Top stories of the century: you pick them
Publication Salisbury Post
Date December 04, 2005
Section(s) Area
Page A4
Brief Photo:9470,left,;The Salisbury Post's reporters and photographers have covered countless stories since the paper's founding in 1905. Here are 146 of those events -- not all contenders, but all history-making in some way.

Please help us choose

The Salisbury Post's reporters and photographers have covered countless stories since the paper's founding in 1905. Here are 146 of those events -- not all contenders, but all history-making in some way.

Please help us choose the Top 20 stories of our first century by looking over this list, filling out a ballot with the number and sending it to the Post.

The stories that come out on top will be featured in a special section to be published at the end of the year.

-- Elizabeth Cook, editor

1. 1905 - Jan. 9 - The Salisbury Post prints its first edition.

2. 1905 - O.O. Rufty buys his late uncle's grocery store and gradually turns it into a general store.

3. 1905 - The town that grew up around the Southern Railroad shops north of Salisbury is incorporated as "Spencer," after the first president of the company, Samuel Spencer.

4. 1906 - J.W. Cannon builds a textile mill out in the country and dubs the community "Kannapolis."

5. 1906 - Four members of the Lyerly family near Barber Junction die after being attacked with axes and fire; a mob of 100 men lynches three black suspects.

6. 1907 - Prohibitionist Carrie Nation speaks to a large crowd on the Salisbury Square.

7. 1907 - Construction starts on the Salisbury depot.

8. 1908 - North Carolina votes in a statewide prohibition against alcohol. The nation followed 12 years later.

9. 1909 - Large crowd gathers to watch Daughters of the Confederacy unveil the Confederate Monument.

The 1910s

10. 1910 - Sparks Brothers Circus begins wintering in Salisbury.

11. 1911 - Rowan Public Library opens in the Henderson Law Office, sponsored by the Travelers Club.

12. 1912 - J.F. Hurley puts together a group of investors to buy the burned-out Salisbury Post.

13. 1912 - The Yadkin Hotel opens.

14. 1909 - Investors open Farmers & amp; Merchants Bank in Granite Quarry.

15. 1906 - Sarah Bernhardt makes her first N.C. appearance, starring in "Camille" at Salisbury's Meroney Theater.

16. 1916 - The Yadkin River rises 11 inches per hour during the peak of a regional flood. Onlookers on the river's banks see uprooted trees, lumber from sawmills, house roofs, haystacks, horses, cows and at least one moonshine still go by in the rushing waters.

17. 1917 - Carolina Beverage Corp., maker of Cheerwine, is formed.

18. 1917 - The U.S. joins the war against Germany. The Salisbury National Guard organizes.

19. 1918 - Nov. 1 - Salisbury celebrates the end of the war with ringing church bells, fire crackers, a parade, bonfire and Thanksgiving service.

20. 1918 - An influenza epidemic forces schools, churches and "moving picture houses" to close, upon orders by the Health Department. Hundreds -- some reports say 2,000 -- die of the sickness.

The 1920s

21 .1922 - Beulah Moore becomes the first woman to run for mayor of Salisbury and loses.

22. 1924 - Aug. 18 - The Wilcox Bridge, the first free bridge across the Yadkin River, opens.

23. 1924 - Fred and Tom Stanback form a partnership to make headache powders.

24. 1924 - Southern Railroad finishes a $500,000, 37-stall roundhouse at the Spencer Shops.

25. 1925 - Rowan County's first professional baseball team, the Salisbury Colonels, takes the field for the first time.

26. 1925 - Catawba College opens in Salisbury after closing its doors in Newton in 1923.

27. 1926 - L.S. Bradshaw Co. builds a new school, which the city names Boyden High School in honor of longtime Mayor Archibald Henderson Boyden.

28. 1926 - Duke Power brings the coal-burning Buck Steam Plant online to produce electricity.

29. 1926 - Theo Buerbaum, photographer and owner of a bookstore downtown for 50 years, dies.

30. 1927 - The gates are closed on the High Rock Lake dam, and the lake begins to fill.

31. 1927 - Fire destroys the Rowan County Home, built in 1924 to provide food and shelter for the county's aged and indigent.

32. 1927 - Charles Lindbergh circles his "Spirit of St. Louis" low over Salisbury's downtown on a cross-country flight. Crowds wave from atop the Wallace Building and sidewalks.

