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Early 1900's

Up Early 1900 The 1920's Stanley Airport The 1930's The 1940's After War Years

The 1920's

Joseph Graham Rutledge in front of mercantile store located in building next to present day Town Hall.

An Industrial Survey of Stanley, compiled to entice new industry to the area, stated that the population in 1920 was 790 people within the town limits. The Federal Census for the year 1920 listed several new businesses in town. James A. Rankin had a grocery mercantile store which was located on the corner of East Chestnut Street next to his home. It was later used as a hardware store. Mr. Rankin had in the past moved out of town and lived on his farmland in the country. However that lasted only a short time and he moved back into his old house along with his two sisters, Miss Bernie Rankin and Ida Rankin Abernethy and her daughter Fannie Mae, and ran his mercantile store.

Joseph Graham Rutledge, Sr. ran a mercantile store next to the bank, after it moved up the street from the Gaston County Dye Building. He was in partnership with Wilburn Conley Thompson.

Will F. McGinnis has his grocery mercantile store on the north end of town. The Grocery mercantile store of Mr. John F. Wallace was located on the road to Mt. Holly near the Lutheran Church. John W. Pennington was also a grocery merchant.

Stanley Supply Co. previously Howard Thompson's store

Howard Thompson managed Thompson's store on the corner of Main and Plum Streets. He was the son of Edgar Durant Thompson, whose brother, Wilburn Conley Thompson was one of the original owners of the store. Robert F. Craig eventually purchased the building for Gaston County Dyeing Machine Company. A business called Stanley Supply Company was located in the building for a short time prior to moving up the street.


In 1916 a new brick two story school was built. By this time the school had grown considerably. Teachers who lived in Stanley at the time of the 1920 Federal Census were: Mts. Ida Abernathy (widow), Vertie Covington, Bessie Morris, Maud Thompson, Ila Ballard, Mary Sue Rutledge, Edith Mason and Laura MCKeown.

A source of pride for the town in the 1920's was the fact that Stanley had one of the largest school attendance records in the piedmont. The high school was accredited. It was said that Stanley's School, which went through the 11th grade, was the only graded school in the county where a business course was taught.

Highways and Railways

In 1920 it was touted that Stanley had accessible paved highways, Hwy #16, a paved road from Mt. Holly to Belmont, a paved highway through Dallas to Gastonia and then farther south, as well as Highway # 10 from Lincointon which lead to points east and west. In other words the town was accessible from all directions.

The Carolina Contracting Company had charge of the paving. Dan In 1922 the highway from Lincointon to Charlotte was begun. Long remembers hauling sand for the highway. By August of 1922 the road paving had reached the Depot and at that point they turned and completed a hard surfaced road as far as the South Fork River to meet with the surfacing from Dallas to the river.

In addition to the highway system Stanley could still take pride in their railway line which at this time was operated by the Seaboard Airline Railway. This railway was an important means of connection with other parts of the State and Country as well as a means for ship- ping and receiving by the local industies, as there were two sidings or sets of tracks in town. The railroad also served as a passenger line which was frequently used by townspeople for local trips as well as trips north and south. Mr. Arnold C. Taylor, Sr.," who came from Kentucky, was Depot Agent in 1920.

Stanley Barber Shop in 1922. Barbers Murray McGinnis and Clarence Hovis

New Barber Shop

In April of 1922 the new modern barber shop was ready for Murray McGinnis and Clarence Hovis, the barbers, to move into. It was located on the corner of Plum and Main Streets and was a source of pride for Stanley. Men could go into the barber shop, have a shave and a hair cut as well as take a shower in the back room. While in the shower their clothes could be pressed in the pressing club; or if they desired they could order a new suit to be tailored for them.

George Wilkie Abernethy operated another mercantile store, The Stanley Supply Company, in a three story frame building across the railroad on the corner of East Chestnut Street and the road to Mt. Holly. This was the first business with the name Stanley Supply Company, in town.

J. Wesley Dellinger operated a Drug Store on the corner of South Main Street and East Chestnut. In 1923 a portion of the building that housed Stanley Supply burned.

Stanley Mercantile Burns

Sometime around 11:00 PM Friday, 14 December 1923, Stanley citizens became aware that George Wilkie Abernethy's large mercantile store, Stanley Supply Company, was on fire. It was feared that the depot and Dellinger's drug store would also burn. However, local citizens with their bucket brigades brought the fire under control. The mercantile store burned to the ground, but surrounding building were saved.

