Rename or Rebrand? East Dixie Drive in Asheboro

Every town or city has a highway that no one likes to travel. It is probably because of a number of issues but it usually boils down to traffic. Asheboro is getting a southern loop for Highway 64 (Dixie Drive) which should remove some traffic from going through the city. So now, for some reason rumors are flying about renaming Dixie Drive through Asheboro. This is my take on some pretty good names to be considered for the renaming committee.

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This is one of the busiest intersections in Asheboro. Renaming the highway will not make the problem go away. Photo from Asheboro: Then and Now Facebook Page.

First of all, rebranding, really? I guess I am old fashioned. You rename roads and other things. As an example, you rename your pet from Oscar to Bo. You are talking to your friend on the phone and tell them, “Oh, by the way, I rebranded Oscar and I am calling him Bo now.” It is called RENAMIMG, let’s stop trying to reinvent the wheel when what we have works.

Dixie Drive in Asheboro. Just saying these words could bring shock, dismay and anger (toward city officials and NCDOT). However, it is not their fault, well maybe it is NCDOT’s fault but not the city officials.

Dixie Drive, from my estimates has about a zillion cars and trucks each day traveling on the highway. Make that 2 zillion if you are stuck in traffic for any reason.

Here are my “official” names I have chosen for the renaming of Dixie Drive in Asheboro, NC. I like them all, so you make a choice or add a new one.

No Love Here, Time to Text, Will Be Late, Heavy Traffic Drive, Oh No, What Just Happened, Going No Where, Just Sitting Here, Move Over Stupid, Temper Tantrum.

One More Horn, Why This Way, I Am Lost, Traffic, Zoo City Nightmare, No Peace, It’s an Adventure, Suicide Strip, The Dangerous Way, OMG, Count to 10 Again, Last Nerve.

Oops, Crunch, Higher Insurance Rates, I am Target, Never Again, LOL, The Finger, The Sloth Adventure, Stop Staring, No Answer, Looking at You, It’s Not Funny, 7 Year Itch, 2nd Novel.

To Many Cars, To Many Lights, Nightmare in Asheboro, Wreck City, It’s a No Go, 15 Songs Later, Not to Fast, Walking is Faster, Turtle Race, Straight From Hades, Snails Go Faster, Slow Cook’n, Stuck in the Middle.

Not Funny, Never Mind the Dent, Out of Time, Out of Patience, Bathroom Quick, HaHa, Looking at Tail Lights, Where’s the Movement, What a Nut, That’s Crazy, Deathtrap, More Road Please, Impossible Dream, No Turns.

Growing Older, Not getting Wiser, Getting Upset, Happiness Gone, Why Me, Love/Hate Relationship, Monster 10 Feet, I Need Gas.

These are just a few of my suggestions. Please leave your suggestions below and any other remarks that you may have.

Oh, I almost forgot, enjoy your travels through Asheboro…

The Southern Shout Out has spoken, now it is your turn.

Acme-McCrary steam whistle is silent – for now

The Acme-McCrary steam whistle is silent for now. According to Brenda Johnson, Director of Human Resources for Acme, the steam whistle stopped blowing on May 8, 2014. One of the few departments that were left at the downtown location was moved to another location. The steam whistle operated from steam that was generated by a boiler. That boiler has not been used since the move on May 8.

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Brenda Johnson beside an photo in the offices. Photo ©Bill Ballentine

Do you miss the whistle or do you have any memories about it. Share them in the comments below. 

Although an exact date is not available, she believes it started bowing in the 30’s or 40’s.

The whistle has been a part of the Asheboro community for 75 years or more. Many people remember it blowing and they would look at their watch to see if the watch was accurate. What a lot of people don’t know is that the whistle was manually blown at 7 am, 12 noon, 12:30 pm and then at 3:30 pm, which was later changed to 3pm. The whistle would remind employees it was time to start work, go to lunch, and come back to lunch and then when you could go home. So the whistle was only as accurate as the person that was supplying the steam.

The last person that was responsible for that process was Don Hill. Don worked in the maintenance department and he was the man that controlled so many memories of that sound. He started to work for Acme-McCrary in May of 1999 and he still works there today.

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Don Hill standing beside the steam whistle that no longer blows in downtown Asheboro. Photo ©Bill Ballentine

I asked him if he was ever late blowing the whistle, he grinned and said “Maybe just a couple of times.”

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A photo of the now silent steam whistle on the roof of the Acme-McCrary building in downtown Asheboro. Photo ©Bill Ballentine

John Ogburn, the Asheboro City Manager remembers the whistle. He remembers as a boy growing up in the Greystone area of Asheboro hearing it blowing at 7 am. He knew it was time to get out of the bed. When asked if he would like to hear it blowing again, he responded with “Even though it is part of the past and nostalgic, it may need to stay in the past. If it was to start up again I hope it would be a signal that manufacturing at the Acme McCrary downtown facility has restarted.”

I can remember growing up many blocks from downtown and hearing the whistle blowing. It always reminded me of the time when I heard it.

Mrs. Johnson supplied a copy of a “Letter to the Editor” that was written by Nancy Stevens (date unknown) which was published in the Courier Tribune. The beginning of the letter started with “After listening to the Acme-McCrary whistle for almost 90 years, I didn’t realize I loved it until someone complained about it. It would be interesting to know how many people have listened to that whistle and fed, clothed and educated their families by listening. If it stopped blowing, I would miss it. Hope it blows loud and clear as long as I live”

Mrs. Johnson at its peak the downtown location had as many as 300 employees. Now it has around 75 employees and most of that number is office people since the downtown location is the corporate headquarters for Acme-McCrary. Neal Anderson is the current CEO of Acme-McCray.

In case anyone is wondering, the longest active employee that is still working there is Irene Cox. Congratulations on working there for the past 66 years. She started in 1948.

The Southern Shout Out has spoken, now it is your turn.