33. 1927 - Former Livingstone College professor James Aggrey -- known as "Aggrey of Africa" -- dies in his native Gold Coast (later Ghana), where he had returned to open a college.

34. 1929 - Oct. 24 - The stock market crashes and the Great Depression soon follows.

The 1930s

35. 1930 - Rowan County Airport is dedicated.

36. 1930 - Killer, robber and escape artist Otto Wood dies in a shootout with Salisbury Police.

37. 1931 - The State Highway Commission takes over maintenance of the former system of county roads.

38. 1931 - The YMCA, founded in 1913, closes after a heavy snow collapses its roof and heavily damages the building. Salisbury goes without a Y for more than 20 years.

39. 1932 - A record 14,000 Rowan voters go to the polls to join the nation in electing Franklin Delano Roosevelt as president.

40. 1933 - Salisbury is one of six N.C. cities to get a transient bureau, which opens "hobo hotels" and operates a farm to raise food for transients.

41. 1935 - Civilian Conservation Corps builds a camp in Salisbury, offering jobs in public works. City Park is one of their projects.

42. 1936 - Aug. 1 - Rowan Memorial Hospital opens with 80 beds and a 65-member staff.

43. 1938 - Buses take over passenger service from the city's old street car system, which started in 1905.

44. 1938 - Hope Summerell Chamberlain becomes a social outcast after her history of Rowan County, "This Was Home," is published.

45. 1939 - Jan 2 - WSTP goes on the air as Salisbury's first radio station.

The 1940s

46. 1941 - Dec. 10 - Radio and newspapers carry stories of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

47. 1944 - June 1 - D Day. At least eight soldiers from Rowan lose their lives as Allied troops storm Normandy.

48. 1944 - Sept. 18 - Schools open late because of polio epidemic.

49. 1945 - Aug 16 - Post headline declares "PEACE!" Salisbury celebrates as rationing ends.

50. 1945 - April 13 - Funeral train carrying FDR's body stops in Salisbury.

The 1950s

51. 1950 - Korean War commences, eventually involving 2,400 Rowan Countians and killing 21.

52. 1951 - Boyden High School student Bill Barnes' drowning in a quarry leads volunteers to collect funds for a new agency, Rowan Rescue Squad.

53. 1952 - Barbara Ann Harris of Salisbury wins the Miss North Carolina pageant.

54. 1952 - Post Editor Spencer Murphy issues a plea for help on behalf of poor children in the county, launching the Post's Christmas Happiness fund.

55. 1953- Rowan County celebrates its bicentennial with a parade, a visit from President Eisenhower and publication of James Brawley's book, "The Rowan Story, 1753-1953."

56. 1953 - Temple Israel holds its first service in Salisbury.

57. 1953 - The Salisbury V. A. Hospital opens.

58. 1955 - Landis football standout Billy Ray Barnes leads the Wake Forest baseball team to a national championship and goes on to a successful career in the NFL.

59. 1957 - Wilson Smith, Ralph Ketner and Brown Ketner open the first Food Town store.

60. 1958 - Restaurant operator Pete DiMizio plans the first convention of the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association in Salisbury, but the event is cancelled when he dies 33 days before the banquet. It takes place in 1960..

61. 1958 - Interstate 85 is partially opened through Rowan.

62. 1958 - Samuel Duncan becomes president of Livingstone College and lauches a 10-year program of improvement.

The 1960s

63. 1962 - Piedmont Players forms.

64. 1962 - Salisbury wins designation as an All-America City.

65. 1963 - The Rowan County School System has its first black student when Calvin Strowder enrolls in East Rowan High School.

66. 1963 - Rowan Technical Institute opens its doors with 77 students.

67. 1964 - Between 100 and 150 firefighters battle a downtown blaze that destroys six buildings.

68. 1964 - The closing of Spencer Shops is announced.

69. 1964 - Gov. Terry Sanford appoints Rowan native Jim Graham commissioner of agriculture.

70. 1966 - Fiber Industries polyester yarn plant opens.

71. 1967 - Rowan County commissioners accept a gift of 300 acres from businessman Dan Nicholas - the beginnings of Dan Nicholas Park.

72. 1967 - Rowan Cooperative Christian Ministry opens.

73. 1967 - Salisbury Symphony performs its first concert.

