Belews Creek (Milepost CF 46.1)
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).
||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
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
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.
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.
||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
||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.
||Here we see James Talmage "Peegee" Isley and Jane Preston playing in the drive
near the depot.
||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.
||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
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:
flour and grist mill
flour and mill feed
Roherman Strader & Co.
Roherman Strader & Co.
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!