‘Nightmare on Main Street’ portrays Chair City mysteries

Thomasville lore comes to life (and a little history)
Oct. 22, 2013 @ 09:29 AM

Tales of slain police chiefs, unsolved murder mysteries and Civil War ghost tales will bring a crowd to Main Street in Thomasville at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26, for  "Nightmare on Main Street."

These stories are woven into the fabric of Thomasville lore and will be brought to life by 15 Ledford High School drama students who will assist the Thomasville Beautification Committee in giving guided tours — which will depart every 15 minutes — along streets in the downtown district.

Thomasville Parks and Recreation will  air a family-oriented movie in conjunction with the project, designed for the entertainment of individuals of all ages.

"What we're trying to do is bring people downtown to see how beautiful the city is and what an incredible history it has," said Carol Brown, chairperson of the Beautification Committee.

Thomasville City Schools chairperson and Beautification Committee member Crystal Hodges has taken a lead in preparing for the event. Her passion for the little-known details of the city she has grown to love helped drive her to uncover story after story as the years passed.

Now she wants to share the stories with a younger generation.

"Back in the day, during prohibition, we had one of the [city's] most beloved doctors murder the chief of police," Hodges said. "That's something you're not going to learn in the history book, and unless your great-grandparents tell you about it, you just don't know about it.

"Thomasville has it's own unsolved murder mystery, so we will touch on that," Hodges said. "We've got our own little speculations of what happened, what has happened...Are there some spirits that exist from that? I'm excited about doing the research. There are some things that make you stop and go 'hmm...' "

An investigation that had Hodges wide-eyed with curiosity was conducted by the Winston-Salem paranormal society, which studied and reported on the Thomasville Police Department. The audio of their findings will be among the things discussed along the way.

Tours will begin at the train depot at 44 W. Main, which Hodges was quick to point out is one of the oldest operating depots in the state. An appointed tour guide will provide commentary on points along the way, such as is the city cemetery, one of the few in existence where both Union and Confederate soldiers are buried side-by-side.

"Our purpose was to bring people into Thomasville to see our downtown and hear some of our stories," Hodges said. "When you leave after an hour of exercise, you will also have a pretty good history of Thomasville. Hopefully, it will pique their interest a little bit, and they'll come away with a better appreciation of Thomasville and our history."

Staff Writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 888-3575, or kennedy@tvilletimes.com.