The Town of Norris will be celebrating its 100 year anniversary in an October 13 festivity featuring a free barbecue lunch, guest speakers, historical memorabilia, and outside entertainment for children.
According to Town Clerk Ann Clardy, the celebration, which is being held at Recreation Park on Highway 137, will begin at 11 a.m. and last until 3 p.m., with the official ceremony beginning at Noon.
The town, established October 16, 1907, was named after Colonel Daniel Keating Norris, who founded one of Pickens County's first cotton mills on the Twelve Mile River in Cateechee.
Frank Cook, who was born and raised in Norris, remembers when the town was booming with various businesses and industries.
"I was born in the time when doctors came out to the house and delivered babies," he said. "I didn't have a birth certificate, just a piece of paper with the birth date of Baby Boy Cook."
Cook, who served his country overseas in the military, said that paper allowed him to enlist in the military, but wasn't sufficient evidence of his existence when he attempted to obtain a social security card.
"I guess they thought I didn't know who I was when I tried to get social security," he said. "Dr. Bearden's paper was good enough for me to serve my country, but not good enough for me to get social security."
Norris once was a thriving town where travelers rested while passing through, staying overnight with local residents, Cook said.
"A lot of travelers just stayed with people in the community, and were welcome," he said.
"Back when I was young, there was a blacksmith shop where they replaced spokes on wagon wheels," he said. "There was Dalton General Store, a barber shop and a place to have corn ground into cornmeal."
The Norfolk/Southern Railroad, which runs through the heart of Norris, was named Airline Railway when he was a child, Cook said.
"There's a side track that was named Bowen's Sidetrack then, after Bowen's Lumber Mill," he said. "It's still there but is called Bowen's Siding now."
Cook said his great-grandfather purchased a home in Norris in 1882, and he, his wife June, raised their family in that home, and continue to reside there.
"Five generations of Cooks have lived in this house," Mrs. Cook said. "It's the oldest house in Norris."
A two-story school house once occupied the site where The First Baptist Church of Norris now stands, Cook said.
"It was a big school back in those days," Cook said.
At one time, Highway 123 ran through Norris, Cook said.
"I remember when they moved Highway 123 to where it is today, and named this road Highway 93," he said "That was in about 1959, or so."
Cook said that Norris also once had a mercantile shop, a seed and feed store, and train depot.
"Welborn had a bus station in Norris, too" he said. "You could go to the station and hop on a bus to anywhere.
"Of course, you could also catch a bus just by standing on the roadside," Cook said. "The bus would stop and you could just get on and hand the driver some change. It was ten cents to Liberty, and 25 cents to Greenville."
Norris of old offered its citizens and visitors entertainment with food establishments and places to dance, Cook said.
"The Dew Drop Inn was a dance hall, just down the road from where city hall is today," Cook said. "The Hill Top Inn was a restaurant with good food and a jute box."
And, of course, several churches were located within blocks of each other, he said.
"We surely didn't lack for churches back then," Cook said.
Many of the former businesses burned and were never rebuilt, Cook said. Some relocated closer to the Norris Mill, he added.
Both Cook and his wife of 48 years have seen changes in Norris, and both still appreciate the easy lifestyle of living there, as well as the lasting friendships that quickly grow between neighbors.
"I grew up here and lived here all my life," Cook said. "Other than the time I was overseas during the war, I've lived here."