Dean-O-Matic

Posts Tagged ‘neon

Midway Drive-In Theatre, Thomasville, NC

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Midway Drive-In, Thomasville, NC, 1992 by Dean Jeffrey

One of the reasons I love Flickr, part 2:

Way back in 1992 I shot a few slides of what was left of the Midway Drive-In in Thomasville, NC. At that point, there wasn’t much there except for the sign and the vacant land where the theater had been. When I went to post those images on Flickr nearly twenty years later, I couldn’t find any info online about the theater. Nothing on Cinema Treasures; nothing on any of the other drive-in sites. So I went ahead and stuck the pictures up there, hoping that some day I’d find out more about the Midway.

About a year after I posted them, I got a Flickr message from the grandson of the owner:

“Hi, my grandfather was the general manager and later owner of the Midway Drive-In. I have searched for years for a photo of our marquee sign and I just found it on your Flickr page. My grandparents both worked their entire lives at the Midway. My grandmother died last year. My grandfather is still alive, and I would love to get a large copy of your photo framed and matted for his birthday.”

Really? Hell, yes. Of course you can print that image for your grandfather! I asked him for a little more info about the Midway, and he replied with:

“My grandfather is Jack Malphurs. He worked as a general manager for Consolidated Theaters from 1951 to 1956 at a drive-in in Charlotte N.C. He was very successful at the Charlotte location. In 1957, Consolidated wanted to open one of the largest drive-ins in N.C. (the Midway held 500 cars) on National Hwy (1400 National Hwy) so they offered to relocate my grandfather and grandmother and they built the Midway. My grandfather managed it for Consolidated until 1976, at which time Consolidated wanted to close the Midway so my Grandfather purchased the name (Midway), all the buildings, the screen, and all rights to the name, and he leased the land and kept the drive-in open until 1986.

“In 1986 the land was sold and the Midway was closed. I worked at the Midway from 10 yrs old until 18 yrs old when it closed.”

He went on to tell this sad story: “A local business owner wanted to decorate his restaurant with photos of the Midway, and my grandparents were very excited. They gathered every photo we owned (93 photos) and gave them to the man to make copies for his restaurant. Two weeks later he contacted my grandmother and told us that all the photos were stolen when his car was broken into. We now only have photos we can find on the internet (like the ones you took).

“Sorry this is such a long email. I could talk about the Midway all day. I still have dreams every now and again that I’m driving down the road and I see the Midway just like it never closed. For 2 or 3 years after it closed I couldn’t even drive by where it had stood because it made me feel sick.”

Since then, there’s been a little bit of info about the Midway added to Drive-Ins.com, including the fact that the site of the Midway is now a shopping center.

The only other shot I took of the Midway back then was what used to be the ticket booth and the land behind it. Wish I’d gotten there sooner, when there was more of the theater still left.

Midway Drive-In, Thomasville, NC, 1992 by Dean Jeffrey

Written by Dean Jeffrey

November 9, 2011 at 6:42 pm

Holloway’s Barbecue, Goldsboro, NC

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Holloway's Barbecue, Goldsboro, NC, 2000 by Dean Jeffrey

One of the reasons I love Flickr:

In 2000 I shot a roll of slide film while driving around Goldsboro, Rocky Mount, and Wilson, NC. I did a lousy (i.e., zero) job of labeling the slides, and years later, when I scanned them and put them up on Flickr, I didn’t really know which slides came from which town. I tagged this shot of Holloway’s Barbecue as Goldsboro but wasn’t ever really sure that that’s where it was from. To compound things, I couldn’t find any info anywhere online about Holloway’s Barbecue. None. Nothing.

About a year later, Flickr member BODYMAN505 posted a comment that said: “The best barbecue in town. And that skillet cooked cornbread! Wow!”

Whoah! Someone who’d been there! I immediately sent him a message, saying “Hey, thanks for the comment! I was beginning to doubt that I even took this picture in Goldsboro, because I’ve never been able to find this place again. I assume it’s been torn down. Can you tell me anything else about Holloway’s? Would really appreciate any info.”

He replied with “The Holloway BBQ building is still there. It looks like it’s been renovated and used as a church or meeting place. It has no signage. It is located on West Pine Street just off N. George St. It’s about 1/2 block east of the old Guy Parker BBQ building, which is at the corner of George and Pine Streets. I used Google Maps street view.”

