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Wed 16 April 2014
FEATURE ARTICLES
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PEOPLE: HUGH MACRAE
Hugh MacRae (1865 – 1951) was a businessman in Wilmington, North Carolina. His Great Grandfather was Roderick MacRae, called Ruari Donn (Brown Roderick) who emigrated from Kintail to Wilmington, NC about 1770.

In 1889 Hugh bought 16,000 acres of land, including Grandfather and Grandmother Mountains, from Walter Lenoir and founded the Linville Improvement Co. to develop it (and especially Grandfather Mountain) as tourist spot. By the end of the century, MacRae had become president of his father's company, Wilmington Cotton Mills, and the Wilmington Gas Light Company. The Wilmington GLC has just acquired the Rockingham Power Co., which MacRae then developed with funding from the Hugh MacRae Banking Co.

Hugh's empire continued to grow in the early 20th century as he founded Hugh MacRae & Co. in 1902, a development company responsible for the growth of Wrightsville Beach, Winter Park, Audubon and Oleander, and the Carolina Truck and Development Co. responsible for colonizing New Berlin, Castle Hayne and Van Eeden three years later. In 1907, Consolidated Railways becomes Tidewater Power Co. with MacRae as president until 1929.

In 1909, MacRae and Frederick Van Eeden, a Dutch medical doctor who had experimented with communal farm colonies in Holland, establish the Van Eeden colony in Pender County. The colony fails in 1939 and is purchased by Dr. Alvin Johnson to sponsor Jews trying to flee Germany.

In the 1920’s, MacRae donated Hugh MacRae Park to the people of New Hanover County.

Hugh’s genealogy can be found on pages 248 - 252 of The History of Clan MacRae (The Rev Alexander MacRae 1899). His daughter, Agnes MacRae Morton, is co-founder of the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games (see MacRae Meadows).

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