wendell NC

Wendell, North Carolina, or the Town of Wendell, is located in Wake County. Wendell is 17 miles directly east of Raleigh, NC, North Carolina’s state capital. The 2010 U.S. Census placed Wendell’s population at 5,845. The U.S. Census 2019 population estimate for Wendell was 8,577.     

Wendell received its town charter from the North Carolina General Assembly in 1903 and was incorporated thereafter as the Town of Wendell. Wendell was named for Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. the famous American physician, poet, and intellectual. Not to be confused with his just as famous son Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. profound legal scholar and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

While only incorporated in 1903, the origins of Wendell go back to the 1850s. Tobacco crops in Granville County (Directly north of Wake County) were stricken by an unknown blight in the 1850s. What was eventually to become known as the “Granville wilt” completely devastated tobacco crops in Granville County. Granville wilt was a bacterial disease that not until the mid-20th century did farmers know how to begin too effectively counter. With the tobacco crops in Granville County devastated by the Granville wilt, farmers moved in mass to Wake County for fertile land that had not been affected by the blight to plant tobacco. 

As the population of the future town of Wendell grew, a small village began to emerge. A school was needed, and a citizen Ambrose Rhodes donated the land. The school became known as the Rhodes School, and in 1891 the school’s name was changed to the Wendell Academy. This school was located on the present-day site of Wendell Magnet Elementary School, 3355 Wendell Blvd, Wendell. The name of the town came from the town schoolmaster, M.A. Griffin. Griffin was an admirer of Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., physician, poet, and intellectual. 

Into the 1900s through the 1970, the tobacco auction or tobacco market was a huge draw to Wendell and the area in August each year. Tobacco auctions with the fast-paced auctioneering, were a true cultural event. Fast talking auctioneers, with animated warehouse sales leaders, and a colorful cast of buyers nodding, winking, using interesting hand signs, yelling, as they bid on a “lot” or “pile” of tobacco, was always entertaining. Auctions drew farmers, tobacco buyers, businessmen, and just the curious. 

Practically every tobacco company in the country that bought bright leaf tobacco was always represented at the Wendell market each year. At one time there were close to ten large tobacco warehouses such as the Farmers Warehouse and Planters Warehouse where the auction action took place. In the 1900s, there were three notable local tobacco companies based in Wendell, Monk-Henderson Tobacco Company, Renfro Leaf Tobacco Company, and Wendell Tobacco Company. These companies are now gone or have been merged into larger companies. Economic upheavals in the tobacco industry, and changing consumer demand, have made tobacco auctions a thing of the past. 

Historical Structures and Places still with us:

First Post Office: The first post office in Wendell was constructed by J.R. Nowell around 1890. The two-room structure was also Nowell’s general store. It was located on Buffalo Street across the street from Nowell’s home. The Wendell Historical Society saved this historic post office from demolition in 1979. In the late 1980s, the Society relocated the post office to the corner of N. Oakwood Avenue and E. Fourth Street. The Society has gone to great lengths to restore the building. The old post office boxes are on display inside. 

J.R. Nowell House: The J.R. Nowell House was built in the 1870s. The Nowell house is one of a few Italianate style dwellings in rural Wake County that is still standing. It is located at 15 S Buffalo Street, Wendell. This is the same J.R. Nowell who operated the post office in his general store in the 1890s that was originally across the street from this house. 

Monk-Henderson Tobacco Company: The Monk-Henderson Tobacco Company was founded in 1919. Company president at founding was J.J. Henderson. This building is located at 115 E Third Street, Wendell. Monk-Henderson bought tobacco, removed the excess moisture from the leaves, packed the dried leaves in large barrels and sold their product around the world. 

R.B Whitley Tobacco Auction Warehouse:  R.B. Whitley Tobacco Auction Warehouse is one of the

oldest tobacco warehouses still standing in Wake County. Built around 1919, it is located at 21 E Third Street. The building now serves as a gun store. 

W.H. Richardson House: The W.H. Richardson house is probably the oldest house still standing in Wendell. It was built in 1850 by William H. Richardson and is located at 384 E Fourth Street, Wendell. This is a basic dwelling, however it highlights many features found in houses of this time period. For example, this house still has the detached kitchen which was to prevent very common kitchen fires from burning the entire home down. 

