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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with J. D. Thomas and Lela Rigsby Thomas, November 14, 2000. Interview K-0507. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Modern changes come to Madison County

J.D. and Lela describe some of the changes that have taken place in their area. They note an increase in traffic, the arrival of chain stores, and an increased desire for modernization.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with J. D. Thomas and Lela Rigsby Thomas, November 14, 2000. Interview K-0507. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

We talked about this on numerous occasions, but obviously changes are coming around here now at a much faster rate it seems like. I wonder if you could talk a little bit about that. How things are—since you've moved back? It's a long time you've been here, and a lot of things have changed.
LELA RIGSBY THOMAS:
Oh yes, there's [unclear] , and Micro Switch came in and the plants came in.
J. D. THOMAS:
Well, Lela, first of all, I guess there got to be a lot of traffic between here—after they built a road up, I don't know when it was built up—and Yancey County. I guess we were away here when they built that [because] that was dirt. But after we come back here a lot of traffic through in to Yancey County and Mitchell and Avery County. Lot of traffic in Tennessee after they got the one built through there. After they got the other road coming in from Asheville, down near where the present road is.
ROB AMBERG:
So that would have been 1920?
J. D. THOMAS:
1923. Those changes come in there. You started getting a lot of the big chain grocery stores, which was rooting out all of your independent grocery stores. You started getting in a lot of larger gas service stations, which was rooting out the combinations of the grocery stores and everything like that.
ROB AMBERG:
I remember I moved here in '73 in November, and I remember the Ingles in Marshall had just opened. It had been open two or three months.
LELA RIGSBY THOMAS:
We came back and the stores—when the company store was built.
ROB AMBERG:
Which one? In Mars Hill?
J. D. THOMAS:
23 Country Store, over here on 23. That's still surviving real good over there. Then they started improving the schools. Everybody wanted to consolidate schools—every county. I guess Madison was one of the latest to consolidate, but they were consolidated in Buncombe and all like that. Seems like every five years everything would want to modernize and all like that.