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History of Fairview

The rhythmic changing of the light at the bustling Hwy 218/Hwy 601 intersection in northernmost Union County signals the heartbeat of the Town of Fairview.  The quieter agrarian community that radiates out from this busy intersection has its beginnings going back at least to 1770, as evidenced by a rock found in the southeast quadrant etched with this date. Interestingly enough the rock is located in the area set to become our first town park.  A spring in the area nearby seems to indicate that this may once have been a spot for travelers to rest and be refreshed with a cool drink or a prime location for nearby families to collect water supplies or launder their clothes. 

            At some point in the past, an area in the southwest quadrant near Crooked Creek clearly served as a Native American encampment site as evidenced by an abundance of arrowheads.  These emerged as a window into the past with the advent of tractor tires made of rubber which often became punctured by the sharp arrowhead points as farmers plowed the field.  This piece of property became known as “Red Field”.

            According to several accounts, the town got its name from Louretta Vanda Helms Price, who declared the area around the intersection to provide a “fair view”, hence the name Fairview.  In the early days, life revolved around churches, schools and country stores as the natural gathering places of farm families as they sought socializing and connections beyond family.  The four schools that came together in 1935 to become Fairview School were Brief, Belmont, Spruce Pine and Jerome.  Brief was located on 601 north near the Cabarrus county line, while Belmont was situated close to the banks of Crooked Creek just about one half mile south of the 218/601 intersection.  Spruce Pine was located on Brief Road about three miles east of Hwy 601.  The largest of the four schools, Jerome, was located off Hwy 218 and about one mile south on Crowell Dairy Road.  Prior to 1935, any children choosing to continue their education beyond grammar school would have attended high school in the next door community of Unionville.

            Fairview emerged as a stronghold of Christian faith as evidenced by several churches within the bounds of the community.  For many, many years the main churches in the area were Bethlehem Presbyterian, dating back to 1832; Zion United Methodist, beginning in 1840; Hopewell Baptist, established in 1878; and Crooked Creek Primitive Baptist, dating to the year 1879 when it was formally constituted.  There is documented history of Lutheran influence, and even today a yearly memorial service is held at Emmanuel Cemetery, located on Fairview-Indian Trail Road about one mile south of Hwy 218.  This was the location of Emmanuel Lutheran Church which was organized in 1850, reached its peak with 42 communing members in 1869 and then disbanded in 1896.  Union Cemetery, on Brief Rd. about one and one half miles east of Hwy 601, was the early site of Union Church which housed a Lutheran congregation as well as the Presbyterians later to become known as Bethlehem Presbyterian Church.  The two churches shared space by conducting services at different times of the day on Sunday, hence the name Union Church.

            The first half or more of the twentieth century saw cotton as “king” of crop growing farmers.  Older residents of today have vivid memories of two cotton gins which operated 24 hours a day during the harvest season.  These operations were located directly across the road from each other just south of the 218/601 intersection.  In Fairview at that time corn and wheat joined the fluffy white bolls that were hand-picked by family members on the farm.  Cattle, hogs, the occasional dairy farm and many, many poultry houses dotted the landscape.  Turkey and chicken growers continued to thrive, even as dairies closed, one by one.  A significant number of men and women had transitioned over the years from the farm to jobs provided by the Cannon textile mills of Concord and Kannapolis.  Carpooling was the accepted means of traveling to and from locations in Cabarrus and Rowan Counties as residents commuted to first, second or third shift jobs.  Over time, as cotton diminished in importance, soybeans came into prominence.  Other crops such as milo, barley, oats and the occasional Concord grape vineyard joined the forces as money making farm commodities from time to time.

            Country stores were numerous in the community and were popular gathering places for connecting with friends and neighbors, filling up with gas, treating children to popsicles or a bag of penny candies and picking up an item or two needed between infrequent trips into town.  The Biggers brothers, Hoyle and Olin, operated the store in the heart of the community at the 218/601 intersection, with Cleveland Helms providing competition on the west side of 601 about a quarter of a mile north.  Other proprietors with stores positioned around the community included Hal Polk at the Brief Rd./Hwy. 601 intersection, Luke Russell on the north side of 218 headed west toward Mint Hill, Mrs. Martha Baucom located at the intersection of Brief Rd. and Old Ferry Rd., Roy Kiker just north of the Sikes Mill/Brief Rd. intersection, Watt Little at the intersection of Old Ferry and Sikes Mill, Otho Griffin on Old Ferry Rd. east of Sikes Mill, and Henderson Love on Biggers Cemetery at the intersection of Martin Tucker Road and Biggers Cemetery.  On the fringes of Fairview was Mrs. Myrtle Hyatt’s store at 218 and Sikes Mill along with Rickmond’s store at the intersection of Lawyers Rd. and Howey Bottoms Rd.

            Continuing in my efforts to bring past memories to life today in the present 21st century, I will strive to learn from our senior citizens as I seek to find and express the rich memories they have to share from days gone by.  Stay tuned to this work in progress. 

                                                                                                Patricia Helms Kindley

                                                                                                Historian

                                                                                                Town of Fairview

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