Raeford Historic District
The Raeford Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2006. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [†] Adaptation copyright © 2012, The Gombach Group.
Located in the Hoke County town of Raeford in North Carolina's Sandhills region, the Raeford Historic District's period of significance begins in 1897, when the Aberdeen & Rockfish Railroad (A&R) Corridor, the Raeford Historic District's oldest resource, was constructed, and extends to 1956, the end of the historic period. Raeford is significant as a typical railroad town in the Sandhills of North Carolina displaying characteristic commercial and residential growth along a grid pattern parallel and perpendicular to the rail line. Raeford coalesced in the late nineteenth century around the Raeford Institute, founded in 1895, and the Aberdeen & Rockfish Railroad, which cut through the area in 1897. The town was officially chartered in 1901 with 115 residents. Raeford became the Hoke County seat in 1911 when the legislature carved Hoke from Cumberland and Robeson counties. The Raeford Historic District possesses architectural significance as a commercial and residential district containing a mix of nationally popular styles and vernacular forms common to railroad towns that developed in southeastern North Carolina at the turn of the twentieth century. Buildings in the Raeford Historic District include Queen Anne houses and an imposing Neoclassical edifice, a circa 1910 railroad depot, and two blocks of early twentieth-century brick commercial buildings. Most of the resources date from the 1910s and 1920s, but a few post-World War II properties illustrate that agriculturally-based businesses and small town commerce sustained Raeford's prosperity into the mid-twentieth century. The Raeford Historic District encompasses sixty-three buildings and structures of which seventy-nine percent are contributing resources. Twenty percent of the Raeford Historic District's resources are noncontributing, mostly due to construction date.
Historical Background and Commerce, Community Development, and Transportation Contexts
Hoke County is located in the Sandhills region of south-central North Carolina, just north of the South Carolina state line. While the county's topography undulates slightly, the area is generally flat and traversed by slow-moving creeks and swamps. Raeford's terrain is fairly level with a very slight downhill slope running through downtown from north to south.
In 1734, Gabriel Johnston became North Carolina's royal governor. To hasten settlement of the sparsely populated colony, he established tax exemptions for new immigrants and disseminated positive information about the colony. Johnston's promotion, combined with colonists' own writings to their friends and families in Europe persuaded thousands of people, eventually hundreds of thousands, to come to North Carolina. With such encouragement, Scottish settlers began arriving in Brunswick and later Wilmington, they moved up the Cape Fear River into the Cross Creek area, which became Fayetteville. After 1746 when the British defeated the Scottish Highlanders, leaving many of them landless and starving, the fleeing Highlanders followed the same route moving farther up the Cape Fear and its tributaries as land along the river filled with immigrants. By 1754, enough Scottish settlers lived in the Cape Fear region that the General Assembly created a new county from Bladen County. The general assembly, mostly comprised of men of English origins, disdainfully named the county Cumberland for William, Duke of Cumberland who had commanded the victorious British army against the Highlanders eight years earlier. As the eighteenth century progressed, more Scottish settlers pushed deeper into the Cape Fear region and began populating the part of Cumberland County that would become Hoke County. By 1787, the area's population required another county and Robeson was also created from Bladen County.
While these Scottish settlers occupied the land on which the town of Raeford is situated during the eighteenth century, Raeford's genesis lie in the second half of the nineteenth century. At that time, most of the people living in present-day Hoke County remained closely tied to their Scottish and Presbyterian roots despite the upheavals of the Revolutionary War, and later, the Civil War. It was these Scottish Presbyterians, long respected for their devotion to education who founded a school where Raeford now stands.
In the late 1800s Dr. Albert Picket Dickson and his wife Frances Wyatt joined with the McDiarmid family to establish a private school for their children. The school did not thrive, but around 1891, the Dicksons and other neighbors tried again. This second academy also failed, but Dr. and Mrs. Dickson, as the parents of thirteen children, remained committed to creating educational opportunities, so along with the McLauchlin and McRae families, they built a new school on five acres of land between present-day Main Street, Magnolia Street, Edinborough Avenue, and Donaldson Avenue. In September 1895, the non-sectarian, co-educational Raeford Institute opened in a substantial two-story building with two teachers. By 1898, the school's faculty included five college-educated teachers, and the catalogue portrayed the institute's location as "free from temptation to extravagance, from opportunities for misconduct and wrongdoing of every kind, and from distracting influences." By 1906, when the school's enrollment stood at 260 students representing twelve counties and three states, the catalogue depicted Raeford as a "Scotch and Scotch-Irish settlement...composed almost entirely of people who have gathered here for the purpose of educating their children."
