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Atlantic & Yadkin Railway

History &
Modeling


    

A.W. Preston & Son

Belews Creek (Milepost CF 46.1)

History

Belews Creek has always been a small community.  The namesake creek rises in east Forsyth County and flows northeast across the southeast edge of Stokes County and into the Dan River on the Stokes-Rockingham County line. I have yet to find an official or even semi-official history of Belews Creek. I have had several residents, including Sandy and Lisa Isley, provide some historical information which I will include on this page along with what I have gleaned from various archival sources.

The Belews Creek depot was located at milepost 46.1 on the A&Y line. The depot was estimated to be built in 1896 by the ICC valuation report, whereas the accompanying passenger platform was added around 1910. The valuation report photograph from about 1916 is shown here at the right (click on thumbnail for full size image). ay_station_icc_belews_creek_1935_01.jpg (67752 bytes)

A.W. Preston & Son store today Belews Creek

Nearby was the A.W. Preston & Son general store, which also stood trackside and housed the post office for Belews Creek until the mid 1970s. The store began as I.A. Roberson Mercantile Co. after the Civil War. When Roberson died, he left the store to his son-in-law, AW Preston. His son, Talmage Preston, joined the business in the 20s. Sue Preston Isley took over after Talmage and ran it until she closed and sold it in the early 1980s.  Sandy and Lisa Isley, relatives of the store's proprietors, have graciously provided a number of interesting photographs, drawings and news articles which document the history of the store and its place within the Belews Creek community. To the left is a photo of the vacant store, closed in 1982. The photo was taken during my visit to the area in 1999. I have reproduced the newspaper article on the history of the store published when it was being closed.  Click here for that account. The store is now owned by Eddie McMichael in Belew's Creek. He uses it for storage.
 

 

Track Diagram

Track Diagram for Belews Creek from ICC Valuation 1916

An image from the ICC valuation maps gives a fair idea of how the track and depot were laid out. Click on the thumbnail to view a larger image. 

On an A&Y timetable in 1943 Belews Creek was listed as a stop with capacity for 8 cars. This capacity was based on the two spurs, one to a shingle factory and one to a warehouse.

   Of course the track along here is now gone, but the roadbed can be followed if you know what you're looking for.  Fortunately on my visit to the region, I had Mr. Garreth McDonald, editor-emeritus of The Short Line, who does know what to look for.

 

The series of photos below were sent to me by Sandy Isley. 

ay_mow_car_dorothy_preston_liken_jackson_herman_allen_preston.jpg (56518 bytes) The first photo shows from L to R, Dorothy Lynn Preston Liken Jackson, and Herman Allen Preston.  Dorothy was the granddaughter of  A.W. Preston and daughter to T.R. Preston the son in 'A.W. Preston & Son.'  Of historical significance is the backdrop for the photo - an Atlantic & Yadkin Railway maintenance-of-way camp car.  This is the first photograph of A&Y lettered MoW equipment I have ever seen or heard about!  These camp cars were used by the railroad to house extra track workers when the work to be done was more than the local section gang could handle. The camp car contained bunks for the workers to sleep in since they could be a long way from a local YMCA, railroad hotel or from home.
belews_creek_depot_and_mrs_annie_strader_talmage_r_preston.jpg (61989 bytes) A portrait of Mrs. Annie Strader taken in front of the Belews Creek depot.  It's hard to tell whether the building to the right is a residence or the general store.  From the track plan (see below) it looks like it might be a residence right next to the depot
belews_creek_depot_herman_a_preston_or_talmage_preston_and_unknown.jpg (30911 bytes) H.A. or T.R. Preston (in suit) and an unknown man are in front of the depot. If this is Talmage R. Preston, he was the son of A.W., proprietor of the general store.
belews_creek_depot_peegee_and_jane_preston.jpg (31400 bytes) Here we see James Talmage "Peegee" Isley and Jane Preston playing in the drive near the depot.
belews_creek_depot_peegee_preston_jane_preston_blackburn_and_unknown.jpg (36246 bytes) The children (L to R Peegee, Jane and an unknown boy) strike a fanciful pose for their photographer.  Again the depot is in the background. 
belews_creek_depot_talmage_r_preston_and_james_peegee_isley.jpg (33951 bytes) T.R. Preston and Peegee Isley appear to be playing with the pigskin in front of the depot.

The community was changed significantly in 1973 when Belews Lake was completed by Duke Power Company. Belews Lake has a surface area of 3,863 acres and a shoreline of approximately 88 miles. It is impounded by a rolled earth fill dam with a concrete spillway across Belews Creek. The lake’s purpose is to provide cooling water for Belews Creek Steam Station -- the largest coal-fired station on the Duke Power system. Unlike most Duke Power lakes, there is no hydroelectric generation at this dam, so Belews Lake is not under FERC license. It is used as cooling water for the Belews Creek Steam Station. Drawdown of the lake occurs only when necessary to maintain minimum discharge into the Dan River. The lake provides recreation ( e.g., Belews Creek Yacht Club for example ) as well as serving the electrical needs of the region.

Industries

A Southern Railway Shippers Guide from 1916 indicates the following industries were located in Belews Creek and using the A&Y for delivering and receiving products by rail (although some may have used the station or team track rather than having a dedicated siding). I will add other industries as I receive information about them, for example, A.W. Preston & Son:

Industry

Goods Shipped/Rec'd

Company Name

flour and grist mill

flour and mill feed

Roherman Strader & Co.

woodworking factory

box shooks

Roherman Strader & Co.

dry goods store dry goods A.W. Preston & Son

 

Odds and Ends

Here I will include any information that is non-railroad in nature that helps provide a hint as to the character of the people and industries who lived and worked in Belews Creek.  I've included the Preston-Isley information above, because of their close links to the railroad.  I welcome any and all information about this little community!

 

 

This website is copyrighted 1998-2016 by David M. Bott.  Images appearing on this website may be protected by U.S. Copyright Law, donor restrictions, and other rights or policies. The Railroad Roman font used in the title was bought from Ben Coifman. Persons who contemplate copying and using font or images should obtain all necessary permissions pertaining to use. Authorization to use images credited to the North Carolina Collection, University of N.C. Library at Chapel Hill should be sought from the Collection at CB#3934, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27514-8890. Telephone 919-962-7992. Images credited to the North Carolina State Library Photo Archives are considered in the public domain.  Images credited to others or unknown are subject to copyright restrictions and permission for use should be obtained.

This page  last edited Wednesday, September 28, 2016