In 1903 James P. Cairco started a real estate venture along with Tom Felts, Captain John B. Waugh, and R.E. Jones. They bought 375 acres along Chestnut Creek.
This area was known as “Anderson’s Bottom” and would be developed into the City of Galax, Virginia. The future town was surveyed and laid out into 26 blocks. Each block contained from 10 to 16 lots. Prior to receiving its town charter, Galax had several name changes over a short period of time. Those names included: Montplan (on the original plat of the town), Cairo (on the original sale sheet), Bonaparte (name given to the 1st Post Office), and finally Galax.
A public sale of what was then called “Cairo” was conducted on December 17, 1903, selling lots for prices ranging from $25 – $250 each. On June 6, 1906 the General Assembly of Virgini. granted the town of Galax its town charter. Beginning with muddy streets and wooden sidewalks, the town quickly evolved during the early 1900’s, forming a local government, providing services, and constructing facilities necessary for a growing population and commerce. This evolution can be seen in the changing architectural styles and materials, in the changing businesses, and in the changing services provided by the downtown to satisfy the needs of the citizens of Galax.
Downtown Galax weathered the storms of fires, the Great Depression, World Wars, and migration of businesses to the outskirts of town. The downtown has realized a rebirth over the years as folks better appreciate the history and culture of the heart of town. Note how all the local, regional, national, and international trends and events affected a town’s growth and how a dynamic community grew into a thriving city.
For even more Galax History, Read John Nunn’s website, GalaxScrapbook.com!