At the same time the Raeford Institute was getting its start, two other events helped set the scene for Raeford's inception. One was the arrival of an Aberdeen & Rockfish Railroad survey party. John Blue organized the A & R in 1892, and in 1895 John Blue, surveyor Hector Smith, and Dan McLauchlin laid out the depot's location and a main street for what would become Raeford. The other formative event also occurred in 1895 when A.A. Williford and John McRae applied for a permit to operate a post office at their store, gristmill, and turpentine distillery complex on Rockfish Creek. The two men combined their names to create Raeford. Williford and McRae's post office stood about a mile away from the center of present-day Raeford, however, the name was applied to the new school, to the planned A & R depot, and to the settlement that emerged around the institute and railroad.
These seminal events in Raeford's history, the establishment of a school, a post office, and the promise of rail service, occurred during the New South era when optimistic farmers, merchants, industrialists, and politicians backed the expansion of the state's existing municipalities and founded hundreds of new towns. Promoters of the New South movement championed industry, education, and transportation as the vehicles that would deliver the South from the dark days of Reconstruction and an antebellum dependence on volatile cash crops and now nonexistent slave labor. The philosophy's optimism and the era's energy, charged with humming turbines, drumming industrial looms, clanking engines, dazzling electric lights, and ringing telephones, spread along the region's railways.
In 1897, after several years of service as a short logging railroad, the Aberdeen & Rockfish pushed east to Raeford where the company had already planned a depot and main street. Presumably the railroad built its original Raeford depot, a wooden building, at that time. That year, the unofficial population in Raeford stood at twenty and only one store (113 East Elwood Avenue), J.W. McLauchlin's general merchandise, operated in the town. But the railroad's arrival signaled the start of true New South expansion in Raeford: as soon as the train arrived, businesses followed. John Guiton established Main Street's first store the same year in which the rail line was completed. More businesses opened, all in wooden buildings lining Main Street between the Raeford Institute to the north and the rail corridor to the south. On February 22, 1901, state legislators incorporated the fledgling town, encompassing about 1,400 acres centered on the intersection of Main Street and Central Avenue. At the time, Raeford was home to 115 residents.
In the spring of 1903, a group of Raeford merchants organized the Bank of Raeford. John Blue was elected president, and the investors purchased a lot on Main Street. With $12,000 in capital, the Bank of Raeford opened for business on October 6, 1903 in what was the town's first brick building.
In the early part of the twentieth century Raeford residents shared a confidence about the town best expressed by newspaper editor Scott Poole in a 1923 Hoke County Journal article. Reflecting on Raeford's early years, Poole remembered that the town "was populated by the best people, and they had pluck, and a glance at the country around told us that the town had grounds for hope, so we anchored." Many of Raeford's leaders did more than anchor. They built fine homes that represented the soaring optimism they felt about the new town and its future. B.R. Gatlin and his wife Margaret Gatlin, attracted to Raeford's educational opportunities, came to Raeford around the turn-of-the-twentieth century. After Mr. Gatlin opened a store, he and his wife built a well-detailed Queen Anne dwelling (203 E. Central Avenue) prominently sited at the corner of South Stewart Street and East Central Avenue in 1903. The Gatlin's close involvement with the Raeford Institute warranted a photograph of their dwelling in the school's 1906 catalogue. A little more removed from downtown, J.W. McLauchlin built an imposing Neoclassical home (111 S. Highland Street) dominated by a Corinthian portico with fluted columns. Mr. McLauchlin, often described as the "Father of Hoke County" for his efforts to create the county, hired Marcus Dew to build the house for his bride, Christiana McFadyen, around 1905.
With rail service, a thriving school, a bank, and stately homes, Raeford possessed almost all the components of a New South town; a cotton factory was the only missing piece, but it was not absent for long. In 1907, W.J. Upchurch and T.B. Upchurch built the Raeford Cotton Mill and mill village on the edge of town. The following year, with the mill humming and downtown commerce flourishing, the Bank of Raeford sold an additional $3,000 worth of stock. Also in 1908, R.J. Baucom opened his Baucom's Cash Store at 114 North Main Street, and in 1909, electricity came to Raeford.
