Saturday, June 09, 2012


The old town of my childhood is pretty much a ghost town now. Cracks in the streets grow Johnson grass, bitter weed, and honey suckle.
All but a few buildings have fallen into mounds of brick, mortar, and rotted timbers. The old Dora Movie theatre, Harry Shaw's Drug Store, and Lehman's Furniture are long gone. It looks like the pictures of Dresden after the bombing. But at one time, it was the center of commerce in eastern Walker County.
The town sprang up next to the railroad tracks in the late 1800's. Half-mile long trains once chugged mountains of coal from the mines around where I was raised, to U.S. Steel in Birmingham, and on to points east and north.
The town became a hub for miners, and their families. It thrived for years.
But then in the 1960's, state workers scratched out a new highway through the heart of the county, and soon all the businesses that had been the heartbeat of Dora, began to move toward the new highway and the promise of progress. The town slowly died, and with it, a part of my past died too.
I drove through there earlier this week. This abutment separates the one-sided town from the railroad tracks.
When I was a kid, it was painted solid gray and I cannot recall a single mark on it, unless it was accidentally scrapped by a car that was paying more attention to what was happening on the "store side" of the street.
These days it's like a concrete canvas. Every few years it changes with new names and new colors. For some reason, as I drove by, it made me a little sad.


  1. I guess mining towns have kind of disappeared over the years and the people in the towns had nothing left to keep them there. You paint a sad but true picture. Good thing you have the memories.

  2. I think it always makes us feel sad to see things deteriorate and basically get left behind - especially when it's something we've always loved. There are some small towns in Utah where the same thing happened: the new highway just passed them by and they've kind of died. I remember driving through them as a child and they were so lovely back then.

  3. Hello, I know how you feel..all gone without a care, or so it seems, but you care. The same has happened to where I grew up. There is a main highway driving through it now and I could hardly find where I grew up. It is sad, its like it never was.
    We are history, and the story continues on.

  4. My hometown is practically a ghost town now. The last time I saw it, about 20 years ago, only the tavern appeared to be thriving.



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