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Ayden Town

Ayden Town Hall is located at 4144 West Avenue, Ayden, NC 28513; phone: 252-481-5817.

Beginnings [1]

With the construction of the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad in 1890 and incorporation in 1891, Ayden exemplifies the market towns of the railroad era in Pitt County. The establishment and growth of Ayden was spurred by the coming of the railroad, but the selection of Ayden for the route of the rail line was the direct result of local entrepreneurial actions. In particular, William Henry Harris (1846-1918), who owned much of the land which now comprises the Ayden town center, successfully convinced the directors of the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad in 1890 to purchase a parcel of his farmland for their new line and railroad station. With the rail line secured, Harris and the East Carolina Land and Improvement Company began the initial platting and development of the town. The rail connections allowed Ayden to develop a diverse commercial and manufacturing base which included lumber, milling, finishing plants, financial services, and mercantile enterprises. These endeavors are exhibited in one of the largest central business districts in Pitt County and one which retains one of the best collections of early twentieth century commercial buildings in the county.

  1. Richard L. Mattson and Frances P. Alexander, Architectural Historians, Mattson, Alexander and Associates, Ayden Historic District, Pitt County, NC, nomination document, 1994, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
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