"Great place to raise a family, enjoy life, work and get an education." - Mayor Stephenson
Mebane is a city in Alamance County and Orange County, North Carolina. It is located between the Raleigh-Durham and Greensboro Airports, and Interstate 85 and 40 run through it. This city is one of the fastest growing in North Carolina and it's convenience and sense of community make it a wonderful community to be apart of.
Postal Zipcode: 27302
Area code: 919
Motto: "A progressive community, the perfect place to call home."
In the late 19th century Mebane became one of the first factory towns. After the Native Americans, many people came from Northern areas including Quakers, Scotch-Irish Presbyterians, Lutherans, Baptists, and Methodists. The real growth of the city began in the midst of the 1850s when the North Carolina Railroad was completed and connected Goldsboro to Charlotte. The community near the railroad began to grow rapidly and in 1881 it became Mebanesville. In 1883, the town adopted a shorted version of the name, the same name as used today, Mebane.
Beginning in the 19th and 20th centuries other industries started along the railroad such as textile mills, flours and feed mills, a mattress and bedding company, and a lumber company. In the 1920s, Highway 70 was built which allowed buses to come through Mebane. These buses stopped through Mebane several times per day which made it a comfortable and convenient ride to the bigger cities in the state and in the country. The convenience of Mebane is something that current mayor, Glendel Stephenson is very proud about, "Mebane is located in a great area, it makes it very easy to come and go."
The convenience also helped Mebane become one of the leading tobacco growing communities, and because of it's location near the tobacco farmers in Alamance the number of buyers also increased. Tobacco was the major cash crop in the 19th and 20th century in North Carolina, It was a huge part of the states economy until the anti-smoking campaigns came out in the 20th century. Mebane held tobacco auctions which supported the local economy immensely. In the 1940s Mebane held a Tobacco Festival where they went as far as to crown a Miss Tobacco Festival Queen.
In 1919, Mebane was considered "the biggest little town on earth" because of its rapid growth. Mebane prospered immensely during these changing times. People come to Mebane for the cheap land and taxes, the roads and airports. Mebane is determined to provide free and inexpensive services to the community and to be a great place to live and thrive.
Mebane has approximately 12,000 people living in it according to Mayor Stephenson. The city has a total area of 8.5 square miles. 73.5% of the population is Caucasian, 20.4% is African American, 1.2% Asian, .5% Native American, .2% from other races and .1% Pacific Islander. The median resident age is 35.8 years old with the median income being $47,018. 89.5% of the population 25 years or older have a high school degree or higher, with 5.7% of the population are currently unemployed.
Attractions & Events:
Mayor Stephenson prides himself on the fact that for a small city, Mebane certainly has a lot to do.
The biggest attraction in Mebane is the Tanger Outlets. The Tanger Outlets are home to over 100 factory/outlet stores with name brand items at discount prices. Visitors flock from all over Alamance County and beyond to come shopping.
The first Thursday of every month downtown Mebane holds different events themed to that month such as:
November: Holiday Extraordinaire
December: Shop Till You Drop
January: Relax, Rejuvenate and Recover
February: Valentine Wishes
A complete list can be found on downtownmebane.com
Destination Downtown Mebane is a volunteer organization that hosts different events throughout the month to encourage visitors to "wander, discover, and explore" the historical downtown Mebane. Such events include: Dogwood Festival, Clay Street After Work, Farmers Market, Autumn Fest, Hometown Holiday Celebration and Downtown Mebane Christmas Parade.
Mayor Stephenson has recently said that Mebane has a very strong financial and tax base, "we do what we have to do to take care of the cities needs and looks after our finances very carefully." Mebane has a working relationship with Orange County because they provide them with water and sewer for growth in the Western county. Mebane has a system where if another town or county uses their services they annex them into the city that way they will get police and fire protection along with garbage pickup.
According to Mayor Stephenson, it is very important for Mebane to stay up-to-date. They have a new community center, a new library, and new fire stations to make certain that they are up to standards with other cities.
Another huge part of Mebane's economy is industrial work. This city is very pro-business. There are over 20 industrial plants in Mebane that ship all over the world, an impressive feat for a small town.
Recently, a Japanese candy maker opened a plant in Mebane which supplied over 90 jobs to the community. Morinaga and Company is planning to invest $48 million in a $120,000 square foot candy plant. The company will receive thousands in incentives if they meet hiring and investment goals. The sales of Hi-Chew candy is very similar to that of Starburst with their sales doubling over the last few years. This plant is expected to begin production in 2015 and will be a huge growth for the cities economy.
The students in Mebane are part of the Alamance-Burlington School System. There is Eastern Alamance High School, Hawfields Middle School, Woodlawn Middle School, Audrey W. Garrett Elementary School, South Mebane Elementary School and E.M. Yoder Elementary School. There is also a private Christian school Bradford Academy.
There is a great parks and recreation department for the children with over 150 teams to be apart of. Several thousands children are apart of the cities programs. According to Mayor Stephenson, Dean Ray, is an outstanding recreation director.
Mayor Stephenson added that the community of Mebane is "most grateful to Elon University for being so close by."
Besides being in great North Carolina weather, Mebane is in the center of a large number of colleges and universities. It's a great place to enjoy the outdoors, relax and have fun. One can enjoy numerous sporting events, fishing and hunting opportunities right in the area.
Mayor Stephenson moved to Mebane in 1963 and although he has since retired from his job at the bank, he loves his job as Mayor. It gives him a great opportunity to interact with the people and community as well as opening the door for many things to do. He highly recommends everyone to come check out his wonderful small but big city.
Images of America: Mebane
By: J Ronald Oakley
Interview: Mayor Stephenson
October 1st, 2013