Sandhills Trip Diary
Created June 21, 1999. Updated July 22, 1999.


Links to photo images. (Descriptions will follow later.)
Unless otherwise noted, all photos were taken with a Kodak DC120 digital camera. The scanned photos were taken with a Minolta 35mm of the "point & shoot" variety and scanned on Radiojerry's Artec A6000C Plus flatbed scanner.

Conover, North Carolina

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We arrived in Fayetteville, NC, around 10:30AM, Sunday, June 13, fuming mad from the agonizingly long journey. We picked up our rental car at the airport and contacted Judy's brother, Jerry Lambert, and spent the next hour or so locating his residence in Spring Lake. We visited with him for a bit and left around 3:30PM headed for Conover and a family get-together at Becky's. We arrived at our predicted time of 6:00PM and enjoyed the company of my youngest brother, Roger, his wife Diane, his oldest daughter, Susan, and the male/female twinset of Allen and Hope. 451 is a group shot of Roger and his family and 452 thru 456 are individual photos.

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We were overnight guests of Larry and Becky Carroll. 459 is Becky, 457 and 462 are Larry and "Jessie". 463a and 479 are individual photos of the lovable Jessie. Their daughter, Brandy, was also there but she left before the picture-taking got started.
Other guests were my mom and her husband, Laura Woods Spradling and Frank Spradling (pictures 460 and 461). During this visit, my mom asked me to photograph her father's headstone while I was in Moore County.
Another distinguished guest was my next younger sister, Penny (458). Shortly after our return to Texas, we learned that Penny was found to have a lump on one kidney that statistically is 85% likely to be cancerous and several kidney stones in the other kidney and chemical imbalances in her liver. She goes into surgery July 21st and at the time of this writing, it is undetermined whether the one kidney will be removed with the other giving problems. A liver biopsy is also scheduled for that same surgery. All our prayers and best wishes are with her. Penny is a RN and she is well aware of the odds and the risks.

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Becky and Larry have always been a close and traditional family. These are photos of pictures they have hanging on their walls of themselves and their two daughters, Brandy and Jennifer, at different ages.

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This summer, my nephew, Jason, got married. He is the son of my next younger brother, Johnny. Becky had some photos of the wedding and I attempted to make copies with the digital camera. The wedding cake was Gwendolyn's creation and she got plenty of compliments on her work. Gwendolyn is Johnny's wife.

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This picture (the original) is also hanging on Becky's wall. It is actually a painting taken from two separate photos of Charles and Laura Lentz (my mom and dad). The original is over 50 years old and is badly spotted. I photographed it with the digital camera and when I got back to Texas, I spent two hours re-touching it on the computer. 477b was saved halfway through the re-touch process after the frame had been cropped out and all the blemishes and stains painted over. I almost left it at this point for another day because removing the glare from the flash seemed like such a difficult task. However, after stretching my legs and pouring another glass of Pepsi, I sat back down and knocked out the rest of it. 477 is the finished product. BEGIN1.JPG is what the picture looked like without any retouch work. CHASLAUR.JPG is a scan of a photo taken on our 1997 visit. This was a 35mm shot of this same picture using no flash and a long exposure.
478 is my grandmother's clock. I can remember when this clock worked perfectly (it has been silent for a number of years, now). It chimed the hours and went "ding" on the half hour. It is now displayed with pride and respect in Becky's house.

Mooresville, North Carolina

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Although we only lived in Mooresville for one year (1950-1951), it was a pretty significant year in our family's history. Johnny was born here and it was also the jumping off point to Baltimore, MD, where my father would spend the remainder of his life. We moved to Baltimore in the summer of 1951 and he died on Penny's birthday, August 3, 1959.

After Larry prepared a fabulous breakfast for us, Monday morning, we hit the road for Moore County with a sightseeing tour in Mooresville. Judy did some last minute K-Mart shopping in Conover on our way out of town. I snapped a couple of photos of our rental car while she was in K-Mart. 480 and 481 are of the 1999 Olds Intrigue we had for the week. It proved to quite comfortable and adequate for our travels.
Just a few minutes after turning south on I-77 at Statesville, we took the second Troutman exit and continued southward into Mooresville. This brought us into town on Broad Street and the location of our last residence before moving to Baltimore. Although the street numbers have changed since then, we were at 338 N. Broad St. (photos 482 thru 485). In these photos, the railroad track runs north-south. 482 is looking northwest onto the lot where the apartment house stood. It looked like a big conventional house but the interior was divided up into several apartments. The crew-cab pickup is in what would have been part of the front yard. 484 is looking southwest across the tracks. In this photo, the white standard cab pickup and the dark blue car parked next to it would have been the location of the front porch. From this spot, the view in 483 is about a 45 degree swing to the left. 483 is a store that could well have been there when we lived there. Will have to check with Mom and see if she remembers it. 485 is the same view as 484 but closer to the tracks and looking towards town. In several of these photos, you can see a large 2-story house across the street from where we lived. I don't remember exactly what the house looked like but there was one very similar in the same spot in 1951. I'm thinking this is probably the same structure.
From where the crewcab truck is parked, I used to stand and watch a northbound steam-powered passenger train pass by each day around midday. It was a beautiful sight - a green Southern Railroad locomotive with white rims on the drivers. It would stop about 1/2 mile north of us to take on water. I always wanted to ride that train. There were also a number of Greyhound buses passing by, including one at 3:00PM. One day, we were on that 3:00PM Greyhound headed for Baltimore. I was disappointed because I wanted to go on the train.

