having fun in Terra Cotta

Growing up in Terra Cotta, there was plenty of opportunity for fun and recreation. Residents recall playing baseball and football in lots behind the school, swimming at the pond, and going into downtown Greensboro. They played games in the neighborhood like jacks, marbles, and hide and go seek, which they called ninety nine baseballs. In such a tight knit community, there was never a shortage of people to play with. On weekends, teenagers and young adults danced at a neighborhood house that was converted to a dance floor. Friday and Saturday nights were often spent dancing and eating food at the ‘Shack’.

Playing ball

the Terra Cotta baseball field

The baseball field behind the school was an important part of the community. Boys and girls alike would play baseball, softball, and football after school. In the mid 1900s, the neighborhood had a semi-professional baseball team called The Hawks. Their home field was made of planks, with a small concessions stand. Community members would take bus trips to away games to cheer on the team, a point of community pride. The baseball field wasn’t just for playing games. Every Fourth of July, the community would throw a celebration with food, drinks, and games. One resident remembers fresh lemonade in a washtub, ice cream, and a potluck dinner. Community meals didn’t just happen on holidays. Some residents raised hogs, and the hog killing would provide food and entertainment for the children. 

From the Residents

Even in a small neighborhood, you don’t have to go far to have fun. In Terra Cotta, there was never a shortage of playmates for children, and they made fun with games, sports, and a house that was converted into a dance hall. Hear Jacqueline Lyles, Larry Butler, and Christina Lyles  Melvin talk about their childhood in Terra Cotta and what residents did for fun.

Things to do in greensboro

entertainment outside of Terra Cotta

While there was plenty to do in Terra Cotta, residents also loved going into Greensboro for parades, shopping, or movies. To get downtown, they had a long walk to the end of the bus line, and businesses were still segregated. One resident, Wilhelmina Waddell, says that on Sundays, she and her siblings would be given a quarter if they had attended church. This quarter was enough for bus fare downtown, a movie ticket and popcorn, and bus fare home. Windsor Center was a popular gathering place and held events like scouts.

From the Residents

food and family in Terra Cotta

The unique community ties in Terra Cotta were reinforced in many ways, from school to church to food. Larry Butler, Christina Lyles Melvin, and Jacqueline Lyles discuss how hog killings, potluck dinners, and special events helped bring their neighborhood together.

Go Back

Terra Cotta was built around Pomona Manufacturing Company, and many residents worked in the plant. What goes into making a pipe? What other jobs did residents have? Read more about the work life of Terra Cotta residents on the last page.

Up Next

Click below to study up on school life in Terra Cotta from the small Rosenwald school to integration across North Carolina public schools.