Category: Small Towns in NC

Maxton: “A Good Place To Live”

The first settlers in this area settled along the Shoe Hill Creek and Lumber River in the 1700’s. Incorporated in 1874 as Shoe Hill (from the Gaelic “S”, the shape of the nearby creek), Maxton also held the names of Tilden (after an 1876 Democratic candidate for US President) and Quhele (Gaelic for “arrow part of a stream”). The name was changed back to Shoe Hill in1881 and finally to Maxton in 1887. Maxton was chosen to honor the Scottish settlers to the area.

Education was important in the early years of Maxton in 1841, just outside of town, John Gilchrist Jr. founded Floral College, the first woman’s college in the state to confer degrees. Maxton was also the site of the first school opened by famous black educator, Charles N. Hunter (1818-1831). He went on to form the North Carolina Industrial Association to try to improve the lives of African Americans by emphasizing economic progress rather than political activity.

Maxton is very proud of their hometown people who include: Angus W. McLean Governor of North Carolina 1924-1928; Malcom McLean, founder of McLean Trucking & SeaLand Inc., he was named “Man of the Century” by the international Maritime Hall of Fame; and Alice Russell Micheaux, concert soloist and movie actress-her credits include: The Betrayal (1948), God’s Step Children (1938) Murder in Harlem (1935) and The Broken Violin (1927).

Maxton is a town on the move, over the past few years strives have been made to restore the downtown area. The entire downtown area has been placed on the National Register of Historical Places. The “Avenue of Mayors”, a project that placed utility lines underground along Patterson Street and planted trees in memory and honor of former Mayors. The town offices are housed in the restored Patterson building. The restoration was the brainchild of The Preservation Maxton Foundation, a non-profit organization that raises money to restore and save endangered historical buildings in Maxton. The Town restored the Freight Building, which houses a restaurant with an additional space for rent.

For more info: http://www.ci.maxton.nc.us

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Sylva, NC: More than just a cool courthouse…

Welcome to Sylva… a progressive small town in Jackson County situated amidst the Great Smoky Mountains. Downtown, a Main Street community, has many restaurants and shops along its tree-lined streets.

Educational opportunities are virtually unlimited, with Western Carolina University only 7 miles away in Cullowhee, and Southwestern Community College in Sylva.

Recreational opportunities are numerous and diverse here. They have a state of the art playground designed by our children and built by the community.

The town owns a pristine tract of land, Pinnacle Park, that boasts hiking trails, waterfalls, and a town view from 5,000 feet.

The Tuckasegee River is known for its whitewater and trout populations.  And the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a 30 minute drive away.

For more, visit http://www.mountainlovers.com!

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Hiddenite, NC: “Gem of the Brushies”

hiddenite, ncSource: Associated Content

Published August 12, 2010 by:

David B. Bolick

Hiddenite, North Carolina, is located in Alexander County and in a spur of the Blue Ridge Mountains called the Brushy Mountains. For such a small unincorporated town it boasts some unusual history and interesting attractions.

The area used to be called White Plains and, at one time, was a health resort due to it’s sulfur springs. The town was named after William Earl Hidden, a mineralogist sent here by Thomas Edison to look for platinum deposits. Instead of finding platinum he found something more valuable, some emeralds and a rare mineral that was later named hiddenite. Hiddenite is also the town I live in and after living in many places in the United States I wouldn’t have it any other way. Life is slow paced in many small towns and Hiddenite is no exception. The people are friendly, crime rate is very low and most everything you need readily available.

A lot of families and school children come to Hiddenite to visit the Emerald Hollow Mine. The mine is one of just a few where the public can hunt for emeralds, sapphires, and other valuable gem stones. The mine offers much for your families entertainment and has primitive camping facilities, sluicing facilities, a creek, professional gem cutting and lapidary, and a mineral shop in addition to the main mine. For those that would rather camp in better style, or have RVs, there is the HiddeNite Camp Grounds. The camp is located along the South Yadkin River, has 37 full RV hookups, primitive tent sites, large swimming pool and over 30 acres of nature area.

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Swansboro, NC: “The Friendly City by the Sea”

swansboro, ncFounded in 1783, the “Friendly City by the Sea” offers a historic downtown district overlooking the water, numerous opportunities for coastal recreation, and a progressive town government that works to balance high quality community growth with conservation of the community’s natural and historic resources.

