Tuesday, August 11, 2015

North Carolina April 2015 On to the Outer Banks with a family history stop on the way April 18

In 1990, while living in NC I had made a day trip to the Outer Banks-Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills, specifically and in 1960 or so, Don had visited the same places, as a boy, with his family.  I knew we didn't want to be near those towns as the campgrounds were more expensive but I still remembered the towns as being small-ish.  We had reservations for a campground on Hatteras Island, which was way to the south, so early on the morning of April 18 we set out east across NC.

As we trundled along I noticed that we would pass right through Columbia, NC.  This is where Don's maternal grandmother's family is from and I said I thought it would be fun to see it.  He has cousins north of there in Camden whom we'd visited but had never gone to Columbia where his great grands had a pharmacy.  It happened that it was lunch time as we neared Columbia, we all (pets included) needed to stretch our legs AND there was a brilliant visitor's center right off the highway.  So off we went.  Columbia is on the Scuppernong River and at the Visitor's Canter there is a boardwalk that meanders along it, under the highway and over to the main street in town.

Boardwalk along Scuppernong River

Stretching their legs

Scuppernong River (Scuppernong is a type of grapes)

The weather had been nice but clouds rolled in though it rained for only a moment

The story behind this movie theater was fascinating as told to us by Don's 90 year old cousin. There was a cinema there already but in the late 1930's a young German man, desperate to escape having to serve in the army of the Third Reich, stowed aboard a train, managed to make it all the way to England and onto a ship headed for the US.  While onboard he was discovered and held.  When they arrived in NY harbor as they were taking him from the ship he leaped overboard and managed to swim to shore and avoid capture.  From there he rode the rails until he arrived in Columbia where he went to work in this theater.  In those days of Jim Crow there were separate sections for blacks and whites and the "black section" simply had benches while the "whites" had plush seats.  He objected to this, as he'd seen what discrimination and bigotry lead to so he set about to change it-not without criticism but with success. The cinema is no longer operational today.

We kept trying to figure out which building could have been the family drug store.  Don said the building in the far left of this photo was too young.  It wasn't.  His cousin Nancy identified it as being the same.  I only have a picture because I liked the Scuppernong Mill House!
Looking up Main Street

At the end of Main St the boardwalk ends so we walked back to the Visitor's Canter on it

As we walked past this tree I liked the reflection.  It wasn't until I took the photo that I realized it looked like it was floating in the sky

We got back on Rte 64 East and headed across flat lands with low brush and canals

Which gave way to marshes

And the first of a series of bridges out to the islands...

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