In the year 1919, citizens throughout Wayne County North Carolina joined to honor our local military who lost their lives in World War I. This was accomplished by public subscription, with gifts coming from all townships in Wayne County. There was a groundswell of support from a grateful citizenry, who by 1924 were able to place the cornerstone in what was to become the center of the civic, recreation and patriotic life of this area.
The Wayne County Memorial Community Building was dedicated on June 26, 1925. It provided office and meeting space for various community and charitable organizations as well as organized recreation. It was designed to be a “living memorial” honoring the war dead of Wayne County who died in World War I, and later, honored the war dead of subsequent conflicts.
The building had a long and productive life. For many years it housed the American Red Cross, the Community Chest, the Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts, the Boys Club and the Bureau of Social Services. The American Legion and its Auxiliary had headquarters and their meetings there.
In January, 1935, the indoor swimming pool was added, a product of the Civil Works Administration and local funds. Many of us here today learned to swim and passed a strenuous Red Cross Life Saving in those waters! Goldsboro competitive swimmers were known for years throughout North Carolina and beyond for their excellence.
During World War II, the Community Building served military personnel. Its use by civilians and soldiers averaged between 1200 and 3000 people per day. The soldiers were arriving by rail in Goldsboro North Carolina and transitioning to Seymour Johnson Field and other installations elsewhere in the United States.
In its final years, the building continued as an active recreational facility and as offices for Goldsboro Recreation and Parks. Many citizens used the services there frequently and considered the Wayne County Memorial Community Building a second home.
After successfully honoring its Charter and serving its communities for almost 80 years, the building was tragically consumed by fire in May, 2004. Only the memorial plaques, now installed on the wall at the Wayne County Veterans Memorial, survived. Although the building no longer exists, the memories of the thousands who passed through its doors will continue. Its purpose of honoring those from Wayne County North Carolina who sacrificed their lives in defense of this country continues on this site as well.