As indicated by the U.S. Census, Wendell’s population from the 1910 Census of 759 to the 2000 Census of 4,247, population growth was slow and steady in 90 years. As compared to the 2000 Census to the 2019’s estimated population of 8,577 indicated the population doubled in nearly 20 years.   

Historical population

Census Pop. %±

1910 759 —

1920 1,239 63.2%

1930 980 −20.9%

1940 1,132 15.5%

1950 1,253 10.7%

1960 1,620 29.3%

1970 1,929 19.1%

1980 2,222 15.2%

1990 2,822 27.0%

2000 4,247 50.5%

2010 5,845 37.6%

2019 (est.) 8,577 [2] 46.7%

Highway & Roads 

U.S. Interstate 87 is the closet interstate. US 64 is the main road through Wendell. US 64 connects Wendell to Raleigh going west and the North Carolina coast going east.

US 264, NC 97, and NC 231 are other primary road arteries in Wendell.

From Wendell to Raleigh, NC (17 Miles), Durham, NC (39 Miles), Chapel Hill, NC (47 Miles), Research Triangle Park (47 Miles) Charlotte, NC (181 Miles), Wilmington, NC (181 Miles), and Washington, DC (180 Miles). 

Public transportation

Wendell is served by the Triangle Transit Authority and this connects Wendell’s commuters to the Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill bus systems.

Rail Service

Amtrak does not offer passenger service through Wendell; However, Raleigh has an Amtrak station with regular passenger service that is 17-miles drive from Wendell. Amtrak services Selma, NC, and that is 20- miles drive from Wendell. 

Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) is the most convenient commercial airport for Wendell. The following airlines currently serve Raleigh-Durham: Air Canada Express, Alaska Airlines, Allegiant Air, American Airlines, American Eagle, Delta Air Lines, Delta Connection, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines, Sun Country Airlines, United Airlines, and United Express. 

The Wendell educational systems are part of Wake County Schools System and are well rated from primary to secondary. There are 11 top ranked colleges or universities in the Wendell area. 

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wendell nc

Wendell, North Carolina, or the Town of Wendell, is located in Wake County. Wendell is 17 miles directly east of Raleigh, NC, North Carolina’s state capital. The 2010 U.S. Census placed Wendell’s population at 5,845. The U.S. Census 2019 population estimate for Wendell was 8,577.     

Wendell received its town charter from the North Carolina General Assembly in 1903 and was incorporated thereafter as the Town of Wendell. Wendell was named for Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. the famous American physician, poet, and intellectual. Not to be confused with his just as famous son Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. profound legal scholar and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

While only incorporated in 1903, the origins of Wendell go back to the 1850s. Tobacco crops in Granville County (Directly north of Wake County) were stricken by an unknown blight in the 1850s. What was eventually to become known as the “Granville wilt” completely devastated tobacco crops in Granville County. Granville wilt was a bacterial disease that not until the mid-20th century did farmers know how to begin too effectively counter. With the tobacco crops in Granville County devastated by the Granville wilt, farmers moved in mass to Wake County for fertile land that had not been affected by the blight to plant tobacco.

As the population of the future town of Wendell grew, a small village began to emerge. A school was needed, and a citizen Ambrose Rhodes donated the land. The school became known as the Rhodes School, and in 1891 the school’s name was changed to the Wendell Academy. This school was located on the present-day site of Wendell Magnet Elementary School, 3355 Wendell Blvd, Wendell. The name of the town came from the town schoolmaster, M.A. Griffin. Griffin was an admirer of Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., physician, poet, and intellectual.

Into the 1900s through the 1970, the tobacco auction or tobacco market was a huge draw to Wendell and the area in August each year. Tobacco auctions with the fast-paced auctioneering, were a true cultural event. Fast talking auctioneers, with animated warehouse sales leaders, and a colorful cast of buyers nodding, winking, using interesting hand signs, yelling, as they bid on a “lot” or “pile” of tobacco, was always entertaining. Auctions drew farmers, tobacco buyers, businessmen, and just the curious.

