Eden, North Carolina.

Eden, North Carolina

Eden is a city in Rockingham County, North Carolina, United States, situated on the banks of the Smith and Dan rivers. It is the largest city in that county, with a population of roughly 15,000 people. The Dan flows along the south side of the city, and the Smith River comes in from the north to cut the city in two until it joins the Dan. 

The Smith River in Eden. Image credit: Indy beetle via Wikimedia Commons

Brief History

In the mid 18th Century, the land now known as Eden was part of an estate named "The Land of Eden" owned by William Byrd II, a wealthy planter within Virginia and North Carolina. The land was inherited by Byrd's son, who had little interest in the colonization scheme of his father, and sold an area of 110 km2 to merchant brothers Simon and Francis Farley in 1755. In 1762, the son of Francis Farley, James, who had gone off to college, married Byrd's daughter Elizabeth, and the two returned to the 110km2 tract of land, which had turned into a small squatter camp known as Sauratown. The couple attempted to drive off squatters, set up a meager form of a plantation, which ran into some problems. They did, however, manage to build a home overlooking the Dan River. This life was short-lived as the wife grew unhappy, and Farley, the husband, died in the Revolutionary War. However, the land continued to be occupied due to its proximity to the Petersburg-Salem road.After much debate and legislation regarding ownership, the town of Leakesville was eventually established, in 1795, on the southwest edge of the Sauratown plot, which bordered the main road. Then, in 1967, the town voted to consolidate with others in the area, eventually forming the city of Eden. 

Economy Of Eden

An aerial shot of a roundabout surrounded by buildings in Eden.

In the 1900s, the city was best known for having prominent manufacturing and textile industries. The first textile company started in 1893 and was named Fieldcrest in 1912. It employed some 3000 people, but with expansion came a move to Kannapolis, North Carolina. The company became Fieldcrest Cannon in 1986, and in 1997, it was bought by Pillowtex. The Eden plant was eventually closed entirely in 2003. 

Recreational Facilities In Eden

The city has several parks and recreational spaces like Bridge Street Center, Freedom Ball Field Complex and Freedom Park, John E. Grogan Park, Mill Avenue Recreation Center and swimming pool, Morgan Road Community Center, Peter Hill Park, Washington Street Park, Spray Community Center, Smith River Greenway and others.

The city also has a history of sports teams, though none play in any major leagues. The minor league team Leaksville-Draper-Spray Triplets played from 1934 through 1942 in the Bi-State League and was the team of Eden and surrounding areas. The Triplets won the championship titles in the 1935 and 1942 seasons. This minor team was affiliated with former Major League Baseball teams such as the Chicago Cubs, Cleveland Indians, Brooklyn Dodgers, and Wilkes-Barre Barons.Culture Of EdenThe Eden Museum is one of the main pillars of culture in the city and was opened in 2009.

The museum tracks the history of the city and the region over the decades and centuries. Eden also hosts several festivals, including the annual Fall Riverfest, which takes place in September. This festival celebrates the city's art, history, and river heritage. It is held in the "old" Leaksville shopping district. Eden also hosts the Charlie Poole Music Festival that features music legends such as Mike Seeger and the Osbourne brothers. The Eden Chamber of Commerce holds the Eden Business Expo to showcase local businesses for entrepreneurs, investors, and the like.

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