The Earle Theater — Mount Airy, North Carolina

The Earle Theater is located at 142 North Main Street in downtown Mount Airy, North Carolina.
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The theater was opened for the first time in 1938 and had a seating capacity of 600, operated by the Stuart and Everett chain of theaters.
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By the late 70s multiplex theaters had arrived in northwest North Carolina and by 1980 the competition was just too much and the Earle Theater closed for business.
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n 1990, Stewart and Everett Theatres donated the theatre to Surry Arts Council. The theatre was in great disrepair and after countless hours of volunteer work, the theatre got a new lease on life, reopening as the Downtown Cinema Theatre. The Surry Arts Council operates the theatre five nights a week, showing movies at a 3.00 admission. The theatre is also available for other activities. By 2011, it was known again as the Earle Theatre

Carmike Cinema 7 — Durham, North Carolina

The Carmike Cinema 7 was the fourth multiplex theatre to operate in the Durham that was under operation by Carmike Cinemas. The theatre was located next door to the Phar-Mor Drug Store and the Winn-Dixie Marketplace Grocer in the K-Mart Plaza Shopping Center off Foushee Street and Avondale Drive near Interstate 85 and the North Roxboro Street intersections. The theatre could be accessible from either Avondale Drive or Foushee Street. It was supposed to open in 1989 or 1990, but it was held back due to construction delays. But it didn’t officially opened until August 9, 1991.
Closed Theater -- Durham, NC The Carmike Cinema 7’s grand opening on August 9, 1991 was a huge commercial and critical success. The inside interior of the Carmike 7 featured huge marble lobby floors, an ultra-modern concession stand which can be accessed from either side of the lobby area. Its two larger auditoriums were very impressive with full state of the art sound with full THX Dolby System installed. Extra spaoe seating for more legroom with high pillow back seats equipped with cup holder and arm rests. The theatre had acres of available free parking with continous matinees daily. Carmike operated all of the movie theatres in the Durham-Chapel Hill area so the opening of the Carmike 7 was one of the two theatres that operated in the Northern section of the city(the other was the Willowdaile Cinema 8, located off Guess Road). The grand opening festivities were huge. Admission was only $1.05 since the theatre during its grand opening was hosted by local celebrities including Bob and Madison from WDCG G-105.1. FM and a host of other local personalities as well including local news anchors from WTVD-TV(Miriam Thomas and Mike Caplan) were on hand for its official opening week. Closed Theater -- Durham, NC
The opening attractions were for the August 9, 1991 premiere were “Home Alone”, “Dances With Wolves”, “Backdraft”, “Sleeping With The Enemy”, “Silence of the Lambs”, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II”, and “What About Bob?”. All Seats and all Shows for the premiere week were just $1.05 and even the concession specials were also $1.05 just for the grand opening. However,the Carmike 7 was also a great place to see some great movies too and it was one of two movies that officially had the roadshow enagements too that opened to capacity crowds(“Menace II Society”, “Dead Presidents”, “The Original Star Wars Special Edition”), and so much more.
Closed Theater -- Durham, NC
The theatre was in operation from 1991 until 2004. When it closed in 2004, plans were in the works to make the Carmike 7 into both a discount theatre and also the first movie theatre in the Triangle to show films in the Spanish Language format that would catered to the Triangle’s growing Latino population. It had a great concept, but prove unsuccessful, and the cinema closed right after that. To this day, the cinema still vacant on an empty lot off Avondale Drive.

The following photo was found in an online search.
Carmike 7 -- Durham, NC

Alton Lennon Federal Building — Wilmington, North Carolina

This building was used as the outside of the courthouse on seasons 7-9 of the tv series Matlock.

Alton Lennon Federal Building -- Wilmington, NC

The Alton Lennon Federal Building is located near the center of Wilmington (New Hanover County) North Carolina.  It was designed by the Office of the Supervising Architect under James A. Wetmore and built between 1916 and 1919. It is an imposing three-story,Classical Revival style light sandstone building. It consists of a central mass with balanced projecting wings having engaged pedimented porticos. The design of the front facade of the earlier 1840s customs house is incorporated into the projecting wings to the cast iron details. The building measures 332 feet by 113 feet.  The building was named for U.S. Congressman and Senator Alton Lennon  in 1976. This building was used as the outside of the courthouse on seasons 7-9 of the tv series Matlock.

