Mitchener Station, which was built in 1855 and thought to be the oldest surviving train station in North Carolina. After Interstate 95 was built in the late 1950s, the town experienced growth due to its location next to the interstate.
Downtown Selma includes a national historic district. It encompasses 59 contributing buildings and 1 contributing structures in the central business district. There are numerous examples of Classical Revival, Colonial Revival, Art Moderne, Art Deco, and Gothic Revival style architecture and structures dating from about 1875 to 1960. Notable buildings include the Bank of Selma/American Telephone and Telegraph Exchange Building (1912; 1985), Economy Furniture (c. 1920), John A. Mitchener Building (1925), The Rudy Theater (c. 1940; c. 1970), The Hardware Store (c. 1910), Bank of Selma (c. 1910), Selma Baptist Church (1908; 1948), and Selma Manufacturing Company/Selma Furniture Store and Opera House (1902).