By 1910, just nine years after the town's incorporation, the population had grown five-fold to 580. Among the residents were druggists, farmers, blacksmiths, ministers, merchants, opticians, clerks, and doctors. Dr. Francis Juiat came to Raeford from Switzerland and married a North Carolinian named Flora Ella. Allen Fuller was a horse trader living with his wife and five children. House carpenters included Duncan Kinlaw, Neill Cameron, and building contractor Marcus Dew. Martha E. McKeithan worked as a dressmaker, making her one of the few white females employed outside her home. Her husband, Smith McKeithan, was a grocery merchant.
Most African Americans worked for white families as servants, butlers, cooks, or laundresses, and unlike Raeford's Caucasian women, most of the town's African American women worked outside their homes. Dean Gilmore was a stabler while his wife and two oldest daughters, ages seventeen and nineteen, worked as cooks for white families.
As Raeford grew, so did the area's desire to exercise greater autonomy. When Raeford was incorporated, its land was in the western reaches of Cumberland County not far from the northwestern edge of Robeson County. People living in these western extremes of Cumberland and Robeson counties felt isolated from their county seats. Reaching Fayetteville, the Cumberland County seat, required two days of travel to cover twenty-two miles; Lumberton, Robeson's county seat, was two-and-a-half days or thirty miles away from Raeford. Agitation for a new county separate from Cumberland and Robeson counties started in 1907. Both counties fought the change, but after four years, Raeford businessman John W. McLauchlin, Cumberland County's state senator, finally pushed an act to establish the new county through the legislature in 1911. The county's first suggested name was Glenn, but when Robert B. Glenn (governor from 1905 to 1909) declined the tribute, Hoke was chosen to honor of Confederate major general Robert F. Hoke.
Once it became the county seat, Raeford's fortunes continued. In 1912 the Bank of Raeford opened the doors of its new three-story brick building at 138 N. Main Street. The bank occupied one of two storefronts, and Baucom's Cash Store (114 N. Main Street) moved into the other. The upper floors housed offices and apartments. Also in 1912, the tracks of the Aberdeen & Rockfish Railroad reached Fayetteville.
The Hoke County Courthouse (National Register, 1979), however, was the most important building constructed during this period. The county engaged the architectural firm of Milburn and Heister of Washington, D.C. to design the new building and J.A. Jones of Charlotte to serve as the project's building contractor. Frank Milburn, the principal, and later the firm he organized with Michael Heister, designed numerous courthouses in North Carolina. Bonds totaling $57,000 financed construction and the building was finished in 1912. The courthouse stands north of the Raeford Historic District.
Numerous businesses opened in Raeford during the 1910s. T.D. Hatcher's jewelry store and J.A. Niven's grocery gained footholds on North Main Street, and several local businessmen organized the Raeford Savings and Loan in 1913. That same year, Raeford Institute became part of the Hoke County school system and operated as the Raeford Graded School. Raeford Graded School moved out of the former Institute buildings in 1918 at which time a new street, Campus Avenue, was cut through the property and lots were auctioned. In 1916, Raeford completed a water system, the same year Upchurch Milling Company, a grist and flour mill started by the founders of the Raeford Cotton Mill, relocated from the cotton mill to a site closer to downtown on the east side of Main Street at the railroad tracks.
As the century wore on, Raeford continued to grow as more businesspeople and workers moved to the town. The population burgeoned to 1,235 by 1920, an increase of roughly 112% from the previous census. Among the ranks of white residents were an array of merchants, clerks, bookkeepers, railroad workers, doctors, county employees, and salesmen. Most of Raeford's African Americans were confined to positions as domestic employees or unskilled laborers. A few African Americans worked at the cotton oil mill (presumably the Hoke Oil and Fertilizer Company located on South Main Street in the vicinity of Edinborough Shopping Center), while one was a horseshoer. The 1920 census reveals that the town's house builders were primarily white, although many African Americans classified as "laborers" may have worked on area buildings. One carpenter, a white man named Eldridge Chisholm, lived with his mother and brother. The only brick mason listed in the 1920 census was Whit Monroe who lived in a seventeen-person household headed by his father-in-law, L. Bratcher. Building contractors included Marcus W. Dew, who was the town's best-known contractor, Claude V. Brown, and John M. McDuffie, whose household included a boarder named Louis Campbell who was a carpenter.
In 1921, a second rail line arrived in Raeford when the Laurinburg and Southern Railroad, incorporated in 1909, purchased tracks from the A & R to create a link with Raeford. As the 1920s continued, Raeford's downtown flourished and residential areas to the west, east, and north grew. A 1925 fire destroyed much of the east side of Main Street, but merchants rebounded quickly. The fire ruined the town's hotel, but lodgers Israel Mann and his brother, both of whom lost all their possessions in the blaze, still managed to open a men's clothing shop in the former Raeford Wholesale Building that same year.
