Quiet and Noise

I thought that I had found the best combination of town names in a single county when I wrote about Madison County a few months ago. But then Mike Hill pointed out to me two small towns in northern Moore County named Noise and Quiet, shown here on a 1901 state map:

It looks like Noise showed up first on a map, appearing on an 1888 map of the state, while Quiet first appeared, as far as I could find, on a 1892 state map. I looked at a couple of good Moore County maps — the soil survey from 1916 and the highway map from 1938 — but the towns were nowhere to be found. At first I thought that a bored cartographer at Rand McNally stuck them there as a joke, but then I spotted them on a 1901 post route map of North and South Carolina:

These post route maps are fascinating — each postal route is shown and color coded by frequency of mail delivery. The sample shown here indicates that in 1901 the residents of Noise received mail six times a week, while things were a little quieter in Quiet, with the mail arriving only twice a week.

This discovery led me to that essential reference book, Post Offices & Postmasters of North Carolina, published by the North Carolina Postal History Society in 1996. What I found there confirmed what I had seen on the maps. The post office at Noise was in operation from 1882-1912, while the one at Quiet ran from 1883-1905. Post Offices & Postmasters is a must read for the amateur toponymist, and I flipped through the entries for the rest of the county to see what other odd post office names Moore County had had. There were plenty. At various points in the 19th and early 20th century, the following post offices were in operation in Moore County: Antler, Blues, Deposit, Grotto, Home, Lonely, Narrow, Old Stones, Skill, and Tempting. I bet the poor folks in Lonely hardly got any mail at all.

First In Digital?

We all know that North Carolina proudly claims “First in Flight” on its license plates (much to Ohio’s chagrin). North Carolina also claims other firsts, such as the first state university, the first miniature golf course, and Babe Ruth’s first professional home run. Well, North Carolina will have another first to add to its long list at 12 p.m. on September 8, 2008. At that time and on that date, the Wilmington area will become the first television market in the country to switch to an all-digital signal. The Federal Communications Commission chose Wilmington as a test market for the upcoming nationwide switch on February 17, 2009. Read more about it at the FCC’s “The Digital TV Transition.”