History

From 1853-1870, the Town was only a village of a few homes, frame stores, two
turpentine distillers, a bar, and a school house surrounded by swamp land.  In
1870, Mount Olive was incorporated as a municipality in the State of North
Carolina and the first three Town Commissioners were appointed, who elected
the first Magistrate.  Later, this would be changed to five Town Commissioners
and a Mayor.  The First Town Hall was authorized for construction on June 9,
1908. In 1935, the first public library was built.  In 1966, the present day municipal
building was erected.

The year 1901 brought electric lights to Mount Olive with running water installed by
1908 in a few homes.  By 1901, Mount Olive had 58 telephone subscribers.  By
1904, the first volunteer Fire Department had been organized. In 1958 Mount Olive
formed its first volunteer rescue squad. Today the paid EMS units are operated by
the Wayne County EMS. Since 1961, radio station WDJS, has operated in Mount
Olive.  Finally, by 1967, the Mount Olive Airport was dedicated and today is jointly
owned by Mount Olive and Wayne County.

Since 1926, the Mount Olive Pickle Company has played an integral role in the
development of the Town.  Mt. Olive Pickle Company, Inc., located at the corner of
Cucumber & Vine in Mount Olive, North Carolina, was originally founded for the
purpose of brining cucumbers to be sold to other pickling firms.  This early plan
did not work out as planned.  Fortunately, local business people saw the promise
in creating a market for local farmers.  In a rural town like Mount Olive, anything
that was for farmers was good for the whole local economy.  So, resourcefulness
prevailed, a new plan was prepared, and the company quickly began processing
and packing pickles itself.  From a modest beginning in 1926, with only a 3,600
square foot building and $19,500 in capital, Mt. Olive has grown to be the best
selling brand of pickles in the Southeast, and the second best-selling brand of
pickles in the country.  The Mt. Olive Pickle Company celebrated its 80th
anniversary in 2006.  The company is the largest privately held pickle company in
the U.S., with continued sales growth into new markets.

The Town also serves as the home of Mount Olive College. From its beginning,
Mount Olive College has been sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will
Baptists. The institution was chartered in 1951 and opened in 1952 at Cragmont
Assembly, the Free Will Baptist summer retreat grounds near Black Mountain,
under the direction of the Reverend Lloyd Vernon. The School was called Mount
Allen Junior College, taking its name from the mountain near Cragmont. In 1953,
the College was moved to Mount Olive, North Carolina and plans were made to
develop a junior college offering programs in arts and sciences and in business.
In 1956, the name “Mount Allen Junior College” was changed to “Mount Olive
Junior College.” In the same year plans were launched for an enlarged campus
which today consists of 138 acres. In September 1970, the College’s name was
officially changed to Mount Olive College. The 1979 Session of the Convention
endorsed the projected timetable set by the College Board of Trustees to add the
junior year in 1984 and the senior year in 1985. In 1986, the Commission on
Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools officially accredited
Mount Olive College as a four-year institution to award associate and
baccalaureate degrees. In 2001, Mount Olive College celebrated its 50th
anniversary.

Roads influenced the history and evolution of the town. Following WWII the
increase in use of automobiles and over the road truck transport began reshaping
the country in large and small towns alike. Mt. Olive has experienced this
transformation too. The construction and opening of US 117 Bypass, widening of
N. Breazeale (US 117 Business), and the northward movement of NC 55 illustrate
highway transportation’s influences on the shape and function of the town and its
connectivity to the region. Mount Olive’s compact grid street system remains a
viable and distinguishing characteristic of the town. As newer portions of town
developed along the expanding highway network, suburban-style development
followed and shifted focus away from the railroad taking commerce and services
along with the new roads. Strip commercial areas located on the Goldsboro side
of town, north and northwest of the core. Shopping centers consumed larger land
tracts at highway intersections. Even with these changes, strong efforts to
revitalize and celebrate the downtown and its nearby neighborhoods have
emerged. Pedestrian and bicycle transportation and usage are recent interests
and the town is currently looking ahead to realize a balanced growth pattern –
building with its history in view.
Copy Right 2007 Town of Mount Olive. All Rights Reserved