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Manson, North Carolina: Soul City: Unrealized Utopia

Plenty of paved roads went nowhere in this failed exercise in 1970s social engineering. Now a much smaller development. Many of the old streets have vanished beneath undergrowth.

Hwy 158, Manson, NC
Hwy 158 close to the town of Manson, NC.
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Visitor Tips and News About Soul City: Unrealized Utopia

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Soul City sign.

Soul City: Unrealized Utopia

The Soul City sign is now at the entry to Green Duke Village.

[Luke, 04/14/2024]

The Village is a much smaller subdivision on what was once a sprawling expanse of paved roads that went nowhere. Most of the old streets have vanished beneath undergrowth.

Soul City.

Soul City - Unrealized Utopia

Very interesting, but failed concept. Soul City is worth a look.

[Donna Vitale, 07/24/2019]

The entrance sign serves as an unofficial memorial to a planned community dream that ultimately failed. In the wake of the '08 Great Recession there are many other paved ghost neighborhood grids languishing around the U.S., but this one had a unique utopian vision.

Soul City.

Soul City

Soul City is now basically down to a series of neighborhoods. A few recent health care facilites are closed, as is the assisted living center. There's a prison there now -- I believe this may be the old SoulTech I site.

[Walker, 05/25/2012]

Soul City was to be a model community where all races could live in harmony. The brainchild of civil rights leader Floyd McKissick, it even had its own factory: SoulTech I. The town was bankrolled by HUD -- reportedly a kickback from Republican Richard Nixon in exchange for McKissick's support in the 1972 presidential election. Floyd, who died in 1991, envisioned Soul City as home to more than 50,000 by the year 2000, but it was a ghost town by the end of the 1970s.

Soul City - Unrealized Utopia

I just went up to Soul City -- it's still there and starting to get some more people. At the old firehouse they were having a cookout.

They moved the original Soul City sign to another part of the town, in front of a housing complex and near and old library. Drive around for a couple of minutes and you'll find it.

[Jack Ball, 03/21/2011]
Soul City

I first saw Soul City from a distance in the late 1980s. I'd heard about it in college poli-sci class in the early 80s, but didn't remember a thing except it was in Warren Co NC...My last encounter was a quick drive-thru on my way up I-85 to Va, cir 1997.

This is a sad place. It reminds me of an earlier era that includes the old Soviet Union and Communism as our enemy, when the liberalism of the 70s was strong. Socialism, collectivization experiments and all that "stuff" thats fallen by the wayside. Soul City seems a part of it all. Floyd McKissick had a real dream I guess, but Warren Co was (and is) in the middle of nowhere and in hindsight there was zero hope of attracting any sustaining industry there back then...

It's worth a look, as a slice of history, if you're in the area.

[Hydro, 01/11/2008]

Nearby Offbeat Places

Rock Garden of AmericaRock Garden of America, Littleton, NC - 24 mi.
Roadside Rock Grave of Senator JeffreysRoadside Rock Grave of Senator Jeffreys, Harris Crossroads, NC - 32 mi.
Baseball Water TowerBaseball Water Tower, Zebulon, NC - 41 mi.
In the region:
Muffler Man: Giant Decorator Man, Raleigh, NC - 40 mi.

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