Graham and the Alamance County Courthouse
With a new county formed and the location of the county seat and courthouse determined, the next step was to name the town. Numerous names including Gallatin and Montgomery were considered, but it was decided to name the town Graham in honor of the then-current North Carolina Governor, William A. Graham.
The Courthouse Square and much of downtown is part of an historic district. A one mile historic walking trail covers nearly 40 structures within the downtown area, including the Paris Building, seen below, built in 1912.
Graham was one of the flashpoints of North Carolina's turbulent Reconstruction period. In 1870, the lynching of Wyatt Outlaw, the first elected African-American Town Commissioner, at Court Square was one of two events that helped to trigger the brief Kirk-Holden War against the Klan that same year. The other event was the assassination of State Senator John W. Stephens in Yanceyville.
Burlington which is the largest city in Alamance County. Though Burlington is the larger city, Graham has a character of its own and its own unique charm. One of the more popular spots in town is the Graham Soda Shop & Grill. The Graham Soda Shop has been a staple in the town since 1937 when the original was opened by Foust Thompson. A fire in the building severely damaged the building in 1977. The building was damaged enough where it had to be razed and rebuilt. In 2007, Chuck Talley re-opened the Graham Soda Shop and it still operates today.
All photos taken by post author - April 2008.
Sources & Links:
- (1) "History." City of Graham, NC.
- City of Graham Website