The Blog Main Street Is On Hold Over The Holidays: Follow the New Facebook Page for Main Street That Will Be Posting In December – Here is an Example of What You’ll Find

Merry Christmas Main Street Readers

      Merry Merry, Everyone. Hugs All Around and Thanks for Meeting Me on Main Street This Year

Since Main Street readers are all busy celebrating Advent and preparing for Christmas, there will be little time for reading blogs. Main Street will return in January 2020. However, the new Facebook Page with the same name will continue to post short pieces. Here is a sample of what the Facebook page is about. Please like and follow. I think you will enjoy learning the language of Main Street.

  Main Street Rocky Mount Facebook Page 12/5/19

Learning the language of Main Street – Historic Storefront Types. A walk down Main Street will bring to life these sketches you will find below.  FYI: the ground level of many historic commercial buildings features a storefront area. In most cases, the storefront is an important defining feature in most historic commercial districts. Preserving significant historic storefronts and restoring altered or missing storefront features are important to preservation goals. These sketches assist with the interpretation of design guidelines for historic commercial buildings.    

Early 19th Century Storefronts: These storefronts are constructed with heavy timber and have divided display windows and simple detailing.

Mid and Late 19th century Storefronts: These storefronts include an elaborately detailed cornice, cast-iron columns, and undivided display windows.

SFH: I love learning things like this, I hope you do too. I guarantee it will make your appreciation for Main Street Rocky Mount soar. We can have the most beautiful Main Street and surrounds in North Carolina. We have so many commercial buildings with their great facades. With all the great things going on, Saving Main Street can still be a top priority. Fall in love again with the architecture of this place, both commercial and residential. Becoming aware of the architectural elements of these buildings will reawaken your appreciation for what we’ve got. Remember the line from the song??? We must make sure we don’t tear down paradise and put up a parking lot.

Late 19th Century Storefronts: These storefronts include simple detailing, transom windows, and a recessed entrance.

Early 20th Century Storefronts: These storefronts include metal framed display windows, a glass grid above the display windows and a recessed entrance

Posted in A Facebook Page for Main Street Rocky Mount | Tagged | 2 Comments

Advocating for Rocky Mounts’ Shot Gun Houses – Gifts That Keep on Giving

Merry Christmas

I know the last thing on your mind as we enter this Holy Season is the shotgun houses of Rocky Mount. Under your tree, however, I am leaving this last blog post for 2019. (The Main Street Facebook page will continue to post in December) I ask that you consider these valuable assets as one of the important answers to our housing needs. How can we make a case for their protection? When it comes to the architectural appreciation of Shotguns you need eyes to see.

The answer lies in advocating the Shotgun’s historical significance. To get our feet wet, here is a short video filmed in New Orleans where after Katrina, their Preservation Group championed the saving of their Shotguns with great success.

FYI:  Shotgun houses generally consist of a gabled front porch and two or more rooms laid out in a straight line. Rooms are directly connected without hallways. Although shotgun houses are small, were inexpensively built, and generally lack amenities, they have been praised for their architectural virtues, which include the ingenious use of limited space and decoration such as gingerbread trim and brightly painted exteriors. They represent a uniquely African American contribution to architecture in the United States.

Here is a small collection of some Shotgun homes in Ward 2 that I photographed in 2018. I wrote to Councilman Blackwell about these homes without a reply. It doesn’t matter, let’s become a voice in the New Year and get active in the on-going life of these architectural assets. Protecting these houses will make our neighborhoods safer and even restored, affordable. It is a win-win for everyone.                                                                                                    SCROLL DOWN TO READ FURTHER COMMENTS

Shotgun House on Pine St. Rocky Mount, NC

Shotgun House on Pine St. Rocky Mount, NC

Double Shotgun on Star St. Rocky Mount NC

Double Shotgun on Star St. Rocky Mount NC

Shotgun House on Gay St. Rocky Mount NC

Shotgun House on Gay St. Rocky Mount

N. Vyne St Rocky Mount, NC

Star St. Rocky Mount, NC

Shotguns on Pine Street

Double Shotgun corner of Star & Harris St. Rocky Mount, NC

 

