The Website of


Where Old Gastonia Lives

On Gastonia, On Gastonia. We Are All For You!

Lest we forget.

Please contact us to receive information about linking to this site or reproducing images and text contained herein.
 Thank you.

What do we mean by Old Gastonia?
Click here to find out!

The original Home Page contents can now be found on the Introduction Page.
(See instructions at bottom of this page for link to username and password 
located on the "Fair Use Principle" page .)


On Wednesday March 23, 2016 Smith Drugs closed its doors. Its passing marked the end of Old Gastonia's retail history on West Main Avenue. This picture was taken from a series recorded just before the beginning of the removal sale of Matthews Belk department store on June 23, 1976 and appears in A Glimpse as It Passed: Scenes from A Vanished Gastonia, North Carolina, 1972-1992 published by Trenton Creative Enterprises © 2004.

T&T Supermarket (Tatham and Treadway)  was  an anchor of the Firestone Square (Greasy Corner) business district from the 1940s until the 1970s. Located on the southwest corner of West Franklin Avenue and South Vance Street in a building previously occupied by the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company (A&P--until it relocated to the present site of the Sav-A-Lot Supermarket), T&T was the last (along with A.D. Blanton and Sons) of the several grocery stores that operated in the populous and busy old West Gastonia from the time of the Loray Mill's construction in 1900-1901. (The circa-November 1952 Gastonia Gazette  article appears courtesy of Gail Treadway Elmore, T&T proprietor G.M. "Spoon" Treadway's daughter.)

Franklin Drug Store was established a short distance west of Loray Square/Firestone Square/"Greasy Corner" in West Gastonia at 1343 West Franklin Avenue next door to a McCoy Gas Station around 1920. In 1941 it was purchased by Mr. Henry C. Bell, a local pharmacist who had received on-the-job experience following graduation from the University of North Carolina School of Pharmacy.  He moved the business across the street to 1402 (currently the location of an automotive paint business) in the mid-1950s where it remained until it closed in the 1970s.

When on-street parking was eliminated on Franklin Avenue in the late 1960s (when it became "Franklin Boulevard"), much of the human scale and walkability of Gastonia's central traffic artery was replaced by what amounted to a six-lane freeway. If life is ever to return to the abandoned storefronts and under-utilized structures all along Franklin, on-street parking must be re-established. This is now possible due to the existence of three crosstown highways (Long, Garrison, and Hudson) that did not exist or did not exist as high-volume arteries when Franklin parking was eliminated.  The City of Gastonia Planning Department has developed an interesting 
draft plan for the Loray Village area that includes reclaiming Franklin Boulevard as a pedestrian-friendly thoroughfare.
(The picture of the Franklin Drug Store is from a c.1948 Gastonia Gazette article and was furnished by Mr. Bell's son-in-law Gary Dellinger. The link to the draft plan for the Loray Village area was used with permission.)


  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. Seven 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. 


One of our primary goals at is to refute the misconception regarding the older parts of the city that they were always dilapidated and dangerous . Native Gastonians who remember the years before 1970 are often shocked at the views newer residents have toward places that were, in our minds, only recently filled with life and vitality. The wastelands of old West Gastonia (now referred to as the western edge of Downtown) are slowly being stirred from their restless and troubling slumber by the energy and promise of the advancing Loray / Firestone Mill project. 

Gastonia's original Holiday Inn was constructed on former Trenton Mill Village property in 1962 amid much fanfare. For a time, it represented the highest development of the hospitality industry and was state-of-the-art for the company. 

Within a short time after the motel's construction, the bulk of the remaining Trenton Village property was sold to the Sears Roebuck Company for the construction of a class "A" store. Ample parking was provided in front of the store on Franklin Avenue with an additional two blocks of well-lighted space at the rear entrance across Main Avenue bounded by Trenton Street, Hill Street, and the Southern Railway tracks.

These anchor institutions and the surrounding churches, homes, stores, and the sparkling new YMCA teemed with life. It was a good place.

Sometimes the past presents a picture of what the future can be.

Our mission is to be interpretive and educational as well as visual and entertaining.
Thank you for visiting. 

(Credits: The Holiday Inn Postcard was produced by Curt Teich & Co., Chicago, c.1960; the newspaper clipping is from the "Weekender" supplement to the Gastonia Gazette, October 31, 1965.)

This is the book that led to the creation of the website.
Now in its tenth year of publication.
Visit the 
History page to read how it happened.


This site is password-accessible.
For now we are providing the required username and password (that will change from time-to-time) to all visitors free-of charge.
They are posted at the end of the Fair Use article along with our user agreement.
(Click link here or below.)

be aware that posting of material lifted from on such sites as Pinterest without permission constitutes unauthorized use and possibly violates their Terms of Service and Acceptable Use Policy.
Please use this site with care so we can continue sharing it with everyone.

Please click here to read
information about fair use of copyrighted material from the
United States Copyright Office and to obtain the username and password.
(Scroll to the bottom of the page to find username and password.) 

Copyright 2016 Trenton Creative Enterprises. All rights reserved.
Note: This is a commercial website. It is the creation of Timothy Craig Ellis, DBA Trenton Creative Enterprises, who holds registered copyright protection over his photographs and reserves copyright over design, layout, and content of this website. Intellectual property rights are reserved under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and other pertinent laws and regulations. 
We may seek legal remedies against any who reproduce or repost material contained in this website without first obtaining permission in writing. We monitor websites and social media pages regularly.
Please contact us for information regarding linking to Help us keep the site open for everyone. Thank you for your cooperation.

Website Builder