02/21/05 — Best Station community celebrates its unique history

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Best Station community celebrates its unique history

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on February 21, 2005 1:58 PM

Residents and former residents of the Best Station community gathered Saturday to celebrate their unique history.

Although only a couple of dozen people call the eastern Wayne County crossroads community home, about 80 attended the festivities.

A ceremony was held at Holly Hill Church of Christ. A group of residents, the Citizens of Best Station, hopes to keep their history alive through annual events. A cook-out is planned for July 2.

Best Station Extravaganza

News-Argus/Mitch Loeber

Freddie Dees, left, and Deacon James A. Jones, right, bow their heads in prayer during the Best Station history celebration Saturday.

The community, situated at the intersection of New Hope and Beston roads, once boasted a railroad depot and school.

Beverly Robinson said the group's purpose is to share the history of the people who have lived at Best Station and their careers in religion, business, the military and education. After presentations on each of these topics, friends and families enjoyed a reception, looked at old photographs of the neighborhood and watched video taped interviews about life in the early part of the 1900s.

The Rev. Haywood Harrell was pastor of the church during the 1940s, when it was a Methodist church. He said many good, hard-working people have called Best Station home.

The church's history dates back to the mid-1800s, said the Rev. Charles Howard.

Leroy McDowell described the businesses and workers that populated the neighborhood over the years. Many small businesses once thrived in the area, he said. He talked about Hubb Holloway, who ran a taxi-cab business, Alvin and Daphne Eason, who ran a country store, and Numpy White's mother, Maggie, who served the community as a midwife.

Other entrepreneurs made a living in a more dubious fashion, McDowel said. They make moonshine whiskey.

Johnny Wooten talked about the many people from Best Station who served their country in the military. He said more than 65 people who grew up in Best Station have served in the military.

The community lost its first school to fire in the late 1920s. A second, larger school was built. Residents recalled having no plumbing at the school and having to drink water from an outdoor pump. A wood stove provided the only heat in the winter, they said. Many recalled having to walk as far as three miles to get to school.

The school closed in 1948. But the memories live on.

Victoria McDowell said she remembers students marching, class by class, to the outdoor pump to wash up and brush their teeth.

"It was very cold water in the winter time," said Victoria McDowell. "We took our tooth brush out of our bag and would brush our teeth with that cold, cold water."

Several people talked about teachers from long ago and the impact they made on the lives of many people in the community. One teacher, a Mrs. Smith, would cook soup for the students. Students performed plays and celebrated the holidays at the school. At Christmas, the older boys were sent out into the woods to bring back a Christmas tree for decorating.

But times changed and so did Best Station.

Still, residents said, they want to keep alive the individuality of the community, its traditions and its connections among families and friends.