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Moore County Enjoys a Rich, Colorful Past


CONTRIBUTED
The Seaboard Air Line Railroad, laid in the late 1800s, brought changes to the rural, pastoral community of Bynum, which Moore County now knows as Vass. The name Vass honors Major William Worrell Vass, who was the paymaster for the railroad.
  • 1760s: Joel McLendon builds his cabin on Mt. Carmel Road in upper Moore County. It is the oldest house in the county on its ­original location. In the 1820s, a second house, the Bryant House, is built on the ­property. The houses are owned by the Moore County Historical Association and are open for tours.
  • 1772: The House in the Horseshoe is built in the bend of the Deep River. It is the site of a 1781 skirmish between Whigs and Tories during the Revolutionary War.
  • 1780: William England begins ­operating a grist mill at the “Great Falls of Deep River.” This area is eventually known as High Falls.
  • 1784: Moore County is formed from Cumberland County. Most of its residents live in the upper half of the county. It is named for Alfred Moore, a colonel who fought at Moore’s Creek, the opening battle of the Revolutionary War in North Carolina. He eventually becomes a member of the ­legislature and later a justice on the Supreme Court.
  • 1796: The town of Carthage is formed. It later becomes the county seat. The Tyson and Jones Buggy Company is founded there in the mid-1800s and remains the largest factory in the county well into the 20th ­century. But the coming of the automobile eventually puts an end to the business. Carthage is now one of the fastest growing towns in the county.
  • 1825: Malcolm Blue builds a home at his farm on Bethesda Road near what will later become Aberdeen. The farm is ­recognized by the National Register of Historic Places and is open to the public.
  • 1840: Charles C. Shaw builds a small home on what is now Morganton Road in Southern Pines. His son later becomes the mayor of Southern Pines. The Shaw House and two other houses on the property, the Garner House and Sanders Cabin, are owned and maintained by the Moore County Historical Association and are open for tours.
  • 1876: The town of Cameron is ­incorporated. Situated on the Raleigh and Augusta Railroad, the little town was once a bustling business center. Today, it’s known for its antique stores.
  • 1887: Southern Pines is incorporated. It was founded by John Patrick, who initially touted it as a “health and winter resort.” Patrick will also develop Pinebluff, just a few miles down the road.
  • 1890: West End grows up around the westernmost extension of the Aberdeen and Asheboro Railroad. Eagle Springs, which received its name for a medical spring ­discovered nearby, also has its beginnings that year. In 1898, a fire sweeps through downtown West End, destroying all of the buildings except the depot and the drugstore.
  • 1893: Aberdeen is chartered. The area was settled around the 1760s by Highland Scots. In 1879, the area is known as Blue’s Crossing. Allison Francis Page begins his ­lumber business there and it soon becomes an important commercial center, also on the railroad.
  • 1895: Pinehurst is founded by James W. Tufts of Boston, who made his fortune in manufacturing soda fountain equipment. The town was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the man who designed New York City’s Central Park. The small village ­eventually becomes a golf resort with courses designed by Donald Ross, Tom Fazio, Ellis Maples and Rees Jones. The resort is now owned by Pinehurst LLC.
  • 1898: The Pinehurst Gun Club, part of the Pinehurst Resort and Country Club, is started, and is recognized as one of the best clubs in the nation for its nine trap and six skeet fields, sporting clays course and annual tournaments.
  • 1899: The town of Robbins, located in the northwestern portion of the county, is laid out. It is first known as Elise, and the area was incorporated as Hemp in 1935. The name is changed to Robbins in honor of Karl Robbins, owner of Robbins Silk Mill and a benefactor of the community. The area, settled during the latter days of the American Revolution, was known originally as Mechanics Hill.
  • 1900: Demus Taylor, grandson of one of the first African slaves brought to America and a descendant of the Western African tribe known as Ebu, purchases land to lay out a community for the workers on James Tufts’ new golf course and buildings. First known as Old Settlement, the area becomes known as Taylortown, incorporated in 1987.
  • 1902: I.F. Chandler of Southern Pines builds a power plant to bring electricity to the area. He chooses Thagard’s Lake near what is now Whispering Pines as his site.
