Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Cemetery and the Duplin

Ruins of the old Duplin Mill as seen from Nanticoke Cemetery.
Composite of four photos taken March 2, 2009.
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This was my first stop on my walk through the cemetery cluster that occupies much of the south central section of Nanticoke. I've long wanted to do a photo session with these ruins as seen from the cemetery, and with recent rumblings suggesting that a plan is in the works to tear the place down, I figured now was as good a time as any, and better than some.

This building has had several identities over the decades: it was the Duplin Mill, an old "throwing mill" where my grandfather was a foreman. Later it was McGregor Sportswear, and then was converted in the 1970's into L.S. Skatarama / Bowl-O-Rama by local businessman George Ellis.

Skatarama - which occupied the right half of the building, as seen in this photo - was destroyed by fire in 1992, but Bowl-O-Rama continued to operate in the undamaged half of the building up until last year. Now the building is vacant. Every few years a plan is announced to tear down the place; this is accompanied by a brief flurry of demolition activity, which usually results in a big pile of bricks and other assorted rubble appearing on the sidewalk in front of the place. All activity then stops. Eventually the bricks are taken away. Then nothing else happens until the next announcement of plans to demolish the place.

Now that Bowl-O-Rama is closed, though, it seems more likely that demolition plans may actually be carried through. That's too bad. This used to be a major center of industry in Nanticoke, and then a major recreation center. Maybe once it could have been one or the other of those things again. But now it is a crumbling husk, a ruined hulk occupying half of a block. Still, even in the state it's in, it is a huge and imposing structure. I'm glad I got to photograph it before it's torn down.


Anonymous said...

I just visited the area and saw the poor condition of the place. Any idea who owns it now?



D.B. Echo said...

I believe it's still the Ellis family. Though I am not sure.

Last year an ongoing rumor was found to be true when a huge marijuana-growing operation was discovered in the place. But after the initial report there has been no follow-up.