“In the hours after the massacre at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, American and South Carolina flags across that state dipped to half-staff….

“But the Confederate battle flag that sits on the grounds of the capitol in Columbia was left untouched….

“The Charleston Post and Courier explained that ‘Its status is outlined, by law, as being under the protected purview of the full S.C. Legislature, which controls if and when it comes down.’ ”

— From “Why the Confederate flag at South Carolina’s capitol didn’t dip for the Charleston dead” by Jim Galloway at ajc.com (June 18, 2015)


“A Confederate battle flag hung inside the old North Carolina State Capitol to mark the sesquicentennial of the Civil War is being taken down after civil rights leaders raised concerns.

“The decision was announced hours after the Associated Press published a story about the flag, which officials said was part of an historical display intended to replicate how the antebellum building appeared in 1863….”

— From “North Carolina taking down Confederate flag from old Capitol building”  by the Associated Press (March 29, 2013)


What a contrast! One state welds itself to official veneration of the flag, the other leaps to erase it from even historical display. 

Even so, North Carolinians who wish to share with the world their attachment to the Lost Cause do have options.

Update: That now-dead link was to an item listed on Amazon — a contemporary mashup of the North Carolina state flag and the Confederate battle flag. Like many other retailers, Amazon has now removed all Confederate merchandise.


On this day in 1864: Gen. Gabriel Rains of New Bern, whose use of land mines to stymie pursuing Union forces has already created outrage in the North, is appointed chief of the Confederacy’s newly created Torpedo Bureau. Under his supervision a variety of “torpedoes” (explosive devices he has patterned after a design by Samuel Colt) will be manufactured at Richmond, Wilmington, Mobile, Charleston and Savannah.

Confederate naval mines will sink about 58 Union vessels, some 1,300 land mines will be buried in the defenses of Richmond and two of Rains’ agents will detonate a bomb at the wharves of Ulysses S. Grant’s supply base at City Point, Va., that causes numerous casualties and $4 million in damages.


As the days grow humid, who doesn’t yearn for some cool mountain air? Our June Artifact of the Month is an early-20th-century booklet advertising Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC, a historic resort hotel that first opened in 1913. Built by Edwin Wiley Grove and his friend and son-in-law Thomas Seely, the Inn “was built in the old-fashioned way — full of rest, comfort, and wholesomeness.”

grove park inn cover


The inside of booklet, which features black-and-white photographs of the hotel’s lobby and various rooms, describes the luxuries of the hotel. No detail is too minute for this sixteen-page publication. It addresses plumbing: “The toilet seats are celluloid. No pipes are visible anywhere.” Lighting: “No electric bulbs visible. All lighting indirect.” Furnishings: “Not a double bed in the Inn. Double rooms have two three-quarter beds and single rooms have one.” Ice: “All refrigeration is artificial. Ice not used.”

grove park inn page

The place is kept pristine and they insist on maintaining a homelike atmosphere. “The cleaning is done with Hoover Vacuum Cleaners,” the booklet declares. In the “Big Room,” or lobby, you will be greeted by the “world’s finest Orchestral Organ,” a description of which appears on the back cover of the booklet.

“One of the curses of the ordinary hotel,” reads one of the pages, “is the lack of consideration for guests who need rest or care to retire before midnight.” But Grove Park guests need not worry: the Inn has the art of comfort perfected as “employees wear rubber heels.”

Maids report for service at 8:00 a.m., but are provided with comfortable chairs in their corridors for reading until quiet hours end at 9:00 a.m. And the ceilings of the Big Room are one foot thick so no noise will penetrate into the rooms of sleeping guests.


This postcard from the same era as the booklet shows an interior view of the “Big Room” at night.

Amongst these extravagances, Park Grove prides itself on being “Absolutely Fireproof”:

“It is absolutely fireproof built of the great boulders of Sunset Mountain, at the foot of which it sits.”

With this extreme focus on comfort, it’s no wonder ten U.S. Presidents and countless luminaries from the worlds of art, entertainment, sports, and politics have stayed at this hotel.

In an atmosphere that prides itself on luxury and affording every opportunity for a good time, one rule comes across as surprising:

grove park inn liquor

“It is unlawful for the management to provide or sell liquors to guests of this hotel.”

A little sleuthing reveals that this nifty little booklet was published in 1920 — at the dawn of Prohibition.

You may consider adding Grove Park to your list of NC vacationing spots, as the hotel is still open today – although in 2013, on its hundredth birthday, the classic Ashville Inn was purchased by Omni hotels. If the luxury isn’t enough to lure you, here’s some additional enticement: “The altitude forbids humidity and heat even on the warmest summer days,” tempts the booklet, “There are no mosquitos.”



This animation switches between the booklet’s centerfold photo and a colorized postcard featuring the same image.

On this day in 1972: In one of the most memorable phrases of the Watergate hearings, Sen. Sam Ervin refers to himself as “just an old country lawyer.”

Sen. Edward Gurney, a Florida Republican, accused Democrat Ervin of “harassment” in his persistent questioning of Maurice Stans, chief fund-raiser for President Nixon’s reelection campaign.

“I’m just an old country lawyer,” Ervin replied. “I have to do things my way.”


“In later years — probably to burnish his image as a hero and spokesman for his sport — [Ty Cobb] and his boosters went out of their way to note that his early encounters with the Negro race were either inconsequential or benign. A 1909 editorial in the Charlotte Observer said, ‘Cobb, born with the prominence that is universal among white persons in Georgia, sought no further prominence by buckshotting his compatriots. So far as is known, he never attended a lynching.’

