Cary, NC – Many folks remember the earlier history of the Rogers building at 149 East Chatham Street. Where EE Salons is now and before Rogers Restaurant was there, the building housed an earlier restaurant called the Rendezvous. And before that, it was a feed store and chicken hatchery. Here are some early memories.
Marie and Fred Seeger
Before Rogers Restaurant opened, there was an earlier restaurant there called the Rendezvous. One outside wall of the building was blank white brick. This guy came to Cary every Friday night during the summer in his specially rigged car. One side opened up completely, and he had a movie projector mounted inside. Friday afternoons, he went around to the local merchants to get sponsorships for the movie.
Then after dark, he projected a movie on the side of the Rendezvous. As many as a hundred people brought lawn chairs and sat in the field beside the Rendezvous to watch the movie for free.
Mr. Cumby owned a farm in Cary. He did not have a car, but he had a BIG tractor and traveled everywhere in it. On Friday nights, he would drive his tractor up there, park it, then bring out his chair to watch the movie.
Used to be a guy come on Friday nights, set up in the field beside the Rendezvous Restaurant and show cowboy movies on the side of that building.
We all sat out there on fallen telephone poles or our lawn chairs and watch the movie, no charge. The sound came from the projector inside his car.
When I was a boy, there was a Cary man who was mean as a snake. He loved to grab us boys in town, rub the top of our heads with his knuckles, then bite us on the ear, hard. There used to be a chicken hatchery in the building before the Rendezvous Restaurant opened.
One boy my age got tired of that ear biting, so he went to the hatchery and got some chicken manure, put it behind his ear, then hung out where the mean man would see him. When he came along, he grabbed the boy and bit him on the ear like always. But that chicken manure stopped him from every biting us again.
Along with baby chicks, the hatchery also sold feed. Doug Holloman’s daddy used to deliver feed all over town to people who raised chickens in their back yards. Just about everybody had chickens.
According to my father, C.Y. Jordan, we had a Japanese chicken sexer come to Cary. In Japan, this is a highly valued profession. Their job is to determine the sex of baby chicks. This is important to those buying chicks for egg production. You wouldn’t want to get a full batch of roosters.
From the Internet: Japanese chicken sexers are highly trained and well paid. The best experts can identify as many as 8,000 chicks a day with a 99.7% accuracy rate, and can earn up to $15,000 U.S. a month. But the skill is dying out. There is only one school left in Japan, and attendance has dropped by 90%, putting it at risk of closure.
Story by Peggy Van Scoyoc. Photos by Michael Papich. Much of Cary’s Heritage is taken from the book, Just a Horse-Stopping Place, an Oral History of Cary, North Carolina, published in August, 2006. The book is a collection of oral history interviews conducted between local citizens and Friends of the Page-Walker Hotel. The rest comes from later oral history interviews with local citizens.