1916 was an eventful year for the town of Spruce Pine located in Mitchell County in western North Carolina. Not only did “the burgeoning town” witness the construction of its first brick building in Dr. Charles Peterson’s Spruce Pine Pharmacy, but major flooding of the Toe River on the edge of downtown occurred during the summer. The fall brought the Toe River Fair, described as “the best fair in this section of N.C.” With “big free acts day and night” and “band concerts afternoon & night,” the Toe River Fair was “the best of the best new shows.”
The North Carolina Collection has a broadside for the 1916 Toe River Fair that was designed and printed by the famous Hatch Show Print letterpress print shop in Nashville, Tennessee. Founded in 1879 and one of the oldest working letterpress print shops in America, Hatch Show Print provided poster advertisements for vaudeville, circus, and minstrel shows across the country. Beginning in the 1920s and into the 1950s, the print shop specialized in posters for country music singers, such as Hank Williams, Bill Monroe, and Johnny Cash.