In the late 1840’s transportation was a major issue facing residents of piedmont NC counties. There was almost no good way of traveling to or getting agricultural or manufactured goods transported to the eastern part of the state. The best road went southeastward toward Salisbury and Charlotte, or north into Virginia. There was a limit to how successfully the interior of the state could develop if this transportation problem were not solves.
Many believed that the answer to inland transportation needs would be with the developing railroad system. The railroad cause was championed by John Motley Morehead, governor of North Carolina from 1840 to 1844, and resident of Greensboro.
But railroads were expensive to build. Many thought that the better answer to piedmont transportation needs lay with the development of extensive networks of wood plank roads.
Plank roads were indeed developed, but eventually the NC Railroad was charted as well. Both met transportation needs and contributed to the development of the piedmont of North Carolina.
In 1849 the NC legislature approved the charter that would provide for the construction of the NC Railroad which would, thanks to the lobbying of former governor Morehead, pass through Greensboro. At the same time the legislature approved the Fayetteville and Western Plank Road, a road which ran from Fayetteville to SalemNC.
Interestingly these two, the North Carolina Railroad, and the Fayetteville and Western Plank Roads, intersected in southwestern Guilford county. The place where they were to intersect was also the “high point” in altitude on the railroad line at 912 feet. The potential for such a crossroads was obvious, and it wasn’t long before land was being bought and community developed around the intersection. This community was officially chartered as a town by the legislature in 1859 with a population of over 500 people, and was called, appropriately, “High Point.”