Hillsborough Town Clock

The postcard above shows the Orange County Courthouse and dates to ca. 1905-1915. The clock in the clocktower is said to have been a gift to the town by King George III in 1789, however, the history of the clock remains somewhat murky.  According to two histories of the town of Hillsborough (Nash’s Hillsboro, Colonial and Revolutionary and Lloyd’s History of the Town of Hillsboro), the clock was made in Birmingham, England around 1760 as a facsimile of the clock in the Independence Hall in Philadelphia.  Both clocks were said to have come to the country around the same time, ca. 1766.  It’s unclear whether or not the clock was really a gift from King George III or brought to the town by one or more of the prominent local politicians, such as David Fanning, the register of Deeds, Governor Tryon, or the Earl of Hillsboro.

The clock was relocated several times and involved in numerous disturbances, including a raid on the town, a swim in the Eno River, the Regulator’s War, and then the Revolutionary War.  It wasn’t until 1846 or 1847 that the clockwas placed in the Orange County Courthouse, where it still resides today.

Lockville in Old Maps

After reading this morning’s News & Observer story about the nearly-gone community of Lockville, I went looking for it in the historic maps on the North Carolina Maps site.

I found it first on this 1870 map of Chatham County, commanding a prominent place along the Deep River next to the now also largely-forgotten town of Haywood. This was mining country then, just to the east of the coal mine in Egypt, N.C.

Both Lockville and Haywood faded quickly compared to the fast-rising town of Moncure. By 1933, when this soil survey was published, Lockville had changed its name to Lockport, and Haywood showed very little growth. In the meantime, Moncure, right on the Pittsboro Branch of the Seaboard Air Line Railroad, boasted three churches and a school.

By the 1940s, as this rural route delivery map shows, Lockville/Lockport ceased to appear on maps at all.

The only remaining evidence of the town — as far as maps are concerned — is Lockville Road, between two highway bridges, just downstream from the locks that gave the community its name. For more about Lockville, see this article, published in the Chatham County Line last September.

More wives — many more — than the law allows

On this day in 1820: The Star of Raleigh reports that serial husband Anthony Metcalf has been jailed in Roxboro:

“It is hoped some of the friends of the numerous women he has married (to say nothing of his other offences) will come forward and prosecute him….

“As far as the history of his life is known, he was raised in Portsmouth, Virg. — when quite young was sentenced to 3 years imprisonment in the Penitentiary for stealing a Pocket Book — married a woman in Hertford county, another in Wilmington, another in Lincoln, another in Pitt, all in this state, and how many others are not known; but if his own confession (made when confined in our jail) is to be believed, he had married 14 wives in 1818, and we have heard of one since — his age does not exceed 30 or 35.”

Apollo Astronauts at UNC

Apollo Astronauts at Morehead Planetarium, 6 June 1966

This homage to the 40th anniversary of man landing on the moon is posted at the approximate time Neil Armstrong stepped foot on the lunar surface.  Did you know, however, that before Armstrong made that famous footprint, he—and almost every National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) astronaut—walked the grounds of UNC-Chapel Hill?

From 1959 through 1975, Morehead Planetarium hosted an astronaut training program designed to teach stellar constellation recognition and stellar navigation.  Neither Neil Armstrong nor Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, Jr.—the first two men to walk on the moon—appear in this photograph, but both attended the training program on subsequent dates within the next few weeks.  In total, Aldrin attended five training missions and Armstrong completed eleven at Morehead between 1964 and 1969, and the two trained together in the program twice, once in 1968 and once 1969.

In the photograph above by Wolf Witz from the UNC Photographic Laboratory Collection (negative 28733), twenty-one astronauts, about a month after their induction into the NASA space program, line a staircase at Morehead Planetarium on 10 June 1966, encircling an exhibit panel labeled “In Our Lifetime . . . .”  The negative and photographic prints in the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives have no identifications, but we know from the Web page “Astronauts Who Trained at Morehead Planetarium and the Missions They Flew” that the following astronauts are in the photograph:

  • Vance D. Brand
  • John S. Bull
  • Gerald P. Carr
  • Charles Conrad Jr.
  • Charles M. Duke Jr.
  • Ronald E. Evans
  • Edward G. Givens Jr.
  • Fred W. Haise Jr.
  • James B. Irwin
  • Joseph B. Kerwin
  • Don L. Lind
  • Jack R. Lousma
  • Thomas K. Mattingly Jr.
  • Bruce McCandless II
  • F. Curtis Michel
  • Edgar D. Mitchell
  • William R. Pogue
  • Stuart A. Roosa
  • John L. Swigert Jr.
  • Paul J. Weitz
  • Alfred M. Worden

How many of these men made it to the moon?

The moon as projected inside Morehead Planetarium.  Photographer Richard McKee.

(The moon as projected inside Morehead Planetarium, 6 July 1962.  The man in the lower left corner is probably planetarium director A. F. Jenzano.  Photographer Richard McKee, UNC Photography Laboratory Collection, negative 23170.)

