East Depot/Pine street community partners with town

Published 3:26 pm Friday, November 3, 2023

By Jeanna Baxter White

Word Master Media Group

Students in the East Depot/Mill street community of Mocksville will soon have a protected area to wait for the school bus, and the neighborhood will have a shady place to gather.

Heritage Alliance Project (HAP) and the Town of Mocksville held a groundbreaking ceremony last month for a community pavilion at East Depot and Pine streets.

“This special day has been a long time coming for all of us,” HAP president Tamela Tatum told attendees. “We had a lot of roadblocks along the way, and without the members of the community and representatives from the town, we would not be here.

“One of my favorite scriptures, Zechariah 4:10, says to despise not the day of small beginnings. What you all have done as the town and the community may seem very small, but I believe your impact will be very big and resonate throughout the community.

“We are hoping, as HAP, that we can be an example to other organizations in the community to collaborate, to sit down and have conversations so that we won’t have adversarial relationships with our neighbors but can come together to make our community beautiful and safe.”

Mocksville Mayor Will Marklin thanked HAP for their work and commended the cooperation between the town and its residents.

“We look forward to many great things happening down here on East Depot,” Marklin said.

Mocksville Commissioner Jenny Stevenson and Davie County Manager Brian Barnett also came to show their support for the project.

Pastor Fred Terry of Second Presbyterian Church ended the ceremony by praying over and dedicating the property.   

According to Tatum, HAP is a community-based non-profit with a mission to collaborate with other entities to facilitate beautification and safety and preserve the history of the East Depot/Mill Street community. It is supported by businesses, churches, and residents connected to the area.

The organization purchased and donated the land to the Town of Mocksville, which will build the pavilion and maintain and manage the property.

“We wanted to make an investment in our community. We wanted to show that we were willing to put our money where our mouth is by investing in preserving the history of this community and advocating for its beautification and safety,” said Tatum.

The pavilion continues the beautification projects in the East Depot area initiated by retired Mocksville Community Development Coordinator Tami Langdon. She oversaw the addition of a bench, a permanent trashcan, and a picnic table at the pavilion site but wanted to do more.

“Tami Langdon approached us and asked us what we would like to have in that area,” said Tatum. “We considered what would make an immediate impact on the community if the town invested the money. We sent out surveys and asked the community what they would like because we didn’t want to assume that we knew what they wanted, and pretty much everyone had the same idea.

“Together, we decided to focus on the safety piece of our mission.  Every day, I come out of my salon (Hair Solutions)  and see young people standing near the road waiting for the bus and in all kinds of weather. A shelter will provide protection for these young people as well as people walking in the area.”

She said the pavilion has been a true collaboration. In addition to the town, she thanked Fuller Architecture (John Fuller) for donating the design plans and W.C. Construction Co. (William Cockerham) for donating part of the labor.   

Vision for the Future

Jennifer Evens, marketing and communications coordinator for the town, expressed the town’s enthusiasm.

“I am really excited about this project. Watching it grow has been an awesome experience. This won’t be our last project for East Depot,” Evens said.

Tatum agreed that this project is just the beginning. Other current or future HAP projects include:

• gathering memories of Davie’s historic black communities, initially focusing on the people and homes of the East Depot Street and Mill Street areas and former businesses on The Corner;

• completing the paperwork to get the community recognized as a historic district;

• designing a mural that captures businesses that have been part of the East Depot community, such as Bill’s Cab Stand, Lene’s Beauty Shop, Dulin Barber Shop, SW Brown Wholesale, Alice Briton’s Southern Kitchen, Martin Bros, Gaither Meat Market, JP Green Mill Co, and Park’s Insulation. Upon approval, the mural will be painted on the side of Corinthian Lodge 17.

Sharon Anderson serves as the executive director. HAP’s board of directors includes Tamela Tatum, president; Joseph Johnson, vice president; Edward Johnson, treasurer; Priscilla Williams, recording secretary; and Alice Brown, corresponding secretary.

To learn more about HAP, email heritageAPDC@gmail.com.