Silly, unique, or odd-sounding community names always pique interest, and the Henderson County community of Tuxedo is another example. How this former mill community received its name over a century ago is a story worth telling.
Tuxedo started as a mill town - constructed by Joseph Oscar Bell, Jr. Bell and two others, J.A. Durham and S.B. Tanner. Together, they formed the Green River Manufacturing Company. The three partners began construction of the mill and supporting village in 1907. In addition to the manufacturing plant and village, they constructed a hydroelectric dam, and Lake Summit formed.
Bell originally named the community Lakewood - yet the newly formed mill village would soon change its name. In 1910, the Southern Railway opened a new depot here. Aiming to reduce confusion with another Lakewood within North Carolina, the community's name needed to change. Bell's wife, who had kept an apartment in Tuxedo Park, NY, suggested the name. Tuxedo and other suggested names were placed in a hat, and Mrs. Bell pulled out 'Tuxedo.'
|The Tuxedo Community Store is one of the last vestiges of the old mill village left in Tuxedo.|
Other accounts have Mr. Bell suggesting "Tuxedo" as no other place would be named the same. In either case, the Bell's ties to Tuxedo Park, New York appear to be influential on its eventual name.
The Tuxedo Mill was abandoned in 2000 and later torn down. The Tuxedo Community Park sits in the old mill's place. Across from the old mill was the village's company store. The building still stands as the Tuxedo Community Store. It has housed numerous businesses over the last few decades - but as of February 2022, sits unoccupied. Tuxedo's post office moved to a nearby service station in 1991. The contract station closed in 2006. The community is now served by the nearby Zirconia Post Office.
- Ruscin, Terry. Glimpses of Henderson County North Carolina. History Press. 2014. p. 42-43.