74. 1968 - The body of Clint Cheney, a well-known Salisbury man, is found in a shallow grave in a remote area of Morgan Township.

75. 1968 - Eleven members of the Ku Klux Klan in Rowan and Cabarrus counties are tried in federal court on charges of conspiring to deprive individuals of their civil rights. One pleads guilty; the others are found not guilty.

76. 1968 - A police raid leads to marijuana possession charges against several well-known Salisbury residents and college students.

77. 1968 - White taxi driver Virgil Wise is sentenced to life in prison for the 1967 murder of a 14-year-old black youth he shot in retaliation for a supposed dispute with his son.

78. 1968 - Livingstone College students and faculty march to the courthouse and hold a ceremony after learning of Martin Luther King Jr.'s murder.

79. 1968 - Former Catawba coach Earl Ruth wins a seat in Congress.

80. 1969 - Salisbury City schools integrate, closing Price High School and changing Boyden to Salisbury High.

The 1970s

81. 1971 - Firefighter Joseph P. Jenkins sustains fatal burns when he enters a burning house to rescue a man inside. The resident died in the fire.

82. 1971 - South Rowan High School changes its team name to "Raiders" after racial friction arises over "Rebels" and the playing of "Dixie."

83. 1972 - Ed Clement and others found the Historic Salisbury Foundation.

84. 1974 - Roger Wetmore is charged and later convicted in the stabbing and beheading death of his father, Edwin Hall Wetmore.

85. 1974 - A Belgian company, Delhaize, buys its first stock in Food Town.

86. 1974 - Six sticks of dynamite hooked to the ignition explode when SBI Agent Albert Stout starts his car, seriously wounding him. Stout had been working undercover on a drug investigation.

87. 1976 - The two-story brick Gillespie house is moved from East Innes Street to Fulton to make way for a Wendy's restaurant.

88. 1977 - Smoke and water cause $1 million in damage to the Belk-Harry store on Main Street after fire breaks out in the basement.

89. 1977 - Community grocer Wade "Dynamite" Overcash is found dead and his friend Myron Goodman injured at Eastside Grocery.

90. 1977 - A prolonged cold snap causes parts of Yadkin River to freeze over.

91. 1978 - The N.C. Transportation Museum at Spencer Shops is added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The 1980s

92. 1980 - Two fires within a day of each other destroy the restored Olde Firehouse Restaurant and Endicott Johnson shoe store.

93. 1980 - A West German company, M.A.N., opens a huge truck-making plant in Cleveland.

94. 1980 - The 601 Bypass opens and is named Salisbury Boulevard (later renamed Jake Alexander Boulevard).

95. 1981 - Wiley Lash leads the voting for Salisbury City Council and is the first black person to serve as Salisbury mayor.

96. 1982 - California businessman David Murdock buys Cannon Mills.

97. 1982 - Downtown churches take turns providing winter shelter for the homeless, and First Presbyterian opens a soup kitchen.

98. 1983 - Margaret Kluttz is the first woman to serve as mayor of Salisbury.

99. 1983 - An explosion at Proctor Chemical's Lumber Street facility rocks the city and sets off huge fire that injures four employees and 14 firefighters.

100. 1983 - Food Town changes its name to Food Lion. Sales top $1 billion for the first time.

101. 1983 - A Salisbury man dies of AIDS, the first AIDS death in the Piedmont, according to N.C. Health Department.

102. 1984 - Reesa Dawn Trexler, 15, is found brutally murdered in her grandparents' home. The crime goes unsolved.

103. 1984 - Fire destroys actress Suzanne Blackmer's home on Fulton Street.

104. 1985 - David Murdock sells Cannon Mills to Fieldcrest Mills for $250 million.

105. 1985 - Triplets are born to two local couples: Ann and Bill McCanless and Carla and Chris Beck.

106. 1986 - George Knox wins election to the Rowan County Board of Commissioners, the first black person to do so.

107. 1986 - Salisbury Mall opens.

108. 1986 - Salisbury adopts its first sign ordinance.

109. 1986 - Historic Salisbury Foundation buys the depot.

110. 1987 - City and county unite to fight placement of a hazardous waste incinerator in Rowan County.

111. 1987 - A baby is found abandoned at Gethsemane Baptist Church.

112. 1987 - Police find three men shot to death in a Horah Street house over a drug deal gone bad.

