Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Lake Myra Boathouse & General Store


Halfway between Knightdale and Wendell along Poole Road is yet another former Eastern Wake County country store.  Although the Lake Myra General Store has been closed for nearly two decades, it has a long and storied history as one of the more popular recreation spots in all of Eastern Wake County.

Lake Myra and the surrounding property started as a grist mill that changed hands a number of times during the 19th and into the early 20th centuries.  During the early part of the 20th century, Lake Myra would gain popularity for boating and fishing. While under the ownership of the Woodall family, a general store was added onto the grist mill. Later under the ownership of the Martin family a new store building was constructed which is the building that still stands today. (1) 

In addition to boat rentals and fishing, a dance pavilion, diving board, and bathhouse were once on site.  The grist mill would cease operations in 1962 and the general store shutdown in the mid-1990s. (1)  Currently, Wake County has plans to develop the lake and surrounding lands into a 224 acre county park.  Although there is not any current funding for the development of this park, the growth of Eastern Wake County and the adjacent Wendell Falls development may bring momentum towards its eventual development.

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Monday, September 11, 2017

Micro

When you write a blog about small towns in North Carolina, you can't forget the Johnston County Town of Micro. Located off of US 301 and a little bit bigger than its name implies, the history of Micro's name is interesting.  Micro was settled in 1890 and was incorporated in 1899 as Jerome.  The town was named after Jerome Creech, who was a local land owner.  However, six years later in 1905, the town was renamed to Micro because of confusion with the Bladen County community of Jerome.

One could argue that the Bladen County community should have been renamed Micro as it is an unincorporated community where as the Town of Micro has about 500 residents.  Micro also sits along a heavily traveled rail line which came through when I visited the town in August 2009.

Micro celebrates the Christmas holiday in big fashion - complete with a tree lighting and community parade.



Sunday, September 10, 2017

Corner Grocery - Knightdale

There is still a lot of rural charm in Eastern Wake County and part of that charm are the rural corner or country stores that can be found at what seems like every crossroad in the area.  Many are now closed, but a few still operate.  One of those corner stores remaining in operation sits a few miles south of the busy six lane US 64 freeway in Knightdale.  This little country store is the Corner Grocery at the intersection of Poole and Smithfield Roads.

It's the whitewashed siding (though in this case grey vinyl), the metal or tin roof, hardwood floors, and the old coca-cola signs with old style gas pumps.  It's the top off the tank, grab some smokes and cokes type of country store that is a staple of rural life.  That is what you find here.

This corner grocery was once known as Willoughby's Grocery and is fondly remembered by many long time residents of Eastern Wake County.



Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Little Easonburg

Little Easonburg is a crossroads community within the City of Rocky Mount in Nash County.  Located in the western most area of the city limits near the intersections of Sunset Avenue (old US 64) and Halifax Roads.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Yanceyville and the Caswell County Courthouse

The Caswell County Seat of Yanceyville has served as the county seat since the late 1700s.  Originally named Caswell Court House from 1791 until 1833, Yanceyville is named after Bartlett Yancey who served as a congressman and was the presiding officer in the NC State Senate.


Yanceyville is a small town of about 2,000 residents.  Yanceyville is home to two annual festivals.  The Heritage Festival is held annually in June and is put on by the Caswell County Historical Association.  This festival celebrates Yanceyville and Caswell County's history with tours of the historic courthouse, jail and other locations.

Every September, Yanceyville is home to the Bright Leaf Hoedown.  For over 35 years, this festival attracts thousands to Yanceyville to celebrate the area's rich agricultural history.



Hidden from the main highway that runs just north of downtown, the heart of Yanceyville is Town Square and the Historic Caswell County Courthouse.  The antebellum era courthouse was constructed between 1857 and 1861 and currently is home to various county offices. One of the more visually appealing courthouses within North Carolina, the architectural detail of this historic building is truly stunning.  When I first came across this courthouse in 2008, my first thought that it belonged more in the midwest because of the various details pertaining to agriculture.


The historic courthouse was the focal point to one of North Carolina's darkest period's during the Reconstruction Era.  The assassination of State Senator John W. Stephens by the Ku Klux Klan in May 1870 started the 'Kirk-Holden War'. Stephens murder led to North Carolina Governor William Holden to declare martial law on Alamance and Caswell Counties.  He enlisted Union officer George W. Kirk to battle the Klan in both counties.  Following the contentious election of 1870, Holden would be impeached from office by the more Klan friendly state assembly.  The courthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.


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Saturday, August 5, 2017

Stovall

Stovall is located in Granville County along US 15.  The town was named in 1887 after John Stovall, who donated the land for the community's railroad station.  Stovall, however, had a more interesting name prior to this.  The town was originally incorporated in 1883 as Sassafras Fork - named such after a group of large sassafras trees at a nearby crossroads. 

Oxford Oil Company

The Oxford Oil Company (OXOCO) is something you don't see much of anymore. A small independently branded gas station. OXOCO stations can be found in and around the Oxford area in Granville County.