Glimpses of the past in and around Apex
The lives of many Apex residents were influenced and molded by people and events in a time when the pace was slower, students attended grades 1-12 in the same building, spanking was allowed and tobacco reined supreme as a source of income for many.
These stories offer a glimpse into a place in history when the community had only a few hundred residents and life was a bit simpler...
How Green Level got its name
From an Apex Herald article by Warren Holleman
March, 2012. Included with permission from the author.
Do you ever wonder how places get their names?
“Apex” was the “apex” of the grade of the Chatham Railroad. “Friendship” was the result of a traditional Native American pow-wow in which black people, white people, and brown people agreed to live in peace. Olive Chapel was a Baptist church named in honor of its founder, Johnson Olive, who also just happened to be the father of Apex’s first mayor, Henry Calvin Olive.
How about Green Level? How did this community get its name?
Local resident Gene Hobby's racing adventures
A December 2009 News and Observer article about how a DOT project could destroy a local favorite racing site also tells a story about Apex's Gene Hobby and his racing days.
"As a young stock-car driver in 1965, Apex resident Gene Hobby had a ball joint fail, dropping the front end into the dirt and rolling his Carolina Blue Dodge 330 sedan over five times.
"It's about like rolling in a 55-gallon drum down the side of a mountain," he said.
Fortunately, it was the year NASCAR began requiring seatbelts, and Hobby had tightened his during the national anthem. He escaped with a couple of bruises and a cut on his finger. His friend Frank Craig, though, was 12 years old and spilled his snow cone all over himself." Read more...
H. C. Benton Grocery and Market
Quoted verbatim from an old news clipping from Molly Weston, March, 2009, source unknown.
September 3, 1942
One of the leading grocery stores and meat markets in Apex is
H. C. Benton's store. Mr. Benton carries a large stock of fresh groceries, canned goods, fruits and vegetables, and fresh meats. The fresh meat department at Benton's is modern with up-to-the-minute refridgeration, hot and cold running water, and modern machinery and equipment. At this store you find stocked the best in native and western beef, pork, and lamb, and first-class seafoods. Read more...
A teacher with many talents
Mildred Cooke was one of the great teachers that molded thousands of Apex children into educated young adults and taught them much of what they needed to live a better life. Some of her students received a triple dose of her nurturing by taking her classes in chemistry, biology and physics. Those involved with athletics also received the benefit of her coaching skills in girls basketball and others learned to drive in her driver education classes.
Not settling to be just a teacher, Mrs. Cooke was also an advisor for the chess club, Future Teachers of America, the Beta club and the National Honor Society. She applied for and won the first Wake County Teacher of the Year Award at Apex High School while a teacher in 1974. Read more...
Old store restoration brings new role for early Apex hardware store in Historic Downtown District
An old downtown Apex store caught the eye of then new resident Steve Adams in 2005, and the Historic Downtown District gained a stronghold that brings a constant flow of frequent customers to the street. A local news article "Old Apex store has new use" published in August, 2005, tells much of how the old store became a new store.
The upscale restaurant at 126 North Salem Street, owned by town residents Steve & Julie Adams, is located in a restored old building built by Apex's Seymore family in 1905. A brick in one of the structure's walls is stamped with the date "May 8, 1905" and is from those made on site during the original construction. The building has served as a hardware store, general store, feed and mill store and mules were once sold in what is now the parking lot. Read more about the historic building...
Apex Lumber Company Shut Down After 73 Years of Business
WRAL-TV featured a report in July, 2000 about the closing of a local sawmill after 73 years of operation. The lumber yard and sawmill was created by Jennings Booth, a long time businessman in the Town of Apex. The sawmill was located on North Salem Street where Mulch Masters now operates.
The business was the last sawmill in Wake County and was closed down because it simply could not compete in modern times and could not keep up with its competition. Read more...