Double Shotgun on Star St. Rocky Mount, NC

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You Are Hereby Named: Thanksgiving Ambassadors For Main Street Rocky Mount

Happy Thanksgiving

 

You are hereby named Main Street Ambassadors during these Thanksgiving holidays. All of you who are spending time at home this year, expecting family or friends, young and old, have this opportunity to show off Main Street and surrounds. I will think of you Thursday with those you love and who love you too. A special day filled with good food and the joy of time together. Come Friday, I want you to put your camp director hat on and take charge of the itinerary. Go downtown and around!

 

 

The Mill has endless possibilities and so much to be proud of. I took these photos out the window of the new Books and Beans in the repurposed Mill Canteen. I felt I was looking at a dream come true. Be sure to include in your tour the Tiny Houses. The Event Center is a must if you have young folks to enjoy the play area, wall climbing, and ropes, the video section for the older kids and slides and tunnels and ball pits and more for the younger children. Go to NABS for lunch or coffee and a sweet. Your guests must stop in at Larema Coffee and see the good folks there and that preservation success. Don’t miss The Secret Garden a few steps from Larema on Tarboro St. all decked out with its beautiful floral creations and holiday gifts. I don’t know how long it has been since you visited the Train Station, but it is such an architectural prize. Of course, I am leaving out many other suggestions, but you get the idea. Be good ambassadors for Rocky Mount and show off all the new things that are going on including Station Square. Revisit the old favorites like Central Cafe and the other places that hold your memories, that tell your story and the story of this place.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours from Stepheny on Main Street

The new Event Center of Rocky Mount NC is already an economic place holder. an athletic destination.

 

 

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Relaxing With “Seek” On A Sunday Morning – Vernon Franklin Sechriest – Journalist

Vernon Franklin Sechriest

Vernon Sechriest was associated with The Rocky Mount Telegram for 55 years. Back when journalists were a special bred, Mr. Sechriest’s influence on aspiring writers and newspaper associates was said to be inspirational. A long-time editor and as a weekly columnist, he captured my attention when writing his bio for the program at the recent Hall of Fame Induction Event. His column was first titled “Main Street” and then later called “Relax.” I wish I had known about this when I first created this blog, Main Street Rocky Mount. I would have paid tribute to him then and there. Believing that it is never too late for most things, I am paying that tribute now.

Born and raised in Davidson County, he was a Duke graduate with a degree in English and history. He joined the Rocky Mount Evening Telegram staff on June 6, 1930. Mr. Sechriest’s column appeared one day in The Telegram with no introduction. While reporters were busy writing big stories, he felt that the truly interesting stories were overlooked. Mr. Sechriest said, “It is sometimes highly interesting news even when a dog bites a man.”

Here is an excerpt from one of the earliest Main Street column to be found. Chief of Police Oliver P. Hedgepath, seeing as how he had heard tell of big-time gangsters’ invasion in smaller towns and cities, is reported to have made one of his most infrequent excursions to New York last week, first to see his son, Clayton, who is well established there, and second, to find out more about big-time methods…Unfortunately, Main Street is forced to depend a great deal upon hearsay and can’t pin its information upon any individual, but, well, what’s the use of worrying about details anyway?

Growing up an only child, I’m not always happy about having to follow rules. The Kornegay Room of Braswell Memorial Library offers a substantial genealogy and local history collection focusing on the history of Rocky Mount and Nash and Edgecombe Counties. I’m not allowed to take home a small volume of Mr. Sechriests’ columns called, Relax. I thought about making a run for it so I could read this charming collection at my leisure, but Tracy, who is in charge of this research heaven, always generous with her time and knowledge, must be obeyed. I will have to come back another day to read more.

