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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Nancy Holt, October 27, 1985. Interview K-0010. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Threat of OWASA's water development united Cane Creek residents

As churches ceased to serve as a socializing force, Cane Creek residents became more detached from each other. However, the Orange County Water and Sewer Authority's (OWASA) attempts to develop on the land forced residents to unite across cultural, social, and religious lines to unite the residents.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Nancy Holt, October 27, 1985. Interview K-0010. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

FRANCES E. WEBB:
And they really weren't before?
NANCY HOLT:
Well, they were on a one-on-one basis. Probably a little, a little group here that if you, if one of the newcomers came in, they were friendly with everybody there, but the whole neighborhood as a whole did not even know these people. So it had the net effect of making it a very, very cohesive group of very diverse people that ordinarily would not had a thing in common. And, I would say that it's probably the greatest thing that's happened to this community in a hundred years. The positive effect of everybody pulling together and getting to know your neighbors that lived way on the other side of Cane Creek when you wouldn't have had - ordinarily have had - a chance nor any community event that would draw all these people. Because the church in the last twenty years has stopped being the center, of any activity. Only those people that goes to this church have these activities. It - very seldom do the churches throw open their doors and have a community wide anything. Oak Grove Church right over here will have you know, fund raising events. But it's not - I guess it's concentrated in this area. Cane Creek would do this. Bethlehem would do this. But this bypassed all religious, social, cultural lines. And it [mobilized] people in ways that I just find phenomenal. So we can thank OWASA for that, that we are all now friendly with, with, everybody around in the community. And I guess the people felt threatened and so they moved.
FRANCES E. WEBB:
Why do you think the new people were as concerned about the lake as the old people were?
NANCY HOLT:
Because, they came here for a reason. And that reason most generally was not to be part of another housing development. They have probably made a big, lifetime investment and they had planned to stay. And the community was attractive to them as it was or they wouldn't have been here. And so all of a sudden the rules were changing - everything is going to be different? And I think I probably would have been [mobilized] just as much had I been a newcomer as I was being a lifelong resident. Good, it's a good, feeling community. I went away when Bruce and I were first married and prior to getting married, I lived other places. And it didn't have the same feel. And I had always considered it because this was home. That's why I had this feeling. Now my husband will even admit that this is a good area; it feels good. The, there's a certain something here, an acceptance, that perhaps in where he came from in southern Alamance county there was not. That it took fifty years for somebody to be accepted. You know, they were viewed as outlanders and, and people that were just upstarts in the community. And it perhaps took two generations for somebody to be accepted as a member of the community. It was never that way here. There was, unless the people were really, really active in the churches, the newcomers, they never went beyond their next neighbor which may have been a half a mile away or, or people that they had bought the land from. So they still maintained ties with whatever the outside world may have been. Until the community was threatened.
FRANCES E. WEBB:
So, about anybody that moved here, if they were friendly and joined the church, could make friends and be accepted.
NANCY HOLT:
Um-uhm, um-uhm. That was, that was never a problem. But you see we never had an influx of these people here because the only people that generally came into the community married into it. And so sons and daughters got some of the family land and they built on it. And then their children. And so that's the way - it was like a community population.