Charlotte Speedway, Ghost Track of the Carolinas

One of the greatest mysteries I’ve encountered here in the North Carolina Collection has revolved around this postcard of “Charlotte Speedway:”


Curious about this predecessor to today’s Lowes Motor Speedway, I sleuthed around a bit to learn more about the track. What I found was perplexing: most sources described Charlotte Speedway as a dirt track built near the old airport in 1949, where stock car races were held. And yet, pictured here was an indy race on a wooden track, and the card appeared to be much older than 1949. I kept searching for traces of the speedway, to no avail. It seemed that maybe this indy track had been utterly forgotten here in stock car country.

Months have passed since my initial investigation, but today while browsing the index to “The State” magazine, I spotted this listing: “First Speedway Race Track.” Though I expected this lead would end up yet another reference the 1949 stock car track, I had to give it a shot. When I opened that November 1979 issue, I saw it: an image of a wooden track identical to the one pictured in the postcard.

Sure enough, there was another Charlotte Speedway built in Pineville in 1924, where indy races were held. According to the brief article by Bugs Barringer, the track was made of green pine two by fours, so that the wood would cure and shrink, allowing ventilation between the boards and preventing the tires from burning during races. Apparently a few stock car races were held at the track but, ironically, they attracted too few spectators to be profitable.

Models of Sewing Instruction

The North Carolina Collection recently received as a gift the sewing model book created by Helen Bales when she was student at the Home Industrial School in Asheville in 1898-1899. Helen was studying to be a teacher at a time when it was expected that common schools would teach young girls how to sew.

Miss Bales had to demonstrate that she could teach over a dozen types of stitching. Her samples are presented one to a page. On the facing page is a handwritten explanation of the materials employed and the likely uses of the stitching style. Some pages also include verses to read to the children as they stitch. Here is one such verse imposed on the model for an apron:


Helen Bales’ excellent model book was graded at 95%. After finishing her education, Helen Bales married Bruce Slaughter and taught school in Robbinsville, Graham County, North Carolina.