Pitching a tent on 15th Street

Published 4:07 pm Monday, December 5, 2022

There has been much discussion about 15th Street recently from widening it to building a round-about at the end of it. I can remember when it was sand and gravel from Market Street to Highway 17 North.  It had ditches on either side and was always muddy when it got wet. My dad called it the “CC Road” because it was built during the Great Depression by the Civilian Conservation Corps, so Rose Ann and I also called it the CC road.

Scott’s grocery, one our favorite places to have a Dr. Pepper after a hard game on Summit Avenue, was located there.  Anytime we wanted to go camping we would set up our tents on the side of that road.  Cambo, Bubba and the late Bill Litchfield would spend the night on that road in the summer or during our vacation at Christmas or Thanksgiving.  It was too sandy to ride our bikes on it to the end at Highway 17.  The late Burl Clark had a house on it too and across the street from Burl on the corner of Market and 15th was the best steak house in town, Saleeby’s Steakhouse.  It was located right beside the cemetery.

On the end of 15th Street emptying into Highway 17 on the left was a broom straw field where people had Field Trials where many dogs were trained to hunt quail.  I saw Coach Wagner and his buddy Ox Langley training their dogs one day.  There were many dogs broken there including my own Sarah and Spec.

At the other end of 15th Street that adjoins Old Bath Highway is the hospital and Tayloe Drug Store.  Dr. Dave had his office on 15th Street there after he moved off Washington Street.  Now, there are so many doctors’ office and drug stores on that end of Fifteenth Street including dentist offices.  That hill that the hospital is on was our second favorite camp ground.  We would pitch our tent and carry food for overnight and stay maybe two nights because it was close to home.  This time we would carry friends from the neighborhood including Mike Renn, Thad Hodges and Eddie Everett.  Eddie would promise not to knock over our forts that were built in the ditches.  He and David Weatherly did so anyway!

We never invited girls to spend the night in our tents.  Betty and Jane Alligood were always building forts and were capable of beating Bubba and me up at the drop of a hat.  They were two of the best athletes in our neighborhood and always chosen first or second on any team, including football.

Now, 15th Street toward 17 North has grown to hold the Mall, two strip malls and fast food places and the stoplights are more than you can count.  The fairgrounds use to be located off 15th Street, where we took dancing lessons from Marie Wallace in the VFW Hut.  Our town has really grown and 15th Street has become one our major thoroughfares.  It holds many profession offices and to think it was once called the”CC Road “! It still is by me when I think of my dad!  Rose Ann can vouch for my story because she and I raised quail when they had Field Trials but she never went camping.

They were the best of times with the best of friends and in the best of places, Washington, N.C.! The Original Washington!

Harold Jr.