The Charming History of Pittsboro Parks

Did you know that Pittsboro has a long and proud tradition serving as a desirable recreation destination?

Historic Resort Destination

Pittsboro was once a resort town, providing coastal residents a respite from the brutal heat and mosquitoes of the coast in a time before air conditioning.

“Moncure once served as the western most inland port in the state, linked all the way to the coast by steamships.  Those steamships often brought tourists from the coast escaping the heat and mosquitoes of summer. They often stayed in Pittsboro, which was a resort destination during this time.” - Source

Hunting Mecca 

"Nothing that falls a victim to the hunter's gun throughout the entire confines of North Carolina can compare with the Chatham rabbit." -- The Industrial News of Greensboro, quoted in the Chatham Record, November 22, 1906.

Photo courtesy of the North Carolina Postcard Collection of the UNC Library System

That's right, during the early 1900’s Pittsboro and Chatham County were famous for their delectable and abundant Rabbits.  Hunting provided great sport and people traveled here from throughout the Southeast to partake of the famous Chatham Rabbit.  Many loved the area so much that they set down roots and became prominent members of the Pittsboro community. 

Will Sexton has done some great research on the topic, so be sure to visit his wonderful Chatham Rabbit Blog.   

Sports Teams

Most cotton mill villages in the late 1800s had company baseball teams.  The Bynum Mill Village, originally founded in 1872 and developed through the 1890s, was no exception.  

Bynum baseball team, printed in the Chatham Historical Journal, Vol. 2, No. 1, August 1989, photograph courtesy of Sally Abernathy Fowler: 

“When workers weren't in the mill they found time for well-deserved rest and recreation. Avalon had a competing baseball team--it was rare to find a cotton mill village in the South that didn't. The teams were company organized and competed against the teams of neighboring villages. For both the players and the villagers the games were big events. On Sunday afternoons workers cheered as their teams took the field. The winning team had bragging rights and stories to reiterate all week. For the company the ball teams helped boost employee morale. To this day, many textile mills still have their own ball teams.” -Source:- Ola Maie Foushee, from her 1977 book Avalon: A North Carolina Town of Joy and Tragedy  (Ola Maie happens to be my relation, though I just came across this quote serendipitously.  Your parks planner has roots in Pittsboro - Chapel Hill, too)

Community Get Togethers

The history and legacy of the Pittsboro Community House is long and interesting and deserves a future post of its own. But for now let me say that this depression era community center has played host to high school dances, wedding receptions, concerts and many other events in its 80 years. Like other WPA type projects, it was a public investment which continues to provide value to our society.  PBS Documentary on the Civilian Conservation Corps. Many of our state and national parks were established through this program.  

Preserving our Heritage, Culture & Tradition

Pittsboro has been a great place to play for a hundred years.  It still is.  And with new parks and programs, we're working to make it even better.  With our proximity to the Haw River, Jordan Lake, our beautiful rolling landscape and unique Pittsboro Parks, with support, Pittsboro stands poised to be a recreation destination once again.  


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