  • 1903: The town of Lakeview is ­chartered. Duncan C. Blue and his brothers arrived in the area around 1770. He dammed a creek, creating a large lake now called Crystal Lake. When the Blue family sells the property in 1902, the new owners create a small resort that operates for several years. The area is now a residential community. 
  • 1907:  Vass is incorporated. The area was originally settled by F.D. Byrd and was known as Bynum and then Winder, for an ­official of the Raleigh and Augusta Railroad. The name Vass is officially adopted in 1892.
  • 1915:  Pinehurst Harness Track becomes winter home to polo ponies, hunters, running horses and standard breeds. It is now a winter training ground for trotters and pacers, offering races in the spring. The Pinehurst Gun Club gained national prominence when Leonard Tufts employed famous Wild West Show Star, Annie Oakley and her husband, Frank Butler, to operate the Gun Club during the winter season. From 1916-1922, the legendary Oakley was the instructor at the club. “Little Missie,” as she was known, put on shooting exhibitions and instructed approximately 15,000 men and women to shoot. Her classes had as many as 800 students at a time as the Gun Club rivaled the Golf Club in popularity. The Gun Club closed in June 1994.
  • 1918:  Walter Hines Page, U.S. ­ambassador to Great Britain, dies and is buried at Old Bethesda Cemetery.
  • 1928:  Pine Needles Resort opens. The Tudor-style inn runs into financial trouble during the Depression and the building is eventually sold to the Sisters of Providence who open a hospital there. The golf course was purchased by Warren and Peggy Bell in the 1950s. New buildings were constructed to house guests, and the resort thrives once more. Now part of St. Joseph of the Pines, the original inn has been renovated into condominiums.
  • 1929: Moore Memorial Hospital opens its doors. This facility is now FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital.
  • 1931: Amelia Earhart visits Pinehurst, landing her plane on the Pinehurst airstrip.
  • 1935: The greens at Pinehurst No. 2 were changed from sand to grass before the 1936 PGA Championship.
  • 1944: Army Chief of Staff Gen. George C. Marshall purchases his home in Pinehurst. It is said that he wrote much of the Marshall Plan for post-war European recovery while he stayed in Pinehurst.
  • 1949: The first running of the Stoneybrook Steeplechase is held at the farm of Mickey Walsh. The race is now at Carolina Horse Park at Five Points.
  • 1951: The Ryder Cup matches are held at Pinehurst; the U.S. team captained by Sam Snead, won the Cup with nine matches, losing two and halving one, against the British team, captained by Arthur Lacey.
  • 1969: Whispering Pines is chartered by the N.C. Legislature and is the first municipality in the state to be officially designated as a ­village. However, settlements in the area go back to the land grants of colonial days.
  • 1970: Diamondhead Corporation and ­trucking magnate Malcolm McLean acquired Pinehurst Inc., from the Tufts family in December 1970. The sale, involving 7,500 acres, included the Pinehurst Club and its five golf courses, a race track, the Holly Inn and the Carolina Hotel, greenhouse, lumber yard and plumbing business in Pinehurst, and a variety of local small businesses and utilities.
  • 1973: The resort community of Seven Lakes is begun by Sanford businessman Fred Lawrence. His plan includes a pool, tennis courts, riding stable and seven lakes. The expanded development now includes Beacon Ridge and Seven Lakes West.
  • 1974: The PGA World Golf Hall of Fame, located by the fourth green of Pinehurst No. 2, was dedicated by President Gerald R. Ford in September. Pinehurst was the home of the Hall of Fame for 18 years, from 1974-1993, with its rare ­collections of golf memorabilia. It officially closed its doors on Dec. 1, 1993, and the contents were moved to Florida, where they would be closer to the PGA’s corporate headquarters, near Jacksonville.
  • 1977: The village of Foxfire is incorporated. It is developed from an old farm by Roland McKenzie and his partner Dan Tomlinson as a scenic residential and resort golf community.
  • 1984: Club Corporation of America and Robert H. Oldman purchased all the Diamondhead assets in Pinehurst, from a ­consortium of banks, in June.
  • 1989: The 89th U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship is held at Pinehurst. Vicki Goetye is the winner.
