By Ruth A. Ringelstetter
Sometimes I stumble on things that seem too far out of the way for us to visit before something happens to them. They fall naturally, a storm passes through and destroys them, or someone buys the land and tears the building down. One of those places was in the mountains of North Carolina.
Our plan for that trip in 2010 was to drop into North Carolina, visit the old Mast store and then head straight to the Piedmont area, photographing a few more historic places as we went. I had been to the mountains before, and I knew that there were no shoulders on many of the mountain roads, so it would be hard to photograph there.
But as we got close to North Carolina, we decided that we had to spend an extra day in the mountains. At the motel, I tried to figure out the first stop for the next morning. It didn’t take me long to notice that we weren’t too far from a rusty old tin clad machine shop.
I calculated the distance from our motel and told Joann it was close to an hour to get there. I found a picture of the shop to remind her what it looked like, and she was in!
We set our alarm for o’dark thirty and went to sleep. In the morning, we loaded up the car and took off towards the machine shop (with me silently praying that I had my directions right, and the time calculated correctly).
When we arrived in front of the shop, it was still too dark to photograph. Better early than late, but it was pitch dark. Joann got her equipment ready, and then we waited until there was enough light to start photographing.
Joann was standing at the side of the road, camera lined up for the first shot, which she took the second her camera would function.
She worked her way around the building, taking various angles and sections of the building highlighting windows and doors. We knew it wasn’t likely that we would get a second opportunity, so we wanted to get all the pictures we could.
The machine shop sits right at the edge of the road, so it was lucky that we were there at first light. Since there was no traffic at that hour, Joann could pull her normal trick of standing in the middle of the road to get the best angles.
The side of the building still had the old oil tanks, as if they were waiting for the building to open and work to begin. There is little chance of that since a more current view of the building from Google Maps shows the roof beginning to cave in.
Sad to see, but at least this was one building we were able to visit before it was too late. As usual, staying in the mountains an extra day was to our advantage.
Enjoy the old relics that you see along the roadside in your travels. You never know when it will be the last time.