113. 1988 - Zimmerman's clothing store, a downtown institution, closes.

114. 1988 - Fifteen-year-old Brad Patrick dies in a crash with a drunk driver, landing Charlie McBride in prison -- the county's first conviction on felony driving while impaired/murder.

115. 1988 - Rowan Helping Ministries opens in a new shelter on Long Street.

116. 1989 - Rowan and Salisbury school systems merge and hire Don Martin as superintendent.

117. 1989 - Rowan fights efforts to locate a low-level radioactive waste dump here.

118. 1989 - Hurricane Hugo rips through the Carolinas, including Rowan, leaving many without power for weeks.

The 1990s

119. 1991 - The U.S. attacks Iraqi forces in Kuwait, launching the first Gulf War.

120. 1991 - Jake Deal dies in a shootout with deputies on Faith Road after killing his wife and father-in-law and shooting his mother-in-law and a man whose vehicle he was hijacking.

121. 1992 - President George Bush visits Faith's Fourth of July celebration.

122. 1992 - ABC's PrimeTive Live airs a segment accusing Food Lion of unsafe food-handling practices.

123. 1994 - The dismembered body of a Kannapolis woman, Pamela Sanders, is found in a garbage can on Old Concord Road. Her husband will be tried and acquitted.

124. 1994- Two men receive death sentences in the 1992 murder of an elderly couple, B.P. and Ruby Tutterow.

125. 1995 - Piedmont Players presents "Jesus Christ Superstar" in the newly renovated Meroney Theater.

126. 1996 - Publisher James F. Hurley III announces the sale of the Post to Evening Post Publishing of Charleston, S.C.

127. 1997 - Three Rowan children whose safety had been under investigation by the Department of Social Services die at the hands of their caregivers and another is shot as a bystander. Statewide reforms follow.

128. 1997 - Former Salisbury Police Officer L.C. Underwood is convicted of murder in the 1994 killing of Viktor Gunnarsson, who had been dating a woman Underwood was also seeing.

129. 1998 - Former teacher Deborah Brogden gets a two-year prison sentence for firing a handgun at Assistant Superintendent Danny Thomas in his yard.

130. 1999 - Bombs explode at Lowe's stores in Salisbury and Asheboro, planted by a disgruntled customer.

131. 1999 - Shootings at Columbine High in Colorado prompt officials to move all Rowan-Salisbury graduations to Keppel Auditorium.

The 2000s

132. 2000 - Lakeina Francis of Rowan is among those killed when terrorists bomb the USS Cole in Yemen.

133. - 2000 - Some 2,000 people lose jobs through plant closings and layoffs.

134. - 2000 - Security officers fatally shoot an 83-year-old patient at the V.A. Medical Center after he fires a gun at a doctor, nearly killing him.

135. - 2001 - Al's Nighthawk closes after 51 years in business when owner Al Boulus retires.

136. - 2001 - Sept. 11 - Terrorists attack the United States, sending shockwaves across the country.

137. - 2002 - High Rock Lake looks like a golf course after a prolonged drought drains the lake and parches local fields.

138. - 2002 - An early December ice storm paralyzes Rowan County.

139. - 2002 - Salisbury native Elizabeth Hanford Dole wins a seat in the U.S. Senate, succeeding Jesse Helms.

140. - 2003 - 250Fest, a yearlong series of events, celebrates Rowan County's 250th anniversary

141. - 2003 - Pillowtex calls it quits, leading to the loss of 7,650 jobs in North America, 5,500 of them in North Carolina -- the largest layoff in state history.

142. - 2003 - Woodleaf Elementary student Ana Sola dies after a car strikes her and her cousin as they cross the road to their bus.

143. 2004 - Gunshots down an advertising blimp that has become a bone of contention between rival car dealers.

144. 2004 - The war in Iraq continues to affect Rowan, with two Army Reserve units deployed and Lance Cpl. David Houck of Mount Ulla dead of injuries from a battle in Fallujah.

145. 2005 - Commissioners fire Rowan County Manager Tim Russell after learning he authorized a private investigator's search for "Common Sense," the anonymous writer of letters criticizing county government.

146. 2005 - David Murdock announces that Dole Foods and the UNC system will build the N.C. Research Campus in Pillowtex Plant 1's place. The biotechnology center will turn Kannapolis into a "biopolis."