Southmont, North Carolina
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Southmont is an unincorporated community in Davidson County, North Carolina. It is located along North Carolina State Highway 8 on the northern shores of High Rock Lake. There is an organized effort underway to Incorporate Southmont as The Village of Southmont.
Fairmont, NC was founded in 1883 with the approval of a Post Office. The postmaster was Samuel S. Peacock from April 19, 1883 until it closed August 30, 1906. It was located in a country store operated by Mr. Hedrick near where the RR crosses Hwy 8 today. Within 10 years however, the community failed to thrive and the store closed, with the post office surrendering its charter.
Just after the turn of the century, another store had opened where the previous store stood, and an attempt to reopen the post office was declined by the post master general. It seems that another community had claimed the name Fairmont. So, the name Southmont was chosen to receive the approval of a post office with Meriles S. A. Michaels as the postmaster 3/11/1911. A village grew up around the crossroads of where the new Winston-Salem Southbound Railway rail line had crossed the road to Lexington.
During the 20's the town had multiple stores, the county's first consolidated brick school, various churches, the Star Furniture Company and the Wall Lumber Company. The Hotel for a time, thrived. Dr. Alvin York set up a practice in town. The Baptist Churches of the area included Holloways Baptist Church, Stoners Grove Baptist Church and the First Baptist Church of Southmont. Macedonia Methodist Church was also active by the time the lake was created.
By 1926, with the creation of High Rock Lake much of the bridges and roads changed, closed, the railroad was elevated and the route crossing the river changed, other roads were rerouted as the geography changed. Coupled with the great depression, much of the town died but the school and churches remained. Fires claimed the two industries and the famous eight gable hotel building, and by the early 50's with train travel no longer being the favored means of travel, the station closed.
The Southmont Volunteer Fire Department was created in 1958 and the new Central Davidson High School opened, with students from the Southmont High School now attending CDHS. The school became grades 1-8 and by the early 60's people began to build summer cottages at High Rock Lake. 1967 witnessed integration and as a 2nd grader in Ms. Owens class, I sat next to someone who was not white for the first time. As kids, they were just kids like the rest of us but this was more of a challenge for the parents.
By 1972, a temporary middle school was created using an abandoned school at the Junior Order Children’s Home and the 8th grades were consolidated there creating CDJH. During a 1979 bridge repair, Hwy 8 was closed for nearly 2 years and much of the lake was found to have Mercury poisoning from a battery plant upstream. Again, businesses closed and the school closed in 1981, consolidated with Linwood near Cotton Grove, known as Southwood.
Nevertheless, over the past 10 years the community has again seen a resurgence of growth with a multiple small businesses, a new school, new Post Office, expanded churches, a new fire station, an array of other local civic and community groups, and significant population growth to the lake areas in and around Southmont.
Notable residents past and present
- Henrietta Walls - Former basketball player for UNC Chapel Hill, the Washington Mystics and in Europe.
- Henry Walls − Former football player for Clemson University and played for the New York Jets scab team during the 1987 strike.
- Edgar Pickett - Former football player for Clemson University and the Minnesota Vikings.
- Edgar Pickett and in country rivals Perry Tuttle and Chucky Richardson played on the 1981 Clemson Tigers football team.
- Ross Coppley - Nashville Recording Artist.
- Geoff McBride - The Voice season 2 contestant