Pine Level's Past
To celebrate Pine Level's 150th anniversary is to rightfully honor the changemakers who shaped Pine Level's unique sense of place. The town was aptly named Pine Level in 1854 for the wonderful growth of long leaf Pine timber that covered the entire area in every direction for miles around. It wasn't until much later, the town was established in 1873 and the official charter voted on at the end of January 1874.
The following timeline highlights a few of the people, places, and events that have helped make Pine Level the place it is today.
In the 1854, a new chapter was written in the story of North Carolina. The completion of the North Carolina Railroad (now known as the Southern Railroad) brought about an era of growth and opportunity in the region. It was during this time that two businessmen, Stallings and Hinnant, established a sawmill business in the area that would become known as Pine Level. The name was inspired by the breathtaking long leaf Pine timber that blanketed the landscape for miles around.
In 1862, the Oliver brothers faced a tough decision as America was divided by Civil War. William answered the call to serve his country, leaving Tom behind to manage their shared businesses which played a crucial role in the war effort. Despite the distance and hardships, the brothers persevered. But when William finally returned home, things were never the same. Nostalgia sets in as we imagine the sacrifices they made and the bond they shared, only to dissolve their partnership in the end.
Back in 1865 when Pine Level, North Carolina saw the birth of the W.B. Oliver Company. William Berry Oliver himself established the business located in what was then known as Godwin's Drug Store building. But little did he know that the Union Army would soon set up headquarters in the Spring under General Howard's command. The aftermath of the three-day battle between Union and Confederate forces saw thousands of Union soldiers pass through Pine Level towards Raleigh, several hundred of them camping out in the area of I-95's Southern Railway overhead bridge. Bentonville, the largest battle fought in the state during the Civil War, left an indelible mark on the town's history. Sadly, the following year, W.B. Oliver Company was destroyed by fire. But Mr. Oliver was determined to rebuild it and so he did on the corner of Selma-Micro Road, continuing his turpentine and farm supply business.
It was 1873 in our quaint little town of Pine Level. It was a time of growth and progress as the town was officially incorporated and given a new system of governance. Under this new regime, a mayor and council of commissioners were put in charge to lead the community towards a prosperous future. And just a year later, history was made as the citizens of Pine Level cast their ballots and officially passed the vote to charter their beloved town on a January day.
In the early 1900s, Pine Level was home to only 400 residents. Among them was a certain Robert L. Fitzgerald, Sr, who managed a branch of a Smithfield bank. But he had bigger dreams for his town. In 1906, Fitzgerald drew up a bank charter and in 1907, the Pine Level Bank was born. This small but mighty bank served its community for over six decades until finally relocating to its current location in 1969.