The first settlers in this area settled along the Shoe Hill Creek and Lumber River in the 1700’s. Incorporated in 1874 as Shoe Hill (from the Gaelic “S”, the shape of the nearby creek), Maxton also held the names of Tilden (after an 1876 Democratic candidate for US President) and Quhele (Gaelic for “arrow part of a stream”). The name was changed back to Shoe Hill in1881 and finally to Maxton in 1887. Maxton was chosen to honor the Scottish settlers to the area.
Education was important in the early years of Maxton in 1841, just outside of town, John Gilchrist Jr. founded Floral College, the first woman’s college in the state to confer degrees. Maxton was also the site of the first school opened by famous black educator, Charles N. Hunter (1818-1831). He went on to form the North Carolina Industrial Association to try to improve the lives of African Americans by emphasizing economic progress rather than political activity.
Maxton is very proud of their hometown people who include: Angus W. McLean Governor of North Carolina 1924-1928; Malcom McLean, founder of McLean Trucking & SeaLand Inc., he was named “Man of the Century” by the international Maritime Hall of Fame; and Alice Russell Micheaux, concert soloist and movie actress-her credits include: The Betrayal (1948), God’s Step Children (1938) Murder in Harlem (1935) and The Broken Violin (1927).
Maxton is a town on the move, over the past few years strives have been made to restore the downtown area. The entire downtown area has been placed on the National Register of Historical Places. The “Avenue of Mayors”, a project that placed utility lines underground along Patterson Street and planted trees in memory and honor of former Mayors. The town offices are housed in the restored Patterson building. The restoration was the brainchild of The Preservation Maxton Foundation, a non-profit organization that raises money to restore and save endangered historical buildings in Maxton. The Town restored the Freight Building, which houses a restaurant with an additional space for rent.
This information was provided by Blake Tyner.