The building was placed on the Nation Register of Historic Places in 1974

Southern Railway Depot — Wilkes County, North Carolina

The Southern Railway Depot, also known as the North Wilkesboro Depot, is located  along Cherry Street, CBD Loop and Ninth Street.
North Wilkesboro Depot -- North Wilkesboro, NC
It was built in 1914 by the Southern Railway, and is a long, one-story brick building with American Craftsman style design elements. It measures 36 feet wide and 240 feet long and has a low hipped roof with overhanging eaves. Passenger service ceased in 1955.
North Wilkesboro Depot -- North Wilkesboro, NC
It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 10, 2004.

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Old Burke County Courthouse — Burke County, North Carolina

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The Burke County Courthouse is located at 102 East Union Street Morganton, North Carolina.

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In 1830, the Burke County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions decided that the County needed a new courthouse to replace the “shabby, weather-beaten” plank courthouse that had been built on the public square in 1791. The General Assembly of 1830-31 authorized it to spend $8,000 and named five commissioners to oversee the construction. In the 1832-33 sessions, the General Assembly increased the amount to $12,000.

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The Courthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places on April 17, 1970

James Binnie, a Scottish builder, was awarded the contract in 1833.  He built the courthouse of native stone quarried on the Forney plantation about four miles north of Morganton. Frederick Roderick, a German stonemason who later established his home in Burke County, assisted Mr. Binnie with the construction.  The building was put into use in 1837.

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From 1847 until 1862, the North Carolina Supreme Court held its August session in the courthouse for the convenience of lawyers from the western part of the state who were arguing appeals from the Superior Courts of their respective counties.

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During the Civil War, on April 17, 1865, Major General George Stoneman occupied the building and destroyed most of the County’s records.

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In 1885, the exterior of the building was covered with stucco, and in 1903, a major renovation designed by architect Frank Milburn of Columbia, SC raised the porticos and replaced the simple classical cupola with an elaborate one of Baroque style, giving the courthouse its present appearance.

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A monument to Burke County’s Confederate Army troops was erected on the northwest corner of the Square in 1911 and was paid for by public subscription.  The bronze statue of the soldier was added in 1918. The statue was a gift from Captain William Joseph Kincaid, a Burke County Confederate soldier, who settled in Griffin, Georgia after the war.

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Also found on the Square is a memorial rose garden given in memory of Bob Byrd (1930-2001), a prominent Burke County attorney and a statue of Sam J. Ervin, Jr., a Burke County native, who served in the US Senate from 1954 to 1974.

The courthouse was in continuous use until 1976 when the present Burke County Courthouse was completed.  The effort to preserve the Old Courthouse began in 1978. The  restoration, completed in 1984, was accomplished with the joint efforts of Burke County, the City of Morganton, and Historic Burke Foundation.

The North Carolina Supreme Court met in the Old Chowan County Courthouse in Edenton in 2004, and again in 2013. In 2015, Governor McCrory signed Senate Bill 161 into law (S.L. 2015-89), allowing the court to meet in Morganton once again, “…the court shall meet in the Old Burke County Courthouse, the location of summer sessions of the Supreme Court from 1847-1862.” After 154 years the court will once again hold session in the Historic Courthouse in 2016.

Beaverdam School — Haywood County, North Carolina

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When I started planning my trip to Charlotte and Greensboro a few weeks ago, naturally I started searching for abandoned or closed school buildings.  I was successful in finding a few.  My favorite of them all has to be the old Beaverdam School located in Canton, North Carolina.

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The building was built in the early 1930s during the WPA era.

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I found a couple of sources that list the closing date as 1985, but that cant be confirmed for sure.  Judging by the condition of the building I would say that is a good estimate though.

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It appears that the school probably recieved a substantial addition in probably the 1950s along the west side of the building.

As always, if any of my readers have any information or stories about the Beaverdam School in Canton, North Carolina, feel free to message me or comment!

Wentworth Consolidated School — Rockingham County, North Carolina

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The Wentworth Consolidated school was located along State Route 65 in Wentworth, North Carolina about 30 miles north of Greensboro.

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The school and building has a colorful history that can be traced back to 1923.   The school served grades 1-12 until 1977 when the last graduating class of Wentworth High School received their diplomas.  The building continued to serve students in grades K-8 until 1999 when a new facility was completed.