There are good things about living long enough to be able to say, I remember! In another life, this kind of column was featured in the weekly, Cadiz Record, published in Western Kentucky where I lived. They wrote about who was visiting, and what lace adorned the brides’ dress, and what the high school football team ate for breakfast on game day. It was all endearing and wonderful. It was said of Mr. Sechriest at his induction into the Hall of Fame, Class of 2019, that he lived a satisfactory life. I was moved by that simple statement. Isn’t that what we all hope for? Not only is there a golden age of detective stories, but Mr. Sechriest worked in what I think of as the golden age of journalism; a proud and honorable endeavor. I’m sorry I missed his Main Street column each week.  I will now think of him fondly, pipe in his hand, as I continue to write about Main Street as he once did.

I hope you will FOLLOW this blog and the new Facebook Page by the same name. See the side column for the buttons to hit. You never know what you might miss. I don’t smoke a pipe like V.S., but I hope he would approve of the content and writing.

Posted in People Making A Difference in Rocky Mount, Twin Counties Hall of Fame | Tagged | 5 Comments

A Reluctant Fall in Rocky Mount, NC – A Reflection From My Main Street Bench

It has been a reluctant fall this year. At first, there was a yellow cast to things that never did reach fulfillment. Of late, the colors are far from flamboyant, as if they are uninterested in achieving any grandeur at all.  Each year I await the invitation to the fall gala that takes place along the roadside. Driving along Highway 64 from Nashville to Rocky Mount and beyond, it always reminds me of passing through a receiving line where lovely gowns in different hues are admired and commented upon. “How lovely you look!” This morning I saw through the mist of light rain a rather subdued receiving line trying not to disappoint. If you are one of the lucky ones, you have a red maple of some variety planted in your garden or along your street. The maples never fail to remind me of picking up leaves on the way to school.  I would throw one down to pick up a better one. The fall color is also better one year than another. They say it has to do with the amount of light or the amount of moisture, I always forget which excuse to give. Don’t worry, next year the fall color will be better. Now if I could write about my gorgeous camellias in bloom-ah!

This piece is written and published today thinking of my father’s birthday, November 13, 1904. Norman W. Forgue often teased me, asking, “How are you going to write if you don’t learn to spell better? I did learn to write but thank goodness for spellcheck.  SFH

Click the FOLLOW button on the sidebar and join me on Main Street and ‘Like and Follow’ the new Facebook page by the same name. How are you going to keep up with things if you don’t?

Posted in Stepheny's Rocky Mount Reflections | 2 Comments

Stepheny’s Telling Of The Story of the 16th Twin County Hall of Fame Banquet – PART 2

The family and friends of Jesse Mae Jones

Stephen King, the writer, thinks the best stories are about the people rather than the event. That was true in telling this year’s story of the 2019 Hall of Fame banquet. It is inspiring when you add together the long and varied list of accomplishments this year’s inductees have contributed to the life and times of Rocky Mount. That inspiration filled the large banquet room and lifted us to a better place. You could feel the outpouring of love and respect for those who have not only gone before us but are with us: continuing to make a difference in the world. You could hear the laughter and good cheer around the tables, feel the pride of family and friends who had come to honor the stories of these ten men and women.

Everyone who attended this event brought their own amazing stories with them. Perhaps the point of the whole exercise in having a Hall of Fame is so we never forget there is this large perspective. I believe that in honoring each inductee we also honor the setting of their lives. We must not forget the important ‘others’ who have lived and are living beside each inductee. If we take them out of their context, we not only lose their essence but the history they represent. I hope my story, your story won’t be lost. Leave us here in this place, with our music, our fashions, our causes, practicing the faith of our fathers. Stories help us know where we have been, how far we’ve come and that we are not alone in our endeavors. By their work and deeds, let these good people continue to inspire us. It was said of Inductee, Vernon Sechcriest that he lived a satisfactory life. That is my prayer for all of us that we too may live a satisfactory life.

