Bennett, North Carolina
Bennett is an unincorporated community in Chatham and Randolph counties in the U.S. state of North Carolina. Incorporated in 1915 and since disincorporated, the community is located just off NC 22/42.
Founded as Boaz in 1888 the area was inhabited by the Scott, Kidd, Powers, Sizemore and Beck families, until the Bonlee & Western Railroad reached the area in 1910. The name changed to Bennett in 1910 named after the Atlantic & Yadkin RR Superintendent J.M. Bennett. Bennett was incorporated in 1915 with H.A. Denson, a physician, being the first mayor. The new town was to be a city and was built with 80 foot wide streets and 10 foot alleys laid out in a grid. At one time it had a hotel, a ladies emporium, a small mall owned by D.R. Smith, a jewelry store and chocolate shop combination, a millinery shop,and several grocery stores supplied goods to citizens.A small house was converted into a silent movie theater, and they had an auditorium called the "Arbor" for local plays. The bank was robbed in 1927 by Bill Payne and Wash Turner and they not caught at the time but much later in the western part of the state after a life of crime.It was home to Bennett Christian Church and Bennett Baptist Church and only the latter still stands.The train made its last run in 1928 and the depression shrunk the town. A handful of people still call it home and most of the original houses still stand, well kept up, but lack of access to county water has kept the community small.
Bennett has a hardware store, the Morning Glory Cafe, a Fire Station, Baxter's garage and grill, a post office, Routh's small grocery,the Ram Food Mart, the Tri-County Ruritans, and Bennett School K-8 which is one of the top schools in the county. It is home to the annual "Flatwoods Festival" every fall and has an annual Christmas parade.
In 2006, the Chatham County Board of Education announced that they were repealing a decision allowing students that lived in the Randolph County portion of Bennett to attend Bennett School, the local K-8 school, free of charge. For years students from both counties that lived in "Bennett" were allowed to attend the school free under a memorandum of understanding between the two counties made many years ago. The announcement that the memorandum was being repealed stirred a firestorm of controversy, since the Randolph County students would be considered out-of-district students and could therefore be charged hundreds of dollars each year to attend school in Chatham County. The commute to the nearest Randolph County school was also a problem since it is located many miles from Bennett. To date, the Chatham County board has stood by its decision despite numerous complaints from residents.
Bennett is located in Area code 336 instead of the Area code 919 like the rest of Chatham County. The community is in the 336 area code because of its proximity to Randolph County (which is entirely in the 336 district) and because phone service is provided by a company based in Randolph County.
Points of interest
- The Devil's Tramping Grounds is located a few miles north of Bennett in the Harper's Crossroads community.
- The Southern Supreme Fruitcake factory is located just outside of Bennett off of 902.
- The Soapstone Quarry is a few miles south of Bennett in Moore County.
- Historic Mt. Vernon Springs is just a few miles north on Mt. Vernon Springs Rd.
- Colonel John Randolph Lane lived just north of Bennett on Little Brush Creek.