By Joanna Grey Talbot
Tucked away in the rolling farmland of Cabarrus County is a town whose name speaks for itself. Downtown Mount Pleasant has one main intersection at the intersection of NC Highway 73 and Main Street but if you take the time to stop you will discover so many treasures and stories. Located about 45 minutes northeast of Charlotte it makes for an easy daytrip.
Like so many small towns it has a farmer’s market, town hall, churches, antiques stores, and a library. Yet, what fascinated me most about it is what sets it apart from other towns of it size. Mount Pleasant was founded in 1848 at a time when rivers were still a main source of transportation and railroads were quickly surpassing them. Mount Pleasant has neither, though. The closest railroad would end up being 9 miles away in neighboring Concord.
In 1848, though, the majority of America still traveled by horse and wagon. Mount Pleasant became a “comfort station” for wagons traveling between Concord and Salisbury, a place where travelers and their horses could rest. The town’s name changed from Walker Store to Mount Comfort to finally Mount Pleasant in 1848.
By the 1880s Mount Pleasant was booming. The Moose Pharmacy was opened in 1882 by Archibald Walter Moose in order to assist his brother, John Moose, the local doctor. At that time doctors made the medications for their patients and John believed he could help more patients if he had someone else make the medications. Today Moose Pharmacy is run by the fourth generation and is a modern pharmacy complete with a soda fountain counter and gift shop and five locations. Be sure to try one of their milkshakes!
Other local businesses that have been in Mount Pleasant since the 1880s and 1890s are Tuscarora Yarns and the Miller Lumber Company. Tuscarora Yarns, founded in 1899 manufactures a variety of fibers and yarns and today, according to the company, is the oldest and largest specialty yarn manufacturer in the United States. The original brick building is still standing, although it is currently for sale. Miller Lumber Company was founded in 1889 and has survived two separate fires (1921 and 2013) that destroyed its buildings. Today they still specialize in milling lumber and building cabinets and other specialty items.
Mount Pleasant is saturated in a rich history and the best place to learn about it is at the Eastern Cabarrus Historical Society Museum located in the former Mount Pleasant Collegiate Institute building. I received a wonderful tour from Robin, a long-time volunteer whose family history is literally built into the bricks of the building. At the time the school was founded in 1852 there were no masons in Mount Pleasant. The school’s founders contacted Robin’s great-great grandfather in nearby Gaston County and contracted him to come build their school. The museum is only open Sundays 2-5pm and Monday 10am-4pm, but is well worth a visit. Stay tuned for a more in-depth look of this wonderful museum and the institute’s history in next week’s post!
My final adventure in Mount Pleasant was hiking through its beautiful countryside along the Buffalo Creek Preserve Trail. A 4.2-mile round-trip hike takes you through a restored oak-savanna, farmland, and across Adams Creek. It is a natural trail surface with so many beautiful sights and sounds to take in. My mom and I saw rabbits, chipmunks, frogs, and dozens upon dozens of dragonflies. The first half of the trail is out in the direct sun so we highly recommend going first thing in the morning like we did or wait until cooler weather arrives this fall. The second half takes you through the forest and to the suspension bridge over Adams Creek. The creek was pretty dry when we arrived but it was so beautiful and peaceful. We will definitely be hiking this again! The trail is a part of the Carolina Thread Trail, “a regional network of greenways, trails and blueways that reaches 15 counties and 2 states.” There are currently 250 miles of trails open to the public with more planned for the future.
Mount Pleasant may be small but it is strong in its sense of community and history. I highly recommend a trip to this beautiful town. Park your car, get out and explore!