The Carthage Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [‡]
The Carthage Historic District contains the largest and most intact concentration of buildings reflecting the growth and development of the town of Carthage, North Carolina, from the second quarter of the nineteenth century to the beginning of World War II. Carthage, the county seat of Moore County in the state's Sandhills region, dates its origins to 1796 although few, if any, buildings currently within the town's limits survive from that early period. While several houses apparently contain elements dating from the first or second quarter of the nineteenth century, the earliest datable buildings are from the early 1850s, when the Fayetteville and Western Plank Road was completed through Carthage. In addition to the houses of many citizens who figured prominently in the history of Carthage in the second half of the nineteenth century and well into the twentieth, the Carthage Historic District includes a cemetery with burials dating to the early 1850s, the largest and oldest surviving church building in town, which is adjacent to the cemetery, and a late Depression-era community building. It also contains both vernacular and sophisticated examples of many of the architectural styles prevalent during that long period. The substantial size and relative architectural sophistication of some of the buildings reflect the town's comparative prosperity which derived from its role as the county seat, as a market town for the surrounding plantations and farms, and as the location of the county's principal manufacturing enterprise during much of the period of significance. This was the Tyson and Kelly (later Tyson and Jones) Buggy Company, established in the mid 1850s, which employed skilled workers such as blacksmiths, wheelwrights, trimmers, upholsterers, and painters.
Historical Background and Community Development Context
Moore County, located in the Sandhills region of North Carolina, was formed out of the larger Cumberland County in 1783, at the close of the Revolutionary War. Five years later, a county seat was established on the Killett's Creek property of Richardson Fagin and called Faginsville (also spelled Fagansville, Fagensville). A small, crude log building was erected for use as the courthouse. [Robinson — pp.92, 95)
By the early 1790s, the Faginsville site was determined to be unsuitable for the county seat, largely because of its remoteness from the major areas of settlement and from any roads passing through the region. A more desirable location was sought, and a point on a ridge running east to west across the county, and reputed to be the highest point in the county, was eventually selected. This ridge divided the county into two sections: to the north were rolling hills and fertile lands with large and prosperous plantations; south of the ridge, the terrain was relatively flat, covered with pine trees in a sandy soil which made farming a precarious method of making a living. [Robinson — pp.103-104: Carthage General Plan — p.43; Wellman — p.12]
In 1796, approximately sixty acres were laid out around a public square for the courthouse, and the new seat was named Carthage. Sixty-four lots, in groups of four, were marked off in a grid pattern radiating from the square for a distance of two blocks in each direction. Names of families prominent in the founding of Carthage, such as McNeill, Dowd, Ray and Barrett, became the street names around the square. [Robinson — pp.103-104] facing p.5; Wellman — p.6]
The actual move to Carthage of the county seat was carried out at a relatively slow pace, and virtually no development occurred for some years after the town was laid out, beyond the construction of a new courthouse. In 1806, the community's name was changed to Faginsville, again in honor of the first donor of land for a county seat. In his history of Moore County from 1747 to 1847, Blackwell P. Robinson quoted a description of the county penned about 1810, in which the writer stated that the county had no towns and that the county seat at Fagensville was "...a village at the Court House containing 8 or 10 dwelling Houses...[and] the only place that claims a title to the Name...." [Robinson — p.106]
Carthage remained small and relatively undeveloped for the first four to five decades of the nineteenth century, with its population only about 150 during the 1830s and 1840s. [Wellman — p.6] Little remains of the small number of buildings erected during that period. Within the Carthage Historic District, the Dr. John Shaw House (508 McReynolds Street) contains elements, including a raised six-panel door and an exposed section of beaded siding with rosehead nails, which suggest that some part of the house was built during the first or second quarter of the nineteenth century. Another building in the Carthage Historic District, the Humber-Spencer House (300 McReynolds Street), is said to include a section dating to 1830, although little physical evidence survives which would authoritatively confirm such a belief. [Deahl interview]
During that first half of the nineteenth century, one of the most important buildings constructed in Carthage was a new, brick courthouse in 1841. The town's first church, for a Methodist congregation, had been built in 1837 at the western edge of town. Both the Presbyterian and Baptist congregations used this building until they were able to erect their own edifices, about 1851 for the former group and 1859 for the latter. The educational needs of the community's children, as well as children from the surrounding plantations, were met by the Carthage Male and Female Academy. [Robinson — p.184; Wellman — p.6] None of these nineteenth century structures survive.