The home of Hammocks Beach State Park and its unspoiled beaches, Swansboro boasts a beautiful small harbor adjacent to the Intracoastal Waterway and is only three miles from coastal recreational facilities in the Croatan National Forest.

The unique village atmosphere in Swansboro’s historic downtown area offers opportunity to enjoy the community’s heritage while shopping in an area alive with restaurants, boutiques, gift shops, and waterside parks.

Host to a wide variety of major events – from the Arts by the Sea Festival, the Mullet Festival, Candlelight Shopping, and the Christmas Flotilla to an annual Oyster Roast, an annual Pig Cook-Off, the Blue Water Fishing Tournament, the King Mackerel Tournament, and the Speckled Trout Tournament – Swansboro offers some of the best hospitality on the North Carolina coast.

Popular activities available in Swansboro and the surrounding area include beach-going, fishing, boating, camping, kayaking, golf, shopping, the arts, and amusement parks.

Known as a high-quality living location, Swansboro offers a wide variety of residential settings – many of which are located on or near the White Oak River, the Intracoastal Waterway, or the numerous coastal creeks that border the town – and an attractive array of business services.

Settlers first came to Swansboro around 1730, founding a community on the site of an Algonkian Indian village at the mouth of the White Oak River. The colonial port town of Swannsborough was incorporated in 1783 – named in honor of Samuel Swann, who had been speaker of the North Carolina House of Commons. The community’s early prosperity was based on shipbuilding, and its most famous shipbuilder was Captain Otway Burns. Burns, whose exploits as commander of the privateer vessel Snapdragon brought early attention to Swansboro, was also the builder of the Prometheus, the first steamboat constructed in North Carolina.

Although its shipbuilding industry declined, Swansboro found new prosperity in lumber and naval stores, and, in the mid-Twentieth Century, in the commercial fishing industry. Beginning with World War II, Swansboro, like most of Onslow County, began experiencing an economic boost from the nearby establishment of Camp Lejeune, one of the U.S. Marine Corps’ largest bases, and from the growth of coastal tourism – trends that continue today.

With its remarkable heritage, scenic views, great hospitality, and casual lifestyle, Swansboro has retained the quiet charm and unique character of a picturesque colonial port – making it an outstanding community for anyone who wants to join the “Friendly City” tradition to call “home” offers a historic downtown district overlooking the water, numerous opportunities for coastal recreation, and a progressive town government that works to balance high quality community growth with conservation of the community’s natural and historic resources.

For more info, visit http://www.swansborochamber.org/

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Waxhaw, NC: Proud of Our Past…Passionate About Our Future

waxhaw town

Source: Wiki

Waxhaw takes its name from the Waxhaws, named after the historic American Indian tribe that inhabited the region. The community was settled by European-Americans in the mid-1700s, of mostly German and Scots-Irish origin. They became subsistence farmers and were known for being independent. Andrew Jackson, seventh President of the United States, was born nearby in 1767. There is some disagreement as to which of the Carolinas was his birthplace, due to the proximity of the border.

The arrival of the railroad in 1901, with access to the markets of Atlanta, helped the town reach prosperity. The tracks were laid directly through the center of town, showing the importance of the railroad. They remain on the street, now bordered by a green, grassy strip dividing the rows of stores on each side.

Beginning in the late 1800s, the community was developed with cotton mills for manufacturing textiles. The railroad helped increase access for its products. Cotton manufacturing was important to the region through the 1940s. Postwar changes in the economy, with shifts of the textile industry to jobs to other areas and out of the country, required the community to adapt to new conditions.waxhaw train

Waxhaw has evolved as an antique and fine dining center. Its Small Town Main Street committee is working on an integrated approach to developing and marketing the historic center of town. The Town currently has dozens of specialty shops and dining ranging from mom & pop restaurants to fine dining bistros. The Waxhaw Historic District is on the National Register of Historic Places. It includes retail businesses as well as architecturally significant houses near the center of town.

Residents and town government are working on additional improvement plans. The Town Park is located in the downtown area, as is a Skate Park for youths and skateboarding. New housing has been built along NC 75 to the east and west of town, as well as Hwy 16 to the north. Near Waxhaw is Cane Creek Park, a 1,050-acre (4.2 km2) park, featuring scenic areas and recreation activities. The facility, on Harkey Road south of Waxhaw, was a cooperative venture between Union County, the Union Conservation District and the Soil Conservation Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

For more info, visit http://www.waxhaw.com

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