The History of Hawboro

"I figure some of y’alls been to Hawboro before--and if you haven't you should come on over some time. We're a pretty special place." 

The Passion of Teresa Rae King (2018)

Hawboro is situated picturesquely on the banks of the Haw River, nestled between the Triad and the Triangle. According to local legend, a card game led to the founding of Hawboro and the creation of Blessing Mills. On June 23, 1866 a group of men gathered in Bathsheba Cornelius’s tavern at Yate’s Crossroads. While accounts differ as to whether the card game was Poker or Three Card Brag, by the end of the night, Zebulon Spencer Blessing had won the land and mill from William Yates. [1] 

"Hawboro. The gateway to the future right smack on the banks of the old Haw River." 

Providence Gap (2010)

For many decades Blessing Mills brought jobs and prosperity to Hawboro.[2] In 1893, Zebulon College was founded, bringing with it an influx of professors and students from all over the world. Zebulon College—Go Zebras!—remains open today, providing exciting town and gown partnerships. Zebulon’s Division I basketball team won the Pioneer Conference in 2015 and went to the Big Dance.[3]

"It don't matter what the issue is, if you give a damn about Hawboro you're going to be right there gung-ho for Zebulon." 

Common Enemy (2015)

The mid-twentieth century brought prosperity to North Carolina’s textile industry and Blessing Mills was no exception. 1967 saw the construction of Blessing Tower, designed by famed North Carolina architect Edward Loewenstein. Dedicated in memory of the late Edward Blesssing II[4], it housed the corporate offices of Blessing Mills. In 1969, Blessing Mills opened Yellowwood, offering hundreds more jobs and planned housing for its workers.[5] Unfortunately, NAFTA and the economic downturn for the region, meant that Hawboro would lose its mill. In 2004 Blessing Mills was sold. 

"Hawboro has always been a city in transition." 

Actions and Objectives (2017)

Hawboro is the home of many popular local restaurants including Links BBQ and the Feast of Venus.[6] Hawboro was also the birthplace of famed Appalachian artist Mother Radiunce.[7] Today, downtown Hawboro features many local businesses, churches, and, of course, the courthouse. Opportunities abound for those seeking a storefront for their enterprise. For business development opportunities, please contact Bethann Bigelow, City Manager. 

"Hawboro prides itself on being a very quiet, a very peaceful and--dare I say--a rather progressive place."

Actions and Objectives (2017)


[1] In 2017, theatre artists from the Seismic Performance Factory teamed up with local actors to create a play about the history of Hawboro in the Haw River Arts Center (formerly McCrory’s). As you may recollect, that play was never finished (Actions and Objectives, Hawboro Project 2017). 

[2] In the early decades of the twentieth century, hundreds and hundreds of millworkers and their families were drawn to Hawboro for the opportunities provided by Blessing Mills (Providence Gap, Hawboro Project 2010).

[3] We would be remiss not to mention the unpleasantness with disgraced former Zebulon College professor Patrick Lee who attempted to sabotage and besmirch Zebulon’s NCAA standing (Common Enemy, Hawboro Project 2015).

[4] Edward Blessing II passed away in 1966, after a short and violent bout of pneumonia (Edward, Too, unproduced Hawboro Project 2019).

[5] Unfortunately, due to the havoc wreaked by NAFTA, Yellowwood was closed in 2000. Yellowwood has seen more than its fair share of tragedy, following the sad deaths of several residents in 2019 (The Passion of Teresa Rae King, Hawboro Project 2019).

[6] Feast of Venus branched out into dinner theatre back in 2016 when the actors from Triad Stage never showed up to perform their play. In a night to remember, three of the waiters took it upon themselves to give Hawboro quite a show! (Don Juan, Hawboro Project 2016).

[7]Mother Radiunce’s unique aesthetic was brought into the national spotlight by Zebulon College Art Professor Dr. Karen Findley-Ives. Mother Radiunce’s work is treasured by art collectors. She no longer paints, however (Radiunt Abundant, Hawboro Project 2016).

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The Hawboro Cycle