In 1902, after community leaders learned that another 'Reba' was located in the mountains of Transylvania County, a new name for the community around the 'Reba' station on the Eastern Carolina Railroad had to be found.  The community was only two years old and had already locally been called 'Turnages' and then 'Slabtown.'  'Reba' seemed like a good name - it was the name of the sister of Henry Clark Bridgers, who brought the new railroad into town.

Robert Almon (R.A.) Fountain had recently opened a new general store and livery stable along the new rail line. A new Post Office was going to be established in 'Reba,' and Fountain would be its postmaster. The post office - and growing community - would bear his last name. 

Fountain was incorporated as a town in 1903.  Today, it is a community of just under 400 residents. R.A. Fountain and his sons operated their store at the corner of Highways 258 and 222 until the 1960s. During the next 40 years, the building served as a hardware store, a specialty toy manufacturing company, and a game room until it was purchased by Alex Albright.

R.A. Fountain's name lives on at the R.A. Fountain General Store

Albright and his wife returned the R.A. Fountain name in 2004 when they opened the R.A. Fountain General Store and Internet Cafe. Since its opening, the store has been a music venue featuring bluegrass, gospel, jazz, honky-tonk, and more. It has also hosted visiting writers and speakers.  R.A. Fountain is open on event days and Saturdays.  Live music and events run from September to June. In addition to the traditional general store fare, they also include an art gallery, used bookstore, including books by local writers that they publish.

All photos taken by post author - February 2011.

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