Wake Forest Historical Museum

LOCATION: 414 N. Main Street Wake Forest, NC 27587 CONTACT: 919-556-2911

The Harricane

Along the northwestern rim of Wake County runs a lean piece of land known as “The Harricane.” It got its name from a renegade storm that ripped through the area many years ago.

The only crops that ever thrived there were rocks and moonshine and, for a long time, it was a no-man’s land. Only the brave or the foolish dared go down its red roads unannounced.
Its boundaries were like quicksilver, always “half a mile” further on, no matter where you asked.

The Harricane has changed now, but there’s a wildness still in the land, and if you look down the rutted lanes or through scrabbly growths of pine, you can still find glimpses of its past unmarred by time.

35 comments on “The Harricane

  1. Anonymous
    June 5, 2015

    grew up in the hurricane and proud to have been a part of it. good folk lived there. they took care of each other.

    • wakeforestmuseum
      June 5, 2015

      Loyal, hardworking families like the Rays, Harrisons, and Keiths are among those who made the Harricane such a treasure. We agree with you. This unique community is one of the most important parts of Wake Forest and its history.

      • Anonymous
        June 7, 2015

        I mean no disrespect but the way it is pronounced is the Hurricans or Hairicans . Born raised and hopefully will die in the area after I see the rest of the world but my roots will always be on New Light Rd

        • wakeforestmuseum
          June 7, 2015

          Thank you, duly noted!

        • m
          June 7, 2015

          You are spot on

        • Anonymous
          June 8, 2015

          Agreed. I’ve always heard it referred to at the “Hurrican’s”

        • Anonymous
          June 11, 2015

          I like the “Hairicans” terminology, it’s the way I ‘ve heard it said most frequently.

      • Anonymous
        June 5, 2016

        don’t forget the Powell’s

    • Anonymous
      June 5, 2016

      Yes they did !

  2. Anonymous
    June 5, 2015

    I was born, grew up in the Harricaine’s. God’s country. Never ashamed of my heritage. You should see the area now. Nice houses, and people that have no idea of the history. I proudly sign my name Mary Helen Grissom Long.

    • wakeforestmuseum
      June 6, 2015

      We would love to hear any stories or memories you have of growing up in the Harricane! You’re right about the new residents, many don’t know the history but they’re very interested! We frequently get those questions at the museum. The Harricane captures everyone’s imagination. Just look at the number of Facebook shares on this post! It would be great if you’d consider jotting your recollections in the comments section here or emailing me (Jennifer Smart) at smartjl@wfu.edu with any special memories!!!

    • Anonymous
      June 6, 2015

      Agree with you completely, me, too, only in the Franklin/Granville line of the Harricane. Trouble with times now is that no one knows the history or appreciates what the people in that history did for this country.

      • Anonymous
        June 7, 2015

        Some of us still remember and care going to look at some old sites that most don’t know about or have forgotten

    • Anonymous
      June 11, 2015

      It’s not unusual to find homes that “start in the 300s” on Newlight Road.

    • butlermedia
      January 29, 2017

      Grissom—as in the borough of Grissom, and New Grissom Way?

  3. Anonymous
    June 6, 2015

    Mary Helen I agree Linda Bailey. I grow up with you. Love the Harricaine

    • Linda Bailey Lairson
      December 6, 2015

      Love you to Mary Helen, I am proud to say I was born and raised there
      Linda Bailey Lairson

      • Lisa Little
        May 3, 2016

        The Richard family were born and raised there also.Does anyone remember Carrie Richard Davis ? She had 3 sons ArchieRichard and 2 more brothers. Her mother was Frances which they called Shan,

  4. Anonymous
    June 7, 2015

    My folks the O’Neals and the Ross where right there in the middle of it ,tough times there but good times and good memories in my childhood

    • m
      June 7, 2015

      I’m very proud of heritage. I’m an O’Neal thru and thru. Still live right in the middle of those “red roads”

    • Shannon Ross
      April 25, 2016

      Would you happen to have any pictures of Flonnie O’Neal who was married to Kenneth Ross. My husband is a Ross, they were his grandparents.

      • wakeforestmuseum
        April 26, 2016

        Hi Shannon! I’m not aware of any photographs of Flonnie O’Neal, but we currently have a librarian surveying our image collection and I’ll check with her when she’s here on Thursday. We’ll be sure to contact you if anything turns up.

