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Residents Work To Preserve Greensboro's Terra Cotta Neighborhood

10:37 PM, Jul 20, 2010   |    comments
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Greensboro, NC -- Residents of one Greensboro neighborhood are working to preserve its history before it's gone.

Once a bustling community with workers at the Pomona Terra Cotta Pipe Company, the Terra Cotta neighborhood is now nestled within a commercial area off Norwalk Street, and only a couple dozen houses remain.

That's why Dennis Waddell, who was born in the Terra Cotta neighborhood, created the Terra Cotta Heritage Foundation and Museum.

"Terra Cotta to me was a community of love," said Waddell.  "It gave us very strong values, a good relationship with other people."

83 year-old Eugene McMurray, Jr. is a lifelong Terra Cotta resident and worked at the plant. He lives in one of the 27 remaining houses.

"Look like to me that it's getting smaller and smaller and seem like to me that it might be one day it'll be gone when old heads die out," he said. "I would like for it to stay as Terra Cotta."

The museum Waddell started at 504 Norwalk Street houses pictures and descriptions of what life was like when workers and their families lived there. He even constructed a model of the Terra Cotta community.

The community had churches, a school, and even a baseball team, for which McMurray was shortstop. "I did my student teaching at Terra Cotta School," said Wilhelmina Waddell, who has lived there for more than 74 years. "I enjoyed living here, I enjoyed the fellowship, I enjoyed the older people."

"We recognize that as land gets more valuable, as the current residents age, the probability is quite high that the community itself will disappear," said Waddell.

But he and others in the community hope their work will help Terra Cotta's spirit live on.

The museum on Norwalk Street is open to the public. The Terra Cotta Day Festival will be September 4, which will be a day to celebrate the history and heritage.

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