Cary History: Education in the Time of Segregation

Cary, NC — Before and during the Civil Rights era, black students in Cary were bused to segregated Berry O’Kelley High School in Raleigh.

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Cary History: Growing Up on Academy Street

Cary, NC — Charlotte Phelps was born in 1941. In 1947, her family moved from Angier to a house on Academy Street in Cary, and she started first grade right after they arrived. In 2009, she shared with us some of her childhood memories in Cary.

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Cary History: The Early Days of South Hills Mall

Cary, NC — CaryCitizen recently reported that South Hills Mall will be sold in 2022. In the early 1960s, Cary’s first shopping mall was built by David Martin at South Hills.

Over the years, it was expanded with a motel, and then the Life Experiences program was begun there, started by Carl Mills. Here are some of the details from those early days. Read more

From the Archive: The Ghost of High House

Cary, NC — The last story we’ll leave you with before Halloween this Sunday is this haunting tale of an old Cary home and its mysterious reputation.

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Cary History: A Case of Polio in the Time of WWII

Cary, NC — In 2006, Ruby Merritt was interviewed, and told us about her son, Wendell, who had polio during World War II. Here is her harrowing story, described in her very own words.

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150 Moment: Mayor Fred G. Bond

Cary, NC — In Cary’s 150-year history, the town has been home to many influential and interesting leaders, one of which we are honoring in this month’s 150 moment — Mayor Fred G. Bond.

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Cary History: The 1996 Centennial of Cary High

Cary, — Cary is celebrating its sesquicentennial 150th year this year. And 25 years ago, Cary High commemorated its centennial 100th year.

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Cary History: Remembering Cary’s “Main Man”

Cary, NC — For decades, Cary had only one man to run the whole town. From 1939 to 1960, Mr. Linville Midgette was the police chief, fire chief, town manager and go-to person for everything.

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From the Archive: Battle of Morrisville Station

Cary, NC — In April 2012, CaryCitizen remembered the history of Morrisville during the time of the Civil War as an official marker was put in place at the Town Hall entrance.

This story has remained a top-read article as it lives on in the CaryCitizen Archive, so we thought it out to be dusted off and remembered once again.

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Cary History: The Early Swimming Holes

Cary, NC — In this month’s look back into the history of Cary, we hear from four native Cary residents who recall their childhood swimming holes.

Billy Rogers

“We had to go to Pullen Park in Raleigh to go to a swimming pool. That was a long way. You’d take a picnic over there and go swimming on a Sunday afternoon.”

Esther Ivey

“We had a church picnic every year. Sometimes we would go to Pullen Park where, at that time, they had caged animals and they always had a merry-go-round. We used to go there to go swimming, and also down to Wilders Pond. We would have a picnic lunch there. Company pond had a grist mill.”

Robert Heater

“We had two swimming places. One of them was called “the washout.” It was a creek that had washed out at that spot, which meant you could do a little bit of swimming, but not much. That was in the lower, southern end of Urban Park. You could dog paddle, but that’s about all. That’s where we would go to get wet and cool off.

The better one was “the pothole” at the bottom of North Harrison Avenue. There was a right steep hill going down to the bottom on the other side of Arby’s. Back then that street used to stop where the water tank is and then you’d walk through the woods down to the pothole.

It was probably 12 to 14 feet down and was a place where water washed over a hard rock. That was one place where I got in trouble with my dad because you weren’t supposed to be there. We walked by the road, or ride bicycles if we had them.”

Fred Seeger

“Before I was old enough to have a motorcycle or a car, maybe five or six of us would ride out to Silver Lake. It was a half or three-quarter day trip out beyond Lake Wheeler Road. It wouldn’t be a formal outing or anything. We’d grab our bicycles and take off, maybe once a week to go swimming. We’d stop at Rhamkatte Trading Post on Rhamkatte Road and get us a moon pie and a Pepsi, coming and going, if we had enough money to buy them in both directions. No one cared if you went out there and went swimming. There was a platform about 30 or 40 feet from the shore directly out from the dam, and it was deep enough to dive off of. 

We would either go to Silver Lake or go to Billy Pierce’s farm out on Kildaire Farm Road, which was directly across from the Winn-Dixie shopping center. There were turtles in the pond and we didn’t like to swim in there. They wouldn’t bother you, but we knew they were there, so we didn’t have much to do with that pond. 

That was the majority of our swimming unless we wanted to go to Pullen Park, but that was too commercial. We didn’t go to Pullen Park to go swimming.”

Story by Peggy Van Scoyoc. Much of the Cary’s History column is taken from the book, Just a Horse-Stopping Place, an Oral History of Cary, North Carolina, published in August of 2006. The book is a collection of oral history interviews conducted between local citizens and Friends of the Page-Walker Hotel. The rest comes from later oral history interviews with local citizens. 

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