Saturday, September 6, 2008

Person County, North Carolina

George and I hopped in the car and headed for Roxboro in Person County, North Carolina, the morning of September 5, 2008. I don't remember ever visiting Roxboro before, and I didn't any research on the county. I just looked at a North Carolina map, remembered that a co-worker (Antha) talked about a good restaurant called Clarksville Station in Roxboro, and decided to have lunch there and take a chance on the rest. With rain and wind coming into the state (compliments on Hurricane Hanna), I knew this could be a short day trip, perfect since we had dinner plans.

Our route took us straight up Roxboro Road (which happens to by Hwy. 501) in Durham. (Person County is a neighboring county to Durham County.) In Roxboro, Hwy. 501 then becomes Durham Road, which makes sense. It just so happens that Clarksville Station, the restaurant we were looking for, is on this road! Thank goodness George was looking out for me, because I managed to totally miss this sign until we were passing it, and had to turn around.

As you can see, the restaurant is in an old train station brought down from nearby Clarksville, Virginia. (Person County borders the state of Virginia.) It's a cute restaurant, serving a variety of foods ranging from steak to sandwiches. George had a sandwich and the salad bar, and I enjoyed a grilled cheese and side salad. The waitress was friendly, and helped us get oriented to the town. We explained this project of mine to visit all the North Carolina counties, and she pointed us toward town and recommended the Person County Museum of History, which sounded right up my alley! We asked about the Personality Festival, which we saw a billboard about on the way to the restaurant. She told us it was being postponed until November, because of the predicted rain and wind with Tropical Storm Hanna.

Here are a couple of interesting items that are part of the restaurant building. The item on the left, on the roof, looks like some sort of stop and go thing, perhaps to signal conductors on railroads. The item on the right was on the side of the building, and looks like it might've been responsible for turning something on the train. (Who can provide me with details?)

More pictures from the area around the restaurant.

Once we left the restaurant, we continued to head down Hwy. 501, and ended up on Main Street and the downtown district. This is a picture of a mural on the side of a building, taken through the columns of a pavilion. The mural depicts an old local hotel, the courthouse, and another building I can't remember. When I did an internet search to try to find out more about it, I was delighted to find a website called, which "provides tools for you to catalog, mark­ and visit interesting and useful locations around the world." If you follow my The Time of My Life blog, you know I'm interested in learning more about geocaching, so I'm excited to find this geographical scavenger hunt that I can do without a GPS device. (I still want to do some geocaching,though!) I registered on the website and uploaded this shot. I'm excited to have another way to find interesting sites as I travel across the state!

This building has the mural on its side (see the left side of the picture for the end of it). According to the sign above the awning, it used to house Tarheel Chevrolet Company, a far cry from what car dealerships look like now! Now it seems to house several businesses, including Greater Looks, advertised on the sign above the awning. Part of what intrigued me a little about this shot was that I thought I saw someone looking out the sixth second-story window from the left, but it turned out to be a reflection of the female in the Greater Looks sign. (Click on the picture on the left to enlargen it, and you'll see what I mean!)

Below are some more shots from downtown Roxboro. The picture on the left has the Tarheel Chevrolet building I mentioned. In the picture in the middle, the church steeple belongs to Roxboro Baptist Church. The picture on the right includes, down at the end, the marquis for the restored Kirby Theater. (Now I regret that we didn't stop and go inside!)

Here are shots of the Person County Courthouse, whose architechture style is a combination of classic revival and international. It's been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1979. The statue on the left, which commemorates Confederate soldiers who fought in the Civil War, honors E. Fletcher Satterfield, who fought at Gettysburg. (George commented that I seem to like taking pictures of courthouses now, and I guess he's correct! I like seeing the architecture, as well as getting a sense of what was important to the community at one time or another.

This statue of Robert Lester Blackwell is also in front of the courthouse. A Person County native, he was the only North Carolinian to win a Medal of Honor for World War I service.

On the way from the downtown area to the history museum, we passed this sweet little church, so we stopped so I could take some pictures. This is St. Mark's Episcopal Church on Main Street. The cornerstone says 1923, and the sign out from mentions three weekly services. I was glad to be able to step inside to take a couple of pictures, but didn't have any quiet time because, being Friday afternoon, the cleaning crew was there, vacuuming and dusting.

Across the street from the church was this neat old house, in some need of repair (or at least a paint job!). I love a house with a porch, and that's one big oak tree on the left side of the picture! The brick wall on the left adds to the charm quotient.

We arrived at the Person County Museum of History in time to take avantage of the docent-led tour of the museum and grounds. Adult tickets are only $5, so I knew up front that this would be money well spent. George and I were the only ones there for the tour, and we were fortunate to have Bea as our tourguide, as she was very knowledgeable about Person County History.

