The Past Resurfaces in Wake Forest
Posted February 26, 2000 6:00 a.m. EST
WAKE FOREST — Losing one's history is a tragedy; preserving it a treasure. The town of Wake Forest holds tight to its history, but for more than 40 years a piece of its past has been missing.
Thanks to David Ross and Winston Cooley, an historical gem has now been found and many townspeople regard it as virtual buried treasure.
What they discovered was a concrete block that once stood at the entrance to Wake Forest College. That institution was founded in this small Wake County town, and then moved to Winston-Salem in the 1950s, where the university remains. The campus buildings became Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Seventy-two names were carved into the block, which was a gift to the college from the class of 1909. But when the institution moved, the stone disappeared.
Disappeared until Messrs. Ross and Cooley happened along.
And there, in an isolated field, they made their discovery that has historic connections.
No matter how hard he tries, Wake Forest College alum Dickie Davis knows the past can't be brushed away.
"One of these, J.C. Carroll, was our math teacher when we were in college in '48," he recalls.
The block may be broken, but the history has been held together, carved in stone.
"It's really important that we identify with the roots," says Susan Brinkley of the Wake Forest College Birthplace Society.
"When the college left, I think the town felt abandoned, and this is why this is such a prize for us," she said.
Susan Brinkley was so thrilled with the discovery, she kissed the stone. And David Ross reports with a hoot of laughter that her husband reported waggishly that she hadn't kissed him in a year, but she had kissed the new-found stone.
The stone will be placed in the town's museum just in time for the Wake Forest College reunion the first weekend of April.