30 Nov

Ghosts of Christmas Past

By Silver Blue


(C) 2016 F. John Barker III/Silver Blue Photography

Silver Blue: I remember this lighted cardboard Christmas tree being placed in the front window of our home in Charleston, SC, every year until we moved in 1980. Then, it was on my parent’s mantel, and then was passed on to me.  The little cut out stars were, at one time covered from the inside with colored cellophane.  The light, a simple night light bulb, illuminated the tree.

What do you think of this post?
  • Funny (0)
  • Touching (1)
  • Interesting (1)
11 Jun

It’s the real thing…

By Silver Blue | 3 comments


First off, a note about comments: If you wish to comment (and I welcome them), you have to click on the name of the post, which will open it, and the comment box is at the bottom of the screen.

I like to travel. I love to find old buildings and capture them before the ravages of time cause us to tear them down and “renew”, for the buildings of today have no charm as the buildings of yesteryear did. That’s why when I moved back to Hampton Roads in 1980, I discovered a building that I could not believe. Then, almost overnight, it changed. Abandoned. Sold, repurposed. Altered. Then, that tenant moved out. The building sits, waiting to be destroyed. But, wait! Some of the alterations have come off over time! Quick, to the camera, before it’s gone forever….

Well, you can see SOMETHING has been covered up. But why? Perhaps it was copyrighted? Identifiable with a company or brand?

Why yes! The former Newport News Coca Cola plant, owned by the Brown Family.

Even the other side of the factory has those endcaps covered.

But not the middle! There we go! Precisely what I remember. The stone Coca-Cola bottles. In fact, everything is carved in stone here.

Though, honestly, I don’t know why the windows on this end were closed off. I don’t even know when the plant closed.

You can sort of see the holes that were drilled (look inside the B, between the g and C, and inside the final c on the bottom line) to cover up the identification on the building.

Here, the holes drilled to conceal the logos/ads are far more obvious.

The “holy grail” I was after with the camera. You can see the drill holes where the outer cover (as shown in the first two photos) was attached to conceal. You don’t see stonework like this any more.

Evelyn McCormack Brown, heiress to the local Coca Cola fortune lived in this mansion on Chesapeake Avenue in Hampton until just a few years ago. It had an asking price of about $1.2 million, and I do believe sold for close to that amount. The home is classical in appearance and overlooks the Hampton Roads harbour. (Thanks to the Brown’s Granddaughter for leaving a comment and correcting my faulty memory on Mrs. Brown’s first name!)

Before we close, however, let me show you the only remaining building to the left of the old plant…unique in its own right.

Sure, you see buildings with curves these days, but made out of REAL brick? Most of the facades these days are cast to look like brickwork, but aren’t. This is the real thing. Not sure how much longer IT will be standing, either. (The photos were shot in 2007, and I’ve not been back down there since, so that all may have been torn down already.)

Silver Blue, who is really more of a Dr. Pepper kind of guy.

(N.B.: As of early 2013, when I returned by the old plant, it’s still standing, but the covers on the endcaps (where the bottles were hidden) have finally come off, exposing all the bottles. Maybe I will be able to return to capture the entire building uncovered…. (Updated 3/23/13))

What do you think of this post?
  • Funny (0)
  • Touching (1)
  • Interesting (6)

Days of Silver Blue

December 2023