Bear Grass, NC
Bear Grass was once known as the "Moonshine
Capital of the World" and gained its fame during our country's history
when the production and consumption of such alcoholic beverages had been
outlawed. While Bear Grass would be considered primarily a residential
and farming community, and many of our citizens may work or operate
businesses in larger metropolitan areas such as Greenville, they still
choose to call Bear Grass home. This tight knit community is known for
its loving support and care for all of its citizens and for its historic
fight to establish the Bear Grass Charter School.
You've simply got to see it to believe it. This family owned and
family-built business started out as a small put-put course for the
Price family. Ira Price and his son Derek designed every building, and
hammered every nail. Eventually what started out as a family putt-putt
course was opened up to the public, and before you knew it, top local
bands were playing there on the weekends. Their business grew
exponentially almost overnight, and they now have an entire theme park,
complete with a saloon / dancehall, a steak restaurant, roller coaster,
train ride and yes, the putt-putt course.
History of Bear Grass: The name Bear Grass, a type of yucca prolific in
the area, has been in use at least since 1761 when it was given to the
area's major swamp in a land grant. The early settlers were farmers,
with many engaged in the production of turpentine, tar and shingles from
the area's abundant forests.
Though the congregation of the Bear Grass Primitive Baptist Church
organized in 1828, the Bear Grass community did not emerge until after
the Civil War. A public school started in the late 1860s, and Reuben H.
Rogerson opened a general mercantile store in 1880. The community's
development was hindered by it not being located along a navigable
stream or on either of the railroad lines traversing Martin County. A
post office was established in 1885, although it was closed less than
two years later. The local community takes great pride in the fact that
both the Bear Grass Charter School and the Bear Grass Primitive Baptist
Church are listed on the National Register.
Records are limited, complicated by the fact that Bear Grass businesses
were listed in directories with Williamston addresses because that was
the nearest post office. But by the turn of the century, the community
consisted of several legal distilleries, cotton gins, sawmills, grist
mills and blacksmith shops. Reuben H. Rogerson's two story steam-powered
sawmill and cotton gin was one of the area's largest before being
destroyed by fire in November 1908. The first decade of the 20th Century
witnessed considerable growth in the community. The town was officially
incorporated on Feb. 16, 1909.