Source: Daily Reflector Negative Collection, East Carolina Manuscript Collection #741
Staff Person: Dale Sauter
The image below documents the very first Hardee’s restaurant founded by Wilber Hardee. This photograph was taken in September 1960 for use in a Daily Reflector print advertisement to promote the grand opening of the restaurant. Contrary to popular belief, the first Hardee’s was not in Rocky Mount, but right down the road at 14th and Charles Streets. Part of the confusion exists because the first franchised version of the restaurant was in Rocky Mount. As the story goes, two businessmen from Rocky Mount partnered with Hardee but eventually gained control of the franchise.
Unfortunately, the original building no longer stands. Mr. Hardee has published a quite interesting account of his life (mostly spent in the local area) entitled The Life and Times of Wilber Hardee: Founder of Hardee’s. It is currently available in the NC Collection (TX910.5.H32 A4 2000).
A finding aid for the Daily Reflector Negative Collection, 1949-1967 is available at Manuscript Collection #741
We are currently working on a more detailed finding aid for this important collection that documents everyday life in the Greenville area. Please contact us with any questions or comments you may have.