IRH - The News Stand

This section is to honor the works of Russ Lancaster who started the “I Remember Hamlet” web site years ago. Without his pioneering the web at that time we might not have gathered all these memories of our Hamlet, NC. We thank you Russ for what you started in 1996, may you Rest in Peace. Russ was kind enough to let me download his web site before he took it down. Thank you Russ.

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David
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IRH - The News Stand

Postby David » Thu January 11, 2018, 9:02 pm

The News Stand
by Russ Lancaster
The News Stand was located at the old Hamlet Passenger Station at the North end of the complex. It was more than a news stand but that's what we called it. It was also a restaurant with counter and booth service and a souvenier shop. I remember it back from the forties until well after Amtrak took over the running of passenger trains in the seventies. It was a thriving place of business since all passenger trains between New York and Miami as well as those that ran West to Atlanta and East to Wilmington had to stop at Hamlet for swapping train crews, engines and taking on water. Folks were allowed off the train with ample time to get a good meal, buy some reading material and maybe even a souvenier. It was a thriving place of business and open 24 hours a day 365 days a year.
In the late forties and early fifties, my freinds and I (young lads at the time) would sneak down there after Sunday School and, for a quarter, buy a super large fountain RC Cola and head for the comic book shelves. Comics were great back then with our heroes like Batman, Superman, WonderWoman and Captain Marvel. We also had our other favorites like Archie, Betty, Veronica and Jughead. The people working at the News Stand would grant us about an hour to read as many comics as we wanted for about an hour (after all, we had spent an entire quarter) before we had to leave. They never told us to leave, it was just an understood ritual. The looks we got after about an hour told us all we needed to know...time to leave.
The trains would roll in with steam engines belching smoke and clanging bells until about 1950 when diesel engines completed their takeover. They were amazing pieces of machinery and we all dreamed of one day actually driving one. As the diesels took over and passenger service began to be cut back we still visited the News Stand but now as teen-agers spent more time eating than reading the comics. The News Stand had some of the best food in Hamlet back in those days. My personal favorite was their special hamburger steak and fries. To this day I would prefer it over any T-Bone or Rib Eye steak in the world.
It was fun spending time down there and watching the passengers from places we had never been get off the trains, come in, smell the food, feel the warmth and wonder where they were. We were always quick to tell them, "You're in Hamlet, the Hub of the Seaboard". From where the News Stand was located, they generally looked North toward Main Street, Front Street and Hamlet Avenue and the impression they got was this was a large town. First, you would be looking uphill which made the businesses look larger than they really were. They would see the magnificent Terminal Hotel towering across Main Street from the station and if they looked East, to their surprise they would see a Subway entrance. No kidding, a Subway that exists to this day. That had to be impressive. But...if they had entered our little subway, they would have been even more surprised.. It was nothing more than an underground lighted tunnel to get them from one pair of main tracks to another pair beyond a concrete ramp without being run over by other trains or engines travelling those parallel tracks beyond. But anyway, it was our Subway and we would never tell the strangers what it was. Let the impression stick. We were proud of Hamlet.
The News Stand is now gone and closed forever but not forgotten. The building still stands but is now a Railroad Museum. If you ever find yourself traveling through or near Hamlet, stop by the museum. Ask anyone you see. They will point you in the right direction. Don't be surprised if you think you hear the sound of passengers talking, smell steaks cooking, coffee brewing, and maybe even hear the sound of an old steam engine or even a few young lads talking in low voices about their comic book heroes.
Yes, I remember Hamlet!

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Re: IRH - The News Stand

Postby freddie hassler » Mon January 15, 2018, 3:03 am

The News Stand, had the best Hot Dog's ever :D


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