Beyond Main and Concord – Davidson Street Names
Griffith, Jackson, Delburg, Beaty, Sloan, Watson – Davidson residents travel these streets regularly, perhaps wondering occasionally about the people and stories behind the names. Five of these streets are named for people, one for a business. Do you know which one isn’t a person?
Let’s start with the people. Four streets: Griffith, Sloan, Beaty, and Jackson Streets are all named for Davidson mayors. James Lee Sloan, Jr., a local businessman and Davidson college student in the class of 1884, served as mayor from 1900 to 1920. Sloan’s family owned a store in Davidson, and he was instrumental in the founding of cotton mills in town.
Thomas M. Griffith served as mayor from 1933 until his death in 1940. During the time he was mayor, Griffith Street was more of an alley; it became an important route only after I-77 was built and Exit 30 one of the main entrances to the town.
Ernest Beaty, a Davidson College graduate and professor at Davidson College, completed Griffith’s term and was elected mayor in October 1941. He resigned as mayor in January of 1946, but ran again and was re-elected in May1947. After being appointed to the County Board of Commissioners, he resigned again in May 1951.
Frank Lee Jackson, another Davidson College graduate, as well as the college treasurer and local business owner, was elected mayor in 1951. He served from 1951 to 1969. Jackson Street was originally Railroad Street and only ran from Depot Street to Delburg Street. When the extension was made
The fifth person is Watson Street, a Davidson graduate who served as a pastor for Unity Church, the mill church established by J. P. Munroe in 1890. In 1927, Davidson students started serving as pastors for the church. Watson Street was the student pastor in 1937 and stayed on after his graduation, leaving in 1939.
The business is the Delburg Mill, a cotton mill that underwent several name changes. The name Delburg came from a combination of county names: Mecklenburg and Iredell.
(Originally published in Around the D, July 28, 2009.)
Jan Blodgett moved to Davidson in 1994. In 2017, she retired after 23 years as the Davidson College Archivist. Jan and former Davidson College history professor, Ralph Levering, are the co-authors of "One Town, Many Voices: A history of Davidson, North Carolina."