The second half of the nineteenth century began auspiciously for Carthage. The Fayetteville and Western Plank Road had been chartered in 1849 to provide a highway for heavy freight wagon and fast passenger and mail coach traffic. Extending in a northwesterly direction from the head of navigation of the Cape Fear River at Fayetteville to Salem, some 129 miles away, the road would pass through Carthage. By the end of 1850, the road was approaching the Moore County seat. [Wellman — p.17]
Even as the pine woods of southern Moore County were providing the timbers for construction of the plank road, coal deposits were discovered on both sides of the Deep River which runs through the northeastern part of the county. It was thought that extraction of this valuable resource would bring even greater prosperity to the county, directly and indirectly through attracting industry to the area. In reality, only modest amounts of coal were ever mined from the Deep River deposits and little manufacturing capacity was introduced in the area. However, the plank road had reached the western edge of the county by the end of 1851. It passed directly through Carthage where, on the western side of town, it later became present-day McReynolds Street. [Wellman — pp.18-19; Lefler and Newsome 395]
In 1852, W.T. Jenkins donated land on the south side of the plank road/McReynolds Street, about three blocks west of the courthouse, to the local Methodist congregation for construction of a new church. The eastern half of the tract was set aside for a cemetery, where the first burials occurred shortly thereafter. The new building was a small frame structure [Wellman — p.25; Methodists — p.18). A mid 1850s milestone which would affect the growth and development of Carthage for the next half-century was the established of the Tyson and Kelly Carriage Company, which was to be the county's largest manufacturing facility well into the twentieth century. The company employed skilled workers, and by 1860 the firm's payroll was in excess of four thousand dollars annually. [Wellman — p.32]
In addition to the Carthage Methodist Church, several houses appear to have been built within the boundaries of the Carthage Historic District during the decade of the 1850s. Dr. John Shaw probably made the first additions and alterations to his McReynolds Street residence, apparently constructing a two-story, double-pile wing as an attachment to an earlier one-story dwelling (508 McReynolds Street). A one-story rear wing of the Marley-Muse House (208 Barrett Street) appears to be a mid-nineteenth century two-room cottage, while the one-story, single-pile, center-hall-plan Adams-Bryan House (608 McReynolds Street) was likely built ca.1854 when Rev. Shockley D. Adams, a prominent nineteenth century Methodist clergyman, was in his first period of service as minister for the Carthage circuit. [Methodists — p.23] Each of these houses, or parts of houses, contains Greek Revival mantels and two-panel doors.
The Civil War years were difficult for Carthage, as many young men were called into service fighting for the Confederacy. Additionally, most, if not all, of the town's stores eventually closed, largely because proprietors were unable to obtain goods for sale. The first store to re-open after the war was that run by Tyson and McNeill. One of the local veterans, W.T. Jones, managed to return from Union imprisonment during the last year of the war with enough money to recommence operations at the carriage factory, which also had shut down during the war. Jones had previously been employed by the factory, but now become a partner in the re-named Tyson and Jones Carriage Works. [Wellman — pp.65-66]
After the war, many of the county's former slaves were employed in the pine forests of the southern section, where the production of naval stores needed by many industries across the country was expected to have a significant role in the county's recovery. One slave who remained in the employ of his former owner was John Waggoner, one of whose tasks was the transplanting of elm trees from his employer's plantation to the borders of McReynolds Street, which became known for some years as Elm Street. [Wellman- pp.66-67]
Through the late 1860s and early 1870s, Carthage remained the center of commerce, government and social life for Moore County, as well as its most populous town. But another town, Jonesboro, was beginning to compete with Carthage for at least some of these roles, assisted by its position on the railroad. Jonesboro dated its origins to the early 1850s and the establishment of the Western North Carolina Railroad, which was to connect Fayetteville to the Deep River area of Moore County (and neighboring Chatham County) and its coal deposits. Although construction of the line and mining of the coal deposits remained sluggish, the railroad did reach northeastern Moore County with a stop at Jonesboro, which took advantage of its connection to other lines at Fayetteville to become a commercial center. By 1880, the population of Jonesboro had surpassed that of Carthage. [Wellman — pp.24-25, 89, 90]
