Sunday, July 12, 2020

Tryon County

Along NC 274 in Gaston County between Bessemer City and Cherryville sits a historical marker for Tryon County - an otherwise long forgotten part of North Carolina History.

Tryon County was formed from the western parts of Mecklenburg County in 1769.  The county was named after Willian Tryon who was the appointed Colonial Governor of the state at the time.  At the site of the modern historical marker was the location  of the short lived Tryon County Courthouse.  Located on the property of Christian Mauney - it was determined that the courthouse be located here as it was the most centrally located part of the county. 

Many of the county proceedings were held in buildings already existing on Mauney's land.  A room in his home was used as a jail.  A tax was levied in 1777 for construction of a courthouse at the site.  However, two years later, Tryon County was abolished as it was split up into Lincoln and Rutherford Counties.  Part of the reason for the change was that William Tryon was an officer in the British Army at the time. 

Tryon(s) County shown on a section of the 1775 map by Henry Mouzon.

Today, what was once Tryon County consists of modern day Cleveland, Gaston, Lincoln, and Rutherford Counties.

How To Get There:


Sources & Links:
  • Corbitt, David Leroy. The Formation of the North Carolina Counties, 1663-1943. Division of Archives and History, North Carolina Dept. of Cultural Resources, 2000.

  • Hill, Michael. “Tryon County.” NCpedia, 2008,

  • Lewis, J.D. Tryon County, North Carolina,

  • North Carolina Maps - University of North Carolina - University Library - Mouzon, Henry. "An Accurate Map of North and South Carolina With Their Indian Frontiers, Shewing in a distinct manner all the Mountains, Rivers, Swamps, Marshes, Bays, Creeks, Harbours, Sandbanks and Soundings on the Coasts, with The Roads and Indian Paths; as well as The Boundary or Provincial Lines, The Several Townships and other divisions of the Land in Both the Provinces; the whole from Actual Surveys by Henry Mouzon and Others." London: Robt. Sayer and J. Bennett, Map and Print-Sellers. 1775. North Carolina Maps.

Saturday, July 11, 2020


The Davie County town of Cooleemee is one of the best stories of the growth and decline of textile mill towns in North Carolina's Piedmont.  The town was home to Erwin Mills Cotton Mill #3.  Construction began on an over 1,000,000 square foot mill in 1898 and was fully operational in 1901.

The Erwin Mill #3 in Cooleemee - Digital Library of NC - Images of North Carolina Collection
As custom to company towns at the time, Erwin Mills constructed over 300 homes, a town square that was home to numerous businesses, and even a hotel near the river.  The town square over time consisted of a drug store, movie theatre, doctor's office, cafe and restaurant, doctor's offices and more.   At its peak, over 1,800 people worked at the plant, and Cooleemee - though not incorporated - was at one time the largest town in Davie County.
Cooleemee Town Square - Digital Library of NC - Images of North Carolina Collection

Cooleemee even had a minor league baseball team.   From 1937-1941, the Cooleemee Weavers/Cools/Cards played baseball in the Class D North Carolina League.  The mill had a very successful baseball team also called the Cools.

Remnants of the old Cooleemee Mill

After World War II, textile mills began to consolidate or move overseas, and the Erwin Mill in Cooleemee would be impacted.  In the 1950s, Erwin originally sold controlling interest of their mills to Abney Mills of South Carolina.  In 1962, control of the mills changed hands to Burlington Industries.  In 1963, Burlington would demolish the Erwin built town square and cease operations of the plant in 1969.  A mural on some of the mills remains remembers the Old Square in Cooleemee.

Mural celebrating Cooleemee's Old Square

Interestingly, Cooleemee did not incorporate as a town until 1985.  The town is named after the Eastern Davie County Cooleemee Plantation.  The name Cooleemee comes from the Creek Indian which means, "place where the white oak grows."  

Today, Cooleemee is a town of about 960 people.  It is home to the Textile Heritage Museum which has helped to preserve and tell the story of millworker life in the early 20th century.  The Riverpark at Cooleemee Falls, locally known as the "The "Bull Hole",  is an extremely popular fishing, picnic, and swimming spot.  The park sits along the South Yadkin River.

Recently, plans to redevelop the Erwin Mills site have begun to emerge.  They vary from a new state park, redevelopment of the mill site as a destination for local retail and recreation.

All photos taken by post author - July 4, 2020 unless otherwise noted.

Sources & Links:


The community of Farmington in Davie County began in the early 1800s when many residents of Currituck County left the coast weary of several hurricanes and in search of better farmland.  There were enough former Currituck County residents in the area that it became known as Little Currituck.

Little Currituck would be the informal name of the surrounding area until a post office was established in 1837.  It was then when the name changed to Farmington - due to the fertile farming land that had attracted the Currituck residents to the area.

Since then, Farmington has remained a small rural community.  There is no real downtown; yet there are a number of historical churches and other buildings that earned it a National Historic District in 2010.  One of the historic buildings within the district is the Farmington United Methodist Church which sits on property donated to the church by George Wesley Johnson.  The church was completed in 1882 and remains today.  The tree lined natural walkway from Farmington Road is impressive.

All photos taken by post author - July 4, 2020

Sources & Links:
  • Heather Fearnbach (January 2010). "Farmington Historic District." National Register of Historic Places - Nomination and Inventory. North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office. Retrieved July 8, 2020
How To Get There:

Friday, July 10, 2020

Union Grove

UNION GROVE - Community and Township located in Northern Iredell County.  The community gets it name from a grove of trees where union camp meetings were held.   Since 1924, the Old Time Fiddlers & Bluegrass Festival - formerly the Union Grove Fiddler's Convention - has been held on Memorial Day Weekend and is the longest continuously run fiddler's festival in the United States.

How To Get There:

Thursday, July 9, 2020


ADVANCE - Originally known as Shady Grove, the citizens of the community changed the name to Advance in 1877 when a post office was established.  Since the name Shady Grove was used for a post office elsewhere within the state, Advance was chosen as the local citizens hoped that the establishment of a post office would "advance" progress within the area.

How To Get There:

Wednesday, July 8, 2020


CLEVELAND - Rowan County town along old US 70.   The town was originally incorporated in 1883 as Third Creek or Third Creek Station, but changed its name in 1887 to Cleveland in honor of then President Grover Cleveland.

The name Third Creek comes from the fact that it was the third creek crossed by a series of settlers moving west from Salisbury in the mid-1700s.

How To Get There:

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Barber or Barber Junction

BARBER - Community on old US 70 in Rowan County.  The community is also known as Barber Junction as two rail lines cross here.  

The community is named after W. P. Barber who the railroad purchased the land from in order to build the junction.  In 1898, a Victorian style depot was built for freight and passengers as a number of passengers would change trains here.

The restored Barber Junction Station at the NC Transportation Museum

Today, the original Barber Junction Train Depot can be found at the North Carolina Transportation Museum.  The station was moved to the museum site in Spencer and restored in 1980.

How To Get There:

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