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Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

The Town That Said "No"

Posted March 20, 2007 11:30 a.m. EDT
Updated March 20, 2007 11:47 a.m. EDT

Wow!  What a story!  Carthage.  Ever been there?  Moore County seat.  Population:  fewer than 2,000.  Gateway to golf and pottery country.  Neat little courthouse you drive around.

But Carthage could have been a whole lot more.  Carthage was supposed to be the home of the University of North Carolina but town leaders nixed the idea for fear that locomotives would not be able to make it up the hill into town.  Opportunity number one squandered.

Now opportunity number two.  Did you know that Carthage was eyed by Henry Ford as the site for his motor vehicle plant?  Ford wanted to buy an old buggy plant and convert it into an auto assembling facility.  But the owner of Tyson Buggy Company turned down Ford's offer.  So Mr. Ford took his business to Michigan and the rest is history.  Can you imagine what the NC economy would be like if the Tyson's had sold out?  By the way, that old buggy plant burned down a few years after the Ford offer.

Just a little bit of interesting history!