Museums of Fuquay-Varina History

In the early hours of 1934, the Mudge family was greeted at their house by the arrival of a bundle of joy whom they named Shirley Ann. On July 1, 1929, Belle Bass Mudge wed Leon Augustus Mudge, working as a sub-agent for Standard Oil in Varina, North Carolina. Belle worked in the commercial department of Southern Bell Telephone in Raleigh, and Leon worked in Varina.

Mr. and Mrs. John Willian Bass, Belle’s parents, are longtime inhabitants of the North Carolina capital city. Blowing Rock, North Carolina, was the hometown of L. A. Mudge’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. G. O. Mudge. Click here for more info.

After beginning their lives in Raleigh, the Mudge family eventually settled in Fuquay Springs, where they made their first home on South Main Street, close to the Mineral Springs. Other inhabitants of the little community of Fuquay Springs, such as Eleanor Aiken (Howard), recall the younger Shirley as being one of their playmates when they were younger. The Mudge family was finished with the birth of a younger sibling, Nancy, in 1945.

These young children attended Fuquay Springs High School, which ultimately accommodated their educational needs from kindergarten through twelfth grade. According to Willa Akins Adcock, another member of the graduating class of 1952, Shirley was one of the “fifty-two” people to make it through the program and get their diplomas.

During that period, Shirley polished her abilities as a wordsmith, which would later become her signature for the rest of her life. She was the Chief Marshal of her Junior Class and a member of the Beta Club. During Senior Superlatives, she received the most votes for “Most Intellectual” female. Shirley Ann Mudge, in her capacity as Editor, oversaw the production of the 1952 edition of the Greenbriar.

A look through previous issues of The Greenbriar reveals that she was a person who belongs to Future Homemakers of America. This organization donated a fireplace and picnic tables to the brand-new park across from the high school. Unsurprisingly, she excelled in the activities she participated in, such as the French Club, the Student Council, and the Book Club. Her pursuits led her to join the Future Teachers of America, even though she did not end up working in the education field.

Shirley, along with her classmates Willa Akins (Adcock), and Portia Vann Mitchell (Newman), enrolled there in the Class of 1956 when girls were first allowed to Wake Forest College during World War II. Shirley graduated from Wake Forest College in 1956. These three girls and five other classmates from the FSHS Class of 1952 formed a team known as the “Crazy Eight.” This group has gotten together for reunions every year for a long time and has done so in various places.

In 2000, The Crazy Eight went on Trolly Trip in Wilmington. Shirley Mudge, Frances Poe Tyndal, Jane Holland Riley, and Willa Akins Adcock are seated front row, from left to right. Hayes Betty Beck Norris and Frances Aiken make up the middle. Betsy Johnson Gunter and Portia Mitchell Newman were in the back. Thank you very much to Willa Adcock.

Shirley’s literary abilities were at the forefront of campus life when she attended Wake Forest College. She was a sophomore and a junior when she was active in the student newspaper known as the Old Gold and Black. Nevertheless, her most notable accomplishment was becoming Editor of The Student during her final year of high school.

 This was the oldest of the four avenues for student publications on campus, established in 1882. Shirley was the only woman to serve on the Publications Board, which provided advice to the newspaper, the literary magazine, the WFDD yearbook, and the Howler. These four student publications “covered the campus like the magnolias,” as stated in the Howler in 1956.

But Shirley’s attention didn’t stop there. She belonged to the Woman’s Recreational Association with Willa and Vann, the prestigious Philomathesian Literary Society, and the French, Spanish, and German academics’ Sigma Pi Alpha Chapter. The latter included competitions against their rival literary society every spring and mock student debates, theater, and extemporaneous speaking.

Shirley started her professional journalism career after earning her degree from Wake Forest College in the last class of 1956 on the original campus in Wake County. She boldly traveled to Norfolk, Virginia, where she knew no one, according to her daughter. She commuted by foot to her work as a reporter for the Virginian Pilot from her rooming house residence. Shirley had returned to Sanford, North Carolina, at the time of the 1957 census, and she was working at the Sanford Herald. She was then discovered working for The Raleigh Times. She accumulated a treasure trove of stories at the Times on a variety of topics.

Shirley Mudge Hayes serves on the town’s Centennial Commission. She organized the first photo scan day. Thanks to public support and collaboration, they’re maintaining a picture archive. Shirley Hayes and Shirley Simmons wrote Fuquay-history. Varina’s Every woman contributed chapters or topics to the book. Shirley chose the cover images based on their representativeness and appeal. This publication is a significant source of historic preservation in their town; museums sell copies.

Shirley and Chuck left Fuquay in February 2017 for health reasons. Shirley had a stroke in Florida. Elizabeth moved her to Connecticut to be their temporary caretaker due to her recovery requirements. Chuck’s macular degeneration and Shirley’s collapse delayed their homecoming. Shirley’s illness and pacemaker placement convinced the pair to stay in Connecticut.

Shirley moved her most valued items to her new house after selling her Fuquay property. Connecticut fell for her mother like North Carolina, says Elizabeth. Elizabeth said, “She was social.”

Shirley lived in Elizabeth’s 1753 house until her death. Elizabeth adored visits with her granddaughter Olivia, her grandson’s baseball games, backyard trees, newspapers, books, pets, and people. Last week, she visited Nancy’s daughter and husband and watched her grandson play baseball.

As part of the town’s 100th anniversary, the Centennial Museum opened on June 6, 2009.

The 1950s municipal building has a collection of early trains, the spring, tobacco, people, and government. Locals and tourists may enjoy the “creative” and “interesting” exhibit.

The museum has works from J. M. Judd and their family, including an 1898 organ. Hear about their wedding.

Elliotts Pharmacy closed in 2013 after 99 years of service. Visit their museum case to see objects from there. Check this out.

After the tour, guests should be able to tell the quilt’s tale. Each square depicts the town’s history.

For more information, visit their website or call them at (919) 552-5562