Monday, June 20, 2011

East Bend, Siloam, Shoals, NC Ramble 6/20/11

A Monday Ride
I headed out from home mid morning today on a ride headed towards East Bend, NC. My legs seemed a little tired when I started out. It seemed I was fighting a strong headwind the whole way to East Bend. I pushed myself to keep the pace from dropping. When ever I am riding by myself into a head wind I remember what Mike Royal said about headwinds "you always have a headwind if you are going fast enough". Flags and leaves along the way confirmed the headwind. When I got to the road to Siloam I changed my course in that direction hoping for some relief. The wind wasn't as bad, but I had already fatigued my legs. The rest of the ride was a bit of a struggle. 

Many rides from the Winston-Salem/Lewisville, NC area begin by going through East Bend. From there there are lots of options. Today I rode through the communities of Siloam and Shoals on my loop. 

East Bend, North Carolina
East Bend was first known as Banner's Store. It was named for merchant Martin Luther Banner. Early settler Martin Luther Banner later moved west and founded Banner Elk, North Carolina. On March 7, 1887 the General Assembly incorporated the town of East Bend and named it after the east bend of the Yadkin River.

J.G. Huff established the first buggy-manufacturing business in town in 1873. The Huff Buggy Factory, built in 1893, was said to be the largest buggy factory in the South. Huff closed the buggy works about 1920 and began operating a funeral home, which is still owned and operated by his heirs.

In 1904, the town's population was 444, and it boasted of a hotel, two buggy factories, a tobacco bag factory, a bank and several stores. However, a decision by the Southern Railroad to bypass the town in 1890, put a damper on the town's growth. 

As of the 2000 census, there were 659 people, 271 households,  and 188 families residing in the town. East Bend has a total area of 1.3 square miles.

Click on the images to enlarge them.
Siloam, North Carolina bridge collapse February 23, 1975.

Four people were killed and 16 people injured when the one-lane steel span bridge connecting Yadkin and Surry counties in Siloam collapsed on February 23, 1975. The collapse brought national attention to bridge safety and was reported in national magazines, including Reader's Digest, and on The CBS Evening News.

The Atkinson-Needham Memorial Bridge, which was built at the site of the old bridge, was named in honor of the four victims - Hugh and Ola Marion Atkinson and Judy Needham and her 3-year-old daughter, Andrea Lee. 

According to an National Transportation Safety Board report, the accident started about 9:25 p.m. when a car struck a timber railing on the bridge, causing the bridge to collapse in to the rain-swollen river. In heavy fog, six more vehicles within a 17-minute period drove off the bridge.

By the 1970's, state officials had hung a sign on the second-hand bridge that read, "Local Traffic Only."

The bridge, which originally been used near High Rock Lake, was reassembled in Siloam in 1938. It was listed as deficient and needing repair or replacement in a 1974 state report. Troy Doby, the state secretary of transportation, said later that "it should have been replaced, but it was a question of money."

Weeks before the collapse, Hugh Atkinson had urged state officials to tear it down. The Atkinson family later found a letter in his coat pocket that he had written to the governor's office urging action on the bridge.

Riding towards Siloam, NC
  The Sign as you start across the bridge.

Looking across the "new" bridge.

The Yadkin River from the bridge in Siloam, NC.

Four turtles sitting on a log in the middle of the river below the bridge.

A quick rest stop and Gatorade in Siloam, NC.

On the left is the video camera mounted to my handlebar.

Pilot Mountain from Sandy Ridge Road in the Shoals Community

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