Local History Corner July 2017

The Southern Railways Train DepotBrooks Children in Wagon

The Southern Railways Train Depot has been the center of life and the community for the Town of Mooresville since the construction of the first depot built in the 1870’s by Mr. John Franklin Moore. The depot stands in the exact center of town with the original town limits being a mile radius from the depot. Originally standing in the center of what is now Broad Street, the first depot was torn down, as a newer, larger one was constructed for reconnection of the railroad after the Civil War. The second depot burned in 1925 when a stove was left unattended on a windy night, causing ash to be blown out into the floor. Fortunately, only part of the depot burned, due to the close proximity of the fire department to the depot and the department’s new 1921 La France fire truck. The railroad company decided to build a fire proof building and use what was left of the older building to construct the former depot. The train tracks were originally in front of the depot where the sidewalk and Main Street are today. The tracks were taken up in 1865 to keep the Danville, Virginia line open. The tracks did not return until 1882 when Southern Railroad brought the tracks back through. We know this because Mr. H.M. Johnston, who was a member of the town board spent three meetings complaining that the train depot was taking up 14 feet of his front yard. The depot was expanded and the buildings behind the depot on Main Street were built as the freight warehouse. The tracks as well as several sides (tracks beside the main line where railroad cars could be pulled safely to load or unload) were laid down behind the depot. The second building was built on the current spot, moving the building to a more central location between the two streets. The main entrance into the depot originally faced Center Avenue. The former ticket office is now the main entrance into the artist guild which is located on Main Street. The doors were still left on Center Street with the office door in the middle. Due to segregation at the time, one door—to the right of the middle door was for white passengers and the one to the left was for black passengers. The current main door that faces Main Street was left in place as it was used for people coming in to conduct other business such as sending or receiving telegrams. When you come in today, you enter through what is the first gallery for the artist guild and the former waiting room for the white passengers. The hardwood floors and walls are original to the building and you will notice on the wall in front of you, the original drinking fountain. The depot was built with restrooms inside and today the restrooms for this waiting area are located where the gift shop is currently. The middle section of the depot with the skylight was where the office was for the depot. The stairs at the back lead to the freight area which we will talk about in a moment. The next room, or lower room was the black waiting room. The restroom and water fountain were located at the back of the room. In both waiting areas, benches would have lined the walls as well as run down the center of the room. If you go back to the middle of the room and up the stairs at the back, you will be in the freight warehouse. This room was part of the second depot and survived the fire. The walls and doors are all original along with the exposed roof and beams. Tung and grove boards were used for the floor and walls. The large room, as you enter to the left was the freight master’s office where items were weighed. In front of the door, you’ll find the scales that were utilized to weigh items coming into the freight warehouse.

Staff Picks July 2017

I am re-reading Jane Eyre and am enjoying this classic novel.


The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf

When two little girls go missing in a small town, it causes everyone involved to examine the roles they may have played in the events.  There is more than one suspect and some finger pointing, particularly at Antonia, a semi-single mom to one of the girls.  This book is my first by this author and I enjoyed it.  I intend to read more.


I am reading The Boy Who Fell from the Sky by Jule Owen. It is from a British writer of futuristic fiction for young readers that I am really beginning to enjoy although it is not usually the genre that I read. An author that I do like in whatever series he is writing is a British author, Tim Vicary.


I am reading Aunt Dimity and the Widow’s Curse, by Nancy Atherton.  The story gets your attention right from the start, and leads the reader down a path of exploring a “curse”.  Although nicely written and Atherton tries to consider all avenues of possible outcomes, she overcompensates and the mystery could be solved simply with better communication .  The story slows and leaves the reader saying ,” just dig up the rose garden already!”




Staff Picks for June 2017


Nineteen Minutes – by Jodi Picoult

I just read this book for the second time, and it still is a strong read. It’s about the long reaching and terrible effects of bullying, starting with a school shooting and working it’s way backwards to the beginning of the lives of the characters. After I finished it the first time, I immediately emailed our school superintendent and told him to read it. By the following school year it was on our high school required reading list. It will make you sad, angry, and frustrated. And then you’ll look for someone to share it with.


The Most Beautiful: My Life with Prince by Mayte Garcia.

She tells the story matter of fact, showing the intense sadness brought to their dream life.  I really liked the book.

-Jennifer L.


Mockingbird by Katherine Erskine

A beautiful and emotional read.

-Megan M.


