Wake Forest Historical Museum

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

Wake Forest Has a Disastrous Hailstorm

A record-setting hailstorm hit town on June 13, 1896. Hours after it ended, Wake Forest College Mathematics Professor John Francis Lanneau stuck a ruler into a drift against the college building and found the pile of icy pellets–described as the size of small bird eggs–measured fourteen inches deep.

The storm started just after sunset that Saturday evening and lasted roughly ten minutes. The driving hail sliced through blades of corn, decimated fields of oats, and slammed down the cotton so it lay on the ground. All that was left were badly beaten stalks barren of leaves. An article published at the time said: “The eye can rest on a field of cotton and not a leaf is visible anywhere.”

The local farming community was devastated. This single event wiped out $20,000 in cotton–the equivalent of more than a half million dollars today. It was reported that farmer Priestly Mangum alone had suffered a $5,000 loss–making his year a total failure.

The storm covered an area of about two miles by three miles, beginning at a local property described as “Dr. Harris’s place” and stretching to Riley’s Crossroads at the Wake-Franklin County line. The event was reported in newspapers across the region, from the Atlanta Constitution to the Bryson City Times.

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This entry was posted on June 6, 2017 by in Old Campus History and tagged , , , .

Hours & Info

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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From the April 1961 Wake Forest phone book... instructions on how to use a dial telephone, how to dial a number, how to interpret ringing and busy signals, and what to do on a party line. Anyone else remember those days? This amazing photo from Sanford Bailey shows just HALF of the folks at the 1954 Powell Family Reunion!!! Brought out the programs to get moving on the 2017 WF Community Christmas Dinner... it's never too early to start!!!🎄 An early morning visitor to the museum garden.