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This series of photos was taken around the downtown area. 486 is looking south, down Main St.
487 and 488 are the site of South School where I attended 2nd grade. The First Baptist Church is still standing. The new building to the left sits on what was the school playground and the empty lot to the left of that is where the school building stood.
489 is the hospital where Johnny was born. I remember being left alone on the sidewalk alongside that low embankment several times for long periods while a family member was hospitalized. Children weren't allowed in the hospital and 1950, society had not yet degenerated to where it was unsafe for 7-year-old to be left on the street.
490 and 491 are of the church we attended. Back then, it was the Wesleyan Methodist Church. Today, it is First Wesleyan. This is apparently the original building. It looks the same as I remember it.

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These photos were taken around our residence at 85 Mills Avenue. This was our first Mooresville address. The street numbers have changed here as well. This is now the 400 block. In 492, our house was the white and gray one on the left. The Whitlow family lived in the red house to the right. Of course, I am not absolutely positive that either of these structures are the ones from 1950 but ours had the same layout and front porch and sat on the exact spot so it would be a surprise to me if this house turned out to be a newer structure. The street where I stood to take the photo did not exist when we were there. Across from our house was a large wooded area and we used to go into those woods and pick the best blackberries you could imagine. My dad loved to cook and blackberry pie was one of his specialties. This is were we lived when Johnny was born. The Whitlow family fed me and Penny while Mom was at the hospital delivering Johnny. The house was not underpenned at the time and Penny and I would occasionally go way back under the house because it was cool and dry and the ground was soft and very powdery. We would come out very much dirtier than usual so Mom would always fuss at us about going under there.
493 gives you a small glimpse of the Burlington Mill which has been the lifeblood of Mooresville. It was just as big in 1950 as it is now. At shift change, a huge steam whistle would blow at the mill and from our front yard you could see 3 plumes of steam coming from the cross-shaped whistle when it was howling.
497 is the very pleasant manager of the local Hardee's where we grabbed a bite before going on to Aberdeen. He was our age, a Vietnam vet and had a name tag identifying him as a Lambert (Judy's maiden name). We had a long and enjoyable chat with Mr. Lambert and told him his picture would eventually make it to our trip diary on the internet.

Aberdeen, North Carolina

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These photos are the house in Aberdeen, next to the railroad tracks, where Lelia Woods died in 1968 at the age of 82. Two were taken directly across the street from the house and show the empty lot where Shamburger Oil once stood. In 500, just beyond the closest telephone pole is the empty lot where there was once a huge tobacco auction barn.
These photos and the rail photos in the next section were taken on Monday evening just as we had gotten into Aberdeen from Conover and Mooresville. We went out to Jerry Lambert's after it got dark and we spent the night with him. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights were spent at the Airborne Lodge on Fort Bragg.

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In the final minutes of daylight, we went to downtown Aberdeen and saw three private railroad cars next to the Aberdeen & Rockfish building and a 4th up the tracks about a block away. We encountered the cartaker of one of the cars and discovered that all the congestion we had encountered while travelling through Pinehurst was due to the U S Open. He was with the 1202R "Katy" car from Chester, SC. He took us inside for a quick sightseeing tour (the first look inside a private railroad car for both of us). He told us that the other two cars had come from Charlotte and Atlanta. I think he said the one down the tracks had come from Florida. Their owners were in town for the golf tournament.
531 and 532 were taken two days later on a traverse that would take us from Aberdeen to Bethesda Cemetery, Bethesda Road in Southern Pines and eventually to Doubs Chapel and my grandfather's grave site. These photos are of the Aberdeen & Rockfish Railroad engine shop.
Some of the facts about private railcars (per the caretaker): The small black 6-digit number is how Amtrak identifies the individual car. All other markings are insignificant to Amtrak. A car has to meet certain standards to be pulled with an Amtrak train and that six-digit number means the car is Amtrak-qualified. Amtrak-qualified or not, sometimes the car has to be moved with a freight train. Under those conditions, the only riders allowed in the car are no more than two "security riders". However, if the car is owned by a railroad and travelling on its home tracks, then it may carry other passengers while part of a freight train.
I think if I had anywhere near Bill Gates' money, I would spend a lot of time on the rails in my OWN private rail car; perhaps even my own private train, complete with locomotive.

The Lambert family

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Southern Pines

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Doubs Chapel

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Graham, North Carolina

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Airborne Lodge, Fort Bragg, North Carolina

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The Return Trip

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