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History

This guide was created by Carpet and Rug Cleaning Fayetteville NC, a Carpet Cleaning Company in Fayetteville NC, to help our customers and clients learn more about the local area. Fayetteville’s history can be traced to two settlements on the Cape Fear River.  Cross Creek began as a trading post somewhere about 1756, and Campbelltown, was established by the North Carolina General Assembly in 1762, this was only one mile from Cross Creek.  These towns later merged in 1783.  The new, consolidated town became to be named Fayetteville in honor of the Frenchman Marquis de Lafayette, who was a strong supporter of the American cause during the American Revolution, and was the first American town in America with an American Revolutionary hero as its namesake.

After the American Revolution in the late 1700s, a growing Fayetteville in many ways started to become the political center of the state.  A new courthouse and a new jail opened in 1786, and the city’s first newspaper, The Fayetteville Gazette, began publication in 1789.  In 1786 the North Carolina General Assembly convened in Fayetteville and named the delegates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention.  In 1788 North Carolinians gave careful consideration to making Fayetteville the state capital, and in 1789, the General Assembly met there and chartered the University of North Carolina, and they ceded the state’s western lands to Tennessee, selected the state’s first two United States Senators, and later ratified the Constitution of the United States. The North Carolina General Assembly continued meeting in Fayetteville until the legislative body moved in 1794 to conduct business in Raleigh that became the state capitol.

During the nineteenth century, Fayetteville experienced substantial economic growth and served as a regional depot of goods and services from across the entire state.  The inland port town contained everything a growing city would need: a courthouse, churches, lawyers’ offices, banks, dancing clubs, taverns, mercantile businesses, bookstores, and newspapers.  In its limits were also several church-affiliated academies and a Masonic lodge.  For entertainment, people joined dancing clubs, attended Thalian Society (founded 1814) musicals and dramas, and watched horse races.  Fayetteville had tragedies along the way like the great fire of 1832, that destroyed majority of downtown Fayetteville, but the citizens rallied and diligently replaced many of the wooden structures with brick buildings. The Market House, an imposing building with its Moorish arches surrounding its base, was completed in 1833; today the Market House is considered a must-see for any tourist, for all of it symbolizes old Fayetteville. The United States Arsenal was later constructed at Fayetteville in 1838, and by the 1850s, its campus spread across a full forty acres.  In the 1850s Fayetteville served as the hub of North Carolina plank roads, the most notable being Western Plank Road that was completed in 1854, spanned 129 miles, and connected Fayetteville to Salem.  Prior to the Civil War, trade and commerce flourished in Fayetteville, with naval stores, flour, lumber and wheat passing through on their way to Wilmington.

 

Civil War

Bad times for Fayetteville: during the last year of the Civil War, General William Tecumseh Sherman’s 60,000 troops spent two days in Fayetteville.  On March 12, 1865, Sherman ordered the burning of the federal arsenal, and before the Billy Yanks left town, they destroyed foundries, cotton factories, and newspaper establishments. It has been rumored that the sounds of the pick axes hitting the arsenal building for days on end both days and nights was enough to drive a person crazy. During Reconstruction, Fayetteville was a pioneer and leader in African American education: three schools operated in the 1880s, and the Howard School, established in 1867, later evolved into Fayetteville State University. This University has had several names over the course of the years. Fayetteville State University is now University of North Carolina at Fayetteville.

 

 

 

Mondern Fayetteville

By the twentieth century, many new stores and shops were built downtownand commerce began to flourish.  In 1916, the first skyscraper, a five-story department store operated by the Stein Brothers (part of Fayetteville’s Jewish populations), jutted what at the time seemed to be high into the Fayetteville sky.  In 1918 the federal government authorized the construction of Camp Bragg to be to northwest of the city.  The largest Army base in the country, Fort Bragg and Pope Air Force Base has boosted the local economy and is almost synonymous with Fayetteville.  Many argue that without Fort Bragg, Fayetteville might have grown only to be a small town of ten thousand.

Fayetteville’s growth during the last fifty years has produced an ambivalent response.  During the 1960s, Fayetteville’s main street, Hay Street, with it strip joints and bars that catered to the military, was considered sleazy, and with the Vietnam War in full swing, the city was derogatorily called “Fayttenam.”  The constant population growth of the city.  In 1930 Fayetteville’s population was 13,309.  By 1940 the population grew to 17,428, (forty-percent African American). Population growth also resulted from the city expanding its boundaries; after the post-World War II suburban sprawl, city leaders decided to annex over a hundred subdivisions.  In 1980, Fayetteville residents numbered 60,000 and their number more than doubled to 121,015 by 2005 and comprised North Carolina’s sixth largest city. Also known as North Carolina’s Best.

Sources

City of Fayetteville, http://www.ci.fayetteville.nc.us/  (accessed 19 Oct. 2006); Cumberland County Business Council, http://www.ccbusinesscouncil.org/ (accessed 19 Oct. 2006); John Oates, The Story of Fayetteville and the Upper Cape Fear (Fayetteville, 1981); Roy Parker, Jr., Cumberland County a Brief History (Raleigh, 1990); Harry L. Watson, Jacksonian Politics and Community Conflict: The Emergence of the Second American Party System in Cumberland County (Baton Rouge, 1981).