The largest building constructed after the 1925 blaze was the Bluemont Hotel (120 N. Main Street), which stood on the northeast corner of North Main Street and East Central Avenue. Some of the hotel's customers may have been rail travelers, but because Raeford was not a rail hub, most of the hotel's patrons probably came from Main Street, which carried the busy north-south U.S. Highway 15 through town. The hotel attracted sportsmen and hunters. The Sandhills region had been known for hunting, as well as golfing, since the nineteenth century and a twentieth century publication noted that the hotel, called the Hotel Raeford by this time, was "very popular with tourists, on account of its excellent food, comfortable rooms and reasonable rates. This Hotel is headquarters for sportsmen for three months of the South's finest deer hunting each year."
By 1930, just as communities across North Carolina were starting to feel the effects of the Great Depression, the population in Raeford stood at 1,303, an increase of only 68 people since the previous census. The Bank of Raeford and Page Trust Company closed during the Depression. The Bank of Raeford managed to reopen in 1933 and survived into the 1970s, but Page Trust never recovered. Although little new construction occurred in Raeford during the early 1930s, business development continued. The Johnson Company started as Johnson and McNeill in 1930 and moved to 110 East Central Avenue in 1936. Also in 1933, Morgan Cotton Mills of Laurel Hill acquired the Raeford Cotton Mill. In November 1933, the A & R started operating a motorized "jitney" between Fayetteville and Aberdeen. Graham's Service Station (103 S. Main Street) opened for business the same year. The Raeford Theater, which showed motion pictures, opened in 1934, and around 1935, W.T. Covington sculpted the two white deer that were installed on top of Graham's Service Station.
The federal government was also active in Raeford during the Depression. The Works Progress Administration (WPA) built the new county high school, now known as Turlington School (116 West Prospect Avenue). In 1935, the WPA finished construction of the armory (National Guard Armory, 125 West Elwood Avenue) and the following year, they completed a ball park and playground behind the armory. The dedication game on May 14, 1936 pitted the North Carolina State Wolfpack against the Duke University Blue Devils.
By the late 1930s, recovery was in full swing. McNair Cleaners, operated by an African American family, opened on Racket Alley and Fuller Livery Stable (114 S. Main Street) was demolished to make way for a "sales stable." J.B. Thomas built a gas station that became McDonald's Esso at 113 E. Central Avenue, new shops opened in the Page Trust Building at 135 N. Main Street, and in 1939, the WPA brought the first bookmobile to Hoke County. By 1940, 1,628 people lived in Raeford.
The United States entrance into World War II quickened the pace of the town's economic rejuvenation. With Fort Bragg occupying much of the county to the north and east of Raeford, the town was particularly active during the war years. Troops passed through Raeford on their way to Fort Bragg and other groups of men gathered in Raeford before leaving. In 1942, the A & R depot (101 N. Main Street) was remodeled to house the Raeford Soldiers Center, a USO-type operation where soldiers enjoyed hot meals, send-off ceremonies, and dances. While the WPA provided some assistance with creating the center, one supporter called it "strictly a Hoke County project."
Raeford participated in practice blackouts, scrap iron drives, and plane spotting, through which local residents learned to recognize enemy aircraft and manned an observation facility twenty-four hours a day. The former Raeford Cotton Mill, known by this time as Edinborough Cotton Mill, produced corded yard for the war effort and participated in employee-training under the direction of the War Man Power Commission.
Post-war prosperity, and the accompanying building boom, came quickly to Raeford. A suburban housing development called Sunset Hills opened in 1945, and in 1948, a company called American Wringer, Inc. built a plant on the outskirts of town. The plant became part of the TexElastic Corporation, the world's largest manufacturer of elastic yarns. The A & R dropped its "jitney" service between Aberdeen and Fayetteville, and in 1950, another housing development, Robbins Heights, opened. Colonial Frozen Foods Inc. established itself in Raeford shortly after World War II, but the factory was dormant by 1952 when Turkaline Farms purchased the facility. In 1953, Priebe Poultry bought the plant and announced plans to process 50,000 birds weekly. Two new downtown buildings, John K. McNeill's Home Food Super Market and Pope's building at 113-115 N. Main Street and the News-Journal Building at 119 W. Elwood Avenue were finished in 1954 and 1955 respectively. Also in the mid-1950s, Burlington Mills established Raeford Weaving and Raeford Dyeing plants.