        • Shannon Ross
          April 26, 2016

          That would be great! Thank you

  5. Anonymous
    June 7, 2015

    My husband’s family has lived on family land in the Harricanes for 7 generations. His grandfather made moonshine, and there are remnants of the old still down by the creek. If you walk along the creeks anywhere in this area, you’re bound to stumble across an old moonshine still or two.

    • butlermedia
      January 28, 2017

      Along Old Still Road? 🙂

  6. Scott Scherr
    June 8, 2015

    I live in one of the old Harrison/Bailey homes on Stony Hill Rd. It was built in 1930. We cherish this old historic home in the Hurricans. Locals tell us that ours is an old bootleggers home. We have found plenty of evidence of the past including copper line that fell on to my shed roof from a hundred year old Red Oak. The Harrisons were among the most well to do families, had the first electric generator(Dynamo)and first telephone in the area. It is said they would let the neighbors come in and use the phone all the time. Often people drop by our house with stories of their connections to the home. We are so proud to carry on the rich tradition in our home.

  7. Anonymous
    June 11, 2015

    One of the things I love about the “Haricane” is it’s elusive quality. It’s tricky to define it’s location (the News and Observer wrote an article in the 70s and went so far as to define the approximate boundaries of the Haricane as the area bordered by Hwy 98 on the south, Hwy 96 on the north, Hwy 50 on the west, and U.S. 1 on the east.) when I lived in southern Granville County, the Harricane was often “down the road a way” If you went “down the road a way” and asked directions the person would point to the area you just came from and say “It’s over there.” I recently asked a long term resident of southern Granville County where he thought the Harricane was and he said “It’s up toward Henderson!”

    • butlermedia
      January 28, 2017

      I live right smack in the middle of the boundaries you described, and my daughter is just “down the road a way” too. It is so cool to know that this little quadrant has such a history.

  8. Ron Harris
    June 12, 2015

    I would write about the “Haircanes” But I didn’t live in the “Haircanes”. Now If you ask one of the Ray’s, Baileys, Harrisons, or Lowerys They can tell you stories. Just go down 98 to were the Perry old barn use to be, then take a right until you get to the stump at the edge of the Keith property. Then ask around, I am sure someone will tell you what you want to know.

  9. Tillie Davis Pickard
    May 2, 2016

    Born and bred in the “hairicans” and could not wait to leave it and then spent over 30 years trying to get back home to the haircans. Hope to die here on this land.

  10. Chris
    June 5, 2016

    I’m a cash from down the road a bit but my family cemetery and home church is there. New light baptist church. Some very good people there and use to be some good coon hunting. My favorite was little Switzerland. M

    • J Lawrence
      June 5, 2016

      Remember before the river was flooded for falls lake you didn’t go poke in around down there unless you new somebody

  11. Phyllis
    June 5, 2016

    I’m a Haricans girl. A lot of stories up there. Here’s one, an old man name Meddie Allen walked everywhere he went, you could tell where he had been because he put markings in trees, whatever he could find, he climbed up a tree and just left things hanging. He lived down Peed Rd off 98, and we lived within site of the river on what’s known now as Ghoston rd.

  12. Ronnie Young
    June 5, 2016

    I grew up in Wake Forest, but went thru 1st grade 1950 to graduation with a lot of friends from the Harricans. I drove down N.C. 98 a while back and there was a traffic jam on the road. I would never have believed that could happen when we use to drive to Durham and not meet over a half dozen cars. I left the area in 1963, and can’t believe the changes that have taken place. Sometimes I think progress is not such a good thing. I wouldn’t take my upbringing in that era for anything, we had a wonderful life before it was destroyed.

    • Anonymous
      June 6, 2016

      Well said and I completely agree.

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This entry was posted on July 24, 2013 by in The Harricane and tagged , , .

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Tues-Fri: 9am-noon & 1:30-4:30pm
Sun: 2pm-5pm

Closed: Saturday and Monday

Call us at 919.556.2911

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Flying the Demon Deacon flag as we host visitors from the WFU Alumni Council. Welcome to #oldcampus! Happy Easter from the Wake Forest Historical Museum. (Old Well photographed from the Brewer-Harris Garden) These are the brothers of Kappa Sigma fraternity. They went to school here on the Old Campus and reunite each year at the Trek. They are an amazing group and we appreciate all they do for the Wake Forest Historical Museum! #kappasigma #wfu "His most unusual talent was combining profanity in unexpected ways," author Tucker Mitchell says to our Trek to the Old Campus crowd, about the subject of his excellent biography, legendary WFC football coach Peahead Walker. #wfu #oldcampus