Buck Shoals School
It was a small, three-room school just across Broad River from Cliffside. In 1938 it was closed and the students were merged into Cliffside School. Don Bailey has ferreted out the details and discovered what happened to the building. Are you in this photo of the school's students in its last year?
Map of Duke Village
Thanks to his months of research and the drafting skills of Jim Cauble, we present a map of the village at Duke Power's Cliffside Steam Station, as it was in the 1950s. It shows the houses and the occupants. There is also a listing of all the residents of the village.
A “New” Map of Cliffside
Well, new to modern generations at least. Discovered recently in Phillip White's collection, it is the best evidence yet of Cliffside's street layout prior to the late 1920's. We'll have it on display at the Gathering in October.
It's a collection of 116 death notices from over three decades, from a scrapbook created by Jessie Campbell Carpenter (1891-1984) and contributed by her granddaughter, Linda Webster Poteat.
Although we have an in-depth audio interview with 92-year-old Al Lancaster in our Media Center, we also present a profile of Al, developed by Jim Ruppe from Don Bailey's interview. It contains a number of Al's family photos. Both audio and written versions provide a unique view of Cliffside in the '20s and '30s.
In 1927, at High Shoal Church, there was a reunion of the Wall family of Rutherford County. Miss Bessie Wall, of Rt. 1, Mooresboro, delivered a history of the Walls, going back to William, the Conqueror. Whether or not a Wall hangs in your family tree, you'll find this makes a number of historical connections.
A 1940s historian explains why the "good old days" of Rutherford County in the early 1800s might be called the "bad old days." Thieves (especially horse thieves) and other miscreants were branded, flogged and often
much worse—depending on the crime. Apparently, such punishments as branding, cutting off ears, and whipping were administered in full view of any who chanced to pass along Rutherfordton's main street.
Let's not forget that there are great and interesting people who have lived (and still live) in our midst. Benjamin Earle Washburn was one of them. Reared in Rutherfordton, he graduated from UNC in 1906 and became a physician, first practicing in the South Mountains of Rutherford county, then for decades traveling the world making important medical discoveries. He returned and, among many other things, wrote of his early years in our area. Here are articles on his life and excerpts from two of his books that you must not miss.
A preacher of that name, born in the High Shoals section of the county, wrote his memoirs in 1895. He tells of the iron works
around the shoals in years gone by, of his experiences as a circuit preacher in Tennessee and Mississippi, and gives short biographies of Rutherford figures, including R.R. Haynes.
Beginning in late 1938 and continuing for most of 1939, a weekly column appeared in the Forest City Courier called "Memories and Events of A Half Century," written by R. K. Hollifield. The columns (he called them chapters) told of the people and happenings in Rutherford County from about 1880 to 1930. Mr. Hollifield, originally from the Sunshine area, lived and worked in Henrietta and Caroleen in the 1890s then moved to Forest City, where he played a large role in that city's history. Among many other things, he writes of his experiences while working for R. R. Haynes. (This series is located under History, in the section called The County.)
Latest additions: Chapters 41-47.
There's a significent addition to the World War II section, another 1944 scrapbook from Juanita Crawford McNabb to a serviceman, her brother Ralph "Spud" Crawford. There are 100 photos and 114 individuals from the early 1940s, all indexed for your convenience.
After 42 years, H. C. Beatty retired as principal of Cliffside School. The Courier did a nice story on May 14, 1969. Mr. Beatty came to Cliffside in 1927. Did you know "H. C." stood for Harley Connell, and that he became principal (in 1935) after the current principal was killed in a car wreck?
Also, we've discovered a number of old news items and census information placing Mr. B. in Lincoln and Gaston counties before he came to Cliffside. See the link on the retirement story.
At the century mark, perhaps Mary Quinn Womick Prewitt is the oldest surviving native of Cliffside. JoAnn Huskey, our Foothills Bureau Chief, has done a superb job of relating the details of much of Mary Quinn's incredible life, including her remarkable three-year episode of amnesia! You must not miss this moving story.
