Eastern Wake: Community

August 12, 2014

This week in history: Aug. 13

This week in history we look back 10, 25 and 50 years to see what was happening in the eastern Wake County area.

This week in history we look back 10, 25 and 50 years to see what was happening in the eastern Wake County area.

In 2004, everyone was headed back to school for another round of education. In 1989, renovations of Zebulon Middle School were proceeding on schedule. And in 1964, technicians were working on direct-dial for many Wake County areas.


It happens every year, but every time it manages to be a big production, full of excitement, wonder, stress and a whole lot of activity. Going back to school never seems to get old... except maybe for the students.

Like the sun struggled to radiate through the murky clouds Tuesday morning, David Stamper of Knightdale struggled to get out of bed.

Having consistently slept until about 10:30 a.m. each summer day, waking up five hours earlier to be at the bus stop to catch his ride to Enloe High School wasn’t easy.

But the 15-year-old sophomore couldn’t afford to be lazy, lounging around all day as he did for the summer months he deemed “pretty nice.” On this day, he couldn’t think about his vacations to the beach or to Maine. He had only one thing on his mind: class.

Across Wake County, about 60,000 other students were hopping on the 765 yellow carriages making approximately 26,500 stops for the first day of the 2004-05 school year, said Vern Hatley, Wake County Public School System transportation director.

[...]Getting up at the crack of dawn is nothing, Wake Schools Superintendent Bill McNeal said, standing outside Hodge Road Elementary School in Knightdale where he addressed reporters about school expectations this year. In fact, that’s his time of day because it symbolizes a new start. “Anytime there’s a fresh beginning, I’m energized,” he said with a slight chuckle. “I guess that’s the teacher and principal in me.”


As anyone in construction knows, “according to plan” is more like “going unexpectedly well.” In 1989, Zebulon Middle School renovations were in that happy zone where everything was proceeding exactly according to plan.

As the sun beats down and temperatures rise, workers at Zebulon Middle School are not only trying to beat the heat but also an Aug 28 deadline.

With just over two weeks remaining before students arrive for the start of school, renovations to the facility are said to be right on schedule. Officials expect the areas of the campus to be used during the 1989-90 school year to be ready by the first day of classes.

Work on certain portions of the $2.3 million project will continue throughout the school year. The site is being transformed from a high school to a middle school campus designed to accommodate about 900 sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders from Zebulon and Wendell. Approximately 560 students are expected to enroll this year.

Among the renovations to be in place for this school year are the addition of an art complex, installation of air conditioning and paving of a circular bus driveway. According to Wake County public school system project manager Clay Clayton, each of those improvements will be completed on time.


Direct-dial is something so ubiquitous and so taken for granted that there isn’t even a name for it for anyone who was born in the last 30 years. What the kids might not know was that in the 60’s, operators would place your long-distance calls for you. In 1964, telephone companies were working to allow Wake County customers to dial their own numbers.

Telephone workers are busy these days at 121 W. Morgan Street installing the complex equipment necessary to bring Direct Distance Dialing service to Raleigh, Apex, Cary, Garner and Knightdale on August 30, 1964. A definite date regarding this new service has not been established for Wendell and Zebulon.

B.G. Skidmore, Southern Bell’s manager, said that work is progressing on schedule.

When the new service goes into effect at 2:01 a.m. on August 30, area telephone users will be able to dial many of their own long distance calls to many points in the United States and Canada.

Southern Bell is spending $1 million to bring this service to the Raleigh area.

DDD enables telephone users to dial their own station-to-station calls. Operators will still handle person-to-person calls, credit card calls, collect calls and calls from coin telephones.

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