There is a great story behind this school and the history of the building on the Wentworth Elementary School website.  That story is posted below:

For the past 91 years, Wentworth Elementary School has symbolized education and unity to the citizens of the Wentworth Community and surrounding areas. Wentworth Elementary which was built in 1923 became the largest and oldest K-8 school in North Carolina. Generations of Wentworth students have shared the bonds of camaraderie, educational excellence, community pride, and the values that were established for them through this solid educational institution.Wentworth Elementary dates back to the year 1881 when female students attended a private school called Wentworth Female Seminary. Later, a public school entitled Wentworth Male Academy opened for males.  In the rural, agriculturally based community of Wentworth, the school year originially lasted about four months, but in time, the public school year was lengthened to six months. Academic emphasis in these schools were placed on memory work, mental arithemetic, penmanship, and music.
Eventually, under the leadership of Mr. L. N. Hickerson, Superintendent of Rockingham County Schools, plans were made for the small country public schools to be consolidated. Mr. Hickerson searched for just the right spot to build his dream school, a three story brick building, which would house all students in the Wentworth community. Local residents, as well as the local news media, scoffed at the idea that there would ever be enough students to fill such a school. Undaunted, Mr. Hickerson proceeded with plans to implement his vision. Construction of the “Hickerson’s Folly” as the new school was mockingly called, began in the fall of 1921, when mule drawn covered wagons began to haul in supplies to the chosen site. When  the school was not yet ready to open in the fall of 1923, as was proposed, students were temporarily housed in various locations. Two Wentworth churches housed “primary” and “grammar grade” children, while Gunn’s Store was opened to “high schoolers”.
Finally, a little over two years and $100,000 later, classes were gathered from the various locations and moved into the spacious new building in the spring of 1924. That spring, the first prom was held in the new cafeteria and eight graduating seniors marched across the stage of the new auditorium. One of the first schools in North Carolina to consolidate, the new school was herald by the New York Times as one of the most progressive schools of the time. In time more facilities were required, progress continued as the new building added a gymnasium and a vocational classroom, as well as other classrooms. In 1955, when grades 1-12 students had completely outgrown the existing facility, a new elementary building was built on the same campus, housing grades 1-4, while the main building continued to house 5-12. The two buildings at Wentworth continued as a grade 1-12 school until a new high school was build approximately 1 mile east on Highway 87. Wentworth remained home for grades 1-8.
One change that had a considerable impact on the enrollment figures of Wentworth occurred when the state mandated the addition of a Kindergarten class in 1974. Then in 1983, the state required schools to implement into the daily schedule a planning time for teachers, when meant additional personnel had to be added to the staff to enrich the curriculum for students while their regular classroom teachers planned. Teachers were added in the areas of art, music, Spanish, physical education and guidance. Change continued as Wentworth began to implement programs designed specifically for students with special needs. These programs included areas such as BEH, EMH, AG, etc. for a time, due to a high percentage of students who qualified for a federally funded lunch program, Wentworth also had a Chapter 1 reading program. One of the first major changes to affect the number of students and staff at Wentworth was the county’s decision to begin a preschool program in 1997. All the previously mentioned changes helped raise enrollment to 884 students by 1998/1999 which was Wentworth’s last year as a Pre-K through eighth grade school.
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Wentworth Elementary
Built 1999
Construction on the present Wentworth Elementary School began in the fall of 1998. The site chosen for the present facility was approximately 1 mile northeast of the previous facility, one fourth mile northeast of Wentworth Township. It is one of 17 traditional calendar schools in the consolidated Rockingham County School System. Students are bussed to the school from surrounding neighborhoods within the Wentworth School District. Although the majority of school population resides in the immediate area surrounding the school, some students voluntarily transfer from neighboring school distincts in the county. The new state of the art 77,300 square foot facility opened in the fall of 1999. It boasts special features such as : flexible grade house pods, teacher centers for planning and collaboration, integrated technology and media retrieval systems, and a multipurpose room which can accommodate all types of school and community events. It also had another very important feature that many schools take for granted, this is the first Wentworth Elementary School building to be fully centrally heated and cooled. Behind and to the side of the building, students have two large paved play areas as well as a 2 athletic fields.

Rockingham County Museum and Archives — Rockingham County, North Carolina

The Rockingham County Museum and Archives building is located in the former Rockingham County Courthouse that was originally built in 1907.  The building is situated in the town of Wentworth along state route 65 about 7 miles west of Reidsville.

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On October 2, 1906 a terrific fire destroyed the old courthouse and a new one, the one pictured below was designed by famed architect Frank Pierce Milburn and constructed at a cost of $25,000.

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The new courthouse was composed almost entirely of bricks and had two beautiful rounded pillars

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It was at this courthouse in August 1932 that Broadway torch singer Libby Holman posted bond when she was charged (later acquitted) with the alleged murder of her husband, tobacco heir Z. Smith Reynolds of Winston-Salem.

The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places May 10, 1979.

In 2011 a new Courthouse was opened in Rockingham County.  This building now serves as the Rockingham County Historical Museum and Archives.