Goldsboro is in the middle of the Coastal Plains route of the MST. The trail doesn’t go through the city but I wanted to see if it would make a good trail town. The short answer is no. The city is too big and spread out. It’s also too quiet.
I had read that Temple Oheb Shalom (1886) in Goldsboro was the second oldest Jewish Synagogue in North Carolina – the first is in Wilmington. Now the building is a soup kitchen. A woman worker at the soup kitchen assured me that the building was well taken care of. Even so, they had put a sculpture of a pig in front of the entrance. See the picture on top. The irony was completely lost on them, but they’re doing good work in a blighted neighborhood.
Center St., the heart of the historic district is dead. The street has four lanes divided by a strip of grass and shrubs. Unfortunately the street itself has many empty stores. There are a few second hand shops, a beauty parlor and a clinic. Bailbond offices seem to thrive. Some stores are closed when they were supposed to be open.
I dropped into the Paramount Theatre and met Vincent, the theatre service coordinator. The theater is the only lively outlet in the historic district, though, of course, it was pretty quiet on a Tuesday morning. He explained that the building was new but the theatre has been around since the 1920s.
I walked into the Wayne County Museum and was the only visitor. The Assistant Director, Chris, offered to give me a personalized tour but I declined. The museum was filled with displays of the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. General Cornwallis marched through Wayne County on the way to Virginia from Wilmington in 1781. Quilts hung in the room upstairs. Chris got so excited that I knew about the synagogue that he wanted me to visit a closed furniture store owned by a Jewish business owner. I didn’t think so. I’m not doing a Jewish tour of Goldsboro.
Like Sylva, the County Courthouse had closed its majestic entrances because they figured no one was going to use the steps. Now you enter through an unimaginative courtyard.
I had lunch at the Getaway Coffee house, a quiet lunch spot with attractive paintings on the wall. The coffee was located on a side street and had more life that most of the main historic district.
I went in search of Herman Park, a recreational park with picnic shelters, tennis courts, playground and lots more. There’s a statue of the second “lady in the park’. The original has not weathered well and is convalescing at the museum.
But the people were very friendly. Everyone I talked to asked me in their own way what I was doing here. New in town? Visiting family? Passing through? So I told them about the MST but it didn’t make much of an impression.
I have a friend who grew up in Goldsboro. I went looking for a postcard to send her but couldn’t find any. Maybe I was looking in the wrong places but a city without postcards has given up hope. It was time to move on.