I saw Stith – Talbert Park for the first time on the 3rd day of September. It would have been a perfect time for people to head to the park for a ballgame. The heat was still intense but one could hope that the shadows of the early evening might bring relief. On the lush green carpet of the ball field, young men at practice were throwing a ball around the bases and then the unforgettable sound of balls hit into the outfield. I have Tarrick Pittman and Sam Battle to thank for bringing me to the Park. They were once ballplayers themselves. I listened to them reminisce about their youthful summers when they walked to the field with their bat and glove in hand. Those were the days when local businesses sponsored teams, and organizations like The Optimist Club were involved. Families watched their youth play ball and enjoyed a snowcone.
I was teary as I took some photos, remembering all the games at Wrigley Field with my parents watching the Cubs play and Harry Cary leading, Take Me Out To The Ballgame. People on the train heading North after work looking for the winning flag or not, flying from the flagpole as the train passed by. I thought of several boys I dated and watched play during the high school Spring seasons and then in the summer leagues. Perhaps Tarrick, Sam, and I were sharing a moment of grief for the loss of those summers that are easily revisited in a setting like this beautiful, manicured space.
It was explained to me that the field is used for practice but games are played at The Stadium. That has to change. Play a ballgame and people will come to Seith-Talbert Park once more. We sat looking out on this setting trying to problem solve….how to recapture the days of leagues and sponsors. Terrick and Sam remain friends, with those they played baseball with. There is the importance of discipline in playing a sport, learning to be accountable to a team, to show up, and play hard. We must give this generation of kids the great opportunity to smell fresh-cut grass, to hear the magical sound of chatter, and watch a pitcher wind up. Think what a gift this would be to those who will look back one day and remember the pride they felt in playing The American Game. This Park is a jewel in Ward 1 and by next summer, there is the hope to have some teams and sponsors put together. Get involved with this planning. Call Tarrick and have at it. Imagine the call from the home plate umpire, LET’S PLAY BALL!
“Walt Whitman once said, ‘I see great things in baseball. It’s our game. The American game. It will repair our losses and be a blessing to us.’ You could look it up.” (From The Movie-Bull Durham)
FYI: The expression, Boys of Summer, comes from a 1972 baseball book by Roger Kahn called Boys of Summer. The book is about The Brooklyn Dodgers, who broke the hearts of their fans when they moved to Los Angeles. That book got its title from a Dylan Thomas poem, publised in 1939, called, I See the Boys of Summer.
You too can put your hand on the beautiful old brick at the Washington Street Grille. In fact, I insist. Show others what they are missing, help them look up and SEE what is going on around them. Besides the ambiance the preservation of this architectural building provides, there must be good food. At the WSG, there is an ample menu to select from, an appealing presentation, everything made from scratch.
Starting with Sweet Tea (of course) my choice…salmon on a bed of greens. Very good.
My friend, Polly Warner, picked three side dishes, which she loved. Collards, black-eyed peas, and the succotash dish she raved about. You could go straight for the dessert menu. There will be gluten-free choices in the future. Before Polly took over, I was able to scrape around the edge of a yummy mixed berry (blueberries and strawberries) cobbler with homemade vanilla ice cream, avoiding the cobbler part. The restaurant is not ready for Sunday brunch, but our meal, service, (everybody checking to be sure we were happy,) was a great way to spend a few Sunday hours.
If you missed PART ONE about The Washington Street Grill –Click Here
Around the corner from Prime Smokehouse
Steps away from the new Edgecombe Community College Building
It starts with a dream, a vision of what is possible if you renovate a beautiful old building, give it a new life and a reason to carry on. In this case, Garland Clark was the dreamer, who renovated this wonderful building back in 2014- 2015 and has now passed his work and effort on to partners Robert McBride and Darrell Brown, owners of the NEW Washington Street Grille. Their official opening was Saturday, July 17th. I got there as soon as I could.