In 2000, the building looked like this:

Holloway's Barbecue, Goldsboro, NC

I punched up the address on Google Maps, and sure enough, it was the same place:




Not too long after that, I got a Flickr message from Holly Harper at the Goldsboro Development Corporation, asking if she could print my image of the Holloway’s Barbecue sign for the granddaughter of John Holloway, the late owner. She added that “We plan to place a historical marker on the building to commemorate the BBQ’s existence there (and we would love to find the sign!!!).”

I (of course) told her to go ahead and make the print, and asked her if she could tell me any more about the place. She replied, “I know it opened in the 1920s or 1930s and closed in 1981, a few years after Mr. Holloway, Sr. died (1977). I will keep you on my list if we end up getting an article pulled together about Holloway (& Sons) Barbecue. I really wish we could find the sign! Fingers crossed that it’s in a garage somewhere.”

Written by Dean Jeffrey

September 23, 2011 at 8:17 pm

Posted in Roadside

Tagged with , , , , ,

Carolyn Court Motel, Selma, NC

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Carolyn Court Motel, Selma, NC by Dean Jeffrey

The sign for Carolyn Court seems to appear out of nowhere on a rural stretch of US 301 just north of Selma, NC, with no accompanying buildings in sight. There are, in fact, a couple of crumbling brick walls of the main office in the woods near the sign, but they’re pretty hard to see because the area is so overgrown. But besides those remains and the sign next to the road, any other trace of Carolyn Court is long gone.

I wish I knew more about this place, but the only other info I’ve been able to find is a couple of vintage postcards posted on Flickr and eBay.

Carolyn Court postcard front

Carolyn Court postcard back

Carolyn Court postcard

In addition to the big sign, there used to be another smaller sign here. Originally, it said “Carolyn Court,” as can be seen in the first postcard above. Later it was flipped over and repainted to say “Dining Room,” as can be seen, just barely, in the second postcard (next to the “C” in “Court” in the big sign.)

Carolyn Court, Selma, NC by Dean Jeffrey

Sadly, that sign disappeared somewhere between late 2010 and early 2011.

Carolyn Court Motel, Selma, NC by Dean Jeffrey

I wonder if it’s become part of someone’s private collection, or if it’s going to turn up for sale somewhere…

Written by Dean Jeffrey

July 17, 2011 at 12:30 am

Forest Inn Motor Court, Wilson, NC

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Forest Inn, Wilson, NC

Vintage postcard above borrowed from Cardcow.com

I have no idea when the Forest Inn opened or closed, but according to a 1985 article in the Hendersonville Times-News, it was a brothel in the seventies and a church in the eighties. The remains of the slowly decaying motel are on Highway 301, just south of Wilson, NC. Some of the cabins are still standing, but many of them seem to be gone.

Forest Inn, Wilson, NC by Dean Jeffrey

The first time I photographed the sign, back in 2002, it looked like this:

Forest Inn Motor Court, Wilson, NC, 2002 by Dean Jeffrey

In 2010, the sign was still there but looked like it was starting to fall apart and slide down the pole.

Forest Inn, Wilson, NC by Dean Jeffrey

About a year later, on the last 4th of July, the sign looked like it had fallen even more. I expect it’ll soon completely collapse under its own weight.

Forest Inn Motor Court, Wilson, NC by Dean Jeffrey

Written by Dean Jeffrey

July 7, 2011 at 11:19 pm

Journey’s End Motel, Greensboro, NC

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Journey's End Motel, Greensboro, NC by Dean Jeffrey

When I moved to Greensboro in the early ’80s, the Journey’s End, at 2310 Battleground Avenue, was on the far northwestern edge of town. Back then, if you were driving into Greensboro on US 220, seeing the Journey’s End meant you were almost there. In later years, Greensboro continued to expand, to the point where its northwestern edge was way past the motel, but the Journey’s End remained a wonderfully maintained relic of the 1950s. The grounds were well kept, and the neon signs always worked. I remember a time in the ’90s when one of the neon arrow “enter” signs was hit by a car and heavily damaged. I figured it would just be taken down and scrapped, but it was almost immediately repaired and restored, looking just like it had 40 or so years ago.

Sadly, in 2000 the property owners decided a strip mall would be more profitable than a motel and demolished the Journey’s End.

Journey's End Motel, Greensboro, NC by Dean Jeffrey

Written by Dean Jeffrey

June 2, 2011 at 12:05 am