Practically every tobacco company in the country that bought bright leaf tobacco was always represented at the Wendell market each year. At one time there were close to ten large tobacco warehouses such as the Farmers Warehouse and Planters Warehouse where the auction action took place. In the 1900s, there were three notable local tobacco companies based in Wendell, Monk-Henderson Tobacco Company, Renfro Leaf Tobacco Company, and Wendell Tobacco Company. These companies are now gone or have been merged into larger companies. Economic upheavals in the tobacco industry, and changing consumer demand, have made tobacco auctions a thing of the past.

Historical Structures and Places still with us:

First Post Office: The first post office in Wendell was constructed by J.R. Nowell around 1890. The two-room structure was also Nowell’s general store. It was located on Buffalo Street across the street from Nowell’s home. The Wendell Historical Society saved this historic post office from demolition in 1979. In the late 1980s, the Society relocated the post office to the corner of N. Oakwood Avenue and E. Fourth Street. The Society has gone to great lengths to restore the building. The old post office boxes are on display inside.

J.R. Nowell House: The J.R. Nowell House was built in the 1870s. The Nowell house is one of a few Italianate style dwellings in rural Wake County that is still standing. It is located at 15 S Buffalo Street, Wendell. This is the same J.R. Nowell who operated the post office in his general store in the 1890s that was originally across the street from this house.

Monk-Henderson Tobacco Company: The Monk-Henderson Tobacco Company was founded in 1919. Company president at founding was J.J. Henderson. This building is located at 115 E Third Street, Wendell. Monk-Henderson bought tobacco, removed the excess moisture from the leaves, packed the dried leaves in large barrels and sold their product around the world.

R.B Whitley Tobacco Auction Warehouse:  R.B. Whitley Tobacco Auction Warehouse is one of the

oldest tobacco warehouses still standing in Wake County. Built around 1919, it is located at 21 E Third Street. The building now serves as a gun store.

W.H. Richardson House: The W.H. Richardson house is probably the oldest house still standing in Wendell. It was built in 1850 by William H. Richardson and is located at 384 E Fourth Street, Wendell. This is a basic dwelling, however it highlights many features found in houses of this time period. For example, this house still has the detached kitchen which was to prevent very common kitchen fires from burning the entire home down.

As indicated by the U.S. Census, Wendell’s population from the 1910 Census of 759 to the 2000 Census of 4,247, population growth was slow and steady in 90 years. As compared to the 2000 Census to the 2019’s estimated population of 8,577 indicated the population doubled in nearly 20 years.   

Historical population

Census Pop. %±

1910 759 —

1920 1,239 63.2%

1930 980 −20.9%

1940 1,132 15.5%

1950 1,253 10.7%

1960 1,620 29.3%

1970 1,929 19.1%

1980 2,222 15.2%

1990 2,822 27.0%

2000 4,247 50.5%

2010 5,845 37.6%

2019 (est.) 8,577 [2] 46.7%

Highway & Roads

U.S. Interstate 87 is the closet interstate. US 64 is the main road through Wendell. US 64 connects Wendell to Raleigh going west and the North Carolina coast going east.

US 264, NC 97, and NC 231 are other primary road arteries in Wendell.

From Wendell to Raleigh, NC (17 Miles), Durham, NC (39 Miles), Chapel Hill, NC (47 Miles), Research Triangle Park (47 Miles) Charlotte, NC (181 Miles), Wilmington, NC (181 Miles), and Washington, DC (180 Miles).

Public transportation

Wendell is served by the Triangle Transit Authority and this connects Wendell’s commuters to the Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill bus systems.

Rail Service

Amtrak does not offer passenger service through Wendell; However, Raleigh has an Amtrak station with regular passenger service that is 17-miles drive from Wendell. Amtrak services Selma, NC, and that is 20- miles drive from Wendell.

Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) is the most convenient commercial airport for Wendell. The following airlines currently serve Raleigh-Durham: Air Canada Express, Alaska Airlines, Allegiant Air, American Airlines, American Eagle, Delta Air Lines, Delta Connection, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines, Sun Country Airlines, United Airlines, and United Express.

The Wendell educational systems are part of Wake County Schools System and are well rated from primary to secondary. There are 11 top ranked colleges or universities in the Wendell area.

Need Association Management?

Contact Us