“A final [Southern League] championship came to Crockett Park in 1984 — a joyous moment in the face of a tragedy to come. After a March 1985 high school playoff game, three juveniles came back to the ballpark and burned it down.
“The O’s would play that season in a makeshift stadium of 5,000 bleacher seats while a new ballpark was being built for them in Fort Mill, S.C. In 2014 the team (by now renamed the Knights) returned to Charlotte to play in downtown’s Truist Field.”
— From digitalballparks.com
I remember vividly the night the fun finally ran out at Crockett Park. It was barely a mile from our house, and smoke and charred paper filled the air for hours.
Scottish-born William Muirhead founded the Muirhead Construction Co. in Durham in 1924.
The company’s projects included Chapel Hill’s first large apartment complex, wartime Camp Butner, the reconstruction of Tryon Palace in New Bern and — as evidenced by this brass-plated tool tag — the 1941 conversion of Ford’s former Model T and Model A plant in Charlotte into a quartermaster depot for the U.S. Army. Later uses included assembly of Nike Hercules missiles.
Today the site is home to Camp North End, a sprawling and idiosyncratic commercial complex.
“There were plenty of emotional moments that [Christina] Koch didn’t expect, especially when she looked down at Earth and saw a thin line of land jutting into the Atlantic that she could follow up the mouth of the New River to her hometown and her home state.
” ‘The biggest surprise I had was how amazing it was to look down and see North Carolina,’ Koch says. ‘I thought it would be kind of neat, but it had a deeper impact on me to see all the places that formed my memories, the place that formed me, to see the place where all the people who supported me and my dream to become an astronaut lived.
“ ‘It was a profound, perspective-changing moment that I was unprepared for.’ ”
— From “Space, the Final Frontier” by Tim Peeler at NC State News (Jan. 31, 2023)
NC State alumna Koch (left) and Jessica Meir made history by completing the first ever all-female spacewalk.
“While it will not be a year old until Nov. 15, , it is now marketed in 27 states…. Our sales have shown over 100 percent increase each month.”
— B. R. Stone, president, Nu-Shine Manufacturing Co., Reidsville, N.C.
“Nu-Shine has a very large interstate business; hardly a shoe store east of the Mississippi River is without it.”
–From “The Status of Chemical Industries in North Carolina in 1926” by Frank C. Vilbrandt in Journal of the Elisha Mitchell Scientific Society
“Robert Payne Richardson III assisted his father in the [Old North State smoking tobacco] factory, and after it was sold [to Brown & Williamson] he joined in 1927 the Nu-Shine Manufacturing Company, a local producer of shoe polish.”
— From NCpedia
In 1938 Nu-Shine was bought by American Products Co. and seldom heard from again.
“As with cotton, the price of milk was volatile. ‘Milk wars’ were common, as distributors continuously undercut one another….
“According to the Gaston Gazette, a milk war was occurring in Shelby in 1972, when Ab Wolfe of Sunrise Dairy in Gastonia said of a proposed regulation, ‘It discriminates against the little distributor. The big boys are going to eat us up.’ ”
— From “Cleveland County Agriculture” (2016)
“Sunrise Dairy, Gastonia, N.C., ceased operation in June after 46 years as a dairy processor. Management is liquidating and disposing of equipment.”
— From “Sunrise Shutters” in Ice Cream Field and Ice Cream Trade Journal (1974)
More on North Carolina’s once prominent dairy industry, as told through its bottle lids here and here.
“In order to develop atomic weapons during World War II, the federal government needed a source of energy to power the top-secret Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Out of that need the Fontana Dam, Fontana Lake and Fontana Village were born. Located in Graham and Swain counties in western North Carolina, the region is collectively known simply as Fontana….
“Completed in 1944 at a cost of over $70 million, the dam is 480 feet tall and almost ½ mile wide at its crest. The Appalachian Trail winds across the top of the dam as it makes its way from Georgia to Maine. Hikers have named the nearby trail shelter the ‘Fontana Hilton,’ since it is one of the few stopovers with hot showers nearby.
“Fontana was not designed as an overflow dam, so it has a somewhat distinct appearance: its length is accentuated by the absence of water spilling over the top. Whenever the reservoir reaches capacity, water is released downstream through spillways tunneled through the base of the dam.”
— From Fontana Dam at DigitalHeritage.org
I’ve seen such celluloid tape measures dating back as far as 1900, not long after the introduction of celluloid political buttons, but this one probably appeared on a souvenir shop shelf circa 1950.
“Clothing designers sent the grunge look down runways for spring, but thanks to the Dickens Fair, Raleigh will be full of fashionables sporting their own brand of street-urchin wear next weekend.
“Fayetteville Street Mall will be transformed into Victorian England for the street fair celebrating of one of the world’s most celebrated writers.
“Dickens Pen & Inc. — an outgrowth of the Dickens Disciples, kind of a Charles Dickens fan club organized by N.C. State University adjunct English professor Elliot Engel — is offering an incentive: Anyone dressed in period costume gets into the fair free.”
–From “A Dickens of a Dress Code” by Mary E. Miller in the News & Observer (Dec. 4, 1992)
The Dickens Fair ran annually until 1999.
Wilmington Fertilizer Co. must have been among the most prominent of the city’s many such manufacturers, but I’ve had little luck nailing down details of its existence. This sign claims 1889 as the company’s birth, and the design of this clock suggests it was still around as late as the 1970s.
Perhaps the area’s best-known fertilizer maker was Navassa Guano Co., whose history is deeply reported here by the inimitable David Cecelski.
I strain to imagine what it was like for laborers who spent their days lifting and unloading 200-pound bags of guano.
Ah, Joe Camel. Once you were everywhere — from convenience-store doors to playing cards to koozies. By 1997, however, public criticism and relentless litigation led RJR to end your reign.
Why do Joe Camel and other cheesy tobacco ephemera deserve a place in the North Carolina Collection? Take it away, Emily Jack!