Edgemont – A Jewel In Rocky Mount’s Crown – Part 1

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I wonder if you have eyes to see? Let me show you something that lay beneath an overlay of time. In some cases, that time has dimmed the color and vivaciousness of what once was, but don’t be put off by that. I want you to look at the historic district of Edgemont, a subdivision three blocks east of Main Street in Rocky Mount. The principal avenue is Tarboro Street, flanked by Sycamore and Hill Streets, that compose the core of the area. There are also four crossing streets and service alleys through the centers of the blocks.

The first time I drove through Edgemont it was as if I had discovered a table laid before me set with beautiful crystal, china, and sterling silver. I know you’ll think this too flowery, but Edgemont deserves hyperbole! What we are looking at is a significant area in the community’s development that is one of the major subdivisions of the city’s pre-World War II boom. The area warrants our attention and newfound appreciation. In the world of real estate, Edgemont has one of the most intact collections of historical residential designs in Rocky Mount. These houses and garages of matching architectural design have strong architectural significance.

Please share this post with any realtors you know because this is a call to them and everyone who appreciates architecture and our history;  go and reacquaint yourselves with the area. Imagine how these homes came to be.  Think of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, which had its repair shops in Rocky Mount, and the town’s tobacco market booming in the early twentieth century. Edgemont developed as one of the most stylish of the town’s neighborhoods. For the next twenty-five years doctors, lawyers, tobacconists, salesmen, clerks, and employees of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad built Bungalows, Foursquare’s, Colonial and Tudor Revival style houses on the spacious, flat lots. The preservation of this exceptional neighborhood is in keeping with a sense of place that is available to those who are drawn here. Edgemont is exactly what they want in their lives, but if realtors don’t bring them into the area, how will it be found? What could be better than owning a home that honors the past, while going forth from your front door into the future?

We will continue with more about Edgemont tomorrow. I want to leave you with a Harry Potter line from the Goblet of Fire. Harry walks into what looks to be a small ordinary tent from the outside. When he steps inside he finds a large and beautifully decorated palace-looking space. Amazed, he slowly grins. Harry says, “I love magic.”

Edgemont is a magic kind of place.

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Special Agent Fred Holdsworth – A Font of Knowledge

Among many things, Fred is a writer. He is blessed with a sense of humor and a long memory. He has had several incarnations as a teacher, before and after he was a special agent for the railway. His interest in Civil War history has earned him the designation, “buff.” Long fascinated with weather, you will see him on WHIG-TV as the weatherman. He rises early to prepare his charts before arriving at the station. I can vouch for his driving skills after riding shotgun in his car for several hours over railroad crossings, through tunnels on Kingston Ave, past an overgrown parking lot that once served the yard. He pointed out the names of everything we passed and who once had a business on this corner or another. We looked at the Tobacco Platform, my favorite shed that I can imagine all kinds of uses for. I saw the Charlie Baker switch and from a distance, the tower and yard office, the Maintenance of Way Signal Department and the windows in the train station that once belonged to Captain Billy Hill and Lieutenant Doug Langston. Many of you will recognize the name Seth Currie, ‘Red,’ and Brent Edward, the special agent after ‘Red.” Fred is an encyclopedia of railroad history and the Rocky Mount connections. I can hardly wait to revisit the Edgemont historic district, once home to many, railroad families.  Fred has lots of ‘special agent stories’ to write, and I am on the case to see that he does. Thank you, Fred, for sharing your expertise and memories allowing me to write further on Main Street Rocky Mount.

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Once the Freight Agency – A Building Waiting To Be Born Again

 PS: As our society has changed, so have the nations railroads, and so has the railroad police service.  Railroad policing has developed into a highly specialized branch. The modern day railroad police officer/special agent is more than just the hired gun from a hundred years ago.  Their experience, training, and tactics make them some of the most capable law enforcement officers in the country.

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