High Point

  • 1849: North Carolina General Assembly charters the Fayetteville and Western Plank Road and the North Carolina Railroad Company. “Cap’n” J.L. Gregg’s crew of engineers designates the “high point” of the future plank road at 940 feet above sea level. On March 3, John Carter purchases $10,000 worth of stock in the North Carolina Railroad Co. assuring a railroad stop in High Point.
  • 1853: Fayetteville and Western Plank Road completed to Salem. Town lots are sold surrounding the new plank road. William Welch buys 12 acres and divides the property into lots that he advertises for sale as “High Point”.
  • December 19, 1854: A U.S. Post Office opens in a general store.
  • November 22, 1855: First train pulls into High Point.
  • 1857: First election held, with 159 votes cast.
  • May 26, 1859: North Carolina General Assembly grants original charter to the city; population 596.
  • July 28, 1859: Board of Commissioners holds first meeting.
  • 1893: High Point Normal and Industrial School is established (renamed William Penn High School in 1923).
  • 1896: Merging photography and furniture, Sidney Alderman founds Alderman Studios (now Alderman Company).
  • January 12, 1860: The first issue of the High Point Reporter is published.
  • 1865: Wounded Civil War soldiers arrive in High Point after the battle of Bentonville. Makeshift hospitals are created all over the town. Northern troops burn the railroad depot and surrounding warehouses.
  • 1883: Newell Beeson opens a hardware store at 216 North Main Street (now, Beeson Hardware & Lumber Co at 201 Sheffield St.).
  • 1889: High Point Female College moves into the old Female Normal School building at the corner of Broad and College Streets.
  • 1895: J.F. Hoffman and Ed Steele begin the High Point Telephone Exchange.
  • 1897: Dr. Alfred J. Griffin becomes the new principal of High Point Normal and Industrial Institute.
  • 1897: The city approves $10,000 for school bonds. A graded school opens at the corner of Green and Main Streets, with 9 grades, 10 teachers and 400 students.
  • 1899: The High Point Telephone Exchange, with 60 customers, is purchased by Jesse F. Hayden and Thomas J. Finch.
  • 1900: High Point population is 4,163.
  • 1901: High Point Buggy Company, founded by three brothers A.M., H.C. and J.R. Briggs, begins operations, producing over 30,000 vehicles during the next twenty years. The company converts to making upholstered furniture in 1922 and continues in business until the 1950s.
  • 1903: The city adopts a fire department ordinance and A.B. Horney becomes the first fire chief with 25 volunteer firemen.
  • 1904: James H. Millis and John H. Adams begin High Point Hosiery Mills (later Adams-Millis).
  • 1904: Will Franklin Mickey opens a blacksmith shop (Mickey Truck Bodies).
  • 1904: The Junior Order of American Mechanics purchases and remodels a home on Boulevard Street to serve as a hospital, with 12 hospital beds.
  • 1905: J.F. Hayden incorporates North State Telephone Company after purchasing the High Point Telephone Exchange and combining it with the Thomasville exchange.
  • 1905: High Point Savings and Trust is organized. The Rev. S.H. Hilliard Jr. is elected president.
  • 1906: North Carolina Public Service Company begins a trolley system. High Point residential developments are created near the trolley lines.
  • 1906: Parker Paper and Twine Company is established to serve High Point’s furniture industry. (Later becomes Henley Paper Co.)
  • 1907: Train depot is built.
  • 1909: High Point hosts its first furniture market.
  • 1910: High Point population is 9,525.
  • 1910: Canadian-born Perley A. Thomas moves to High Point to become chief engineer for Southern Car Works.
  • 1910: Greenhill Cemetery, located on Leonard Street, established by the City of High Point for black citizens.
  • September 13, 1913: High Point’s first policeman is killed on Washington Street, while trying to stop a fight.
  • 1913: “Aycock County Bill”, calling for the creation of a new county with High Point as the county seat, is introduced but rejected by the legislature.
