Belk — Eden Mall — Rockingham County, North Carolina

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Belk at Eden Mall was originally opened in 1980 as Belk-Cline.

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Walking inside this store is like entering a time and space warp and being instantly transported back to Belk at Village Center Mall in Harlan, Kentucky 1990.  The wooden floors are still intact in this store.

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The wall panels are all the same.

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It even had the same layout that I remember the store in Harlan having, the giant circle or octagon type set up.

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Sadly, this store is short for this world, as it was announced early this fall that the store would close.

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The Belk at Eden Mall will close shortly after the new year.

 

 

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Eden Mall — Rockingham County, North Carolina

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Back about 5 years ago when I first started exploring my fascination with abandoned malls and retail history in general I stumbled across a blog called skycity.

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There I read about all of these dead and dying malls.  It fed my fascination and Eden Mall was definitely one of the main courses to that feeding.

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Flash Forward a couple of years and I locate a sky city group on Facebook.  A bunch of people just like me with a nerdy fascination with malls and retail.  I joined that group and have found some of the best friends I have in my life there.

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This past March I visited Eden Mall for the first time with my friend Sunny.  It was everything I had imagined and then some.  I was intrigued and fell in love with the mall.

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Im not going to go into a big history about this mall and its former tenants but I will go over a few basic facts.

  • Opened in 1980
  • Original anchors were Belk-Cline, Globemans (later Peebles) and Kmart
  • Kmart at Eden Mall closed in 1994
  • Peebles left the mall in the fall of 2008
  • A video from this visit can be found by clicking HERE

If you want to find out more about this mall please go check out my friend’s write up about the blog over at Sky City.  That entry can be found by clicking HERE.

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Back in the fall Belk announced that they would close the location at Eden Mall, the last anchor and last chain store located at the mall.  I knew I had to go back just one last time to visit Eden Mall and the Belk store that retained much of the character and feel of the Belk from my childhood to this day.

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The mall apparently had fountains or at least a water feature in the wing near Kmart.

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The entrance near Kmart was unlocked and open in March, but when I was back there earlier this month the doors were locked.  However that part of the mall was accessible from the interior corridor.

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There are still a couple of local shops open in the mall, some sort of flea market, a furniture store and a gym right off the top of my head, but I honestly dont know if any of those had access from inside the mall, which leads me to wonder….how long will this mall be accessible by the public?

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The Former Globemans / Peebles

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The former Kmart auto center and lawn and garden section

And finally, the Belk

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I will have a separate entry for this store and its closing up tonight.  Thank you for reading and enjoy!

Eden Drive In — Rockingham County, North Carolina

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The Eden Drive In is located on the edge of the city of Eden at 106 Fireman Club Road.

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The drive in opened in 1949 with a capacity of 200 cars.  EdenDriveIn2

The drive in has been upgraded to all digital equipment and remains in operation today as one of the last remaining drive in theaters in the state.

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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.