Mottos from Apex...
For over three decades, Apex has been the "Peak of Good Living." It's on the "Welcome to Apex" signs, the water tower and the town stationery. The annual celebration is known as "Peak Week" or "Peak Fest," and the bypass that encircles the town is called the "Peakway." The coolest place to hang out is the Peak City Grill, and there's a local band called the Peak City Sound. There's Peak City Brewing, Peak City Tennis, Peak Home Improvements, Peak Pool & Spa, and Peakway Village. You get the picture.
But what was the town motto before we became “The Peak of Good Living”? When we were growing up in the fifties and sixties, Apex was known as “The Town of Opportunity” and “The City of Tomorrow.” Which seemed comical at the time, since Apex sat still while municipalities like Cary and Morrisville capitalized on the economic opportunities created by the Research Triangle Park. As kids, we thought our parents were nuts for imaging our sleepy little community as the “City of Tomorrow.”
And speaking of comical, what would you suppose was the first motto adopted by the Town of Apex? “Pluck, Perseverance, and Paint.” That’s right: “Pluck, Perseverance, and Paint.” Our founders considered these the key virtues that built Apex after a devastating Civil War and then rebuilt the community again and again after fires, epidemics, and the collapse of the turpentine and tobacco markets.
The reason this motto sounds strange to modern ears is that the noun "pluck” has all but disappeared from modern English usage. A century ago pluck was defined as “courage or resolution in the face of difficulties,” “readiness to fight or continue against odds,” and “the strength of mind that enables a person to endure pain or hardship.” Contemporary synonyms are boldness, fortitude, gutsiness, and grit.
The motto did not sound strange or comical in the early years of the twentieth century. In fact, it was such a good motto that the City of Raleigh—yes, Raleigh, the capital of North Carolina! — “borrowed” it from us to use for themselves. Go to the Olivia Raney Local History Library and read the News and Observer from January 1, 1913. To paraphrase Elvis: “Thank you, Raleigh. Thank you very much. Thank you.” After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
If you’d like to read more about Apex history, read our book, Pluck, Perseverance, and Paint: Apex, North Carolina: Beginnings to 1941 (Halcyon Press, 2010). Copies available at The Rusty Bucket in Historic Downtown Apex and at Quail Ridge Bookstore in Raleigh.