“Faint praise indeed, but baseball was just as racist as the rest of society…..”

— From “Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty” by Charles Leerhsen (2015)



North Carolina Historic Newspapers will digitize runs from 28 additional newspaper titles, totaling over 100,000 pages, over the next year and a half.

These pages will be added to the over 100,000 historic North Carolina newspaper pages already available on Chronicling America, the Library of Congress’ free 9 million page and counting newspaper website.

This phase of newspaper digitization includes such titles as The Fool Killer, the local paper of Boomer, Our Living and Our Dead, an important literary-historical periodical chronicling North Carolina’s role in the Civil War, and Die Suedliche Post, a short lived 19th century German publication out of Goldsboro.

Here is a complete list of the title runs to be digitized:

  • Western Sentinel, Winston
  • The Wilson Times, Wilson
  • Spirit of the Age, Raleigh
  • The Banner-Enterprise, Raleigh
  • The Robesonian, Lumberton
  • Orange County Observer, Hillsborough
  • Die Suedliche Post, Goldsboro
  • The Charlotte Journal, Charlotte
  • The Goldsboro Star, Goldsboro
  • The Farmer and Mechanic, Raleigh
  • The State Chronicle, Raleigh
  • The North-Carolinian, Fayetteville
  • The Weekly Intelligencer, Fayetteville
  • The Daily Confederate, Raleigh
  • The Monroe Journal, Monroe
  • The Journal of Industry, Raleigh
  • The Gazette, Raleigh
  • North Carolina Republican, Raleigh
  • Our Living and Our Dead, New Bern
  • Roanoke Rapids Herald, Roanoke Rapids
  • Goldsboro Weekly Argus, Goldsboro
  • Hillsboro Recorder, Hillsborough
  • Hickory Daily Record, Hickory
  • The Hillsborough Recorder, Hillsborough
  • The Durham Recorder, Durham
  • Burke County News, Morganton
  • The Fool-Killer, Boomer
  • Good News, Boomer

The map below shows the geographic distribution of North Carolina newspaper titles available or soon to be available on Chronicling America. Blue pins indicate the locations of titles already digitized under phase one of the project and red pins indicate the locations of titles to be digitized during the current phase:

View North Carolina Historic Newspapers in a larger map


North Carolina Historic Newspapers has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: We the People. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this post do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

National Endowment for the Humanities

“The first independent American voyage to the Orient came in 1784, when the Massachusetts brig Empress of China sailed to Canton. This began a commerce that would flower through the 1840s and leave a dozen U.S. cities, including [President William] McKinley’s in Ohio, named for the great Chinese entry port….”

— From “William McKinley: The American Presidents Series” by Kevin Phillips (2003)

So Canton, North Carolina, is one of those namesake cities? Not directly, according to the Gazetteer. The Haywood County town took its current name in 1893 in recognition of the source of the steel with which it was bridging the Pigeon River: Canton, Ohio.


“Mr. Stikeleather, may I give you one little illustration of what I think may have happened between myself and the people in Asheville? Have you ever tried to pass a man in the street and the moment you stepped to the right to go around him he would also step that way, when you step to the left, he would follow you, and so the thing would continue until it became funny and you both stood still and looked at each other and yet all the time all you were trying to do was to be friendly to each other and to give the other fellow a free passage?
“Or, better still, have you ever met some one that you knew you liked and you were pretty sure he felt the way about you and yet, figuratively speaking, you ‘got off on the the wrong foot’ with each other? Now I think that something of this sort may have happened between Asheville and myself.
“When I wrote ‘Look Homeward, Angel’ several years ago, I can honestly assure you I had no notion that the book would arouse the kind of comment and response and cause the kind of misunderstanding in my home town that it did do. I should like you to believe that I, myself, was just about the most surprised person in the world when I finally understood the kind of effect my book was having in Asheville….”

— From Thomas Wolfe’s letter responding to Asheville businessman J.G. Stikeleather (July 8, 1935)
[Paragraphing added.]


“Some white Southern women evince more frustration at their own position, or at the position of all white Southern women, than any real feeling for the oppression of slaves. Fanny Moore Webb Bumpas, for instance, of Pittsboro, North Carolina, complains in her journal [1844]:
” ‘We contemplate of late removing to a free state. There we hope to be relieved of many unpleasant things but particularly of the evils of slavery, for slaves are a continual source of trouble. They need constant driving, [and] they are a source of more trouble to house keepers than all other things, vexing them, and causing much sin.'”

“– From “Whitewashing Uncle Tom’s Cabin: Nineteenth-Century Women Novelists Respond to Stowe”  by Joy Jordan-Lake (2005)


“On October 13, 1944, a North Carolina citizen was brought before a judge in traffic court for having parked his car immediately in front of a sign that read ‘No Stoping’…. The defendant argued that the missing letter in the sign meant that he had not violated any law. Brandishing a Webster’s dictionary, he noted that ‘stoping’ technically means ‘extracting ore from a stope, or, loosely, underground.’

” ‘Your honor,’ said the man, ‘I am a law-abiding citizen, and I did not extract any ore from the area of the sign.’  The judge…let him off….”

— From Just My Typo: From ‘Sinning with the Choir’ to ‘the Untied States’ “ by Drummond Moir (2014)

The absence of attribution aroused skepticism, but I found a corroborative contemporary account in the Burlington Daily Times News. The court was in Durham, and the imaginative defendant was A. E. Floyd.


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