the n&o just started a summer series where we're retracing many of the routes found in the 1939 Federal Writers' Project publication "North Carolina: A Guide to the Old North State." It was part of the WPA, which was Roosevelt's attempt to stimulate the economy out of the depression.
the FWP's purpose was to help put unemployed writers and editors to work. a lot more people than just writers, and some of them still employed in their "regular" jobs, helped produce the books though.
so intrepid reporter josh shaffer and i headed out to Tyrell county and specifically Fort Landing which was milepost zero for U.S. 64 back in '39. back then i'm sure it took the better part of a full day to get from raleigh to the small fishing village, pop. 310. today it's an easy 2.5 hr drive down the four-lane route 64.
easy to get there and easy to leave. which apparently a lot of people did. the population probably reached its peak in '39, because there's relatively few residents out there today.
columbia, above, is the county seat. but about the only thing moving that day was the growing rust and an empty trashbag crinkling and billowing in the humid breeze.