Other towns were established around Moore County in the 1870s which also began to compete with Carthage for population and commerce, again receiving impetus from railroad construction. The Raleigh and Augusta Railroad began construction in the early 1870s and by 1874 had crossed the Western North Carolina Railroad at a point near Jonesboro, where the town of Sanford quickly came into being. Soon, the line had progressed further south, and another town, known as Cameron, appeared to the southeast of Carthage. By 1880, Sanford had 236 residents, and Cameron's population had climbed to 117. [Wellman — p.83; Lefler and Newsome — 516]
Three editions of the North Carolina Business Directory, published by Levi Branson of Raleigh, provide a picture of economic development in Carthage from the late 1860s through the early 1870s. During this period, the principal manufacturing enterprise was the Tyson and Jones Carriage Works. But there were other, smaller, industrial components to the local economy, including two wagon works (specialists in farm wagons and equipment), two boot makers, several grist and saw mills, and a manufacturer of millstones. The number of mercantile establishments in town fluctuated — six were listed in 1867-68, four in 1869 and seven in 1872. By the latter date, Carthage had four lawyers and four physicians in residence, as well as two hotels in operation. [Branson's, 1867-68, 1869, 1872: Wellman — p.90]
It seems likely that during the ten-year period of recovery following the end of the Civil War, numerous buildings would have been erected in Carthage. However, the only known buildings from this period to survive in the Carthage Historic District is the Jenkins House (703 McReynolds Street), built ca.1870 for prominent local merchant W.T. Jenkins about 6/10ths of a mile west of the courthouse, well beyond the original area of settlement. Partially remodeled in the early twentieth century, the house retains some interior features, particularly mantels, which identify it as a late example of the Greek Revival style.
The succeeding decade saw significant increases in several areas of the local economy. Again, the North Carolina Business Directory provides information about these strides forward. The 1877-78 edition listed seventeen merchants and tradesmen, four lawyers, four physicians, and two hotels. In addition to the Tyson and Jones Carriage company, there were two other wagon works, two boot and shoe makers, a mill stone producer, a hatter, nine cotton gins, and three turpentine distilleries, the latter a rather new addition to northern Moore County's manufacturing sector. [Branson's, 1872]
As Carthage was growing and becoming more prosperous, another new town was being established in eastern Moore County. Allison Francis Page came to the Sandhills in 1879 to select a site at which to make a new start. He decided on a tiny settlement named Blue's Crossing, which was an important point on the Raleigh and Augusta Railroad for the shipment of lumber. Page bought several tracts of heavily timbered land in the area in 1880, began logging, built a home and in 1881 moved his family from Wake County to Blue's Crossing, soon to be renamed Aberdeen. This community, like the other new Moore County towns, grew quickly, achieving a population of 227 by 1890. [Wellman — pp.88-89, 103]
By 1880, the population of Carthage had grown to 366, second to Jonesboro with its 372 residents. As the county seat, Carthage had a growing coterie of resident attorneys, which numbered seven in 1884. The other major profession, that of physician, had seen a decrease to three. Although the number of merchants and tradesmen had also declined, from seventeen to fourteen, the listings in the North Carolina Business Directory for "Manufactories" had seen a small increase. A comparison with Jonesboro shows that it was rapidly moving ahead of Carthage in the manufacturing and commercial sectors, with Sanford also making a strong showing. [Branson's, 1884]
Several important houses were built in the area of the Carthage Historic District during this second decade following the Civil War, of which two of the most significant survivors are the 1879 Marley-Muse House (208 Barrett Street) and the 1882 George Calvin Graves House (202 Barrett Street), both of which are two-story examples of the Italianate style, standing in close proximity to one another on Barrett Street in the Carthage Historic District's northeast corner. The former was built for a local millwright and carpenter, while the latter was the residence of a prominent merchant and livery stable owner. More traditional houses apparently built during this decade include the Edmond Waddell House (405 McReynolds Street) and the Larkin-Brown Katsos House (407 McReynolds Street), adjacent houses on the south side of McReynolds Street west of the Methodist Church, which in 1880 saw the remodeling and overbuilding of its 1852 edifice. [Methodists — p.88]
