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Archive for the ‘On This Day’ Category

On this day in 1943: Betty Smith’s “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,” destined to become one of the best-selling novels of all time, hits bookstore shelves across the state. The author is a former Brooklyn telephone operator who arrived in Chapel Hill on a bus with her two young daughters in 1938. She came only […]

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On this day in 1934: Primo Carnera, the only Italian ever to hold the world heavyweight boxing title, stops for supper at the Charlotte Tourist Camp. Carnera, who weighs 260 pounds, finishes off 6 ham sandwiches, 6 fried eggs, 6 raw eggs and 4 bottles of beer. He tells fans he is “touring the country” […]

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On this day in 1917: Gen. Leonard Wood visits Charlotte to inspect possible sites for a World War I training camp. The result will be Camp Greene, built on 2,500 acres and named for Revolutionary War hero Nathanael Greene. The camp trains soldiers for less than two years, but rouses Charlotte’s economy and hastens its […]

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On this day in 1935: The first ABC store in North Carolina  opens in Wilson, with a line of customers waiting — so many that more than 100 had to be turned away at the 6 p.m. closing time. — From “ABCs of N.C. liquor sales” by Ben Steelman, part of a fact-packed and entertaining Wilmington […]

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On this day in 1918:  Gov. Thomas Bickett warns wartime slackers that “I have instructed our police officials to rigidly enforce vagrancy laws. All men . . . who refuse to work five days in the week, after having been given notice by the County Council of National Defense, should be prosecuted . . . […]

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On this day in 1931: To mark the opening of its first Charlotte drugstore, Walgreen offers 50 customers free rides in a Sikorsky twin-engine amphibian — said to be the first company-owned and -operated aircraft in the U.S. “See Charlotte from the air,” the ad urges. “You’ll get a a great thrill — you’ll feel […]

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On this day in 1933: Sen. Josiah Bailey of North Carolina takes the floor to note that “Even the mules in the South wear shoes.” Bailey’s is one of many indignant responses to Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins’ characterization of the South as “an untapped market for shoes. . . . A social revolution will […]

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On this day in 1980: Charlotte Motor Speedway makes the mistake of scheduling a Waylon Jennings concert on qualifying day for the World 600 stock-car race. Eight people are injured, 3 are arrested and 175 riot police are called out. “We just got the wrong mix of people,” speedway president H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler will recall. […]

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On this day in 1897: Wilmington is visited by what may be the state’s first UFO. According to the Wilmington Messenger, which headlined its account, “Was It an Air Ship?” hundreds of citizens spotted the “remarkable . . . brilliantly lighted” object as it floated above the city, creating “a sensation among all classes of […]

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On this day in 1924: Ty Cobb hits a home run in the first game played at Asheville’s McCormick Field, but the Detroit Tigers lose their exhibition to the Asheville Skylanders, 18-14. By 1991, when the wooden stadium is razed, to be replaced by concrete, it will be the oldest minor-league park in the country. […]

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