Update: Mary Quinn Womick Prewitt died on March 4, 2006, and was buried in Cliffside Cemetery on March 7. More information at end of story.
efore he moved downriver to build Cliffside, about 1896, R. R. Haynes built a grand home in Henrietta. It has lasted all these years. Read about its early years
in the Haynes Legacy section, and—in History, under Articles and Profiles—learn about its recent past and current owners
and view an array of recent photos.
Sometimes assumptions are made that hide or distort the true facts. We took a second, closer look at an old photograph and discovered that what we assumed to be a certain event was something else entirely.
Good Man Gone
In April 1935, Ciffside School's principal was killed in an auto wreck. The entire town was stunned. The Purple Cloud, the school paper, devoted its entire May issue to the man and the incident.
Landmarks: Jenkins Grocery
Not a filling station, as such, although you could buy gas and oil. Not a supermarket, although you could shop for essentials. It was the convenience store of its day, run by a man named Voyd Jenkins. The building still stands, although it has been remodeled and repurposed.
He was a casualty of the Korean War, and may have been forgotten by all but his family and friends but for the inclusion of his name on “Johnson's List.” Here's what happened to Vernon and hundreds of other prisoners of war on a death march into North Korea in 1950.
Hill's Creek Trestle
Don Bailey found this blurb about our railroad in a 1914 issue of the Manufacturers Record, a trade newspaper. Obviously the massive trestle was eventually torn down and replaced by a culvert, but when? Does anyone recall ever seeing it?
A nice tribute (written in 1992) from her sister Ferne to this 97-year-old native of Cliffside. She worked many years in the mill office and post office. Learn how her family happened to come to our town.
In 1914 a young man sued the Company for negligence. He was injured when he whacked a dynamite cap he said he found at a Company worksite. But did he really find it where he said? Read the story and all the major testimony. It's not just legalese. You'll learn where things were and who was doing what in Cliffside a hundred years ago.
He was the town's doctor for 28 years. When he retired
in 1983 several local papers did feature stories on his life and career as a small town doctor. Here are three of them.
You may have heard about or even remember the ill-fated German airship Hindenburg that exploded in New Jersey in 1937. Not long before that great tragedy occurred, a navy officer with ties to Cliffside spent many days flying on the Hindenburg. But that was the least of his accomplishments. Read Jim Ruppe's profile of George Henry Mills, brother of Cliffside's druggist.
The most enduring landmark in Cliffside is the cemetery. Did you know some of the long-ago owners of the land on which the cemetery sits may be buried there? Read its history, look over maps of its layout and peruse lists of those buried there. All these pages are a significant addition to our Landmarks section.
In 1918 a Cliffside doughboy named
Robert Cone Elliott wrote a long letter home from France. He came home from the war safely and ran the company store on River St. He had a brother named Hoyle. Anyone remember the Elliott family?
See special update to the article.
All the phone and telegraph lines were down, and R. R. Haynes wanted to know the extent of the flood damage all the way to Chimney Rock. He sent two men up river on foot to find out. One of them was Jim McDaniel.
In 1939 the Duke Power Company began construction of a
new power plant just south of town. It provided a life-changing service to hundreds of thousands of Piedmont Carolina residents. It was (and is) the employer of dozens of our friends and neighbors. Through the years the plants capacity and importance to our area has increased. Here's a gallery of photos taken over the years, plus a 1940s magazine profile of the plant, and a roster of the operators who manned their stations on the very first day of operation.
We resurrect the remains of an old railroad trestle north of town, and answer some old questions with these present day photos.
In 1923 the Rutherford County Sun published a special eight-page supplement on the towns and mills of Cliffside and Avondale. There were long columns on R. R. Haynes and other officials, and of course all the towns' larger businesses "took out" ads in the section. You won't want to miss them.
From the book Runnin' on Rims, here's
a profile of Sam, who many may remember from his days in Cliffside.