The museum (the former home of North Carolina Governor W.W. Kitchin) was well-furnished with period furnishings from the Victorian era to match the house. Things that stood out included period clothing, an extensive doll collection, the area about local Native Americans (the Sappony tribe), the military uniforms donated by local soldiers, and displays about famous Person County natives. We learned that Enos Slaughter, a famous baseball player (mostly for the Cardinals) who later coached baseball at Duke, and golfer Jim Thorpe, were from Roxboro.

The buildings behind the museum included a country store, a doctor's office, and a one-room school house, all moved from points around the county to the back of the museum. I especially enjoyed the doctor's office, equippped with some older equipment.

This house, next door to the museum, is the oldest house in Roxboro. We got to see inside this home as well.

On the way to and from Roxboro, we passed through the township of Timberlake. Since I like the name (very campy!), I decided to take a picture of the sign. George wanted to know if it was because of Justin Timberlake, but I assured him it wasn't! Ibelieve we heard from someone that the township was named after Bob Timberlake's ancestors.

Our waitress at Clarksville Station also mentioned the Homestead Steakhouse (after we'd finished eating at Clarksville Station!), which is also in Timberlake. We saw signs for it off of Hwy. 501, but we decided not to stop this time.

We enjoyed using George's Mio navigation system, which he pictured here on the left. It has some fun features that we're enjoying learning how to use.

After the trip to Roxboro, I noticed the September 2008 issue of Our State magazine, and it happens to have an article about Person County in the Carolina Counties section. The article isn't available online, and I decided not to buy a copy, since I've already been. Still, it's a wonderful magazine!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Granville County, North Carolina

Today, Labor Day 2008, George and I took a short trip up to Granville County, North Carolina. I've driven through Granville County on numerous occasions, on I-85 heading to locations north of North Carolina, but I don't recall ever having a reason to stop and explore before. I must say that it's a very pretty county, and I look forward to returning!

I noticed on a North Carolina map that the community of Hester lies in Granville County, so I had to stop and check it out. My great-great-great-grandmother was a Hester, and who knows, maybe I'm kin to Henry M. Hester, the town's namesake. (According to The North Carolina Gazetteer: A Dictionary of Tar Heel Places, he donated the site for the railroad right-of-way and station.)

At the intersection of US 15 and Hester Road, we saw this house for sale.

I decided to ride to the end of Hester Road, and saw that I could get to Stem or to Creedmoor from there. (We passed through Creedmoor on the way up to Hester, but decided not to stop this time.)

This tobacco field was at the end of Hester Road.

Along the way, we saw several signs for horses for sale, so we knew we were in North Carolina horse country when we saw this sign!

Here's one of the horses we saw along the highway.

Once in Oxford, the county seat, we enjoyed walking around and exploring. We found it easy enough to just park and walk around Oxford, which added to its charm! This is a shot of the Granville County Courthouse, which was built in 1838 and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Here's George in front of the wooden courthouse doors.

Near the courthouse was this marker commemorating John Penn, who died in Granville County. He signed the Declaration of Independence as a representative of North Carolina. He was a distant relative of William Penn, who founded Pennsylvania.

We passed by the Union Bank & Trust in downtown Oxford, and I was charmed by the analog clock in this age of digital clocks.

Other than this sign, I wouldn't have known this was a church on Williamsboro Street.

We asked a mother and son walking downtown where we should have some lunch, since we passed one restaurant that was closed because of the Labor Day holiday. We got a good recommendation for Milano's on Williamsboro Street, and enjoyed it a lot. I had a veggie wrap that was tasty, and George got a roastbeef sandwich, which he enjoyed. We were both impressed by what was showing on the restaurant's big screen TV: the National Georgraphic Channel.

While in town, we heard about the 2nd Annual Hot Sauce Contest, which will be going on in Oxford next weekend. We just might go back for that!

I was impressed by the columns on this building, which happens to be the educational building of the Oxford Baptist Church.

Here's the sanctuary building for the church.

Here's the Richard H. Thornton Library in Oxford. As I was taking this picture, George asked me who'd be interested in seeing this picture of Oxford's library. Since I work in a library, you can imagine the look I gave him. ;-)

Near the library, someone asked if we were tourists.

Down the road from the library was this statue commemorating the area's Confederate soldiers.

Here's a nearby plaque commemorating the area's Revolutionary War soldiers.

One of the neat little downtown places we spotted was a memorial garden/park for Hugh Currin, who served as mayor of Oxford for 25 years and died in 2000.

I was intrigued by this house, which I believe is on Main Street. It's just the kind of house I'd love to see bought and restored. George said it looks like a haunted house, which may be part of the charm for me. (Now, as I write this, I can say that Halloween is next month!)

For more of my Granville County pictures, click here.