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Pageland History

The area now known as Pageland has been continuously occupied since 1788. Reece Shelby, Sr., received a land grant of 300 acres and left Union County, North Carolina to live the remainder of his life in Chesterfield County. Reece and his brother, Moses located in North Carolina after serving in the Revolutionary War.

After Reece Shelby’s death, the property went to his son, Reece Shelby, Jr. He in turn sold the land to John “Jack” Blakeney and the area then became known as Blakeney’s Crossroads. After the War Between the States, Blakeney sold his accumulated property to a carpetbagger named Henry J. Fox. Then the area became known as Fox Place.

olddaysBy 1900, Fox was long gone and the area once again was called Blakeney’s Crossroads and Old Store, alternatively. In the flurry of activity at the turn of the century, it was then decided by the organizers of the Chesterfield and Lancaster Railroad that the tracks would be laid near the cross road. A depot was erected between North Sycamore and North Pine Streets when the railroad reached there in 1904 and the line continued construction to the Crowburk area outside Pageland.  However, this became the terminus, as the line never reached its intended destination at Lancaster. Soon after the railroad arrived, the town was born. The arrival of rail ushered in a new era for the area that would become Pageland.  Quickly thereafter, the Chesterfield Land & Development auctioned off lots and the lay out of the town was developed by an engineer, utilizing a traditional grid pattern that facilitated ease of development.

The 157 inhabitants of the soon to be town petitioned for incorporation in late 1907 and the charter was granted on January 11, 1908. Adolphus High “Dolly” Page was the C&L Railroad engineer responsible for the railroads placement through Blakeney’s Crossroads. For his enormous contribution, Pageland was named in his honor.

Being at a crossroads and with passenger rail travel in place, the town grew quickly and became a popular stopover for travelers. The Blakeney Hotel was built in 1910 at the corner of McGregor and Cedar Streets and was the most prominent place to stay. The large brick two story building had guestrooms on the second floor, but also housed other businesses such as a bank, a feed store, and a casket shop. It was also know for its excellent food, hospitality,  and the talking parrot who was a pet of the owner.

Pageland continued its growth, and along the way, became known as the Watermelon Capitol of the World. An annual celebration was born in honor of the fruit and the farmers. Today, the Pageland Watermelon Festival continues in the peak of the summer, just when the melons start coming out of the fields. Thousands of visitors flood Pageland during the event held annually the third weekend of July.

While Pageland is proud of its agricultural roots, it is also home to many industries and distribution centers. A large industrial park just north of town is a thriving center of employment while many small businesses are located in the heart of the downtown and surrounding areas. Another growth center has formed along the Highway 151 bypass, where a wide variety of businesses have chosen to locate.

Pageland is now home to approximately 3,000 residents who enjoy the small town atmosphere while still being close to Monroe and Charlotte, North Carolina. The town’s close proximity to a major city allow the citizens to enjoy all the Charlotte Metro region has to officer while also enjoying the benefits of rural living. Lying equidistant from the North Carolina mountains and the Grand Strand of South Carolina, Pageland is merely a couple hours from two of the most popular destinations along the East Coast.

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