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Town History

 

 

Landis…Growth in the Future…

 

The Linn Mill Company was chartered in the first year of the 20th century.  At the second meeting of subscribers on May 1, 1900, plans were put into motion to construct a mill building, a railroad siding for receiving cotton, and a railroad station.  Mr. D.B. Coltrane, a Concord banker who had helped to financially back the enterprise, began looking into the process of locating streets and naming what was to become the town of Landis.

 

Incorporated in 1901, Landis was not the first choice of name for this town.  The chosen name was High Point, since it was believed that this land was the highest elevation point of the Southern Railway between Washington, DC and Atlanta, Georgia.  Since the state legislature had already granted that name to another town, it denied the request.  The eventual choice was Landis, and the reasoning behind the name is the stuff folklore springs from.  The prevailing, most widely accepted notion is that the name refers to Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis of Chicago.  Judge Landis became a public figure in 1907 when he made the decision to fine Standard Oil Company of Indiana $29 million dollars in an anti-trust lawsuit.  He later became commissioner of baseball. 

 

However, this theory of origin becomes problematic when one looks too closely at dates. The name of Landis was accepted and the town incorporated by action of the legislature of North Carolina on March 1st, 1901 while Judge Landis was virtually unknown until his landmark 1907 decision.

 

Another more recent theory has been proposed by Harry T. Sifford, contributing writer to the book The Heritage of Rowan County, North Carolina.  It was his suggestion that after the initial denial of the name High Point, the town fathers had to come together again and choose a new name for the town and after some discussion they could not agree on a second choice.  Perhaps one of them stated that “…the land is the most important thing”; maybe everyone agreed and thought that given this sentiment, the town should simply be called “Land-is”. 

 

Of course, either theory consists of nothing more than theory and myth, but it allows the citizens of Landis to accept and support or create their own yarn of choice.

In the 1970’s the Landis Community Foundation was set up by the Linn and Corriher Mills to help the town with historical preservation.  With the help of this foundation, Landis began relocating, preserving and displaying old buildings including the Old Post Office, the Old Jail and the Landis Railroad Depot. 

 

Landis has owned and operated its own power system since 1917 and now serves not only its citizens, but southern Rowan County and the northern part of Kannapolis as well.  The Landis Public Works department is responsible for the day to day operation of the electrical system and has an impressive facility and equipment.  Landis also maintains its own water distribution and wastewater collection systems as well as miles of Town streets.  The Public Works department is also responsible for maintaining all vehicles for the Police and Fire Departments, as well as their own equipment, and has in house garbage collection and recylcling. 

 

The Recreation Department sponsors an active summer program and its facilities include: softball fields, a little league field, a recently renovated swimming pool, tennis courts, a pavilion and the American Legion Building. 

 

In May of 1991, a town gazebo was constructed across the tracks from the old depot and in October of 1993, a town clock was installed on the strip of land between the railroad tracks and Central Avenue in downtown Landis.  It was paid for mostly by local donations and has four faces and a chiming and song-playing mechanism. 

 

Landis is located within four miles of downtown Kannapolis where the new North Carolina Research Campus is being constructed, which will house the premier facility for biotechnological research in the world.  This new campus is supported through our state university system, including University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, North Carolina State University, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College and private institutions such as Duke University.  When this project reaches completion it is estimated that it will create nearly 30,000 new jobs for our area.