Preparations for October’s Centennial celebration of the Town of Norman, in conjunction with Norman Fest, are already beginning, according to Norman Mayor Kenneth Broadway.
Broadway said he is excited to be able to celebrate 100 years of the Town of Norman with residents and friends from all over Richmond County and beyond.
According to Broadway, this year’s Norman Fest scheduled for Oct. 12 will feature many of the favorite activities that have allowed the festival to grow in the last three years, such as a variety of local vendors, several bands, and helicopter rides. He also hopes to grow the crowd by bringing in Bucky Covington — Richmond County native and “American Idol” finalist — but it won’t be possible without the help of supporters.
Broadway got in touch with Covington’s music management, who quoted him at $9,500 for a Saturday performance.
“I’m hoping I might get someone to help me out with this,” said Broadway. “It’s not that much and I know it’s here in Richmond County.”
By starting the planning process at the beginning of the year, Broadway hopes to garner enough support and sponsorship to bring the popular singer home for a centennial performance.
Norman was incorporated three times, first in 1913, then 1943 and in 1971, according to town records. In 1913 the town was incorporated and named after Flem Norman of Greensboro, who was a stockholder in the Snow Lumber Co. In 1910 the Aberdeen and Asheboro Railroad came through giving them the access for shipping the lumber. The new town’s first store was a General Merchandise store that opened for business in October of 1913. Later on, a one man bank was operated by K.F. Lowdermilk, which later on was robbed in 1928 by the infamous Wash Turner and Bill Payne desperadoes. For more than 100 years previously, it had been known as Sprawls Field, a training place for the military.
Turner and Payne were apprehended and taken into custody in the late 1930s. In 1938 both men were transported to Asheville and questioned about their crime spree across North and South Carolina as well as Georgia.
“Turner readily admitted bank holdups at Candor, Laurel and Troy, estimating the loot obtained at the latter at approximately $2,800,” reported the News and Courier of Charleston, S.C., on January 7, 1938. That sum of money would equate to roughly $36,000 today. The report went on to say, “Turner denied the scores of petty holdups attributed to him and Payne. He evaded particulars but said he and his companion had been ‘into so much I can’t remember it all.’”
The report said Turner recalled being stopped by soldiers in what would have been the Norman area. The soldiers were looking for spotlight hunters and turned the shaken desperadoes loose.
Norman Lumber Co. took over the place of Snow Lumber Co. in 1941, and E.V. Hogan took over as owner in 1946. Reigle Paper Co. assumed ownership from Hogan in 1956, where he stayed on and became director of the paper company and also plant manager, said Broadway.
If you have fund raiser ideas or wish to contribute funds or sponsorship to help bring Covington to Norman Fest in October, contact Broadway at 910-220-5835.
— Staff Writer Dawn M. Kurry can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 15, or by email at email@example.com.