The Town of Wendell started in the 1850s when tobacco farmers in Granville County were hit with what came to be known as the Granville County Wilt. The tobacco crop failed and farmers from Granville County moved into eastern Wake County looking for fertile land to plant their crops.
Ambrose Rhodes donated land for a school to be built. The school would be called the Rhodes School. It was located at the same site as Wendell's present magnet school on Wendell Boulevard. The school continued to grow and in 1891, the name of the school was changed to Wendell Academy.
As this area grew, a small village was forming. The people in this area needed a name for their little town. They asked their schoolteacher, M.A. Griffin, to come up with a name for this area. Mr. Griffin loved the poet Oliver Wendell Holmes. He suggested that they call their town Wendell after the poet. However, the pronunciation of the town is different from the way one normally pronounces Oliver Wendell Holmes. After the train came to town, the porters on the train would call out "WENDELL."
Wendell on the National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places is the nation's list of cultural resources worthy of preservation. The National Register is a program of the National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. Within the North Carolina the State Historic Preservation Office under the Department of Cultural Resources oversees the designation of historical resources deemed to have significance at the State and/or regional level.
Within the Town of Wendell there are five listings on the National Register of Historic Places:
|Wendell Boulevard Historic District||7/3/2009|
|The Dr. Thomas H. Avera House||1/29/2008|
|Riley Hill School||4/25/2001|
|The Hood-Anderson Farm||4/29/1999|
|The Wendell Commercial Historic District||7/31/1998|