Benson, North Carolina (NC)
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Benson - Home of Johnston County's Largest Festival, but a Community Where Neighbors Know Neighbors
Benson, N.C. sits at the intersection of I95 and I40 and is a primary location for anyone that wants to live a quiet quality way of life while having access to Raleigh, Fayetteville and the Research Triangle Park. A railroad still runs through the center of town carrying products from Florida to the Northern States. Interestingly enough, towns were built around the railroad junctions as Benson was back in the 1800's.
At just over two square miles, the town had a total population of 2,923 according to the 2000 census. According to Wikipedia, the town was founded by John William Wood Sr. who rode to it each morning on a mule and wagon from his home near Meadow, North Carolina.
Blessed with a temperate climate characterized by warm summers and mild winters, the climate plus the area's rich soil have given Benson a rich heritage in agriculture. From a cotton and tobacco farmland a generation ago it has become a center for the production and marketing of a number of agricultural products, including soy beans, sweet potatoes, corn, cucumbers and other vegetables, hogs, poultry and cattle. Although Benson remains an important part of the rich, agricultural region, diversification has taken place in the changing economic base as industry has come, giving added opportunities for employment. Benson is located between two river basins, the Neuse and the Cape Fear. Within two hours is the coast and three hours drive is the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Benson is the site of the county's largest celebration, Benson Mule Days, which takes place annually on the fourth weekend in September. Begun in 1950, Mule Days originated as a harvest festival to honor the surrounding farm community and its beast of burden, the mule. Over the years the celebration has grown to attract over 50,000 visitors for the three day festival with parades, beauty queens, rodeos, street dances, bluegrass music, arts and crafts, and barbecue. The oldest festival in the county, and one of the oldest in the state, was inducted into the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. in May 2000.
Benson is also home to "The Sing," which was started in 1921 by five local citizens and has transformed into a weekend of gospel singing entertainment and competition.
Another attraction is the Benson Museum of Local History, which is located at the Benson Municipal Building at 303 East Church Street. The renovated and historically significant building formerly housed Benson High School. Open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, you can retrace Benson's roots with a collection of railroad memorabilia, antiques, quilts, farming and hardware artifacts and enjoy the extensive pictorial and newspaper collection depicting lives of local families, homes and churches.
According to the town's Web site, Benson is Americana - a small town where it is quiet and safe to raise children. Where neighbors know neighbors, people walk and jog the streets and the historical district is very attractive. It is a community dedicated to family and a way of life where children can safely grow up.
Find out more about Johnston County, NC -
Town of: Clayton, NC
Town of Benson: http://www.townofbenson.com/
Benson Chamber: http://www.benson-chamber.com/
State Annual Singing Convention: http://www.gospelsingingconvention.org/
Benson Mule Days: http://www.bensonmuledays.com/