Correspondingly, Raeford's population multiplied. Between 1930 and 1950, the population grew by about 25% during each decade. Between 1950 and 1960, the number of people living in Raeford went from 2,030 to 3,058.
Downtown Raeford remained viable and a desirable address into the 1960s. Southern National Bank built a new Modernist building on the northwest corner of Main Street and Elwood Avenue in 1963. Also in 1963, J.W. McPhaul constructed a commercial office building at 113-117 W. Elwood Avenue, and two years later, the federal government dedicated a new post office building just across the street from the McPhaul Building.
During the 1960s and 1970s, however, suburban development also gained importance. Raeford made its first annexation, taking in an area along East Prospect Avenue Extension, in 1964. Annexation of the Burlington Mills facility followed in 1972. Shopping centers, including Edenborough Shopping Center, new schools, new Hoke County office buildings, subdivisions and new churches pulled some of the economic, social, and governmental appeal away from downtown. Studies aimed at setting a course towards downtown revitalization recommended infill, appearance improvements, and methods for handling traffic in 1962 and 1979, but little action was taken and suburban growth continued drawing commerce away from downtown. In 2004 and 2005, however, the City of Raeford has undertaken an extensive beautification project to improve downtown's appearance and spark building owners to undertake their own renovation projects.
The buildings in the Raeford Historic District represent the architectural styles and forms that occurred in Raeford and throughout south-central North Carolina from the late nineteenth century to the post-World War II period. During this time, architecture reflected the social and economic changes occurring as Raeford transformed from a railroad stop with a thriving school — the Raeford Institute — to a bustling agriculture-based commercial center and later to a small town home for local industrial employees and a few remaining farmers.
Most of the buildings in the Raeford Historic District were constructed around the turn-of-the-twentieth century. Marcus W. Dew is the town's best-known building contractor from the early twentieth century. Mr. Dew was the contractor for Raeford's finest residences, including the J.W. McLauchlin House (111 South Highland Street — now the Raeford-Hoke Museum) and the Hallie and Margaret Gatlin House (213 East Central Avenue), as well as for the Raeford Methodist Church (308 N. Main Street). Men listed in the 1910 census as house carpenters included Duncan Kinlaw, Neill Cameron, and George Carr. No brick mason lived in Raeford at that time. By 1920, John M. McDuffie and Claude V. Brown had established themselves in Raeford as building contractors and a host of other carpenters made their homes in Raeford. Louis Campbell, a boarder at John McDuffie's house, John L. McLeod, and Eldridge Chisholm all worked as house carpenters. Whit Monroe was one of the first brick masons to live in Raeford.
The oldest resource in the Raeford Historic District is the Aberdeen & Rockfish Rail Corridor; the earliest buildings in the Raeford Historic District date from the turn-of-the-twentieth century. The Kritt McNeill House (303 E. Central Avenue) and the Will and Flora McLauchlin House (104 S. Highland Street) were constructed around 1900. The Will and Flora McLauchlin House is a triple-A cottage, while the Kritt McNeill House is a one-story dwelling with multiple gables and a wrap-around porch with turned posts and a turned balustrade. The two-story commercial building at 112 East Elwood Avenue built in 1904 is the district's oldest commercial building.
Most of the resources in the Raeford Historic District are commercial buildings with stylistic expressions ranging from Italianate, to Neoclassical and Colonial Revival, to simplified post-World War II stores and offices. The commercial buildings in the Raeford Historic District, particularly those in the 100 block of North Main Street, are the second generation of stores and offices. Raeford's first generation consisted of one-story, gable-front wooden structures. Several fires in the early twentieth century, as well as a desire for more substantial buildings befitting Raeford's increasing prosperity destroyed all of these early buildings. The last wooden commercial building, the Moore Building, was torn down in February 1944.
Raeford's commercial and institutional buildings represent the urban growth that even small towns experienced in North Carolina during the 1910s and 1920s. These buildings tell the story of the wealth and prosperity Raeford enjoyed and illustrate the town's connection to the wider world where similar commercial buildings were also going up. The Johnson-Thomas Building at 127 North Main Street and the Hoke Drug building (122 N. Main Street) and Farmers Furnishing Company building across the street at 120 N. Main Street exhibit typical turn-of-the-twentieth-century designs. Arched window openings and a facade divided into recessed panels by pilasters distinguish the Johnson-Thomas Building while the drug store and Farmers Furnishing Company buildings feature peaked metal window hoods and a metal cornice. The three-story Bank of Raeford Building combines a classically-inspired cornice with stylized pilaster capitals while the Hoke County Courthouse presents a stately Classical Revival facade to the street. The Aberdeen & Rockfish Depot displays the flared roof, deep eaves, and fenestration typical of depots built all across the state in the 1910s.
