Although having an official "settlement" in 1870, Lee County was formed in 1907 from a section of Moore County. It was the 98th of North Carolina's 100 counties. This was about the same time that Broadway was incorporated. Broadway was named for a broad level opening in the vast pine forest, which covered the area.
Around 1885, Mr. M. M. Watson built a house for a tenant near the site of the present school building. When the people of the community decided that they wanted a school, Mr. Watson let them use the tenant house for a school building. In 1890, the Broadway Normal School was established by M.A. McLeod. Boarding homes were operated for many of the students.
Dr. Leon Watson set up practice in Broadway about 1901. Dr. Watson and W.A. Crabtree established a drug store in Broadway in 1913.
The Bank of Broadway was founded in 1909 by D.E. Shaw. Mr. Shaw was the Bank's Chief Executive Officer until his death in 1956. The headline from the Sanford Herald dated January 1930 states: "Bank of Broadway is Unusual Institution - In midst of Financial Depression It is in a Flourishing Condition".
Although Broadway was more an educational center than a business center, distilling turpentine was one of the first methods of commerce for the community due to the enormous supply of pine trees. Later, farming took over and still is strong today. Other businesses worthy of mention are the Chandler-Farlow Lumber Co., Broadway Roller Mill, Jones & Harrington Mercantile, a cotton gin run by the Marks Bros, and our earliest grocery store run by a Mr. Alex Sloan. In 1930, Mr. I.L. Shaw of Lemon Springs came to Broadway and opened a hardware store.
Miss Mable Currin (now McNeill) came to Broadway in 1940 and opened the first beauty parlor. She still operates Mable's Beauty Shop in 2003.
In July 1905 the Atlantic & Western Railway extended their rail line to Broadway. The railroad company operated a motor car which was called the 'dinky'. This car proved to be a very convenient means of travel for many people in Broadway.
During the late 1960's Broadway became known as "The Town of Candles". The water tower was covered in lights and businesses burned a single white light in each window. This tradition has spread throughout the town and into the surrounding countryside. The single white light in each window symbolizes very well the quiet, peaceful and friendly town that is "BROADWAY".
Excerpts from the Centennial Booklet 1870-1970.