Carthage leaders, not wanting to fall behind the newer towns of Moore County, decided that the town needed a railroad to make it more attractive to new industries and businesses. The Carthage Railroad was chartered in 1885 to build a rail link from Carthage to the Raleigh and Augusta line at nearby Cameron. It was felt that, among other benefits to Carthage, "The Tyson and Jones carriage factory, which had done increasingly well since its reactivation after the Civil War, would flourish even more strongly with this rail transportation to the big railroad, and other industries would profit without the added burden of shipping by freight wagon along those miles of clogging sandy roads." [Wellman — p.99]
By this time, the Tyson and Jones Carriage works, together with the smaller local wagon works, employed forty-six wheelwrights, trimmers, upholsterers, and other skilled workmen. [Wellman — p.90] One of these employees, Samuel W. Humber, constructed an addition, ca.1880, to an existing house a short distance from the factory, at the corner of McReynolds and Barrett Street. The Humber-Spencer House (300 McReynolds Street) was remodeled by a later owner in the mid 1920s. [Deahl interview]
The Carthage Railroad was completed in October of 1888 and opened to great fanfare. But the town and county received a stunning blow in September of the following year, when the interior of the recently remodeled courthouse was completely destroyed by fire, which took with it most of the county's early records. The interior was quickly rebuilt and a substantial number of deeds were re-registered, but many records were lost forever, making documentation of buildings difficult. [Wellman — pp.102-103; deed records]
During the final one and one-half decades of the nineteenth century, the population and economy of Carthage enjoyed steady growth, while numerous other towns of Moore County experienced much more rapid spurts of development. These other towns included several new towns established by the area's burgeoning resort industry, particularly Southern Pines and Pinehurst, which were to have a major impact on the development of the county as a whole. They attracted a large number of seasonal visitors and permanent residents from the northeast whose relative affluence combined with an awareness of changing architectural trends to create towns with a completely different look.
In 1900, the U.S. census noted that the population of Carthage had risen from a total of 485 in 1890 to 605. However, Sanford had leaped ahead of the other towns to 1,044, while Jonesboro remained slightly ahead of Carthage with 650. Aberdeen and Southern Pines were not far behind, with populations of 559 and 517, respectively. [Wellman — pp.103 and 125]
The North Carolina Business Directory for 1896 echoes these population figures in their listings for merchants and tradesmen — Sanford, 38; Jonesboro, 19; Carthage, 23; Aberdeen, 18; and Southern Pines, 24. [Branson's, 1896] The relatively larger numbers for Carthage and Southern Pines can probably be attributed to the fact that the former drew people from around the county during court sessions and for other matters, while the latter's population increased temporarily at certain seasons.
In addition to its strong mercantile establishment, Carthage also supported three physicians, nine lawyers, six hotels and boarding houses, two contractors, and sixteen manufacturing facilities and mills (grist, saw, shingle and planing). Several mines had offices in Carthage, as well, although mining did not constitute a significant portion of the town's economy. The Carthage Institute was the principal local educational facility. [Branson's, 1896).
During this period, several of the most architecturally sophisticated buildings in the Carthage Historic District were constructed. In addition, a new street was surveyed and opened for development, extending southward from McReynolds Street just over one-half mile west of the courthouse. One of the first houses built on the new Brooklyn Street was the ca.1889 Shaw-McKeithen House (105 Brooklyn Street), a traditional two-story frame dwelling with Victorian ornamentation. At about the same time. W.T. Jones of the Tyson and Jones Carriage Works had a Cameron contractor build a new house for him on the south side of McReynolds Street at its eastern end, a stone's throw from the factory. Unfortunately, this house burned in 1897, but was replaced by an impressive Queen Anne style house. Described in contemporary newspaper accounts as "a palatial mansion," the W.T. "Tom" Jones House (301 McReynolds Street) marks the southeastern edge of the Carthage Historic District. [Carthage Blade, 2 May 1889, p.3; 6 April 1897, p.3; and 25 May 1897, p.3]
Two substantial houses built near the end of the century share certain stylistic influences which make them examples of a transitional Queen Anne/Colonial Revival mode, combining the irregular form of the Queen Anne style with ornament derived from both styles. Edgehill (405 Pinecrest Street) was built for Herbert Floyd Seawell, Sr., a prominent attorney, later a judge and gubernatorial candidate. The D.A. McDonald House (501 McReynolds Street) was the residence of a man who was active in several spheres, but was best known as the clerk of Moore County Superior Court and president of the Bank of Carthage in the early twentieth century.
