This week in history we look back 10, 25 and 50 years to see what was happening in eastern Wake County. This week, headlines boasted of Zebulon’s great products – from a female candidate in the sixties to a brand-new baseball stadium.
In 2005, N.C. State dedicated the E. Carroll Joyner Visitor Center building to the former Zebulon resident. Twenty-five years ago, leaders discussed economic impacts of the Carolina Mudcats stadium. And 50 years ago, Elizabeth Ellet, the town’s first female commissioner, attempted to regain her seat in the 1965 elections.
A former Zebulon resident was honored in perpetuity by N.C. State University.
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A smile crept to E. Carroll Joyner's face when he mentioned Zebulon, the town that helped him jump-start his successful business career.
If it wasn't for the small eastern Wake town, the 74-year-old self-made millionaire would probably have a lot less money in his pockets and fewer stories to share.
It was Zebulon where Joyner owned and operated a Western Auto store from 1960 to 1978. And despite his travels, he always returned to the Hopkins community near Zebulon to help the fire department grill thousands of chickens and hundreds of pigs.
It was in the "Town of Friendly People" where he stayed until 1982, living in a home at Zebulon Country Club off Pearces Road. It was a place to which he looked forward to returning, even after business endeavors across the globe strained his time as he built his personal empire.
And it is the eastern Wake town that he thanks, in more ways than one, when he sees a new structure at N.C. State University bear his name. In August, the structure will be dedicated and named the E. Carroll Joyner Visitor Center and Advancement Services Building.
There are only two people still living on whom the school bestowed the honor, and he is one of them. "That's scary," Joyner said, smiling and holding one of his prized canes in his hand as he mocked a man struggling to walk.
...In 1990, Joyner gave $75,000 to the NCSU Student Aid Association. Three years later, he presented the school with a $2 million check, he said.
“I just want to leave something for other people,” he said. “I've got too much.”
As the Mudcats stadium garnered excitement in Zebulon 25 years ago, team owner Steve Bryant continued to pitch the economic benefits of the project.
Dr. Edward Erickson, director of NCSU’s Center for Economic and Business Studies, announced Wednesday that a regional stadium would mean multi-million dollar tax revenues, increased spending and new jobs for eastern Wake County. Erickson’s findings were part of an economic impact study on the relocation of Bryant’s Columbus (Ga.) Mudcats to a site outside Zebulon.
The report estimates the stadium and the Double A team would bring in $313 million in new spending, $11 million in local t axes and a new industry within 10 years. For neighboring communities like Zebulon, the break down points to $770,000 in increased local tax revenues and approximately $2,820,000 of new spending the first year.
...The new industry Dr. Erickson expects professional baseball to attract would pump at least $1,239,987 into the area during the first year. The reports allows, however, that more than one industry along with businesses, restaurants and hotels would likely locate in the area.
...Zebulon Mayor Thurston Debnam opened the conference by saying “the report confirms all our expectations.” The study was commissioned by the town of Zebulon, but Dr. Erickson was not compensated.
Zebulon’s only female candidate to run for a town position filed this week, 50 years ago. Spoiler alert: she didn’t get elected, she had previously served for eight years on the board of commissioners but was defeated in the 1963 election.
(Mrs. Elizabeth Ellet) became the twelfth candidate to file for a commissioner’s job. ...
“I have always advocated the participation of women in public affairs, believing that they have contributed much toward a strengthened democracy and that their increased participation is vital if we are to maintain our position of leadership in the world,” Mrs. Ellet said.
Mrs. Ellet said she feels that because of her past experience as a member of the town government she can “intelligently and fairly represent all of the citizens of Zebulon and uphold the high standards of community leadership that are essential to good government.”
A Virginia native, Mrs. Ellet has been a resident of Zebulon since 1951. She holds a bachelor of science degree from Longwood College in Virginia and a master of arts degree from East Carolina College. She has also done postgraduate work at Western Carolina College and Duke University.
Mrs. Ellet has taught in the Wakelon School system for the past 14 years.
She is the only woman to have ever served as a member of the board of commissioners.