Editor’s note: This is the first installment in a series of articles profiling towns along the North Carolina Railroad corridor.
Long before American Idol singing champion Scotty McCreery put Garner, N.C. on the map, the little railroad town was the dear home to the Wake County residents who grew up keeping time by the train whistle, skipping along the rail corridor to go to church and school, and passing time counting box cars.
Today, Garner is all grown up. Its population is up to 26,000, and the town is home to many young professionals who appreciate its proximity to the hustle and bustle of Raleigh, jobs throughout the Triangle, and who love its small town southern charm.
McCreery sings about that charm in his ode to his hometown, “Water Tower Town,” Garner is a place where “Friday night football is king, sweet tea goes good with anything…you can see who loves you from miles around, in a water tower town.”
Garner got its start when the North Carolina Railroad crossed through the area in 1847 bringing with it commerce, economic development, and a train station. In that year, after a tie-breaker vote by the Speaker of the State House of Representatives, Garner was chosen as the location for a train station.
“Garner’s Station” was established with the construction of a post office in 1878, and the Town of Garner’s Station was incorporated in 1883, according to town records and “History of Garner and Environs,” by the Garner Historical Committee.