Raeford Historic District's gas stations, built in the 1930s and 1950s represent the rising importance of automobiles during this period. Graham's Service Station occupies the space between East Central Avenue and the railroad corridor (103 S. Main Street) while Davis Sinclair Station is situated just south of the tracks (110 S. Main Street). Although Graham's has been altered, the locations of both create an effective juxtaposition between the fading importance of the railroad and the growing importance of highway travel. McDonald's Esso Station is also located in the district at 113 E. Central Avenue.
During the 1950s, a number of new buildings went up in the Raeford Historic District. With the exception of Morgan Motors Company (112-114 E. Central Avenue) and the Johnson Company Building (110 E. Central Avenue), these were the first new buildings constructed in downtown Raeford in twenty years. Their construction, in the face of increasing suburban development, illustrate that central Raeford maintained a commercial attraction and stability that could not yet be matched beyond downtown's grid.
The houses in the Raeford Historic District, like the commercial buildings, reflect the town's success and design sensibility. Raeford, like many railroad towns in North Carolina, was born during the New South era's excitement, boosterism, and can-do spirit. As a result, most of the dwellings in the Raeford Historic District display the occupants' prosperity and the availability of mass-produced ornament. Raeford was and is home to a number of exuberant Queen Anne designs, but the Historic District features one of particular note. B.R. and Margaret Gatlin's 1903 dwelling (203 E. Central Avenue) is a collection of Queen Anne sawnwork, spindlework, and decorative shingles assembled into a two-story, corner-facing dwelling capped with a square tower originally pierced with stained glass windows. The Kritt McNeill House (303 E. Central Avenue) and the Hallie and Margaret Gatlin House (213 E. Central Avenue) display more restrained Queen Anne features.
Just two years later, however, the J.W. McLauchlin family moved away from Queen Anne designs and constructed a Neoclassical residence dominated by a pedimented portico (111 S. Highland Street). At 124 East Central Avenue, J.W. Johnson built a classically-inspired house, but maintained closer ties to the Queen Anne style by incorporating polygonal bays, decorative shingles, and asymmetrical massing. At 304 Oakwood Avenue, a builder combined Colonial Revival and Queen Anne elements including diamond-shaped window panes and Doric columns into a house built around 1910. At 204 East Central Avenue, Julian Johnson built a house in the 1920s. Following national trends, the Johnsons dropped the Queen Anne references that Julian's parents, Mr. and Mrs. J.W. Johnson (204 E. Central Avenue) had incorporated next door and constructed a two-story dwelling that draws most of its stylistic expression from the Craftsman style.
The Raeford Historic District remains one of the most intact, railroad-centered town centers in south-central North Carolina. Comparable historic districts in the region include the Maxton Historic District (National Register, 1999) in the town of Maxton located in neighboring Robeson County. The district contains a mix of commercial, residential, institutional, and rail-related resources dating from the mid-nineteenth century to the 1940s. Maxton owes its origins to the Wilmington, Charlotte, and Rutherford Railroad, which came through in 1862.
Red Springs, also in Robeson County, grew up along the Cape Fear and Yadkin Valley Railroad. Incorporated in 1896, the town contains a small commercial district of one-and two-story brick buildings surrounded by historic residential neighborhoods.
Aberdeen, in adjacent Moore County, boasts a fine collection of railroad-related buildings and a compact historic district (Aberdeen Historic District, NR 1989) dating from the first decades of the twentieth century. The town served as a manufacturing and shipping hub for timber and turpentine. The Aberdeen Union Station, built in 1905, is a red and tan brick building with deep eaves. Commercial buildings include the 1906 Bank of Aberdeen constructed with Romanesque Revival elements. One of the more notable houses in town is the one designed by architect Charles C. Hook for John Blue (NR 1982), founder of the Aberdeen & Rockfish Railroad. The circa 1888 Southern Colonial Revival style house was remodeled in 1903.
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† Sarah Woodard David and Jennifer F. Martin, Edwards-Pitman Environmental, Inc., Raeford Historic District, Hoke County, North Carolina, nomination document, 2006, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.