The Aberdeen area was established by Scottish colonists who came to America in 1739. Duncan Blue arrived in Moore County in 1769 and settled in the Crane's Creek area (present day Lakeview). He received a land grant from the King of England. Other Scots liked this area and followed. At that time the only thing you would find about five miles south of the railroad station of Manly was a very small train stop. This spot, hardly large enough to be considered a settlement, was originally known as Bethesda. Later, the community was renamed Blue's Crossing after Malcolm Blue.
With the establishment of the railroad, Blue's Crossing grew steadily. Allison Francis Page had lost his fortune during the Civil War and was looking to start over. He found himself at Blue's Crossing in 1879. The Sandhills area was a buzz with lumber and timber activity. Page decided to start his own logging operation in hopes of clearing up his debt and rebuilding his fortune. His efforts were successful from the beginning. Blue's Crossing was transformed from a mere stopping point on the railroad to an important commercial center. Soon the area felt the need to change its name. In October 1887, Blue's Crossing decided to honor the Highland Scots that had originally settled the area and whose descendants still lived in the area; the town adopted the name of Aberdeen.
Today's Aberdeen is going through a transformation; its population is about 7,000. Rejuvenated businesses are giving downtown Aberdeen a boost. The historic district in Aberdeen's downtown section is being refurbished and preserved by the town's citizens. The Aberdeen Historic District was dedicated on July 2, 1989, and encompasses 88 acres and over 100 historic buildings constructed in the late 19th and 20th centuries. On the other end of the spectrum is the modern business section on US Highway 1. This is the busy area where Aberdeen and Southern Pines have grown together. In this area new restaurants, hotels, and shopping areas are springing up in answer to needs of an ever-growing county's residents and tourists alike.
The history of Pinebluff is one of triumph and tragedy. Peter Blue settled in this area where he raised cattle, grew tobacco, and dealt with racehorses. He had been given a land grant of many thousands of acres. His land later passed to Luther C. Speare, who sold 772 acres to John T. Patrick, the founder of Southern Pines, in 1884 with the idea to duplicate the Southern Pines plan. Patrick paid $1,000 for the land that included a 22-acre mill property and millpond. Patrick's plan was to develop this town into a second resort that would attract settlers and businessmen from the North.
Patrick's town layout was different for this second town than the one he followed in Southern Pines. The original plan for the new town called for an elaborate design of diamond-shaped parks at the intersection of straight, wide streets and avenues. Patrick named the avenues in Pinebluff after Northern cities and the streets after fruits and nuts. His ambitious design was never implemented, but in 1885, Patrick had built his personal home, Patrick's Plantation, and moved his family to Pinebluff.
For the next 20 years, Patrick worked at attracting new residents to Pinebluff. His goal was to build the town into a resort using the same marketing methods for Pinebluff as he did for Southern Pines. Patrick continued to advertise heavily in Northern newspapers. In February of 1898, sparks from Page's railroad near West End started a fire that reached Pinebluff, and Patrick's office and print shop were burned. The hotel he constructed, the Collins Hotel, burned down a month before its scheduled opening. Faced with these misfortunes and disappointed when the Seaboard Railroad refused to renew his contract as an industrial agent, Patrick proposed to have the residents of Pinebluff pass a marketing tax. This tax would have produced funds to advertise the planned community. Not convinced, in 1903 the voters turned Patrick's proposed tax down. Patrick then sold his home in Pinebluff and moved back to Southern Pines, where he died in the great flu epidemic of 1918.
Today, Pinebluff is a town where the feeling of community has survived and flourished. Pinebluff never became the resort town Patrick envisioned, but it has become home to many retirees from the North, as well as military retirees from nearby Fort Bragg and Pope Air Force Base. The town with its population of just under 1,400 has a strong recreational program that centers on Pinebluff Lake. In recent years, Pinebluff has also developed into a "bedroom community" for working class and young professional people who work in Southern Pines, Pinehurst, Fayetteville, and other towns and cities in the area.
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