  • 1913: Kilby Hotel is built by John and Nannie Kilby for black travelers who are not permitted to use “white only” hotels.
  • 1913: High Point Hospital chartered.
  • 1914-1918: High Point furniture companies convert production to airplane propellers and wagon parts; textile manufacturers produce apparel for the troops.
  • 1918: Over 2,000 High Pointers die from the Spanish Influenza.
  • 1916: Perley Thomas begins his own company, Perley A.Thomas Car Works, when the Southern Car Works ceases operations.
  • 1919: North State Telephone purchases Southern Bell exchange.
  • 1920: Harris and Covington Hosiery Mills is founded by Julius Ward Harris and W. Comer Covington.
  • 1921: The Commercial National Bank and the Sheraton Hotel are built.
  • September 1924: High Point College opens.
  • 1923: High Point is the sixth largest municipality in the state – surpassing Greensboro by 3,000.
  • 1925: High Point Merchants Association is established.
  • 1925: O.V. Kester founds Rose Furniture Company.
  • 1926: Horace G. Ilderton takes over the High Point Dodge dealership.
  • 1926: High Point proclaims itself the “The Hosiery Capital of the South”, with 26 textile plants in operation.
  • 1930: High Point population is 36,745.
  • Dec. 19, 1933: Emerywood Country Club is incorporated.
  • 1933: The High Point Library outgrows its cramped quarters in City Hall and moves to a vacated post office building.
  • 1935: Radio station WMFR is one of North Carolina’s first radio stations.
  • 1936: Carolina Springs is established by C.C. Edwards Sr., Clarence E. Lambeth, and Frazer Edwards on East Broad Street.
  • 1937: July 3, Federal Works Project construction begins to lower train tracks.
  • 1938: The first train passes through the lowered tracks on March 29.
  • 1939: Carl Wood builds a furniture and appliance store at 460 South Main Street.
  • September 1939: First phase of the Federal Works Project to lower the train tracks is completed.
  • 1940: High Point population is 38,495.
  • 1940 - 41: The one-mile High Point Motor Speedway was home to an Indy-car-style race in 1940 and three stock-car races in 1941. Bill France Sr., future president of NASCAR, finished second in the last race before closing in 1941.
  • 1943: Warren B. Steele and O.H. Leak become High Point’s first black police officers.
  • February 25, 1942: The Daniel Brooks Homes, High Point’s first housing project for blacks opens with 200 units. Reverend Daniel Brooks (1843- 1933) was a Methodist minister from 1870s to 1909.
  • January 19, 1942: The Clara Cox housing project opens with 250 units. Clara Cox (1879-1940), was pastor of Springfield Friends Church for 21 years.
  • 1944: Davis Upholstery Co. is founded. (Davis Furniture Industries, Inc.)
  • 1945: Henredon Furniture is founded in Morganton, N.C.
  • 1945: Carl Chavis YMCA opens, named for World War II hero.
  • 1946: Dennis Young opens Young’s Furniture and Rug Company at 1706 North Main Street.
  • 1946: A.L. Allred and Guy Brewer begin Allred Metal Stamping Works, Inc.
  • 1947: Depot renovations, additional bridge supports and bridge reinforcements completed.
  • 1947: Five Catholic Sisters from the order founded by Florence Nightingale establish a nursing home.
  • 1947 – 1958: High Point's Tri-City Speedway in operation, hosting two NASCAR Grand National (now Nextel Cup) races.
  • 1950: High Point’s population is 39,973.
  • 1952: Presbyterian Home of High Point opens.
  • 1952: High Point Sprinkler Company, Inc. is started by three local businessmen.
  • June 26, 1953: Herb Thomas wins the first Grand National NASCAR race.
  • November 7, 1954: Lee Petty wins the second Grand National NASCAR race.
  • 1953: High Point native Bill Blair wins NASCAR’s Daytona champion.
  • 1953: High Point constructs a permanent home for its public library at 411 S. Main St. and opens to the public in 1954.
