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Fuquay-Varina - A brief history

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Originally, the Native American Indians inhabited this area and it was known as “Sippihaw.” Fuquay-Varina, (pronounced: Few-quay Va-ree-na) was first known as “Piney Woods,” acquired her unusual name from the fates of history. It was a French veteran of the Revolutionary War named William Fuquay who moved his family to the exact site, purchasing 1,000 acres of land in 1805.

While plowing a field, circa 1858, William’s son, Stephen, or grandson, David Crockett, uncovered a mineral spring. “Taking the waters” became an attraction for people with all types of physical ailments, leading to the annual celebrations at the spring on Easter Monday and the Fourth of July. Conveniently, the early timber rail provided a ready means of transportation, while hotels catering to long term visitors surrounded the spring.

During the “War for Southern Independence,” a young Confederate soldier named Ballentine, born just south of the spring, received morale-boosting letters signed with the pen name “Varina.” He later looked up the Fayetteville lady, married her and brought her to live at his homeplace, her actual name was Virginia Avery. Continuing to call her Varina, he named his post office and mercantile establishment across from the mineral spring for her. When two timber rail lines crossed nearby, “Varina Station” was born.  

In 1902, Sippihaw was renamed “Fuquay Springs” in honor of its founding family and was officially incorporated in 1909. In the early 1900’s, tobacco farmers fleeing the Granville County wilt devastating their crop, began migrating into southern Wake County. Their “golden weed” fostered a large commercial tobacco market. Railroads flourished and traffic flowed along Main Street in Fuquay Springs and around the Broad Street station, now known simply as Varina. 

The tobacco industry continued to drive the area economy with five warehouses, a cotton buyer and fifteen stores established by the end of the 1920s. The shared emphasis on agricultural and industrial growth brought the towns to a shared vision, and as their residents worked, played, and attended church together, the eventual 1963 merger into Fuquay-Varina was inevitable.

Fuquay Springs, incorporated in 1909, joined the neighboring community of Varina in 1964 as one municipality. Therefore, this created two distinct downtown districts, which is evident today. Since that time, The Victorian, Craftsman and Colonial Revival homes constructed in the late 19th century and early 20th century are contributing structures to the Fuquay Springs National Register Residential Historic District, while the downtown shops and businesses are part of the Varina National Register Commercial Historic District. The springs are now contained in a small park developed on the site in 1945 which was handed over to the town in 1998 to maintain as a historic park for all area residents to enjoy.

Visit Fuquay-Varina today!

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