He ran the 'dope wagon' in the mill for years, and later, on the
square, operated a small carry-out hot-dog stand in the rear of
the building that housed Hamrick's Grocery.
The Dan and Mattie Freeman family of Cliffside had two sons, Cordie and Flay. In 1925, Flay drowned at the tender age of 23. Ironically, his older brother Cordie also died from drowing—52 years later.
industrialist Raleigh Rutherford Haynes and his family contributed
much to the people of Cliffside and the surrounding area.
Forty years ago, Hollis Owens, Sr. wrote a short
history of Haynes Mill and Avondale.
Where is this clock?
It has been in town for 90 years, but seen by only a handful of people. It's an important element of a major landmark. Where is it?
We've acquired 78 more photos of Cliffside service men collected at the library in the early days of the war.
Along with most of the photos are the names of their parents and each boy's last known service address.
These were kept in notebooks, a primitive database of sorts where anyone wanting to write a serviceman could find his address. All these "records" were almost lost, as you'll read in the story, but, at the last moment, were saved from the landfill.
They're in Gallery 3 of the newly-refurbished mini-site "Cliffside in WWII," located in the History section.
That's Fred Crow, son of Mr. and Mrs. L. E. “Pet” Crow, standing at attention at Camp Polk, La.
A son-in-law of R.R. Haynes, he was one of Cliffside’s physicians from 1912 until 1920 when he moved his practice to Charlotte. We have a four-tab page containing his profile; an account of an amazing adventure in 1941, where he barely escaped death; and an appreciation of his first son, Joseph Rush Shull, Jr.
We don't yet have information from which to write a profile of Solon, but these two articles on the “Day” named in his honor, and the gathering attended by North Carolina's governor and other dignitaries, will give you some idea of this man's stature and influence. Co-owner and operator of Hawkins Hardware, his was a familiar face in town.
In 1913 the Sky-Land Magazine devoted some 20 pages to the town of Cliffside and its founder, textile tycoon Raleigh Rutherford Haynes.
On May 21, 1981, Cliffside lost one of its finest and most loyal citizens, Roy Lee Harris. The sad story of his death is related in these news stories of the terrible accident caused by a drunk driver.
This is no joke, Rutherford County farmers were once afraid they couldn't get enough kudzu to stop all the erosion on their land.
If the issue arises again any time soon, we know where to find plenty of the hateful stuff.
You'll learn things you never knew about our little town and its people from Matt Ingram's 22-page graduate school thesis titled "Shinin' The Rails: The Story of Cliffside." He interviewed family and Cliffside's natives and wove their personal stories into the historical narrative. Matt is Jim Ingram's son.
from a 1955 Trains magazine about the history and operation
of the CRR. And don't miss the 100+ picture gallery devoted solely
to the railroad.
and pictures on the building of R.R. Haynes' tomb circa 1917. Rare "Hames
Studio" photos from the Press Freeman family collection.
Cliffside was mostly a quiet place—but not
entirely. Read of serious mayhem within our precincts: stabbings,
robberies, that sort of thing.
Photographer W.E. Hames documented the very early
days of Cliffside. Here is some of his work.
Remember the old raptor that sat for decades on a perch in the downtown library? We thought it was missing, but it hasn't gone away at all!
on Jim Goode, who began working in Cliffside in 1902 at age 12,
helping build the dam. He retired in 1955, having served many years
as Master Mechanic for the mill.
In the war years a Cliffside teenager, Laverne Ingram, kept a scrapbook of clippings about local servicemen. (It's in History, WWII, Homefront.) See if it included a clipping about someone you knew or loved.
She was the sister of one of the county's most prominent men.
After 25 years of an on-again, off-again courtship, she finally agreed to marry her suitor, whom she had known her entire life. The couple left Rutherford County for California, and then Colorado. Soon after she bore them a son, her husband abandoned her, leaving her poverty stricken. She was compelled to return with her baby—by stagecoach—home to North Carolina. But she was not rid of her jealous, obsessive husband. A few months later he reemerged and turned their estranged relationship into a tragedy.