The sounds of Roanoke Rapids

By Amanda Carter

The soundscape is a timeline of water of sorts. The sounds progress from rushing river to rushing river with events to harness the river between. Early are the sounds of a diversion dam. Transitional sounds signifies the building of that diversion dam and later a water wheel-based power plant and then a small hydro-electric power plant.

The town of Roanoke Rapids owes much to this river.

Listen for a fog horn sound – a shift horn. The sound of the horn signifies that the mill was up and running. A dispute over water rights closed the diversion dam; the power plant shut down- sounds signify those  closings. At the same time, others sounds signify that mills were continued operating despite the disruptions. The sound of cars and trucks evokes more modern events. The sound of a door closing signifies the closing of the mills.

But, the river continues…