The Rise and Fall of A Beautiful Suburb
Kim Mozingo was born and raised in High Point. She had always wondered about a particular group of buildings in what was called the West End. And the process of satisfying her curiosity turned into her Masters Degree project.
Kim is a graduate student at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she’s working on a Masters Degree in History, with a concentration in Museum Studies. She also works as an historical interpreter at High Point Museum. And that seemed like the perfect environment in which to investigate those buildings she’d always wondered about. “It’s only this one block," she says, "And there’s all these brick buildings that look like they should be on Main Street. The West End is on English Road, and it got its name because it was the western end of the trolley line that ran through High Point."
In the 1920's, Charles Amos built his hosiery mill in the area, and, Kim says, prosperity followed.
“By the 1950’s, this area was -- as it’s called in several newspaper articles, and as people talked about it -- it was called a beautiful suburb, it was called a thriving community, and it was also called a ‘city within a city.’ And it built up and became this large commercial/retail area, and it was for the people who lived and worked on that side of High Point." And that may come as a surprise to those who weren’t around in those days.
So what happened?
By the 80’s, the mill was gone and fires had ravaged some of the buildings. "High Point widened English Road," Kim explains, so they took away the parking that used to be on the road, so there was really no place for people to park. And once the hosiery mill left -- in the 60s and 70s, hosiery started leaving High Point -- the area just became... different. The buildings were just turned over to things like bars and things like that, and that community sense just went away."
And when that community sense went away, Kim says, "The West End went from being a prosperous area to the most dangerous drug and crime-ridden area in High Point." but she would like to see that change. Last Friday, she led a panel discussion about the West End, and the exhibit. “Hopefully it [the panel discussion] will generate enough interest that people will want to start taking an interest in the area and trying to revitalize it. At least that’s my hope.”
For those who’d like to learn more, the exhibit, “A Beautiful Suburb: High Point’s West End” will be open until November 9, at the High Point Museum, on East Lexington Avenue in High Point. The museum is open from 10 til 4, Wednesday through Saturday.