You’ll be proud of me. Walking into this great space to meet a young friend I got teary, of course, but I didn’t rush right over to put my hand on the beautiful old brick. I saved that for last. I was meeting Carole Mehle (Click Here – For Previous Post About Carole) for an overdue catch-up. I met Carole not long after starting the Main Street blog at the Belmont Artisans Center where she has a small studio. Carole is a Rocky Mount native and cheerleader for the revitalization taking place. She is looking to move downtown, she has vast local knowledge. Though it was Carole’s first time at the Grille, she knew many of the young people, former & current students that were either dining or working. Owner McBride visited the table, welcoming us, full of enthusiasm, asking for patience should we encounter a glitch….we had none! Good food, good service, we were thrilled to support this new endeavor.
You do get it right?…… stepping out of your car where the future is happening, admiring the “wanna be” buildings that are full of promise, a street on the edge of ECC that is excited to have this restaurant, and YOU are there in the midst of it. Come downtown with friends, family, add your footprint, leave some money, enjoy good food and an atmosphere even a cynic can’t deny. One day when you can’t find a parking space and have to wait in line at one of the many new restaurants, you can claim…I KNEW THIS REVITALIZATION WAS GOING to WORK!
Delicious menu posted on website: http://www.washingtonstreetgrille.com
Monday-Thursday Lunch 11am – 3pm Dinner 5pm – 10pm
Friday Lunch 11am – 3 pm Dinner 3 pm – 11pm
Saturday Lunch 11am – 3pm Dinner 3pm – 11pm
Sunday Brunch 10am – 2pm Dinner 2pm – 9pm
Standing in the PRM Architectural Salvage Store you ask yourself, “What can be done with all these great windows?” “Look at these wonderful old doors.” I will let these images, found on Pinterest, speak for themselves and serve as your inspiration. Which of these projects is your favorite? Leave a comment below. You can see there are endless possibilities for windows (and all manner of other things) found at 910 Falls Road. Store Hours: Friday & Saturday 10:00-12:00 or by appointment. 252-985-1804
“You must learn how to extract things of value out of things that seem totally worthless.”
Pastor Adelaja Sunday
What the heck is the Preservation Architectural Salvage Store? It sells historic and reclaimed architectural features. Items are donated to the store and sold at a reduced and affordable price. Many items are sourced from homes slated for demolition to ensure that irreplaceable materials are preserved. Donations of architectural pieces to the Salvage Store are tax deductible and welcome. These are some of the facts but wait….
I often drive by Preservation Rocky Mount’s Architectural Salvage store on Falls Road. Since the signage isn’t overwhelming, you may not have noticed the place. Thanks to Margaret Sowerwine, who has the keys to the Kingdom, and is the wind under the wings of the store, I made my first visit. What a place!
To get you ready for this amazing place we must reaffirm our beliefs. When a baptism takes place in the Episcopal Church, there is a series of questions that the parents, godparents, and congregation answer…. Do you believe kind of questions? Please answer with gusto! Do you believe that salvaged architecture and building supplies sold at the Preservation Salvage Store are a quintessential element of the culture and history of Rocky Mount and Eastern NC? WE DO! That maintaining and protecting this significant part of the city’s heritage is the key foundation of the Preservation Salvage Store? WE DO! We believe that preserving a city’s architecture is tantamount to preserving its soul. We believe it is critical that we maintain our staunch defense of the city’s rich architectural legacy. We believe that people who love to tinker with things need this store when looking for bits and pieces. We believe the store is a perfect place to find garden ornamentation. We believe the store is the place to find a gift YOU WANT to give to your spouse!
Below you find Heart Pine flooring, doors of all sizes and shapes, mantle surrounds, tile, shutters, window frames with and without glass. light fixtures, and much more. Please visit: Preservation Rocky Mount Website which includes important Salvage Store information.
Store Hours Friday & Saturday 10:00-12:00 or by appt. 252-985-1804
Tomorrow – Ideas for recycled old salvage windows available at PRM Salvage Store
Battle Park Cemetery, Nash County, NC
1308 Falls Road
Rocky Mount, NC
The story of the Battle family is a long and interesting tale. I spent time the other day exploring the Battle Park Cemetery once owned by The Rocky Mount Mills. At their deaths, many employees of the Mills, and their families, are buried in this place. Standing beneath the large shade trees, I looked across this silent space and thought of the stories of those buried that have been waiting to be told. Now this is going to be possible.
