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Community History

September 16, 1713 is widely regarded as the unofficial beginning of Fox Hollow, North Carolina. Settlements along Cape Fear were almost completely wiped out by a strong hurricane that struck North Carolina’s oceanside coast. Ships were driven from their anchors, and a sloop ship was even found three miles away, having been pushed over marshes into the woods.

 

A group of settlers, led by Elias Brown, decided to move inland to avoid the turbulent storms that they suspected would batter the coast in the future. They followed the Cape Fear River inland, eventually settling in the mountains where the river was wide enough for cargo ships of the time to travel. The settlers split into two groups, both claiming stakes along either side of the waterway. Those to the west would eventually decide on the name of Port Dominion in reference to their British roots. Bountiful raccoon and fox populations supplemented the lumber stocks to the east, leading early settlers to argue over a town name of Fox Hollow or Raccoon City. The name Fox Hollow won out by only five votes, with at least three residents reported to have stormed out of the town hall meeting in anger.

 

Word of the prosperous town soon spread, both to the oceanfront settlements of the east full of immigrants looking to start a new life and further west to several mining communities who eyed the region’s mountains for potential iron, silver, and gold deposits. Despite its advantageous location during the Revolutionary War, Fox Hollow avoided much of the conflict and hardship that faced most of the coast. Its relatively remote location prevented much of the looting and supply-hoarding that struck other towns and cities in what would become North Carolina. 

 

After the war ended and North Carolina was formally founded as a state, Fox Hollow truly began to grow as a town. The nearby settlement of Port Dominion also began to prosper, quickly becoming a hub for business and trade. The two communities started to grow within their own unique identities. Fox Hollow was officially incorporated as a town on Wednesday, April 11, 1804. Merchant trade soon gave way to industry, and Port Dominion became the area’s beacon for metal foundries, woodworking, manufacturing, and textile production. Shortly after, Fox Hollow became home to numerous mansions belonging to the area’s many prosperous businesspeople and the rich socialites of New York and Detroit looking for summer vacation homes.

 

In July of 1814, the two cities formally became part of Jasper County. Local leaders were looking to consolidate power and define clear laws for the area’s farms, businesses, and residences. The county’s namesake was Sergeant William Jasper, a Revolutionary War soldier who distinguished himself in the defense of Fort Moultrie and at the Siege of Savannah. Sergeant Jasper was shot by British troops while attempting to fasten the colors of the 2nd South Carolina Regiment to battle ramparts, but, even while fatally injured, he did not drop his regiment’s flag and held them to safety until he died.

 

Fox Hollow and Port Dominion were the scene of more than one infantry battle during the Civil War, but they were spared much of the shelling and destruction that plagued most of the mid and southern states. Post-civil war, industry kicked back into high gear in Port Dominion, and vacationers began pouring into Fox Hollow once again. Both communities prospered, and Port Dominion was soon the state’s busiest and most profitable shipping port. Local residents enjoyed lavish lifestyles, and the city’s population skyrocketed. Fox Hollow’s namesake animal was hunted nearly to extinction by sportsmen as tourism boomed, and, in response, state legislators founded Lake Oleryben State Park to protect the area’s wildlife and encourage more responsible tourism.

 

The 1970s and 1980s saw the decline of manufacturing in the United States, and both Port Dominion and Fox Hollow suffered as a result. There was a time when Port Dominion had one of the highest rates of property crime in the state, and many of Fox Hollow’s mansions sat empty and abandoned. Both mayors came together with Jasper County officials to lay out a plan, and they began an aggressive plan of urban renewal long before many other cities in the United States had even considered a change in policy.

 

Blighted buildings were condemned and sold for pennies on the dollar, resulting in quick renovations or complete demolitions and reconstruction. Residents who were displaced by this plan were compensated fairly, preventing the issues that fractured cities like Cleveland and Detroit. Most notably, city leaders saw flaws in urban renewal plans coming from the likes of Robert Moses and chose not to split neighborhoods in two with freeways and wide avenues. Still, the car was king, and State Highway 14 ended up being built as an elevated highway over Port Dominion with a tunnel under the city’s airport runway that became a ground-level highway into Fox Hollow, continuing under Juniper Mountain. Polaris Road branches off, connecting 14 to 214 and allowing access to Greater Jasper County and Fox Hollow. 

 

Today, Jasper County still prospers. Fox Hollow is one of the nation’s top destinations for those who love the outdoors and people who want a quiet place to start a family, and it was named the third best place in the nation to start a small business. The unincorporated community of Juniper Mountain is already home to many of the area’s most influential individuals and small businesses. Port Dominion has become a hub for companies to move their corporate headquarters and is an important shipping hub for today’s containerized ocean shipping trade.