In February, 1899 Union City was incorporated by an act of the North Carolina Legislature. By this time, the Southeastern Railroad had been completed, South Eastern Lumber Company had begun operation and Dr. John P. Brown had the area surveyed and lots had been auctioned off. This all happened in less than one year.
The sleepy little village of Ashpole had grown from less than fifty people at the beginning of 1898 to more than two hundred when incorporated as Union City. But folks still called the place Ashpole! Here is Dunie Brothers ad from August 1900 in The Robesonian.
The Ashpole Institute closed its doors after the spring term of 1901, likely due to North Carolina's push for free public schooling. The school remained open as a private day school run by Gus Floyd and attracted a large number of local students.
A. L. Jones constructed a wooden schoolhouse for the community in about 1902 or 1903 but it burned down within a year or so.
Because of a rash of fires in the downtown area, Dr. John Brown had a town ordinance enacted requiring all new downtown construction to be brick and mortar. The first brick building was constructed by C. F. Willis of Bingham, SC and was leased to W. D. Gaddy for a general merchandise business. The building still stands as the two-story portion of the Heritage Center.
Shown here is the E. W. Floyd family and employees, about 1906. Photo credit: Jane Rusher Bryan, used with permission.
It was built with bricks manufactured by Elijah Fisher and C. H. Hayes, who supplied most of the brick for the early downtown buildings. Building construction was done by Robert Inman, who built most of the early downtown buildings.