You are aware that after a long slumber, the Rocky Mount Mills is awakening again. The memories that have been floating in the dust mots throughout the Mill buildings and Village homes are about to be captured. These stories are going to be preserved.
Who are the families buried in Battle Park Cemetery? You might want to read Linda Moore’s informative article listing the names of those buried there. She says, “Time has taken its toll on the cemetery. Through the years many of the headstones or grave markers have deteriorated; some are difficult to read.” Thankfully, Ms. Moore prepared a survey of this cemetery in September 1997 when she located a cemetery survey in a Nash County tombstone transcription book in the research room of Braswell Memorial Library in Rocky Mount, NC.
If you are a family member with a memory, you will be glad to know that the Mills have made arrangements with the Community Histories Workshop at UNC to begin Oral Histories with the Mills Families. PLEASE!!! scroll down and leave your contact information at the bottom of this post or go directly to the oral history site to sign up so you can contribute to these oral histories. Visit: http://communityhistories.org/rmm/oralhistory/ OR contact Elijah Gaddis at firstname.lastname@example.org
Keep checking the Community Histories website. I will keep you posted too. There is a Mills Reunion scheduled in October and there will be other dates of importance in this process of gathering stories. This is a big deal, folks. We thank all the people at the Rocky Mount Mills for this exciting new relationship with the Community Histories Workshop at UNC.
SURNAMES buried in Battle Park Cemetery: ADKINS; ALLEN; ANDREWS; BAINES; BASS; BATCHELOR; BIGGS; BISHOP; BOSWELL; BRADSHAW; BROWN; CAIN; CARTER; CANNON; CASEY; CHERRY; COLEY; CONWAY; COOPER; COUNCIL; CREECH; CRUSENBERRY; DAVIS; ELLISON; EZZELL; FRANKS; GILBERT; HARRIS; HARVEY; HOWELL; HUDSON; HUX; JOHNSON; JOYNER; KING; KNIGHT; KOONCE; LEWIS; LINDSEY; MAJORS; MANN; MATHIS; MATTHEWS; MOORE; MORRIS; MUNN; NASSER; NEAL; NELMS; NELSON; NEWMAN; NEWTON; ODOM; OLIVER; OSTERBURY; OUTLAW; PAGE; PEARCE; PEELE; PHELPS; PIERCE; PINER; POWELL; PREGEN; PRICE; RAMSEY; RILEY; RIVERBARK; ROBARDS; ROGERS; SANDEFORD; SANDLIN; SHERIDAN; SKINNER; SMITH; STEVEY; STEWART; STONE; STRICKLAND; TAYLOR; WARD; WILLIAMS; WOMBLE; WOODCOCK
Charles Dunn graciously took me on a ‘drive around’ one day. It was my first visit to Pineview Cemetery. I thought of Allen Gurganus, who wrote the opening piece in a book called 27 Views of Hillsborough – Old Houses & Young Men. “Something about living in sight of stones that stand for persons expired these two and a half centuries its…….restful” I might add that Gurganus’s contribution is worth the price of the book. I love stone statuary found in gardens and cemeteries. Visit my Pinterest Board on the subject. This sleeping angel is found in Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington, DC. She finds the cemetery restful too.
A brief reminder about Pineview: the oldest and largest of the cemeteries owned and operated by the City of Rocky Mount. It is located on the south side of Raleigh Road between Pineview St. and Fairview Rd., in eastern Rocky Mount. Looking across the cemetery there is a line where the angels and larger monuments stop and smaller monuments continue on helping to date the cemetery. Pineview was purchased on May 6, 1889 from what was the Rocky Mount Cemetery Association. Additional land around the cemetery was later purchased by the city to increase the graveyard’s area to 70 acres. There are plots from the 1700s and 1800s. The cemetery is split into sections; a Jewish section, a veterans’ section near Waks Street, and even a paupers’ field near the office on Pineview Street. I found it a blessed moment quietly reading the head stones of families that have made an impact on Rocky Mount. In the mystery of things, I hope they know their good deeds live on.
“Live an exemplary life as a leader. When you are gone, you will still lead from the grave because your influence, impacts and inspirations, will become information for the living.”
