Cooleemee ‘wiped off’ the internet

Published 1:38 pm Thursday, March 19, 2015

By Mike Barnhardt

Enterprise Record

COOLEEMEE – Mayor Lynn Rumley is doing her best to keep this historic mill town intact – but it is getting more difficult.

“Somebody murdered Cooleeme in the middle of the night,” she said at Monday’s town board meeting.

She was referring to the internet.

Type in an address in Cooleemee on Google or Yahoo search engines, and it puts you in the right place, but instead of Cooleemee, it says “Mocksville, NC.”

It has caused people trouble with package deliveries, getting loans to buy a home and simply making others believe they live in Cooleemee.

Rumley isn’t sure how the problem started, but said there is no problem with the emergency 911 system. Those calls are routed to the correct location. It’s not with the county’s GIS system, either.

“We have no idea why that happened, but the town has been wiped off the internet,” she said.

It’s just another identity hurdle for the town, and board members took a step Monday to help solve another – postal mail delivery.

The board unanimously adopted a resolution that bans any new mailboxes going up inside the city limits.

As is, there are several town residents with mailboxes, and they have Mocksville addresses and receive mail from the Mocksville Post Office. Those boxes can stay up, but no new ones. Cooleemee’s post office doesn’t offer home delivery. Residents rent boxes inside the post office or get their mail general delivery over the counter.

One of the reasons for the ban was simple: safety. Many of the town’s interior streets are narrow, with a ditch at the edge of the pavement that also serves as a drainage system.

“A rural route type delivery system in small urban areas isn’t appropriate,” Rumley said.

For years, there have been rumors that the postal service was considering closing the Cooleemee post office, as it has closed many smaller offices.

“This will not guarantee that will not happen, but if everybody in Cooleemee got a mailbox, the post office would close within a year,” she said. “If we lose our Zip Code, we would fall off the map.”

Residents of the Westview Avenue and Junction Road parts of town historically had mailboxes, because those areas weren’t part of the original mill town, Rumley said.

Board members Brad Waller and Jim Szymanski both said the streets are too narrow, and lack sites to safely erect mailboxes.

“This is just one more thing for people to poke fun at us in Cooleemee,” said Westview Avenue resident Les Steele. “We need to get past that and get in the progressive mode.” He suggested postponing the decision until another way to save the 27104 Zip Code is found.

“I think it should be an option – a choice,” said Ruffin Street resident Tammy Lagle.

Hellen Daywalt said the town is going backward, not forward. “If people want one (mailbox), they should be able to have one.”

Sue Correll, who lives outside the town but owns property in the city limits, agreed.

K.C. Smith said that while she has no objections to mailboxes, if it means the town could lose it’s post office and some of it’s identity, she’s against them. “I don’t know what all the facts are, and I hope you do before you vote on it.”

Carl Smith cited safety as a good reason for banning mailboxes. “Safety, that’s the biggest concern. I like being from Cooleemee. I don’t want a Mocksville address.”