  • 1954: Felix F. Miller, owner of retail appliance stores begins making TV tables and is contracted by TV manufacturers to build television cabinets, branching to office furniture in 1971. (Miller Desk, Inc.).
  • 1954: High Point Hospital expands with modern nurses’ dormitory and classrooms.
  • March 1, 1956: Blair Park golf course becomes the second desegregated golf course in North Carolina.
  • 1957: High Point native Ken Rush is NASCAR Rookie of the Year.
  • 1958: High Point Hospital begins a $1.3 million expansion
  • 1959: Sisters, Lynn and Brenda Fountain are the first African-American students to attend white schools in High Point.
  • 1959: High Point hosiery manufacturer, Willis Slane, with capital from friends begins Hatteras Yachts, creating boats made from fiberglass. The first boat is called The Knit Wits.
  • 1960: High Point’s population is 62,063.
  • February 11, 1960: Twenty-six William Penn High School students sit-in at Woolworth’s lunch counter on South Main Street.
  • 1962: High Point Savings and Trust changes name to High Point Bank and Trust Company.
  • 1963: Albert A. Campbell is the first black firefighter, working for Station 7 on Gordon Street.
  • 1968: Old William Penn High School closes.
  • 1970: High Point’s population is 63,229.
  • 1971: Sam Burford is the first black elected to the City Council.
  • 1971: Sam Chess becomes the first African-American Superior Court judge appointed in the South in the 20th century.
  • 1975: New $3.5 million Municipal Office Building on Hamilton Street opens.
  • 1980: High Point’s population is 63,380.
  • 1983: Mayor Bob Wells announces the appointment of the 125th Charter Anniversary Commission, with Roy Shipman as chairman.
  • May 26, 1984: High Point celebrates 125th anniversary.
  • 1985: Judy Mendenhall becomes High Point’s first female mayor.
  • Nov 8, 1985: Vice-President George Bush cuts the ribbon for the almost completed High Point Regional Hospital.
  • 1988: Adams-Millis Hosiery is sold to Sara Lee Corporation.
  • 1989: Construction of the current library at 901 N. Main St. begins.
  • 1990: High Point’s population is 69,496.
  • 1990: Bill Davis Racing moves to High Point.
  • Mar 1992: The High Point City Council votes to name the new main library building in honor of Neal F. Austin, High Point's chief librarian since 1952.
  • 1995: Oak Hollow Mall opens.
  • 2000: High Point’s population is 85,839.
  • 2004: Fantasia Barrino wins first place in the 2004 “The American Idol” television show.
  • Jan 2005: Nido Qubein becomes president of High Point University. Under his leadership the University embarks on a $100 million transformation strategy, including the construction of 10 new buildings and the renovation of 13 others, along with the enhancement of academic programs and an increase in scholarship offerings.
  • 2005: High Point commits to spending $244.7 million for capital improvements.
  • 2006: Even though High Point was the low bidder in the economic development incentives chase for Polo.com, it still lands the company’s new order-fulfillment center.
  • 2006: The city grants $600,000 in incentives to La-Z-Boy to relocate a divisional headquarters from Greensboro.
  • 2007: High Point’s population is 100,432.
  • Dec 2008: Bill Davis sells his race team and engine company.
  • Jan 2009: Organizers of the N.C. Marathon announce that the race will move from Greensboro to High Point.
  • 2009: High Point celebrates its sesquicentennial.
  • 2009: High Point celebrates 100th anniversary of the Furniture Market
  • Mar 28, 2010: An F3 tornado with winds of more than 200 miles per hour touches down in High Point. The storm injured 5 people, destroyed 40 homes and businesses, damaged more than 600 others. No fatalities were reported. Damage estimates are $9.95 million and just over $1 million for clean up costs.
Compiled by Diane Lamb, News & Record Researcher

Sources: News & Record archive; High Point, Reflections of the Past by Robert Marks, 1996; African American Heritage Guide; U.S. Census