The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

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September 4, 2013

Oakboro prepares for train exhibit, kickoff of 100-year celebration

Wednesday, September 4, 2013 — The exhibit “1913 — Oakboro and the Coming of the Railroad — 2013,” featuring the photography of Will Hatley of Oakboro, kicks off Oakboro’s centennial ceremonies, which will continue into 2015, the official year of Oakboro’s birth.

The public is invited to two special ceremonies to open the railroad exhibit.  

A preview opening is scheduled for 2-4 p.m. Sunday at Oakboro Regional Museum of History, 231 N. Main St. This event is meant as a way of helping the museum gather additional information about early Oakboro and the railroad.

From 6-8 p.m. Sept. 13, an extended program is planned, beginning at 307 N. Main St., in one of the two remaining wooden buildings from 1913 that is visible in many of the early Oakboro photographs.

Music from the 1910s will be performed by Jane Honeycutt and railroad information from the past and present will be offered by Don Burris, W. C. Helms Jr. and Bob Barbee.

The museum will be open following the speeches.  

The exhibit includes the camera used by William T. Hatley, which was given to Oakboro Regional Museum by Frank McClellan shortly after the museum opened.  

Some of the many glass negatives that Hatley used have been preserved and are housed in the museum, along with the camera.  

Because of the clarity of the negatives, photos as large as 22 inches by 28 inches have been printed revealing buildings and people not evident in the small photos previously printed.  The museum is seeking help in answering the many questions about early Oakboro that the prints have created.  

Hatley’s niece, Geneva McLester, describes her uncle as a man with a great sense of humor who kept her children laughing.

Hatley grew up outside of Oakboro on a farm just off Silver Road. In addition to his photography, Hatley was a barber and enjoyed playing a violin. He had three sisters, Cora, Laura, and Lula, and two brothers, Siless, and Seymour.

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