Change is taking place across the nation in cities and towns large and small, often without the glitz and glamour associated with office or corporate titles; people dedicated to economic expansion and community involvement work on behalf of Chambers of Commerce members.
Hoke County was formed two hundred and forty-eight years after North Carolina’s first county was founded on April 3, 1785.
Hoke County was officially formed in 1911 with Raeford as its county seat, named for Civil War hero General Robert F. Hoke (railroad president and Confederate general) as its namesake. This was the third attempt to form a new county for disgruntled residents from Cumberland and Robeson Counties.
Raeford Institute was the center of its development; it opened as a private high school in 1912 but when the public high school opened a year later in 1913-13, trustees of Raeford Institute transferred their property over.
Twenty men were chosen as volunteer fire fighters. Serving without compensation or remuneration – Gatlin being one – these firefighters served with honor without compensation from American LaFrance Company representative visits after downtown fires; thanks to this visit they were able to purchase an up-to-date truck which continues to appear in parades and special displays today.
Raeford began as an outgrowth of Raeford Institute, an early high school founded in 1911 by Dr. and Mrs. A. P. Dickson and executed by many capable hands who understood its significance.
Hoke County was heavily occupied during World War II due to army activity. Land was selected for Fort Bragg Reservation – including much of Raeford – with homes sold off to fund its operation; appraisers came in to assess property values while those remaining had to find suitable living arrangements in order to stay.
Public schools in the city play an integral part of community life and boast a longstanding record of excellence for both special needs students and typically developing children alike. There are also private-nonprofit developmental day centers, including Children’s Developmental Center (CDC), that operate under the philosophy that “Children Are Children FIRST.” Additionally, several state and federal highways connect it all together.
Raeford Parks & Recreation
Raeford boasts an abundance of parks and recreational facilities for all to enjoy, whether you want a peaceful place to relax or an exciting event – you will find it here. Additionally, Raeford hosts the North Carolina Zoo which draws crowds of all ages.
The Downtown Raeford Business Association (DRBA), an alliance of local businesses with an interest in seeing Raeford thrive, was recently created in order to breathe new life into its historic downtown district. Led by Shelley Wilburn – owner of Wilburn Lofts meeting and event center located right at the center of Raeford – this group hopes to spark life into Raeford’s historic center district.
The DRBA will host several First Friday events this year, such as a food truck expo, adult skill competition with Axes and X’s throwing, street performers, Hoke County Parks & Recreation activities for youth as well as a raffle benefitting Raeford Police Department.
Raeford Economic Development
Hoke County and Raeford, North Carolina are active participants in economic development activities, with Hoke County offering assistance in finding suitable sites and planning construction activities. Furthermore, Raeford offers dual rail access from Aberdeen & Rockfish Railway Company (ARCT) and Norfolk Southern Railroad Company (NS).
Butterball, one of Raeford’s major employers, will invest $20 million to expand its facility there and upgrade both Gibsland Hatchery and Arcadia Processing Plant, creating an estimated 105 new jobs and creating $28 Million of economic impact.
Raeford residents enjoy low living costs, with two-bedroom homes typically costing $970 on average and lower grocery cost index compared to the US average. Residents also take advantage of boating at Hope Mills Lake or skydiving at Paraclete XP for entertainment and adventure.
Raeford Arts & Culture
Raeford is located in North Carolina’s turkey country and provides an abundance of arts and cultural activities to keep all members of the family busy. There’s a museum and art gallery, festivals and events throughout the year such as music or food fests to keep everyone occupied – there’s sure to be something here that meets everyone’s taste!
Poultry farming has transformed Hoke County from its previous cotton-based economy into one of North Carolina’s leading turkey producers. Thanks to its proximity to the Coastal Plain and workforce training programs, Hoke County makes an ideal location for new businesses looking to set up shop. Recreation opportunities at its 211 Sports Complex draw visitors. Next month will mark an opportunity for job seekers and business owners to come together at the Raeford-Hoke Chamber of Commerce Expo.
Raeford boasts numerous family-oriented activities, from theater productions and museums to its lower crime rate and cost of living; making it an excellent place for raising a family.
Raeford residents can find an impressive array of family-owned businesses in downtown Raeford. Additionally, residents are just minutes from several shopping centers and malls and may also discover various grocery stores and retail outlets throughout Pinehurst and Southern Pines.
Hoke County hosts many events for residents to enjoy, from children’s parades and an annual county fair, to celebrating Hoke County’s founding each year – such as its celebration with 250 local actors performing an historical pageant in Armory Park at Armory Festival featuring live music and fireworks display; local businesses and agencies may set up information booths at Expo.