We can’t find out. Nobody seems to know what happened to the cross-shaped sign, which was a local landmark for almost half a century before the coming of I-40.
The sign seems to have disappeared during highway construction.
The sign — which was actually wood frame covered in galvanized tin — was already a landmark, and already a mystery, when StarNews reporter Jennifer Essen caught it on camera in 1989. Nobody seems to knows who erected it, and nobody knows when it first appeared.
“I rode the school bus by in the first grade, and it was there then,” said local resident Ronnie Long, who was 46 when he talked to Essen about it.
Until the advent of I-40 — when much traffic in and out of Wilmington followed U.S. 117/Castle Hayne Road — the cross was a regular sight. In hand-painted lettering on one side, it urged passersby to “Get Right with God.” The other side read “Prepare to Meet God.”
“It lived through Hazel,” Long said. “It’s got to be tough.”
Some people think it was in the vicinity where I-140 now crossed U.S. 117, near the General Electric plant. Others recall it as being closer to Wilmington. Local officials with the N.C. Department of Transportation have no record of it being removed.
Date posted: September 17, 2010
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