Wendell Museum

Exterior of Wendell Museum in the Alex Wall House

The Wendell Museum is located in the Alex Wall house, home of a former Wendell police chief.

 

A Short History

The Wendell Museum has been a longtime goal of the Wendell Historical Society.  A major step toward achieving this goal began in 2016 with the reverse raffle fundraiser, which has continued annually.  In early 2019, a partnership between the Historical Society and the Town of Wendell led to the purchase of the Alex Wall house as the home for the Wendell Museum.  The Historical Society provided funds, architect Tony Johnson designed the renovations, and G&G Builders completed the construction turning the residence into a museum.

Beginning in the spring of 2021, the society conducted a capital campaign for design and fabrication of educational displays at the museum.  Thanks to the dedication and persistence of many volunteers and supporters, the Wendell Museum is now a reality.

 

What’s Inside the Wendell Museum?

You’ll find a wealth of information in the Wendell Museum.  The 1,634-square-foot museum contains four galleries and an archives room.   Step inside the Wendell Museum and enjoy displays showcasing:

  • A Wendell timeline stretching across three walls and including more than 200 photographs and clippings.
  • Wendell people who have made notable contributions far beyond Wendell in a variety of endeavors — 11 highlighted.
  • Early businesses that helped to shape the town — 18 highlighted.
  • Agriculture, specifically tobacco, which put Wendell on the map, as well as cotton and forestry, which were important in early Wendell.
  • Veterans, both men and women, who have played an important role in combat, peacekeeping, disaster relief, and humanitarian aid – 
  • Schools, including Wendell School featuring the man known as the “Father of Wendell School,” M.A. Griffin; the two local Rosenwald Schools; small early schools that dotted the area; and a sampling of notable Wendell educators.
  • Churches – 18 highlighted, all with Wendell addresses (a few in Johnston County), that are more than 60 years old and still active.
  • Civic clubs and social organizations – 18 currently active clubs and 11 clubs that made important contributions in the past highlighted.
  • And more.

  

 

The Alex Wall House

Wendell Museum - October 2020The Wendell Museum is housed in the former home of Alex Wall, longtime Wendell chief of police.  Wall (1880-1976) became nightwatchman for the town in the early 1930s and chief of police two years later, serving until his retirement in 1961 at the age of 81. During his years of service, much attention was given to his small stature.  At five feet four inches tall and weighing 120 pounds, he was thought to be the smallest police chief in the country. 

The Wall family home was purchased and moved from Pine Street to its present location.  It continued as a private residence until 2019, when the Town of Wendell acquired the property to assist the Wendell Historical Society in creating the museum.  The bricks on this structure were salvaged by Wall when the Rigsbee Hotel, built as the Morris Hotel in 1913, was torn down in the 1960s, thus enhancing the house’s value as a historic landmark.

 

We Need Your Help

The Wendell Museum is solely a volunteer endeavor.  Financial contributions by the Town of Wendell, businesses, families, and individuals have made possible the renovations that turned the private residence into a museum and the design, fabrication, and installation of displays.  Research and writing were completed by volunteers, and volunteers will keep the doors open.  Here’s how you can help:

  • Visit the museum and tell your friends
  • Volunteer to be a museum docent
  • Join the Wendell Historical Society
  • Make a financial contribution
  • Give an honor or memorial gift
  • Consider including the museum in your will

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