Fast and Loose by Stuart Woods

Stuart Wood’s latest book in the Stone Barrington series has the playboy attorney sailing around Maine’s Penobscot Bay in his yacht and literally running into his next adventure.  His boat collides with another larger yacht and sinks, but not before he is recued by a beautiful Swedish doctor and her wealthy father, owners of an exclusive hospital in New York.  Through a series of business dealings with the doctors, Stone lands himself in hot water and is the target of several assassination attempts.  Set in the world of the rich and famous with their private jets and mansions, Wood’s books always take us on a wild ride.


The Devil’s Triangle by Catherine Coulter and J.T. Ellison

The latest addition to “A Brit in the FBI” series once again has Special Agents Nicholas and Michaela tangling with the Fox, a famous thief for hire.  This time the agents get a call asking for help when the Fox’s husband is kidnapped in Venice after a job goes wrong and they want her dead.  At the same time someone is controlling the weather and threatens to flatten Washington with a massive hurricane.  A lengthy thriller with a bit of science fiction thrown in, this series extends into the international realm creating fertile ground for new plots involving the FBI.  The plot could have been tighter but all in all a fun read.



Local History Corner June 2017

The Telephone Exchange Site


compiled by Andy Poore, Local History Librarian and Special Collections Curator

In 1890, the first attempts at establishing a telephone company in the town were met with little success. In 1900, the first company was established and was housed upstairs in the Templeton building built as part of the Templeton/ Williams Roller Mill and Ginnery. The first operators were called the “hello girls” for the way they answered the phone. In addition to being operators for incoming calls, they also served as the first “emergency operators” for fire as the operators would call the fireman as needed in response to an incoming call. The exchange was equipped with a switch board that rang bells that were installed in the home of the town’s fireman. When there was a fire, or the fireman were needed, someone would call the exchange and tell them where they were and what was on fire. The operators would then look on a map to determine which fire fighters were in the closest proximity to the fire and ring a bell, located in the houses of fire fighters to alert those fire fighters to go fight the fire. This procedure stayed in place until the first town hall was built. The exchange stayed in the building until the 1950’s when it built its’ new home around the corner on Center Avenue where it is today. At one time, the lower portion of the building served as a furniture store. The building to the right was the W.N. Johnston building. Mr. Johnston and his sons ran a grocery store which was located on the first floor, a dry goods store which was located on the second floor, and a an undertaker store which was located on the third floor. Later, the family expanded into the ice and oil business, expanding the current building. The vacant lot beside the building is where the ice plant once stood. Inside the building, the second and third floors surrounded an open space that allowed light from a skylight to come in. It has been said that when someone went to purchase a coffin from Mr. Johnston’s youngest son, who was the undertaker, that the coffin was built on demand as you waited and then was lowered by pulleys through the opening to the bottom floor and then taken out through the doors. Currently, a collection of antique shops occupy the building where the telephone company used to be housed.

MPL employees win service awards

Two of our employees in Library Circulation Services were beneficiaries of annual service awards from the Town of Mooresville this year!

Ms. Joyce LipeExemplary Service

We have all heard the term “Going Above and Beyond.”  What does that really mean?  At the Library, it means this:

  • When an elderly patron does not come into the library as usual, they can expect a call from this employee checking up on them, making sure they are ok.
  • When older patrons decide to check out more than a couple of books, they can rest easy because their books may very well be carried out to the car for them.  At the very least they will be watched out the door and to their cars to make sure they made it without incident.
  • If a regular patron is sent to a nursing home, they can expect a call or visit from their favorite employee.
  • When a regular patron passes away, the Town will be represented at their funeral.
  • If a patron is sick or loses a loved one, a card is sent to them from everyone at the library.
  • Holiday cards are sent to their older patrons to let them know how much they are appreciated.

Ms. April Llewllyn – Creativity

Creativity is the act of turning new and imaginative ideas into reality.  This employee used her creativity to provide new and exceptional services for our adult citizens with disabilities.

Our employee saw a need to provide activities at the library for adults who are often left out of services and programs.  She spent countless hours researching and speaking with community partners before she started the Create and Learn program.  Create and Learn is targeted at adults with special needs or learning disabilities.  Patrons are invited to have fun and make new friends exploring different creative activities.  A different activity is offered each month with different degrees of difficulty. There are art projects such as decorating a pumpkin and creating holiday cards.  There are science experiments and book to movie discussions.  There are also opportunities to watch holiday movies.

Our employee is building relationships with members of our community and she has shown them that the Mooresville Library cares.  She does this work with such enthusiasm and love in her heart.  You can see this love in her eyes and on her face when she talks about her program.