Perhaps the crowning glory of nineteenth century architectural achievement in Carthage was the construction, begun in 1897, of a new Methodist Church (401 McReynolds Street) on the same site as the remodeled 1852 structure. The replacement building is a massive frame edifice in the late Victorian Gothic Revival style, accented by a bold square corner tower and smaller octagonal towers on two elevations. A.C. Campbell of Aberdeen was the contractor responsible for its construction. [Carthage Blade, 17 Nov. 1897, p.3]
Carthage entered the twentieth century with a population of 605, which increased to 863 over the following decade, during which period two of Moore County's largest towns, Sanford and Jonesboro, became part of a new county. Lee County was formed out of northeastern Moore County and southeastern Chatham County. In 1947, Sanford absorbed the town of Jonesboro, which became the larger town's Jonesboro Heights section. [Wellman — p.134; Sharpe — p.215] By the end of the decade, both Southern Pines, with a permanent population of 1,000, and Aberdeen, with 950 residents, had surpassed Carthage. Pinehurst had two sets of population figures, representing seasonal variations — 300 in summer and 2,400 in winter. [Wellman — pp.143-144]
The local economy was relatively stable during this period, with the carriage works remaining a major employer. The Carthage Furniture Company, a new manufacturing enterprise, was in operation, and the town's first bank, the Bank of Carthage, opened. [North Carolina Yearbook, 1904] Later in the decade, the first public school for white children, the Carthage Graded School, began holding classes in a large, two-story brick structure on the south side of McReynolds Street. It stood on a four-acre lot, now vacant. [North Carolina Yearbook, 1904 and 1910; Methodists — 103]
Of the surviving buildings erected within the Carthage Historic District during the first decade of the twentieth century, most are one- or two-story frame dwellings in a trimmed-down version of the transitional Queen Anne/Colonial Revival style introduced in the previous decade. In these houses, the irregular forms consist of bays — usually at least one being semi-hexagonal — projecting from a boxy main block, and the Queen Anne and Colonial Revival ornament is reduced to shingled gable ends and classical porch supports. Typical examples are the ca.1906 Jenkins-McIver House (106 Ray Street) and the ca.1907 T.B. King House (701 McReynolds Street), the former two stories and the latter one, both built for employees of the Tyson and Jones Carriage Company. The most sophisticated of this group is the ca.1908 Dr. David F. Watson House (606 McReynolds Street), built for the first dentist in Carthage.
During the second decade of the twentieth century, as the population of Carthage inched upward to 962, production at the Tyson and Jones Carriage Company was reduced, partly because of the growing popularity of the automobile and partly as a result of World War I. The owners attempted some diversification by opening a garage, but the company continued in decline. [Wellman — p.168] Other newly established manufacturing plants took up some of the economic slack. The 1915 North Carolina Yearbook shows the Bismarck Hosiery Mills and John L. Currie's lumber mill in operation. [North Carolina Yearbook, 1915] In addition, Carthage, with Aberdeen, had become an important location for tobacco warehouses; sixty percent of the county's leaf product was sold in these two towns. [Wellman — p.168]
A number of substantial houses were built in Carthage during this decade, including one of the most academically accurate houses in the Carthage Historic District. The Charles Sinclair House (403 McReynolds Street) is a splendid example of the Neo-Classical Revival style, a fashion picked up by many prominent North Carolinians as a symbol of their affluence and important roles in community life. Frank Simpson, a Raleigh architect, provided the design for the house, which was constructed by Joe Stout of Sanford. The house is very similar to one built for Sinclair's brother a short time earlier. (The John P. Sinclair House is located on Monroe Street east of the courthouse and business district.) [Methodists — p.134] Probably contemporary with the Charles Sinclair House is the Joe Ritter House (601 Pinecrest Street), which is the Carthage Historic District's only example of an American Foursquare house.
