Eastern Wake: Community

This Week in History

Stuart Shearin sets a copper-topped, two-story birdhouse he built on its stand in Wendell in 2004.
Stuart Shearin sets a copper-topped, two-story birdhouse he built on its stand in Wendell in 2004. 2004 FILE PHOTO

This week in history we look back 10, 25, and 50 years at what was happening in Eastern Wake County.

In 2004, Wendell was looking forward to a project the town hoped would attract new developers. In 1989, Wendell saw the opening of a community staple that is still around today. And in 1969, another community staple was being built in Wendell, albeit under a different name.


Town expansion requires infrastructure. And while “expansive sewer lines” generally isn’t on the list of things that attract people to a community, it is necessary nonetheless.

Wendell is getting closer to beginning one of its largest public works projects ever. The town hopes the Buffalo Creek outfall line scheduled for completion late next year will attract new development by increasing sewage capacity.

The line is estimated to cost the town about $4.3 million, but it has already paid about $300,000. The plan would allow Wendell to abandon some of its old pump stations in need of upgrading or expensive to maintain, McKim and Creed Engineering representative Tim Baldwin said, adding the line would also ease the strain of flow on old lines – especially on the western side.

The main reason for the project, however, is to allow existing and upcoming businesses west of Wendell to tie onto the system, Town Manager Tim Burgess said. Wendell has allocated almost all of the capacity of the Measurements Group’s lift station on U.S. 64 Business, leaving the town unable to provide sewer service to new development in the area.

Wendell has also already received requests from a few existing businesses – including Leith’s Autopark East and Community Animal Hospital – to tie onto the town’s sewer system.


The Wendell Senior Center has long been a familiar institution in Wendell. Everything has to start sometime, and the Senior Center started in March 1989.

Residents of eastern Wake County dedicated their new senior center in Wendell on Sunday.

The Eastern Wake Senior Center, which will serve anyone age 55 years or older in any income bracket, will open for business within the month, said Sarita Deans, center coordinator. It is located at the intersection of Hollybrook Road and Lake Drive.

On Sunday afternoon, some 200 persons packed the multipurpose room in the center to dedicate the facility. They included local leaders, senior citizens and other interested area residents.

David Cottengim, executive director of the Wake County Council on Aging, said that the center is the first of its kind in Wake County outside Raleigh, but that it has inspired others in Garner and Wake Forest. He praised the late Candace Tongue, former mayor of Wendell, who said he was a great supporter of the project.

Zebulon Mayor Frank Wall said, “This will bring all three communities (in Eastern Wake) closer together. It’s something vital to us all.”


Since renamed to East Wake High, Vaiden Whitley Consolidated High School was under construction in early 1964, and was expected to be completed by the end of the next year.

The walls of Vaiden Whitley Consolidated High School are slowly rising on a site near Martin Center.

Scheduled for completion in the spring of 1965, the million-dollar structure is designed for 800 students.

The building was designed by Raleigh architect Jesse Page and is being built by William C. Vick Construction Co.

It will be ready for students now attending Knightdale, Rolesville, and Wendell High Schools in the 1965-1966 school year.

Facilities will include six classrooms for science, two for mathematics, four for commercial subjects, two for social studies, two for languages, five for English, along with two self-contained home economics rooms, agriculture and industrial arts shops, a drafting room and two auxiliary classrooms.

Wake School Superintendent Fred Smith said the school is going to be one of the most modern, yet sound and adequate school buildings in the state. He added that it will be one of the most functional and most beautiful.