Click Here to Read Part 1 of the Banquet Story

Inductee: Marilynn Barner Anselmi-Board Members Steven Raper & Lanny Shuff

Inductee: Lynell Bynum, Grandson-Chris Falk, Board Member-Stepheny Houghtlin

Inductee: Rachel Matthews Joyner, Board Member Mae Parker, Lanny Shuff

 

Inductee-Rachel Matthews Joyner, Board Member-Jane Gravely

 

Inductee-Frank Parker Phillips, Board Member Sandra Smith

Inductee-Paul H. Peel, Jr. President-Dave Irey

Inductee Julius Pepper. Aunt Betsy Battle, Uncle Danny Austin, Board Member Jane Finch

Inductee-Robert Henry Ricks-family members: Carol Boseman Taylor, Burt Douglas, Kent Haskett

Inductee-Vernon Franklin Sechriest, Neice-Mary Sechriest, Board Member-Mary Spires

Inductee-Peter F. Varney and wife Lynn Board Member-Mae Parker

Junior ROTC Cadets from Nash Central High School and LCDR Carther F Jorgensen, USN(RET)
Chairman, Naval Science Department

Gary Hodge’s Wonderful  Photographs Featured In This Post

Posted in Rocky Mount Event Center, Twin Counties Hall of Fame | 4 Comments

Stepheny’s Telling Of The Story of the 16th Twin County Hall of Fame Banquet – PART 1

The 2019 Hall of Fame Inductee Portraits by Susan Falco

 

“Live your life in such a way that you’ll be remembered for your kindness, compassion, fairness, character, benevolence, and a force for good and respect for life, in general.”   – Germany Kent

What a difference a year makes in the evolution of a new enterprise like The Event Center. The venue for the Hall of Fame banquet was fantastic. Clean as a whistle, shiny and bright, fabulous lighting and sound system and powerpoint equipment. Like every endeavor, it is the people behind the scenes and out front tap dancing and smiling that added to the evening’s pleasure. The wait staff is a crew of personable people who performed admirably. One of the young women told me the day before as tables were being set, their marching orders were, everything must be wonderful. It still isn’t easy to get an entree out of the kitchen for nearly 400 people, but a tasty, well-presented plate it was. I write this as a preamble to the event itself because you will be delighted to know, that knowledgable people helped our planning, making every effort to please. I want you to spread the word that this prestigious event and attendees (dressed in their fine bib and tucker) shared this lovely venue with pleasure and pride.

A great wait staff

The Event Center dressed for a party

Once again, we should have had a style show for those attending the event. The ladies in red were gorgeous in their dresses and suits. It was like watching red birds flitting in the garden; bits of red throughout the audience.

It’s a toss up-who is prettier the lady wearing the hat or the hat.

A sample of the ladies in red who were red birds of delight

Several of our elected officials in attendance were introduced. Councilman & Mrs. Bullock, Councilwoman Chris Miller, and husband and the cities newly elected mayor and wife. Sorry, I don’t have Mr. Bullock’s photo or of the five Nash County Commissioners and county manager among the guests.

Councilwoman Chris Miller and husband

Mayor-Elect and Mrs. Sandy Roberson

There would be no Twin County Hall of Fame banquet without the tireless efforts of the President of the board, Dave Iery, and Board Members who serve with pleasure.

Dave Iery-President

Lanny Shuff-Board Memb

Tony Williams, Lanny Shuff, Steve Raper, John Jesso, Skip Carney, and Mike Frye. Of course, it is the talented women of the board that keep these gentlemen straight. Tiffney Delano-Treasurer, Amanda Bell, Jane Finch, Mae Parker, Haven Weston, Mary Wells, Mary Perry, Maria Newcomb, Stepheny Houghtlin.

Board Members
Michael Frye and Steve Raper

Skip Carney-Board Member
Master of Ceremonies

Sandra Smith-Board Member

Board Members
Stepheny Houghtlin
Jane Gravely

Board Members
Chris Miller, Jane Gravely, Mary Spires

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Part 2 we will get to the heart of the matter- the ten inductees. Don’t miss it.  ALL photos except the final two are the wonderful work of Gerry Hodges.

“When we hear what God has done with others, it inspires us and expands our hearts with greater faith, vision, and purpose. ”                                              Matt Brown, Awakening 

Posted in Rocky Mount Event Center, Twin Counties Hall of Fame | Tagged , | 5 Comments