Pocahontas Building

When I ride my bike from Cape to Altenburg, I climb a steep hill on Country Road 532 (also known as Pocahontas Main St.) to get to State Highway C.

Climbing hills makes me want to take pictures. OK, to be honest, climbing hills makes me want to stop. Photography is just an excuse.

Conveniently, there is an old building the corner of Main and Hwy C that has caught my eye over the years.

It wasn’t grown up in 2001

The building has deteriorated and brush has grown up around it since I first shot it in 2001.

Ornate front door

It had a fairly ornate front door with an oval glass window, but the bushes hide it from view these days.

Door had transom

A shot through a side window shows that the door had a transom above it for cooling. It had a door latch and at least two locks, although the inside locks were fairly unsophisticated.

The walls have been covered with some kind of peg board or acoustical tile, with minimal fiberglass insulation behind it.

Might have been white with green trim

Most of the paint has peeled off, but it looks like it might have been a white building with green trim at one time.

Back door has skeleton lock

The back door had a simple door knob and lock that took an old-fashioned skeleton key.

A few windows are unbroken

Vandals haven’t broken out ALL the windows.

Does anyone know anything about the building?

I’ve never seen anyone around to ask about the history of the building. Does anyone know what it was used for?

4 Replies to “Pocahontas Building”

    1. Thanks, Bill. Fatigue makes for good photos.

      I was working on a story in the N.C. mountains one morning. The hired man on the ranch said that I could get a spectacular view of the fog hanging over the valley from about half-way up the mountain.

      He and I started off at a brisk pace, even though I had three cameras hanging around my neck and a camera bag that weighed another 25 pounds.

      About I quarter-mile up the path, I stopped and said I needed to take a picture. A few hundred yards later, I found something else worthy of spending several minutes getting composed just right.

      The higher we got and the thinner the air, the more I kept finding more and more interesting sights to record.

      When we reached the place where the view was truly spectacular, instead of shooting the fog-shrouded vista, I fell to my knees to spend an inordinate amount of time taking close-ups of a frost-covered leaf.

      When it came time to publish that year’s collection of the photographers’ favorite photos of the year in a calendar, I chose that leaf. At the time, I thought it might just be the last photo I would ever take.

  1. A friend who is knowledgeable about construction sent me this email:

    Whatever the building was used for, it was likely commercial, and it was probably built in the 1880’s or ’90’s.

    a) It’s at an intersection of what were then main thoroughfares, b) its front has a parapet (very uncommon in residential construction), and its trim inside is unusually plain for that era even though the front door style is Queen Anne. Of course, country buildings were more plain, so that may not be a telling point.

    I may be wrong about the era (it looks at a distance like a poured foundation, which wasn’t common till the early 1900’s, although in the picture of the front door I think I can see rubblestone below the sill, which would make the concrete a veneer applied later to avoid tuckpointing), in which case the plain trim is more normal.

    The school building with the people in front that that guy sent you may be Egypt Mills–my mom’s family was out around there and she thinks she may recognize some folks–but it could also be Oriole, where she was raised. I THINK there was a school in Oriole. I know there was a church.

    We can kick around there when I come down if you want. I do NOT want to go there on a bike however!!!

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