- Associated Press - Saturday, December 2, 2017

CONCORD, N.C. (AP) - Rob Morrison’s interest in history started him on a journey he never expected. A teacher from Concord, Massachusetts, Morrison began researching local history from his town and it got him thinking.

“I noticed there were all of these other towns named Concord and I started looking them up and looking at information,” Morrison said. “I said that would be kind of cool to go visit them and see what they’re like.”

That was a few years ago, and Morrison has added Concord, North Carolina to his list.

In Search of Concord

His adventure began when his daughter asked Morrison to bring her car to Arizona. He took that as an opportunity.

“So I drove it out to her and I stopped off at Concord, New York for lunch and Concord, Pennsylvania for dinner. Then the next day it was Concord, Virginia and Concord, Tennessee and Concord, Alabama,” Morrison said. “Instead of taking like three days to drive the car out, I took five days.”

Morrison said he learned a lot from that first trip which made planning for the next ones easier.

“It was really interesting and I got to meet a lot of different people. One of the things I learned is I’ve got to be better prepared and organized and try to meet people,” he said. “I realized it wasn’t about history or dates or anything like that. It’s more about making connections with people and hearing their stories.”

Since that first trip Morrison has visited about 35 Concords around the country. His trips have taken him to Concord, Arkansas where he was the grand marshal for the Fourth of July parade in the town that he said has a population of 210, to the 13 Concords in Texas.

His wife and son have been travel companions on some of his trips, and others he has tackled solo.

He said one of the most interesting stops so far was Concord, Idaho; a gold mine town in the middle of nowhere.

“It’s about over 8,000 feet high and population in the summer maybe two. No full-time people live there,” Morrison said. “Basically it’s a ghost town from the gold mining days. I went out there on a weekend and tried to find a way to it.”

Luckily, he met people who offered to drive him to the town.

“And he drove me all the way out and all the way back,” Morrison said. “We had a flat tire along the way, there are no roads.”

Another memorable trip was the one he took with his son to the seven Concords in Ohio and Concord, Kentucky. He said this stop was the strangest so far because the town had a population of 28.

While there, Morrison and his son were invited into two different homes.

“One was to have some beers and moonshine. And the second was this guy invited us to have dinner with his 97-year-old mother. It was just so cool,” Morrison said. “So you think about it, there are 28 people in the town and I’ve gotten to know six of them; versus say New York where you might not talk to six people in six weeks. So it’s a real eye-opener.”

Along the way, Morrison has started keeping a blog entitled “In Search of Concord.” His son is also working on a film he made during some of the stops.

“Every time I go somewhere I try to write it up and take some pictures. Where’s it’s going to go in the future I’m not really sure. I think it could work well as a series of newspaper articles about different towns named Concord,” he said. “But everybody says, ‘Have you finished your book yet?’ I don’t know how to write a book, so I’m just writing stories right now until I can find a thread for them.”

A stop in Concord, NC

During his few hours in Concord, North Carolina, Morrison met Mayor Scott Padgett and local historian Jim Ramseur. He also took a guided historic walking tour with Michael Eury in downtown.

Concord, NC is really interesting because it’s so diverse. You have the racetrack and the mall, and then you have the area over in the western part and then the downtown is so different,” Morrison said. “While the downtown, you can see it’s got some gaps in the teeth, but it’s in a lot, lot better shape than most places of a similar type of downtown.”

Morrison says he believes there are 75 Concords across the country, so he has a long way to go. But he has learned a lot along the way and is grateful for the experience.

“It’s been wonderful to meet a kind of random cross section of America; people I never would have met or had a chance to talk to,” he said.

To read more about Morrison’s visits to the Concords read his blog at http://concordrob.weebly.com/.

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