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What happened to the old tin sign on Castle Hayne Road that said “Get Right With God”?

Ben Steelman

"Get Right With God" signWe 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.

User-contributed question by:
Judy Cooper

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9 Responses to “ What happened to the old tin sign on Castle Hayne Road that said “Get Right With God”?”

  1. On September 17, 2010 at 6:05 pm Stanley Outlaw wrote:

    As a kid when we would go visit kin in Duplin County I remember passing the sign. It seems to me that is was in the curve just past GE in the edge of the woods between the first and second mobile home that are just past GE on US 117.

  2. On September 17, 2010 at 10:17 pm Kevin Bartlett wrote:

    I remember reading an article somewhere in the 80’s that told who erected these signs, apparently all over the south. As late as maybe 1990 there was another still standing near Lake Waccamaw or Whiteville. I think there was one pictured in a U2 video back in the days when MTV actually showed videos.

  3. On September 18, 2010 at 10:33 am Wayne wrote:

    Are we absolutely certain the sign was tin?

  4. On September 18, 2010 at 4:15 pm rhonda wrote:

    someone from your newspaper spotted another sign like this one over in brunswick co.they put a artcal in your paper.it was great story.the person that put it up passed a year ago,but the sign is still there.1514 stonechimney rd. thanks for remembering the good!

  5. On December 7, 2010 at 11:53 am Mike wrote:

    From what I understand, all the people of Castle Hayne and the surrounding areas actually Got Right With God, rendering the sign obsolete… it was taken down shortly thereafter.

  6. On December 8, 2010 at 1:38 pm Lisa Cannon wrote:

    I lived in the curve just north of that sign for 9 years. It was past G.E. to the north and was definitely a landmark for telling people where to turn into my driveway.

  7. On January 14, 2011 at 4:00 am Ron wrote:

    I recall seeing one or more of these signs either along US 74 or US 17 (can’t remember which) as a child during the 1960’s.

  8. On March 19, 2011 at 7:55 pm Rodney Dowless wrote:

    The Sign was just passed HERMITAGE RD on the same side of the road as Hermitage heading towards Castle Hayne as I remember and I have been in castle Hayne since 1967

  9. On March 12, 2014 at 12:09 pm delton costin wrote:

    When I started school, that was one of the first signs I was able to read for my parents from the backseat of the car. I recall it was just north of Hermitage Rd on the curve (same side) off Castle Hayne Rd. This was about the time GE bought the houses on its site and put them up for sale side Castle Hayne Rd. (117 at the time).

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