  • 1990: The World Golf Hall of Fame PRO/AM Tournament is held at Pinehurst. Jay Haas is the winner and astronaut Admiral Alan Shepard is the grand marshal.
  • 1991: The PGA Championship is held at Pinehurst. Craig Stadler is the winner. 
  • The Veterans Movement is dedicated at Cannon Park, Pinehurst, on Nov. 11. Schedule of events included the 82nd Airborne Band and Chorus, parachute jumps by the U.S. Army Golden Knights, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy fly-over (F15’s, 130’s and FA 18’s), unveiling of monument, laying of wreaths and taps.
  • 1992: The PGA Tour Championship is held at Pinehurst; Paul Azinger is the winner.
  • 1994: The U.S. Men’s Senior Open is held at Pinehurst; Simon Hobday is the ­winner. The Shells’ Wonderful World of Golf is held at Pinehurst in April 12, with two of golf’s greatest ­players, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer. Both players battled Pinehurst No. 2, with Nicklaus shooting a 67 and Palmer shooting a 74. The game was aired on April 30.
  • 1995: The village of Pinehurst sponsored the 1895-1995 Pinehurst Centennial County Fair at the Pinehurst Harness Track, on Nov. 3-4, and the Pinehurst Centennial Commemorative Medallion in honor of James Tufts, who founded Pinehurst in 1895. The U.S. Clay Court Championship is held at Pinehurst Resort and Country Club, May 8-14. Thomas Engvist, the 19-year-old Swedish ­sensation, ranked 18th in the world, became the U.S. Clay Court champion. In doubles ­competition, the team of Mark Woodfords and Todd Woodbridge, the No. 1 tournament seeds and the No. 1-ranked doubles team in the world, beat the No. 2 seeds in the tournament. The LPGA Pinewild Women’s Championship is held at Pinewild Country Club of Pinehurst; Rosie Jones is the winner.
  • 1996: The Pinehurst Resort and Village were designated as a National Historic Landmark in June. Pinehurst was selected because of its prominence in the development of golf and its keen representation of a turn-of-the-century resort community. Landmark ­status is granted only to those districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects that represent a ­significant aspect of American history. The 51st U.S. Women’s Open Championship is held at Pine Needles, May 27-June 2. Anika Sorenstam is the winner.
  • 1998: The original Herrmann’s Royal Lipizzaner Stallions of Austria under the direction of Colonel Ottoman Herrmann made their appearance at the Pinehurst Harness Track, Oct. 30-Nov. 1. The Prancing Horse riders on the 21 magnificent white stallions demonstrated their newest program, performing their ­incredible feats of grace and power for their live audience.
  • 1999: Pinehurst serves as the site of the U.S. Open Championship. Payne Stewart sinks a 15-foot putt on the 18th hole to win the championship.
  • 2000: An early January storm of snow and ice cripples many areas, leaving residents without power and, in some places, two feet of snow. Event was dubbed “The Storm of 2000.”
  • 2001: Pine Needles hosts the U.S. Women’s Open for a second time and is ­immediately tapped for a return engagement in 2007. The life-sized statue of Payne Stewart was dedicated at Pinehurst Country Club on Nov. 6, and joins the statues of Donald Ross and Richard Tufts on the Pinehurst Walk of Fame, adjacent to the 18th green at No. 2. The ­statue, which captures the late golfer’s ­triumphant fist pump after holing a dramatic 15-foot putt on the 18th green of Pinehurst No. 2, is the ­creation of sculptor Zenos Frudakis.
  • 2002: Moore County suffers a drought of monumental proportions that brings about mandatory conservation.
  • 2003: John Edwards, who grew up in Moore County, campaigns for the Democratic nomination for the presidency.
  • 2004: A hurricane-powered tornado hits West Southern Pines, damaging or destroying many homes and businesses.
  • 2005: The U.S. Open Championship returned to the revered Pinehurst No. 2 Course, providing another memorable experience as Michael Campbell out-dueled the field to win.
  • 2006:  ClubCorp is sold, but the Dedman family takes sole ownership of Pinehurst Resort.
  • 2007:  Cristie Kerr wins the U.S. Women’s Open Championship, which was held at Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club.