In the fall of 2016 Craig Riggsby and his wife, Susan, made their home on a Morehead site occupied by three abandoned buildings and inundated with tall grass.
A burly man in faded overalls with a pistol tucked into the chest pocket, a chestnut leather hat and a salt-and-pepper beard, Riggsby recalls how desolate the property was.
“People didn’t think that we’d be able to turn the land into something worthwhile," Craig recalls. “I’d like to think otherwise.”
The land has new buildings for his business, MKM Soap, and an in-progress deck as well as a home for the Riggsbys. What they have in mind for the once overgrown lot is a center for the Haldeman community, a place to take children, purchase soap and snacks and host events. And the community is elated.
“I’m happy because the community is happy,” Susan says. “We have people come every day and tell us they want us to buy the property across the street because they saw us clean this (Haldeman Brickyard) up, so we can clean that up as well.”
The reborn land was the forlorn remains of a brick factory that opened at the beginning of the 20th century, employing several hundred people who resided in the now-defunct town of Haldeman.
“The brickyard produced bricks for the area and was the heart of the community during its time," Craig says. "It had everything for the workers: on-site doctors, housing, cafeterias. It even had a tennis court.”
The Haldeman Brickyard went through several owners before officially closing in 1958, extinguishing the flame in its ovens and indirectly draining the town’s life force.
That flame is glowing again as Craig works with community leaders to provide the center for the area.
“It comes from what I learned in the military,” Craig says. "I don’t say I’m gonna do something and not do it. I’m a man of my word."