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Welcome to the High Point Church

Since its earliest roots, High Point has always been a center of commerce, community spirit and hospitality.

Midway into the 19th century, stagecoaches and covered wagons rumbled along the Old Plank Road, an engineering marvel that traced an Indian trail from nearby Salem all the way to Fayetteville .

Meanwhile emerging steam locomotive technology arrived in the Tar Heel State, and developers laid out a network of rails to ferry passengers and freight from Goldsboro to Charlotte .

When the chief engineer of the North Carolina Railroad drove a spike into the ground in the southwestern corner of Guilford County and declared it the highest point on the entire line, he saw nothing but forests and farmland all around. But soon the junction of the railroad and the plank road would become a bustling center of activity. German immigrants and Quaker settlers were among the first to arrive. Hotels and restaurants sprang up to accommodate weary travelers, and in 1859 the town of High Point officially came into existence.

The bountiful harvest of the rich Piedmont soil became the basis for the first industrial enterprises in High Point. A saw mill to refine the lush hardwoods was among the first businesses to spring up, and by the late 1880s High Point could count 500 citizens employed in textiles, woodworking and tobacco.

In 1889 three local business leaders launched High Points first furniture factory, providing the impetus for the City’s enduring and undisputed reputation as the Furniture Capital of the World.

By the turn of the 20th century, more than 30 furniture companies called High Point home. And thanks to the industrial age, enterprising High Pointers branched out into other diverse fields as well. Adams-Millis, which would grow to become the world’s largest manufacturer of hosiery, was formed in 1904. A few years later Thomas Car Works started building streetcars and trolleys in High Point, and would transform with the times into a national leader in the manufacturing of school buses.

As the country grew and expanded, High Point’s strategic location became a key element in its success. Not only was the town the virtual midpoint between Charlotte and Raleigh, but between Washington, D. C. and Atlanta, and New York and Miami as well. Ease of distribution to distant markets convinced companies and residents to settle in the moderate climate of High Point.

The economic boom of the early 1900’s also saw the formation of the Southern Furniture Manufacturers Association, which opened the Southern Furniture Exposition Building in 1921. In a tradition which continues today, High Pointers opened their homes and hearts to 149 furniture exhibitors and 700 retail buyers. Today High Point is the home of the largest home furnishing trade show in existence, bringing together as many as 80,000 buyers and sellers every six months from across the United States and more than 100 other countries.

Throughout the remainder of the 20th century High Point continued to grow and prosper, driven by the same core values that existed at its founding. Today’s Main Street motorists travel the same route as the old plank road, passing hotels, restaurants, and diverse businesses along the way.

Contact Alfred Hyatt alfredhyatt@icgchurches.org