Castanea Grove Cemetary

Castanea Grove Cemetery in Lucia holds the graves of many ancestors of Stanley citizens. The cemetery predated Castanea Church and had actually been associated with the old Whitehaven Church which stood behind the old rock-walled cemetery. The oldest grave bears the date of 1804.

Farmers and Merchants Bank

The Farmer's and Merchant's Bank was in town with Fred Ballard as Bookkeeper and Fred Rhyne as Cashier. It was located first on Highway 27 South in a small building between the McLurd home and the Carpenter home. It was moved from there across the railroad tracks into the building that now houses Gaston County Dyeing Machine Company. Mr. Kenneth Moore was hired to move the safe. He used logs to get the safe across the tracks and placed it in the Thompson Store Building on the corner of Main Street and Plum. Some time later the bank was moved on up the street into the building in which the Town Hall is now located.

Bus Line from Gastonia

Most of the small towns in Gaston County had been connected to Gastonia, the county seat, by 1925 with the exception of Stanley. This meant that Stanley citizens did not receive their newspaper until the next day. Their mail was delayed as well. However, on 9 February 1925 the Gastonia Gazette stated that beginning on the 9th the bus line would extend to Stanley four times daily. As a result Stanley citizens would get their news and mail in a more current fashion. It also gave townspeople a more convenient means for traveling to Gastonia for shopping. The newspaper stated that "Stanley is a Gaston town that is on the upward trend with three busy mills, two yarn and one weaving; four wide awake churches, Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist and Lutheran; numbers of up to date general merchandise stores; a thriving Farmer's and Merchants Bank; a splendid brick school building; an unusually large number of lovely homes for a town of 1,200 population."

A Meteor Falls in Stanley

On June 17, 1926, the Gastonia Gazette reported that a number of citizens from Stanley were attempting to dig out a meteor which fell here one year prior, on the property of Mr. Will Matthews. A number of people saw the meteor as it fell leaving a hole in the ground about 8 inches in diameter and about 25 feet deep. It was hoped that the stone could be found for inspection by the geological survey department for the state.

Electric Power to the Town

The topic of the town board meeting in November of 1926 centered around the matter of obtaining water works for the town. Several new street lights had been placed around town.

Around this time electric power was brought to Stanley by Dr. Frank V. Taylor by way of a connection from the Town of Mt. Holly. Mr. J. Lee Smith was hired by Dr. Taylor to wire the homes, read the meters and turn on the power for new settlers. Mr. Smith said he had seen the service grow from a small beginning until every house and building in town was served with current.

Town Privy

In the July 4th 1927 Town Meeting it was ordered by the town Mayor and Aldermen that the old three hole town closet (privy) behind Wallace's Store be torn down and it be replaced with a new one hole one.


There was a silent movie theater in town during this time called the S. and V Theater. It had been formerly run by Dr. Frank V. Taylor and Mr. James E. Wallace. Admission was $.15 and $.30. The March 26, 1926 Gastonia Gazette stated "that the picture show building (The Stanley Theater) has been improved of late with all new paintings on both the inside and outside and various shades of light have been installed which gives it a very artistic appearance." The feature shown on May 17 and 18th of that year was Zane Grey's The Vanishing American.

The Meat Market

Stanley Meat Market
Small child is "Tony Derr; Calvin "Cal" Spargo, manager, in center; and Lee McLurd on right. Picture taken around 1938.

Logan H. Goodson and his wife Lethia Sherrill, lived on the corner of West Buckoak and Plum Streets. He had a meat market in town near Mr. Albert L. Boyd's store. In November of 1925 Mr. Goodson sold his meat market to Bob Shook who moved his family from Maiden to Stanley to operate the business. Mr. Goodson sold his property on the corner of West Buckoak and Plum, in 1925 to Mr. Richey who ran a shoe repair business in part of his home.

Logan Goodson's meat market was located in one of Mr. Bert Boyd's buildings. Russell Handsel ran the Stanley Meat Market from about 1927 until January 1928. At that time Mr. Calvin "Cal" Spargo ran the meat market and Russell Handsel took over the general mercantile business, on the north end of town, which was formerly run by Charles Marvin Howard. Prior to Mr. Howard, the mercantile had been run by Mr. Charles D. Keever and his brother Robert Keever. The Keever brothers had purchased the mercantile business from Charles Peterson in May of 1926.

Up Early 1900 The 1920's Stanley Airport The 1930's The 1940's After War Years

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