The population of Carthage continued to increase during the 1920s, growing another 17 percent, to 1,129, by which time Southern Pines had become the county's largest incorporated town. Probably the most emotionally-charged event of the decade was the sale of the Tyson and Jones Carriage Company after the 1924 death of T.B. Tyson, the company's last direct tie with its founders. The new owners planned to continue making buggies, but wanted to expand operations to produce truck and auto bodies. [Wellman — pp.177 and 185] At the end of the decade, the company changed hands again, and the new owner planned to turn it into a furniture factory. [Wellman — p.182] This operation did not prosper, and the buildings were abandoned until World War II, when they were used in the manufacture of camouflage netting. [Methodists — p.102] Today, only the 1890s brick office building survives of the once-extensive complex. It stands southeast of the Carthage Historic District whose development owed so much to the company's existence.
In 1925, when the last buggy produced by Tyson and Jones was delivered, a directory of Moore County listed the town as having five factories and one bank, the Page Trust Company, whose head office was in Aberdeen. Carthage was described in the following terms by the compiler: "The town is not as energetic as it might be owing to the fact that most of the people are not compelled to go after the almighty dollar." [Wellman — p.179: and Methodists — p.102]
The most notable Carthage building project of the 1920s was the new Classical Revival style stone courthouse, completed in 1923. [Wellman — p.176] Within the Carthage Historic District, the Colonial Revival style and the Craftsman Bungalow dominated residential construction. Notable examples of the former style are the 1922 Methodist Parsonage (402 McReynolds Street), which replaced an earlier parsonage on the same site, and the ca.1926 Wilbur H. Currie House (804 McReynolds Street, built at the western edge of town for a local industrialist and political leader. The ca.1920 Addison Spencer House (303 McReynolds Street) is a characteristic Craftsman Bungalow, while the Muse-Williamson House (306 McReynolds Street) adds Colonial Revival details to a larger version of the type.
The last major increase in the population of Carthage occurred during the decade between 1930 and 1940, when the residents grew in number from 1,129 to 1,381, surpassing Aberdeen and second to Southern Pines, which then boasted a population of 3,225. The local economy, like that of other communities across the state, suffered during the Depression of the 1930s, although the Currie Hosiery Mills remained in operation pretty much throughout the period. [Wellman pp.194 and 196]
Building construction lagged as it did elsewhere, although two projects were carried out with federal assistance. One such project was the erection of the (former) Carthage Community House (203 Barrett Street), built by the National Youth Administration in 1939-40. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt attended the dedication of the Craftsman/Colonial Revival building, which was constructed of rubble native stone. [Muse — "A New Deal Day"]
The 1940s and World War II saw the beginning of a decline in the fortunes and population of Carthage, but Moore County has never lacked boosters. Near the end of the War, Richard Tufts of Pinehurst stated that the county would enjoy prosperity in peacetime. Of the county's towns, he said, "Aberdeen is the commercial center; Carthage, the center of county government, of agriculture, and the lumber industry; Southern Pines and Pinehurst are resorts of widely different and non-competing character, while on the other hand there are many small manufacturing centers such as Robbins, Vass and West End." [Wellman — p.204]
While the impact of the lumber industry has declined in Carthage, it remains the center of county government and retains a major role as an agricultural center.
Chronic shrinkage of its population affected Carthage for the next four to five decades, as the number of residents eventually dipped below one thousand, but again surpassed that number in 1991 through annexation. During these decades, the area within the Carthage Historic District has seen the loss of several buildings. The most substantial building lost was the Carthage Graded School, which left a large open space near the center of the district. The loss of these buildings has not proved to have a significant negative impact on the character of the district, as the losses are lightly sprinkled through the area, and several of the resulting vacant lots have become undeveloped green space. Ten houses have been built in the area, some as infill on previously undeveloped lots and others which replaced earlier buildings. The ubiquitous Ranch-type house dominates this group of newer houses. Generally, they are scattered throughout the district; in many cases, they are well-screened from the street by mature trees and shrubbery, so that they have little visual impact on the Carthage Historic District.
There is a new spirit of progress at operation in the town, which is seeking new ways to boost the local economy and to provide housing for current residents, as well as workers in industries it hopes to attract. The effort to survey and nominate an historic district to the National Register of Historic Places is part of the overall plan to stimulate economic activity in Carthage, through recognition of its historic significance. Other elements in this realm include the creation of a local historic museum in a new building just beyond the eastern edge of the district and the move and restoration of an historic kitchen to a site behind the museum.
Substantial portions of four other Moore County communities have been listed in or nominated to the National Register of Historic Places as historic districts. For the most part, the special character of each of these districts is markedly different from that of the Carthage Historic District, which is the only district whose period of significance extends for a period of more than 100 years. It also has the broadest range of architectural styles represented in any of the five districts.
