The business people of Fayetteville’s Haymont, or is it Haymount, community are making another effort to organize themselves much like downtown merchants have. “We all call it Haymont,” says Elle Williams, general manager of the Runner’s Spot at 1221 Hay Street. The epicenter of the business section is at the top of Haymont Hill where Hay Street, Highland Avenue, Oakridge Avenue, Fort Bragg Road and Morganton Road converge.
Bobby Wiggs and his parents are natives of the community. The elder Mr. Wiggs is 87 now, and Bobby Jr. is pretty much the unofficial mayor of Haymont. He owns Haymont Auto Repair at the corner of Morganton Road and Broadfoot Avenue. The community is a cluster of “unique little family owned businesses,” Wiggs said. He and about 30 other business owners are trying to put together a small business alliance similar to the merchants group downtown. “They’ve got some traction,” he noted.
Williams described the area as “a hidden gem.” She says a main objective of an organization is to cross promote and raise public awareness. Parking is an issue everyone has to deal with, she added. Williams told Up & Coming Weekly that her business agreeably shares a small parking lot with Latitude 35 Bar & Grill.
Haymont is loosely defined as the region of the city bounded by Bragg Boulevard, Woodrow Street, Glenville Avenue, Pinecrest Drive, McGilvary Street and Turnpike Road. It’s one of the oldest areas of Fayetteville marked by nearly four dozen antebellum houses, upper-middle class homes, an historic civil war arsenal site and state-owned museum and the Cape Fear Regional Theatre. The Haymont Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. (Portions of the content of this article were adapted from a copy of the original nomination documents. Adaptation copyright © 2011, The Gombach Group.)
A recent brouhaha over the future of the Fair Oaks mansion at the Fort Bragg Road crossover brought out Haymont’s wealthy home owners who persuaded the Fayetteville Zoning Commission not to allow a prospective owner to turn the mansion into a private school. They prevailed in a 4-0 vote of the commission.
When it was developing in the early nineteenth century, Haymont bordered but was situated outside of the city limits. It was not until approximately 1910 that lower Haymont residences on Hale Street, Brandt’s Lane, Hillside Avenue, Athens Avenue and Hay Street up to Fountainhead Lane were incorporated into the city. Haymont is one of Fayetteville’s oldest and most cohesive neighborhoods.
But there is another side of Haymont. From Broadfoot Avenue, on the other side of Arsenal Avenue, over to Turnpike Road, are small, low income houses. It’s a very poor area separated from well kempt homes along Valley Road by a large privacy fence. It was once drug-infested, especially along Branson Street. But twenty years ago, Highland Presbyterian Church built a community center at the end of Davis Street. Local residents got involved and police cracked down. Today, while that area of Haymont remains impoverished, it’s safer than before.