From The Cliffside News section of The Forest City Courier, Jun. 29, 1922
Before going into the discussion of the development of Cliffside, a short foreword will be in place; in order that we may recall a few things which always go with the development of a new enterprise.
Before civilization can advance and before enlightenment and religion can be spread, it is necessary that the pioneers first go out into the wilderness and prepare the way for those who may follow. The work of the pioneer is essential in all new undertakings. The pioneer must clear the forests, subdue the savage, drive out wild beasts, conquer disease, harness the elements, and make the new land safe before the mass of settlers can adjust themselves to the new territories. With his rifle, his axe and his Bible, the Anglo-Saxon pioneer has spread enlightenment to all parts of the earth. To be a pioneer one must be brave and enduring, calm and fierce. The pioneer is one who builds up and creates.
The Development of Cliffside.
The writer has in mind in connection with this story of the building of a town, two men who belong to that class of men who build up and create. These men were pioneers in every sense of the word. They indeed had no savages to subdue, or wild beasts to drive off; but the difficulties which they had to overcome, the hardships they had to endure place them in the class of pioneers. We imagine that if these two men had lived in the old days they would have shared the dangers of the wilderness with Boone and Crockett, as all true pioneers. We would love to fill a whole book with their lives, but here we can only touch briefly on the subject.
These two men were friends for the last thirty years, or more. One of them has passed on into the great beyond where his spirit is unhampered in its ideals; the other yet lives and works and creates. Their names are not written in the immortal pages of history, because the world does not record the deeds of those who build; it makes its history mostly of those who destroy.
The writer once viewed the magnificent and awe inspiring tomb of Napoleon. His mind was awed at the might and glory that once crowned this great warrior. Almost immediately, however, another picture came before his eyes. He seemed to see the thousands of women and children and old men made homeless by the ambition of Napoleon; the children in misery and starvation without shelter because Napoleon had brought war against them. Then his ideal of the mighty Napoleon was shattered, and he wondered why men win destroy are made heroes, while those who build must take second place. A better history would be one that placed men like the ones we are going to write about in their proper places of honor.
The two friends of whom we write are Mr. Raleigh Rutherford Haynes, and Mr. George Kelly Moore. When Mr. Haynes conceived the idea of building up his ideal into a town he sought out his friend Mr. Moore to be his chief assistant in the undertaking. Both men were of the creative type. Mr. Haynes created a vision on Cliffside, which should be a town where no social caste should mar the lives of the people, but where all should be equal, and none looked down on. How well his vision has materialized may be seen in the town now. He wanted to give employment to thousands, to provide for the education of the youth, to help mold people into Christian manhood and womanhood. He was a true North Carolina product, with the liberal mind which characterizes all true Carolinians.
He was a man of high sense of honor, and Christian ideals. A man who worked unceasingly to create his ideal.
Mr. Moore has also the creative personality. He is a man of tireless energy, more so in the old days than now, as he is now older. Yet his energy seems to be but little dulled by his age. A man of honesty and wholesome character. A man in whom all men may trust. He has a passion for work. The man is never satisfied unless he is working. He has never been a follower of the eight hour day, but prefers to finish a task before he stops. He is in the grip of a relentless creative passion to build up. A man who takes Infinite pains with his work. He has lived to see the ideals of himself and Mr. Haynes materialize and develop. We would not know what to call his position, probably it may be called an advisory engineer. He had always been the close friend and advisor of Mr. Haynes until the latter’s death.
In June, 1899, the two men came to the spot where Cliffside now stands and began to map out and plan the town. Mr. Haynes formed the company while Mr. Moore carried out the plans. Many hardships were endured by them in those days. There were no roads at all. They had to walk from Henrietta each morning, and return the same way in the evening. Almost every day it rained torrents, and they would have to wait until the creeks and streams were rundown before they could cross; thus getting to rest very late in the night. Some legal difficulties were encountered also. The company at Henrietta entered suit to prevent Mr. Haynes building a dam here thinking it would endanger their own dam. He defeated them however and went ahead with the work. A few houses were built and in September, 1899, Mr. Moore moved to the new and then nameless town.
Then the work of building some kind of a road began and soon there was a road from Henrietta which could be traveled in favorable weather. In September the work of clearing off for laying the foundation of part of the factory was begun, and in October the foundation was commenced. Then set in a very hard winter which tied up most of the operations, so the real work did not begin in earnest until in 1900. About March 1st the work of laying brick on part of the mill was begun, and the dam was completed to four feet of its present height in November, 1901. About May, 1902, machinery was being installed.
Great difficulty was encountered in getting materials and building machinery as there was no railroad here then. The machinery was brought from the Seaboard at Henrietta on wagons. The boilers and heavier machinery was moved in the same way. It was Mr. Haynes’ idea to have a railroad of his own so that he could better build up his ideal town, so offers of the Seaboard line to run a line here were refused. When the mill began operations the goods had to be shipped to the railroad on wagons, which made it extremely unhandy. In 1903 a man was engaged to grade out a railroad to join with the Seaboard. Soon, however, this man proving unsatisfactory was relieved and Mr. Moore completed the work. So about 1905 the road was in operation and then the town began to rapidly grow. North Main Street, having been planned at the first, the other streets now began to appear. The town at this time began to take on some beauty.
Only the best families were permitted to come here to live which accounts for Cliffside having such a model citizenship. One thing Mr. Haynes would never allow here was a dog, so we still have a dog-less town.
From this modest beginning, the town has grown now until it is recognized as the leading mill town in the country. A town where the people love beauty. One would never expect to find the usual sort of employee here that is found operating the mills in the cities. The people of this town are well educated and most of them of fine character and broadminded. Visitors always pronounce this one of the cleanest mill towns in the South, with the highest type of people found in the country.
We might go on indefinitely telling of the development of this community and town. Mr. Haynes did not live to see one of his great wishes materialized. The magnificent school building was built after his death. He always desired to finish up such a building but did not live until it could be done. Mr. Moore, the builder of the town, presented his masterpieces in the school building and the R. R. Haynes Memorial Building. They are structures of which he can justly be proud of erecting. No more beautiful buildings can be found anywhere. The Memorial Building was started in 1919. The school building was finished later.
Upon the death of Mr. Haynes the management passed to the hands of his son, Charles H. Haynes, who has displayed real leadership in successfully carrying on the work since that time.
I have not said much about the present operation, or the men who are running the things now, my concern being to speak briefly of these two men, Mr. R. R. Haynes and Mr. G. K. Moore, and their work and friendship. The present operation will be told by others .
Reprinted with permission from The Daily Courier. Copyright owned by The Daily Courier.