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On a sunny March Sunday afternoon in 2009, after church and lunch with my mother (the primary inspiration for my love of Gastonia history), I rode over to Gaston Avenue to take some pictures of the old Gastonia Bottling Company building at Gaston and Firestone. To finish the roll of film, I turned to my right and snapped a quick shot of the old neon sign that once announced the location of Stowe's Florist to an almost unbelievably different "across the tracks," back when the Airline/Gaston Avenue area was full of life and vitality. I had the film developed and put the pictures in a box with hundreds of others. Life rolled on. Five years passed. Mom is gone, the Gastonia Bottling Company building is gone, and Stowe's Florist is gone .
We often focus upon the big things of Old Gastonia: The Loray Mill, The Lawyers' and Commercial Buildings, and so on, while the small places that figure so prominently in our collective and individual pasts quietly disappear without mention or mourning. These are the real landmarks of Old Gastonia and of Old Anyplace. They are worthy of preserving in pictures, memories, and the oft-recounted stories of our lives.
Below are the pictures captured Sunday afternoon March 8, 2009 of the former Gastonia Bottling Company building at the northwest corner of North Firestone Boulevard and Gaston Avenue.
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