You may already know that Rocky Mount was the site of one of the first cotton mills in North Carolina, Rocky Mountain Mills, which is where the city’s name is derived from. Perhaps you’ve heard that the city has a growing arts community and operates an Arts Center, a Children’s Museum & Science Center and a Community Theater at the Imperial Centre for Arts & Sciences. Rocky Mount’s higher education institutions include Nash Community College, Shaw University, North Carolina Wesleyan College and Edgecombe Community College…
However here are some things you may not know about our city:
1. The name Rocky Mount first appeared in documented history in 1816. It was derived from the nickname, Rocky Mound, from the Rocky Mound at the falls of the Tar River.
2. In 1962, Martin Luther King, Jr. addressed a crowd of nearly 2,000 people in the gymnasium at Booker T. Washington High School. King used a number of expressions that made their way into his landmark “I Have a Dream” address at the Lincoln Memorial.
3. Earle Hyman, who played Russell Huxtable on The Cosby Show, was born in Rocky Mount. Hyman is a distinguished African American actor with a 46-year-long career on Broadway. He was only eleven years older than Bill Cosby, despite playing Cosby’s television father.
4. Rocky Mount Mills is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s a local landmark for residents and tourists alike.
5. Buck Leonard, one of the greatest baseball players of all time, was born in Rocky Mount. Leonard played with the Homestead Grays of Negro Baseball League, where he earned a reputation as the “Black Lou Gehrig.”
6. Fire Station No. 2 was built in 1924; this historical building now houses the Fire Museum and serves as the Life Safety & Emergency Management Complex for the City of Rocky Mount Fire Department.
7. The Tar River walking and biking trail runs 3.9 miles along the Tar River.
8. And finally, Nash County was once famous for its apple brandy. In 1840, a train of cars en route to Wilmington stopped in Rocky Mount for the first time ever to import some “Old Nash” for special toasts at opening festivities.