The Cameron Historic District (listed in 1983) contains much of the small town of Cameron. A similar situation occurs in Aberdeen, where the Aberdeen Historic District (1989) contains the core of the town east of U.S. 1. Both towns owe their establishment in the late nineteenth century (ca.1874 for Cameron and ca.1881 for Aberdeen) to the advent of railroad service through the county, principally the Raleigh and Augusta Railroad.
Most of Cameron's development occurred prior to 1900, so that its character is largely that of a late nineteenth century village. Many of the houses in the Carthage Historic District exhibit characteristics of the Queen Anne style. The Aberdeen Historic District exhibits a longer period of development, extending well into the twentieth century. While few of its residential buildings exhibit notably sophisticated interpretations of popular architectural styles, it contains several other types of buildings which convey a notion of the town's prosperity and architectural awareness. They include several railroad-related buildings, the public library, and an architect-designed church.
The Pinehurst Historic District (1973) is the heart of the model resort village of Pinehurst, developed to a picturesque design provided by well-known landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted for philanthropist James W. Tufts of Boston. It was planned as a "winter health resort for middle-class Northerners with 'delicate lungs.'" The Southern Pines Historic District (nominated 1991) also contains the core of that resort community, established in the late nineteenth century. Buildings in both towns are examples of the more picturesque architectural styles of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The Shingle style predominates in Pinehurst, while Southern Pines reflects a broader selection of styles as a result of its longer period of development (Aberdeen nomination]. The Colonial Revival, Craftsman and Tudor Revival styles have strong representatives in the Southern Pines Historic District, many designed by a handful of prominent architects and designers, notably Aymar Embury and T.B. Yeomans. [Southern Pines nomination] These two districts are much larger than any of the other three.
Branson, Levi, ed. North Carolina Business Directory. Raleigh: Levi Branson Publishing Co. Editions for 1867-68, 1869, 1872, 1877-78, 1884, 1896.
Carthage, North Carolina, General Plan. November 1965. Copy in vertical file, Moore County Library, Historical Room.
"Carthage, North Carolina: Its Industrial, Agricultural & Residential Advantages." ca.1915 pamphlet published by Carthage Board of Trade. Copy in vertical file, Moore County Library, Historical Room.
"County Capital, The." ca.1906 promotional brochure. Copy in vertical file, Moore County Library, Historical Room.
Deese, Mrs. Waitsel, Town Clerk. Town of Carthage, North Carolina. Allison Black telephone interview, 11 December 1991.
Lefler, Hugh Talmage and Newsome, Albert Ray. The History of a Southern State, North Carolina, 3rd ed. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1973.
Moore County Register of Deeds and Clerk of Superior Court. Deeds, wills and estates.
Muse, Howard S., Jr. "A New Deal Day for Carthage." The State, October 1973, pp.25-26.
National Register of Historic Places. Nominations for the Aberdeen Historic District, 1988, and Southern Pines Historic District, 1991.
North Carolina Yearbook. Raleigh: News and Observer. Editions for 1904, 1910 and 1915.
Paschal, Emma Phillips and Old, Marshall R. The Methodists of Carthage 1837-1987. Charlotte: the authors, 1987.
Robinson, Blackwell P. A History of Moore County, North Carolina 1747-1847. Southern Pines, N.C.: Moore County Historical Association, 1956.
Sanborn Insurance Company. Carthage, North Carolina maps series. 1915 and 1925.
Sharpe, Bill. A New Geography of North Carolina, vol.I. Raleigh: Sharpe Publishing Company, 1954.
United States Department of Commerce. Bureau of the Census. Moore County, North Carolina census, population schedules, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910.
Watson, Miss Gladys. 606 McReynolds Street, Carthage, North Carolina. Allison Black interview, 25 November 1991.
Wellman, Manly Wade. The County of Moore, 1847-1947. Southern Pines: Moore County Historical Association, 1962.
‡ Allison H. Black, Architectural Historian, Black and Black Preservation Consultants, Carthage Historic District, Moore County, NC, nomination document, 1991, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
Barrett Street • Brooklyn Street • McReynolds Street • Pinecrest Street • Ray Street • Route 22 • Route 24 • Route 27