Car Banks

All through out Bryson City, especially along the banks of the Tuckaseegee River, you will see stacks of rusty metal. Upon closer inspection, you will see that they are old cars from the 40’s and 50’s era. Why on earth are all these car seemingly “growing” in the river banks and road beds? Back then, people though it was the best way to keep the roads and river banks from eroding away. What a strange way to prevent erosion, right? Well, at the time, these old cars were plentiful, and when stacked on top of each other, they were able to keep the dirt from giving way under roads and keep the river banks from washing away. Some may wonder now, with all the pollution issues and environmental hazzards that old rusty metal seeping into the soil might create, why haven’t they taken out these old cars are replaced them with concrete or something more sound? They determined that with all the digging that would have to take place, pulling out hundreds of cars that have solidified to the banks would be more of an environmental problem than just leaving them there. I suppose it really would be terrible for everyone if they started trying to pull them out and the roads started collapsing. Some people may see them as an eye sore, and the fact that they are so old and parts tend to fall off is a bit dangerous. You certainly wouldn’t want to swim up close to them. We have found some small parts of them floating their way down stream ourselves. I have happened upon a rusty bolt here and there when digging for river glass. But as far as that goes, I have also happened upon rusty old railroad spikes too, seeing as how the railroad track goes right by the river as well. It’s just a reminder of days gone by and a glimpse into what life was like all those years ago. People made do with what they had lying around. They saw a problem, and they had so many cars just stacking up, they came upon the sollution to use what was available to them. Most of those people had lived through a war and hard times, so they figured out what could be done to fix the eroding banks without bankrupting the town. So, whether your driving by an old church high up on a hillside, or rafting down the Tuck, keep your eyes open toward the banks for these cars from the past. Some are so old, they blend in with the banks, almost becoming the same color, but if you look closer, you  can see tires or headlights on your way by. If you have spotted them before and wondered if they were folkart of some kind, now you know their true purpose and you can judge for yourself what the banks would have become without them.

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