Israelmore Ayivor, Leaders’ Ladder
I Invite you to FOLLOW this blog to keep me company on Main Street Rocky Mount
Passing Through The Hands of Strangers
I’d never been to Nash General Hospital until our first great grandchild was born six months ago. The new parents extolled the care and kindness they were experiencing. In all the excitement, I paid little attention to my surroundings noting only that the hospital was clean and bright. Fast forward to my second visit at 1:00AM on Sunday morning in a night shirt and robe through the Emergency Room door looking worse for the wear and definitly not my usual ‘cute’ self. I’m terrible with names, and when you are feeling “worser” and “worser” there was little hope. Through the rest of the night the ER people came and went, calm, confident, and with an attitude that said, we will fix this.
Health care, it’s a consideration at any age, but certainly in retirement when people say if it isn’t one thing, it’s another. It is a consideration when enticing people to move to Rocky Mount. Coming from UNC Hospital where they saved Bob’s life when he had a dissected aorta, and from Duke Hospital where the head shoulder man in Sports Medicine fixed my broken shoulder and repaired a torn rotator cuff while he was at it, you will forgive a thought that wondered what kind of care was possible anywhere but. Hence this reflection on Nash General.
Let it be known that people are waiting on the other side of that emergency room door that act as if they have been waiting their whole trained professional life to help you. A perfectly energetic young Dr. in green scrubs bounced in, all smiles, saying that my 169 heart rate needed some fixing. Throughout the night others were part of that process. I got invited to stay and was tucked in a 5th floor room where an amazing parade of cheery souls wearing different hats did their particular jobs well. In the quiet moments before headed home, I was able to think back over what had happened. I had been passed through the hands of strangers who were treating a stranger. MY LIFE MATTERED! even though no one knew my story or purpose or who I love or loved me. The Hospital deserves our prayers of thanksgiving, money to continue their mission, and is definitely a place to show off when perspective businesses come looking to locate here. But then you knew that, I hope.
Raising a glass of Sweet Tea to many strangers who received me and fixed things.
“The arts are the best insurance policy a city can take on itself.”
Woody Dumas, former Mayor of Baton Rouge
In our day to day lives of work and family responsibilities, there isn’t a lot of time to wax poetic over a question like, what speaks to the stability of a community? That’s why I am writing this post. When I first launched this blog last July, I visited the BAAC where the people involved are welcoming and talented. Unable to draw a straight line myself, I am thankful for the beauty creative people bring to our lives.
I grew up in Evanston, a suburb north of Chicago, and was taken regularly into the city, to the ballet, to the opera, to museums, and theater. The city provided a cultural playground. I understand how the arts speak to the stability of a community, how necessary they are, not only for those who live here, but for the people moving to Rocky Mount. They want a diverse population, a cultural context that the Mills, Railroad, and Tobacco stories provide. They want a historically relevant sense of place, and they want a place that offers art, music and theater.
I think you would agree that those of us who live busy lives often take for granted places in Rocky Mount that are important pieces in the revitalization puzzle. Think of the Tar River Orchestra & Chorus, the many facets of The Imperial Centre for the Arts & Sciences, The Dunn Center for the Performing Arts, and the Artisans Center: all essential to the stability of the community. The Artisans Center is an incubator space for creative people with plenty of room for expansion. It has endless potential still untapped. I’m concerned this place will remain under appreciated until we understand what a critical piece the arts have in drawing people to the area and the enrichment of our own lives.
The Bel Air Artisans Center has had extensive love and money poured into the building, turning it into a creative place for the entire community. The building is for sale, but its mission remains important to the future. This is a plea to artists, for all creative people in the community to consider your significant role in the future of the city. I want the community to rally around all the arts because they represent more than we may have realized. In the case of the Artisans Center, you may not need a studio, but you would enjoy the inspiration of artists hard at work. Visit, bring friends, let’s think of enriching ways to entice people to the BAAC. Support music, the performing arts, the cultural scene. And….don’t be surprised if you find me in the street directing traffic towards
115 S. CHRUCH STREET. Hours: Thursday-Saturday 10-5 (252) 442-8115