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Wendell - A brief history
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Wendell is located in the northeast central region of North Carolina, where the North American Piedmont and Atlantic Coastal Plain regions meet. This area is known as the “fall line” because it marks the elevation inland at which waterfalls begin to appear in creeks and rivers.
The Town of Wendell started in the 1850's when tobacco farmers in Granville County were hit with what came to be known as the Granville County Wilt. The tobacco crop failed and farmers from Granville County moved into eastern Wake County looking for fertile land to plant their crops. Main Street in Wendell was designed with the purpose of driving four two-horse wagons abreast.
As this area grew, a small village was forming. The people in this area needed a name for their little town. They asked their schoolteacher, M.A. Griffin, to come up with a name for this area. Mr. Griffin loved the poet Oliver Wendell Holmes. He suggested that they call their town Wendell, after the poet. However, the pronunciation of the town is different from the way one normally pronounces, Oliver Wendell Holmes.
After the train came to town, the porters on the train would call out “WEN-DELL!” The pronunciation continues today. Wendell is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the town currently has seven listings on the National Historic Register.
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