Folks remember Cary’s first post office and the first Chamber of Commerce:
Clyde Evans Jr.: In the very early days, the mail was picked up off the train with a stick as the train went by.
Robert Heater: Pat Gray was the postmaster, and you went to the window and asked for your mail. It was a big thing when they put some mailboxes in and you could get a mailbox.
Our post office box was 34. Our telephone number was 64. This was before and after World War II. I think the postmaster had to pay to put those boxes in himself.
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Doris Denning: Our postmaster knew everyone. It was just a real small post office at that time.
Esther Ivey: Our post office enlarged, and they had routes. My father delivered the mail on the first route. At that time, you rode a buggy to deliver the mail. Later it was delivered by a model-T Ford.
The Chamber of Commerce
Ralph Ashworth: R.O. Heater got the Chamber of Commerce started in about the mid-’60s. He was our first president. Buck Jordan, Jim Adcock, myself, and Tom Secrest were the nuclei of that group.
The first big thing we did was, Buck Jordan gave us the property on North Harrison Avenue and we built Jordan Hall. We held meetings there and rented it.
In the early days, we often rented it for dances and parties on Saturday night. Late at night, we’d have to go over there and clean up the beer cans, because on Sunday we had rented it for a church service.
We had to keep up with the rentals, the keys and the cleanup for the next day. Eventually we sold that building to the town, which was quite a relief to the Chamber.
At that time, Cary didn’t have any industry. It was strictly a bedroom community. Everybody worked in Raleigh until the Research Triangle got started and IBM people came in.
Then the Chamber of Commerce realized, we have got to do something with our tax base, or our taxes are going to get so high nobody could afford to live here. So the Chamber and the town worked together to get some industry here, which has helped our tax base tremendously.
R.O. Heater was a one-man Chamber of Commerce. He really promoted Cary and helped with all the fund drives. He was quite a forward thinker. He thought that Cary was going to develop into something really big.
Now, it’s even bigger and more grand than he ever envisioned.
Jerry Miller: I’ve been on the Chamber board twice. R.O. Heater was the first president. He was always bragging about how big Cary was going to be. We used to laugh at him. 2,
He said, “Boys, I’ll tell you one thing. You’ll see the day that Cary has 20,000 people.” The city only had about 2,000 then.
“You watch what I tell you – 20,000 people.” (Now there are over 150,000 people in Cary.) It’s just great people that have moved to Cary.
Cary’s Heritage is taken from the book, “Just a Horse-Stopping Place, an Oral History of Cary, North Carolina,” first published in August 2006. The book is a collection of oral history interviews conducted between local citizens and Friends of the Page-Walker Hotel.