This week in history we look back 10, 25 and 50 years to see what was happening in eastern Wake County. Do-gooders around the community dominated headlines.
Ten years ago, Wakelon alumni and town leaders started attempts at preserving the historical building that is now the Zebulon town hall. In 1990, the owner of the Hair Junction salon supported cancer patients. And 50 years ago, Wendell Baptist church offered a job to a young pastor.
Ten years ago, several groups passionate about the old Wakelon building on North Arendell Avenue joined forces to preserve its legacy.
The Wakelon Bulldogs are barking again. A small group of Wakelon School graduates is trying to find a way to buy their old alma mater from GlaxoSmithKline. They hope to join forces with the town to purchase the 20,000-square-foot structure, preventing its sale to someone who might want to demolish it.
GlaxoSmithKline, which sold its old guest house on North Arendell Avenue to Kerr Drug in 2003, is looking for a buyer for the old school, a nearby 13,000-square-foot fitness center and the surrounding 17 acres next to its Zebulon facility. The company, which is selling many of its surplus properties, talked about the site with Zebulon town officials last fall, but at the time, the $5 million asking price was too expensive for the town. Besides paying for the property, Zebulon would have to renovate the old school building, town officials said, estimating that needed upgrades could cost as much as $2 million.
The site is still on the market and the drug giant is currently considering offers, spokesperson Robert Sutton said on Monday.
...But Capital Area Preservation, a nonprofit advocating historic preservation in Wake County, is encouraging GlaxoSmithKline to make sure the property will be left standing. The drug company could do that by placing preservation easements on the school, Kevin Allen, preservation program manager with CAP, said, adding his organization has talked with GlaxoSmithKline and the town about Wakelon’s historic significance.
... “Wakelon is probably the most important old public school building in Wake County,” Allen said. “We would love to see it preserved.”
The town is still exploring opportunities to acquire the property, possibly together with a private investor, Mayor Bob Matheny said. But he added that no deal has been struck yet.
The side-effects of chemotherapy are especially hard on women, and one hair stylist worked hard to improve patients’ self-esteem.
Martha House stays busy at the Hair Junction waiting on customers who want their hair trimmed, permed or color treated, but she still finds time to wait on a few special customers – cancer patients.
Mrs. House, who owns both Hair Junction locations in Knightdale and Wendell, uses her beauty expertise in the “Look Good, Feel Better” program which helps female cancer patiencts who have lost their hair after undergoing chemotherapy treatments.
The program helps cancer patients choose and style wigs and turbans as well as offering makeup tips, Mrs. House said.
“If I can help one woman to feel better about herself it is so rewarding,” she said. “Women who look good on the outside, feel better on the inside.”
...Mrs. House became interested in the program because her husband and her friend have cancer.
Her friend, Dona Hill, 39, who has breast cancer, said losing her hair was more difficult psychologically than losing her breasts.
She now wears a lifelike, short, blonde wig that is similar to her own hair. She said the “Look Good, Feel Better” program has connected her with other women with similar problems and offered support.
... “Keeping a positive attidtude is half the battle against cancer,” Mrs. House said.
Wendell Baptist Church transitioned from one pastor to another this week 50 years ago, with a young seminary graduate ready to take the pulpit.
A 29-year-old graduate of Wake Forest College and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary has accepted the pastorate of Wendell Baptist Church.
The Rev. George Rodney Beals accepted a call to the church April 11. He presided at his first worship service Sunday, May 16.
The Rev. Mr. Beals received a bachelor of science degree from Wake Forest College and in 1962 was awarded his bachelor of divinity degree from Southeastern Seminary. He also attended the School of Pastoral Care of Bowman Gray School of Medicine of the N.C. Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem.
... The young minister’s wife is the former Martha Clifford. They are the parents of three daughters, Laura Lynn, 6, Betsy Anne, 3, and Martha Susan, 7 months.
The Rev. Mr. Beals considers his hobbies woodworking, fishing and golfing.
The Rev. Mr. Beals succeeds the Rev. William Vinson, who resigned as pastor of the church in September, 1964, after about 10 years service.