June Bug Town

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Here at the North Carolina Collection we take pride in knowing all things “North Carolina.” You may be able to stump one of us, but when we put our collective heads together and do a little digging, we can generally find the answer to most North Carolina-related inquiries…that is, until we ran into the bug. One of our catalogers found a thoroughfare plan for Taylorsville (Alexander County), North Carolina, and we were stumped by the town’s seal. Normally, these emblems include items related to the town’s history, commerce, or location, but why (oh why) did Taylorsville have a bug in the middle of its seal?

After a thorough search of our collection, we finally gave up and called the Town of Taylorsville. After a brief chuckle, the person on the other end of the line explained that the insect commemorates the “June Bug Line,” a railroad to Taylorsville that was completed in 1887. During the debate over the railroad’s charter, an Alexander County legislator, arguing for its completion, supposedly said, “Gentleman, there’s a mine in Hiddenite with a mineral so precious that a June Bug could fly away with enough on its wings to pay for the whole railroad.” The gems may not have stuck to the bug’s wings, but the railroad’s name did.

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