Historic property Lumber-mills-wharf-area image.

At the beginning of the 20th century, both sides of what is now Smith Creek contained lumber and saw mills. Robert Midyette, L.C. McCabe, D.A. Betts, and the Pickles brothers were some of the owners of several different kinds of mills. Around 1907, the John L. Roper Company began a large and prosperous operation which sprawled along Smith Creek (called ‘The Wharf’.) It featured a double band saw, electric plant and a huge burner dubbed ‘The Hell.’ Fire destroyed the burgeoning business around 1913 and it was never rebuilt. The 1933 hurricane further destroyed the wharf and harbor area. The Norfolk and Southern Railroad, however, continued to impact Oriental. The train entered Oriental by the Town Gate and rolled down Midyette Street three times a day to Smith Creek where it turned left along the creek to the Railroad Depot on Water Street. For the return journey, it backed up to the turn around here at the Wildlife Ramp.