If you were to argue that transience is Greensboro’s most enduring trait I would concede that you had a defensible position. Moving on is as much an American habit as overuse of the past tense is a Southern one, and we live them both. The general from whom we borrowed our name was just passing through on a business trip and favorite son O. Henry, like other celebrated natives in his wake, got out as soon as he could. Our best-known nickname, the Gate City, advertised a rail junction as the “gateway to the South”; thanks for coming, bye-bye. The same value proposition lay behind the huge Overseas Replacement Depot during World War II and the construction of the interstates and an air-freight hub. We brag about our GPS coordinates in terms of proximity to the mountains and the beach, and even the geological designation of piedmont is defined by the region next door.
From an essay I contributed to the book 27 Views of Greensboro: The Gate City in Prose & Poetry. The release party is at 4 p.m. this Saturday, April 18 at Scuppernong Books on S. Elm St. There will be readings! You should go.