A horse and carriage procession on campus, as pictured in the 1909 Howler yearbook.

Celebrate Our History on Museum Day Live! 9/23/2017

A horse and carriage procession on campus, as pictured in the 1909 WFC yearbook.

We’re proud to join Smithsonian magazine’s thirteenth annual Museum Day Live!, in which participating museums across the United States emulate the spirit of the Smithsonian Institution by opening their doors for a day of fun and education–absolutely free! As we’re always free here at the Wake Forest Museum, we’re using the opportunity to open our doors on Saturday, outside of regular museum hours, to encourage new visitors to come in and experience the 20-plus professionally designed exhibits, historic Calvin Jones House, and natural beauty of the museum grounds.

Special Museum Hours for Saturday, September 23, 2017 will be from 10am – 3pm. All visitors are welcome!

The following newspaper article, originally published in 1909, starts out with a local Wake Forest barbecue and segues into a sort of early Chamber of Commerce brag sheet about how special our town was becoming… way back at the start of the twentieth century.

‘CUE DONE TO A TURN: Wake Forest Folks Hospitable and United

It Has Doubled Its Population within Five Years and is Progressive–The Outlook is for Big Attendance at College Next Month

August 5, 1909 – Wake Forest is noted chiefly abroad as the location of one of the foremost Baptist colleges in the South. At home it is noted for its hospitality and the practice of the virtues that make it peculiarly suitable for the home of college youths in the years when they are in need of a healthy environment of uplift.

WFC students enjoying the outdoors in 1909.

Every year the good people of the town have what they call a “barbecue.” Those who are so fortunate as to share it with them find that it is a royal Wake County dinner, including every delicacy as well as the succulent barbecue. The annual dinner today, as in former years, showed the unity that speaks so well for the community.

Everybody takes a hand in these yearly picnics; the merchants, manufacturers, and businessmen unite in making it a regular coming together sociable day. Everybody is present–the college president and the merchant and the carpenter and the clerk. And the women and children come, too, and long tables on the campus are filled with the good things to eat.

Farmer friends come in to swap stories and talk about the crops. By the way, the crops are not so good as in southern Wake, though Mr. J.J. O’Neal, a veteran farmer, told me he had the finest crop in twenty years.

The old people come and are made guests of honor. The two who received most honor today were Major Crenshaw, the oldest living matriculate, who is in his eighty-seventh year, and Dr. Chappell, who is in his eighty-eighth year. A successful businessman and farmer, Major Crenshaw has no superior in North Carolina. A skilled physician in his active labors, Dr. Chappell won the love of all and his patriotic life has long been a benediction.

Major John Martin Crenshaw, ca. 1909, standing in front of Crenshaw Hall. The photo was taken in what is now the front yard of the house. When Major Crenshaw moved into Crenshaw Hall, he insisted on adding a room on the back side of the house for his office. The kitchen, which is still standing, had so much clamor from dishes and pots that it disturbed his carrying on business in the main house. This photo shows the original back of the house.

The children were out in full force. Their joyous and happy shouts made the campus ring with a music sweeter than Mendelssohn ever dreamed of or Jenny Lind gave to the admiring world. The grave college professors are like children turned loose, and with their wives, and the men and women of the village, dispense a gracious hospitality.

In addition to the home folks, a few invited guests were here, chief among them Governor Kitchin and his charming wife. He spent his college days here and every time has a pleasant association. It was here he attained preparation for his brilliant public career.

Panoramic photograph of the campus in 1909.

President Poteat looks for a large attendance this fall. The college has grown steadily in numbers and in solid work and breadth. It is a pleasure to come in elbow touch with the faculty embracing men of the best type of citizenship and scholarship.

Wake Forest has doubled its population within five years. It is situated on a high and beautiful hill, commanding a fine view of the surrounding country. It is a good business turn and its businessmen are wide awake. A new electric light system–one of the best–is now being installed…. I append the following from the leaflet the Merchants’ Association has just issued:

“Royall Cotton Mill is in its ninth year of successful operation. With a capital of about $225,000 it manufactures both yarn and cloth and is justly noted for the high character of its operatives and its care of the physical, intellectual, and moral well-being of its employees. Its aim is not only to make dividends for its stockholders, but also to make a positive contribution to the higher life of the community.

Royall Cotton Mill was constructed north of town.

“The Bank of Wake, now in its fourth year year with $15,000 capital stock, has a $3,000 surplus and an ever widening circle of friends and patrons. Its methods are safe, sound, and salutary–safe for the depositors, sound in business principles, and salutary to the progress of the community.

“Curing the 1907 panic it paid money on all checks and accommodated all customers. It especially invites the continued and enlarged patronage of its farmer friends.

“Its motto is–‘Yours for service.’

“The Wake Forest Foundry Company, the successor of the famous W. B. Dunn Plow Company, has a constantly growing patronage in all Central and Eastern North Carolina.

Photograph of the W.B. Dunn Plow Company, Wake Forest.

“Its plows are justly famed for excellence, durability, and use–its customers are its best advertisers.

“The Wake Forest Loan and Real Estate Company is a young but very successful enterprise and is prepared to sell, buy or rent real estate, on reasonable terms, to aid thrifty persons in building homes and to make loans in ways satisfactory to customers.

“Farm supplies may be purchased from three well established firms on time or for cash. Farmers in Northern Wake and Southern Franklin and Granville counties will do well to visit Wake Forest and confer with these firms before making arrangements in other towns. They offer reasonable terms, excellent goods, and prompt service. Their customers continue. Try them.

“The Wake Forest cotton market leads Wake County. The harmonious cooperation between Wake Forest cotton buyers and the Royall Cotton Mill and other mills in this section keeps the prices above those offered in nearby towns. This fact, last season, increased cotton sales at Wake Forest one hundred percent, and for the coming season a still greater increase is probable.

The W.W. Holding Company, started about 1890, first dealt in heavy groceries, cotton seed, fertilizer, and general merchandise, with a main interest in cotton. Cotton soon took over, and the company became a major cotton supplier throughout the southeast. Its headquarters was the South White Street building known as the Cotton Company.

“Last year farmers found it to their advantage to haul their cotton ten miles and more to Wake Forest. If you have cotton to sell try the Wake Forest market because it is always ‘bullish.’

“Dry goods and groceries. The dry goods and grocery trade of Wake Forest is in the hands of men tried and true in the business whose experience enables them th meet the wants of their customers and whose integrity is a guarantee of fair dealing and reasonable prices. When the farmer has received the highest price in the Wake Forest cotton market he can buy home necessaries at the lowest prices in our dry goods and grocery stores. Try them.

This circa 1900 photograph of South White Street shows early local businesses owned by the Brewer and Holding families.

“Country produce always commands the highest prices at Wake Forest, the market being stimulated by the presence of several hundred college students. Chickens, eggs, meats of all kinds, and all farm products will find ready sale and high prices in the Wake Forest market.”

1909 - College Scenes 4
Sketch of the original campus arch, donated by the Class of 1909.


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