Greetings, you’re listening to the Liam Photography Podcast, I’m your host Liam Douglas and this is Episode 255. In today’s episode I wanted to share what I have been doing to help keep my creative juices flowing.
As you all know my wife Tina was recently in the Hospital being treated for Acute Lukemia and as of last Wednesday, she’s now home and recovering nicely. So, now that we aren’t as stressed about her condition, I decided to go out this past weekend and do some shooting in Virginia. For this trip I thought it would be fun to test out my new Messenger bag that I bought a couple of months ago, so I fired up my Kawasaki Vulcan 800 Classic motorcycle and see what I could find.
It was a beautiful day and perfect for riding motorcycle as many others were doing, and I had not been to South Boston, VA yet with my camera. South Boston is a nice little area similar to Roxboro and only about 25 miles away, so it was perfect for me to get out and yet not be too far from home if Tina needed me for any reason. It was Sunday and the weather was really warm with lots of blue skies and white, fluffy clouds and no signs of rain, which is always a nice break, we got lots of rain during the two weeks Tina was in the hospital and I swear sometimes we get more rain in this area than they do in Seattle.
I was after some of my usual photography, abandoned buildings, and I found quite a few of them in this area. I was hoping to do some street photography, but since South Boston is so small, there is not much in the way of street photography to do there. I am thinking if I want to do street I will have to take a weekend and head down to Raleigh or Durham, which both have more population than Roxboro or South Boston.
The first building I came across is this really wide old building, which looks like it housed two or three businesses at one time given it has three front doors. Being it was a Sunday and these are NOT part of either of my Forgotten Pieces projects, I was not able to get any additional information on these buildings.
Second, I came across this old hair salon and store right along Hwy 501 in South Boston. I am only assuming it’s no longer in business from looking in the windows, the building has a lot of old clutter and junk in it and looks more like storage than anything else. With some fresh paint and a few other touches it could be brought back to life fairly easily.
Third, I found this Fraizer Used Auto place that looks more like an abandoned auto repair than auto sales, but maybe they did a little of both. This one sat back from the road quite a bit so I had to ride down a bit of a gravel driveway to get to it.
Next I found this cute little shaved ice and cupcake stand that now sits empty. I can just imagine how many kids would come here with their parents for a sugar fix. I also love the bright colors on this one as it makes the image “pop” more.
Down another street in town I found this old Ray Mass Department Store on the back side of Arch Street. I can imagine this place was probably quite busy back in the day and it’s sad to see it just siting now, You can see in the image that on the far left corner is marked the Rear Entrance, most likely for employees to enter as there is also quit a large parking area out back and of course room for semis to get in for deliveries.
This tall, old red brick building makes it hard to guess what it used to be since all the windows and the doorway are boarded up, but it also tells us it’s now either totally abandoned or used as storage through a rear door.
Not all of my captures were abandoned, as you can see in this next image of the Factory Street Brewing Company with a fairly new card parked out front. Doing some quick web searching, I found out that this place just opened in May of 2021 so a little over a year ago and it’s a “brewpub”. Customers can sample the beers brewed on-site by brewmaster Brigid Layman. Choices included the Lawnmover Ale and Grapefruit Pale Ale, Halifax Honey Wheat, Boyd’s Ferry Oatmeal Stout and Summer Snatch IPA.
Customers also can order the “beer-mosa” — brews made with fruity flavors such as strawberry and peach. From what I read online, the locals are really happy to see this old Factory Street building being re-purposed after it sat empty for so long.
At the far end of another side street I found the local railroad tracks and this old pair of run down buildings on the back side of the tracks. The tracks themselves are still active as you can see from the currently used Norfolk Southern building on the closer side of the tracks. You must always be careful when photographing on railroad property as it is private property and DO NOT stand on the tracks to take photos, too many people have died that way!
Back out on the main road I found this old Dinis Brothers Pizza shop that is now sitting empty. It has a really nice, large parking lot, so it must have been popular at one time, maybe it was something else back in the day, but pizza shops that have good food do keep busy and need room for lots of parking, just ask Joe, how owns Vinnie’s Pizza back in my hometown of Troy, PA. He’s been crushing it with pizza, subs and Italian food in our small town for over 30 years now!
This old CM Spectrum Paint and Wallpaper company building now sits vacant with some old junk strewn around the interior but the shelves that once held cans of paint now sit barren. The building itself seems to be in good shape so hopefully someone will come along and breath some new life into it soon.
Now this beautiful red brick motel and restaurant called the Randolph Motor Inn I am certain is full of old stories from back in the day. Located at Main Street and Wilborn Avenue I can only imagine it was a popular place for travelers at one time and gave them a place to get a good meal and a good nights rest before heading back out on the road. Doing some web searching I found that it was being gutted and remodeled to re-open hopefully by 2020 but that didn’t happen. It might have gotten delayed due to all the craziness the last couple of years but hopefully will get back on track soon.
Walker’s Body Shop and Garage with Auto Parts sits quietly rotting away with the parking lot being overrun by weeds and the concrete cracking and coming apart. I can only imagine this was once a fairly busy business since he did auto body work, sold used cars as well as new auto parts. There used to be a lot of these kinds of businesses across America, but now most of them are long gone and quickly becoming forgotten by the community, especially as the older citizens who were actually alive when they were open have since passed away.
This little white gem of a small store and gas station was one I found on my way back to Roxboro. This sits along Highway 501 on the return trip and I would guess possibly belongs to the family that lives next door, but not necessarily. With its prime location along such a busy highway I can image it was hopping with customers all the time back in its prime.
After shooting for a couple of hours I took the scenic route back home, coming down Highway 501 and then turned off onto a road towards Virginlina, VA. I went that route to get home and enjoy some scenery, with nothing but a sparse number of homes and quite a few farms, it made for a beautiful drive. Once I got to the turn, which takes me back to my home, I found an old, abandoned little general store with an old, faded Pepsi machine out front. I had to, of course stop and snap a couple of shots of this little building as well.
If you go to the show notes for this Episode you can view the images for yourself. And I even included one of my 2004 Kawasaki Vulcan 800 Classic cruiser. I have been riding since my parents bought me my first motorcycle back in 1980, which was also a Kawasaki, but that one was a dirt/trail bike and now I have moved on to cruisers. I have owned bikes from Suzuki, Yamaha and Honda as well, but my first love has always been Kawasaki.
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You can find my work @ https://www.liamphotography.net on and follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @liamphotoatl. If you like abandoned buildings and history, you can find my project @ http://www.forgottenpiecesofgeorgia.com. and http://www.forgottenpiecesofpennsylvania.com.
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