PIGEON COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CENTER
~ As Written by Bill Upton, Class of 1960 ~
This is Bill Upton with Lin
Forney, the Executive Director
of the Pigeon Center. The
picture was taken a few days
after the new roof had been
installed. Needless to
say, they were very happy.
After almost 20 years in hot, humid Florida, we decided to retire to the
mountains of Western North Carolina. In 1999, we purchased acreage atop
Wolf Pen Mountain in Waynesville, NC. Waynesville is the eastern gateway
to Smoky Mountain National Park. Asheville, NC is about 25 miles west. I
began construction of our retirement home September 1999 and we moved in
November 2000. After building our home, adjacent property owners
asked me to build three additional homes on the mountain.
After my construction career ended, I became aware of a community center
located in a grammar school built in the 1950's. I learned that the
school was left over from the segregated era and was the only African
American grammar school in the area.
The Pigeon Multicultural Community Center, a qualified, 501 (c) (3)
nonprofit, leased the building from Haywood County for $ 1 per year and
serves a predominately African American community. Apart from a
community gathering place, the Center provides an emergency food bank.
They also offer an after-school service as well as a Summer Enrichment
Program for school children. Haywood County School System does not have
summer school, so the Center's program attracts a broad group of
students including African Americans, Hispanics and Whites. They attend
5 days a week from 8 AM to 5 PM. They are served 3 meals a day and
receive instruction in math, English and other activities including
field trips to educational and entertainment venues. The program is a
blessing to working parents who might not otherwise be able to afford
child care during summer months.
I met the Director and was given a tour of the building. The fuel oil
boiler that provided hot water for the steam heating system was not
working and even if it had been working, she told me they could not
afford to purchase fuel oil. Consequently, heating was provided by
portable, unvented, kerosene-fueled, space-heating devices. These
heaters emit carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide and are not meant to
be used for indoor heating. The original 1950's roof leaked like a sieve
and on rainy days there could be as much as 2 inches of water on the
floors. The electric system needed some serious upgrading as did the
potable water lines. Given these conditions, I was astonished that the
building and the organization was as effective as it was.
I decided they needed help, so I joined the organization's Board of
Directors and began to seek financial help from my church and other area
churches. We began to work with county offices, including Facilities
Maintenance, County Manager and County Commission to focus their
attention on the services the Center was providing and the deplorable
condition of the building.
My church funded the installation of a donated propane fired furnace
that I installed in the dining area. This provided much-needed heat to
the building's central gathering and dining room.
We were able to persuade the County Commission to fund a complete roof
replacement at a cost of approximately $ 100,000. After we got the
building completely dried out and cleaned of mildew and mold, we worked
with County Facilities Maintenance to locate a good used 480-amp
electrical entrance panel to replace the original 1950's panel. The
230-volt breakers were worn out and if tripped (which happened
frequently) were difficult to reset. We located an almost new unit for $
12,000, which the county paid for and installed. At the same time, we
were able to get the county to pay for re-piping the potable water
system. All in all, the county spent almost $ 200,000 to bring the
building into acceptable and usable condition. We also were able to have
a 10,000-gallon underground fuel oil tank removed. I feared that the
tank might be leaking and if I was able to convince Haywood County to
sell the building to the Center in the future, I didn't want to get
stuck with the cost of ground or ground water remediation.
In the ensuing year, we concentrated on finding funding and financial
assistance for Center operations and programs. We were able to
sustain a year without having to call on Haywood County for maintenance
In April of this year, we asked the County Commission to sell the
property to the Pigeon Center for $ 1. After a couple of public
hearings, the property was deeded to the Center in June and we received
the deed June 22nd. I was pleased to have had a hand in obtaining
ownership of the property as that had been a long time wish of the
African American community.
If anyone would like more information about the
center, they can contact me at 828-734-8040 or
Coincidentally, the 1950's era African American
high school for the area is in Canton, NC which is adjacent to
Waynesville. The facility was recently purchased by school graduate, Mr.
Billy McDowell, who hopes to turn the building into a community center.
Mr. McDowells wife is the Grammy Award Winning R & B Superstar, Gladys
Indians Who Served!!!
Olin Brimberry, Class of 1954
*** Randy Brimberry, Class of 1966
*** Neal Moore, Class of 1955
*** Stacy E. Hall,
Class of 1960
*** Danny P. Hall (D
-1969), Class of 1965
*** David Wolfe (D), Class of 1961
Time to Browse!!!
*** If you have
served, please let me add your name! I will need:
1. Your full name:
(maiden and married names)
2. PLUS your AHS
Email to: email@example.com
*** Class of 1958 ***
60th Class Reunion
May 4th & 5th 2018
NOTICE TO ALL MEMBERS OF
CLASS OF 1958
Plans are now being made for our 60th class reunion in 2018. We
have booked Merry Acres Inn for Friday and Saturday nights, May 4 and
Please mark this first weekend in May 2018 on your calendars and
make your plans to attend. Please talk it up with other classmates and
encourage them to come as well.
If you would, I ask that all of you please get in touch with me so I can
get your updated information and can put together a current mailing
You may call me at my home (828 389-3911) or call/text me on my cell
phone (828 516-8080). Or you can email me at
or write me at 299 Old Homestead Lane, Hayesville, North Carolina 28904.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Linda Cullom Jordan
2017 Easter Seals Ornament
Albany High School
may want to
I have just
Keep in mind,
reveal" does not
take place until
You have to
Start Date: Thursday,
August 24, 2017
End Date: Tuesday, October 31, 2017
The total cost
including the mailing fee is $21 per ornament
on-line orders include
a $3.00 fee for mailing)
Email from: Mary
Braswell, The Albany
Due to overwhelming interest in this year's
we are allowing you to pre-order the
2017 Easterseals/City of Albany Official
which will be depicting Albany High School.
We are currently working on several designs
and the final approved design will be revealed
in early November. All pre-orders
completed online will be mailed after the reveal
August 21, 2017/ALBANY: In keeping with a tradition that started in 1992, Easter Seals Southern Georgia moving forward with plans to issue the 2017 limited edition Christmas ornament. And this year's ornament is sure to generate excitement as well as sales. Permission was recently granted by the Dougherty County School System to commemorate Albany High School on the upcoming Christmas ornament.
Easter Seals Southern Georgia Executive Director Beth English provided this information well ahead of the official release, which is scheduled for November. We normally only order 1,000 ornaments, English said. Prepaid orders are guaranteed. All others are sold as the supply lasts. So fresh is news of the 2017 ornament that its design has not even begun yet.
The Rhode Island company we work with is great in helping with design, English said. At this point, all options, from the (AHS) building to the Indians (mascot), are possibilities. Following this year devastating storm of January 2nd, numerous requests were made for copies of the 2011 ornament, which features the Third Avenue Tree Canopy. So great was the volume of calls that an additional 250 ornaments were ordered. All sold quickly. Another 150 were ordered and, for those who missed out, English reports there are a few remaining.
All proceeds from ornament sales benefit Megan House, a respite care facility for special needs and/or medically fragile children that is operated by Easter Seals. To order any ornaments in stock and to pre-order the 2017 Albany High School ornaments, call (229) 439-7061.