Founded by W.J. Smith Sr., this plant once made 100 blocks of ice a day. After WWII, the town became electrified and most everybody owned a refrigerator purchased from Smith’s Store, which sold, installed, and repaired them. Robert Langley, who spent his 1930s boyhood learning to sail the Neuse, recounts a late night excursion when his boat becalmed while attempting to return to Oriental. Streetlights were usually extinguished nightly by 9 p.m. As there were no lighted buoys, no shore lights, and even the bell buoy was silent in the absence of ground swells, the only way to find the harbor was by the ‘thump-thump’ of the single cylinder diesel engine at the ice plant.
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