Notes on the Built Environment: the High Point Chamber of Commerce and Winston-Salem’s Big Coffee Pot

I recently came across the postcard of the High Point’s Chamber of Commerce offices, otherwise known as the  “World’s Largest Bureau of Information.”  It’s a linen postcard, which dates it to ca. 1930-1945.  Benjamin Brigg’s 2008 book on The Architecture of High Point, North Carolina provides a good history and analysis of the building.

The building was originally built in 1926 in the shape of a chest of drawers with a mirror-like piece to highlight the city’s position as the prominent place of furniture production in the US.  Molding and paint were used to create the drawers on the building’s facade, which originally featured a floral decorations, and a sheet of metal was used to make the mirror.  On the inside, the walls were covered in panels of different popular woods used in High Point’s furniture industry.  This outlandish design was made even more significant by its location in a highly trafficked area of downtown in Tate Park.

The card above shows the Chamber of Commerce as it looked during the inter-war period, but by 1951, the Chamber of Commerce had outgrown the original building and moved from Tate Park to a new location on Hamilton Street.  The new bureau was more streamlined than the first, reflecting new trends in furniture design.  The building was revamped several times during its history.  The post-WWII design featured only gold trim, but the 1996 version is particularly charming, with two socks spilling out of a half-opened drawer, referencing High Point’s position in both the furniture industry and the hosiery industry.

The High Point Chamber of Commerce is a prime example of how architecture changed with American roadside culture.  It’s playful, using a pun to draw a direct association between the structure and the civic department housed there – the building becomes its own sign.  It also explicitly makes a statement about the social trends of furniture design as well as the city’s changing identity without using abstractions or “high art.”  And both locations of the building were highly accessible (and visible) to people traveling by car.

While this type of architecture became literally iconic with the rise of car culture, there are other examples that date back much earlier.  For example, the larger-than-life coffee pot in downtown Winston-Salem was built in 1858 by tinsmiths Julius and Samuel Mickey to advertise their shop.  It’s not a building, but it is a unique way to announce their tin shop.  They huge, well-crafted tin coffee pot to speak for itself – no slogans are used, no shop hours are listed, no praises are sung.

The book Looking beyond the highway : Dixie roads and culture is an interesting collection of essays on similar issues across the South.

Schooner Day, Southern Pines

A real photo postcard, taken by E.C. Eddy, shows a Schooner Day parade in Southern Pines, but none of us here in the NCC are familiar with the celebration.

There’s a reference to Schooner Day in Stephen Masengill’s book, Around Southern Pines.  It says that it was an annual event where participants rode in a parade of wagons throughout the town.  Does anyone know anything else about Schooner Day?  What time of year did it take place?

I found a hint about Schooner wagons on another postcard.  The caption of this postcard reads, “These come from many miles back in the country, dispensing the products of North Carolina sunshine (and occasionally Moonshine) to Southern Pines winter residents.”  The message on the back of the card mentions that the writer purchases their eggs and chickens from one of the men in the image.  Perhaps Schooner Day was in celebration of these mobile markets.

The loathsome Mr. Lincoln (part 2 of 2)

” ‘He insults every white man by making negroes their equals,’ shouted the Wilmington Journal, ‘and sits at Washington joking over the downfall of a Republic ruined by his vile attempt to carry out the disgusting and beastly doctrine of a miscege nation.’

“The Charlotte Whig…  reported ominously that ‘as soon as Lincoln had sent a message recommending his subordinates to employ persons of African descent as laborers, all the white waiters at Willard’s Hotel were discharged, and black ones took their place.’

“The [Raleigh] Standard could see in the [Emancipatioin] Proclamation only ‘one of the most monstrously wicked documents that ever emanated from human authority….It would consign the whites and the blacks of the North American continent to one common ruin….It would extinguish the black race in less than ten years.’

“In the opinion of the State Journal, ‘ ‘Lincoln’s proclamation…has not freed a slave…but it has declared publicly the savage intentions which had hitherto stamped themselves secretly on the conduct of the war.… It whets the knife and places it in the hand of the slave whom it urges to murder the innocent maiden and imploring child….’ ”

— From “Malice Toward One: Lincoln in the North Carolina Press” by Richard Bardolph (Lincoln Herald, Winter 1951)

The loathsome Mr. Lincoln (part 1 of 2)

“….The epithets ranged from mere familiar cognomens intended to bring him into contempt, like ‘Abraham,’ ‘Uncle Abe’ (cf. ‘Adolf,’ ‘Uncle Joe’) and ‘Old Abe’ to names carrying with them the imputation of meanness of character, physical ugliness, despotic pretensions: ‘The Criminal,’ ‘The Perjurer and Murderer,’ ‘The Widow-Maker,’ ‘Lying Fiend,’ ‘Vulgar Buffoon,’ ‘The Illinois Blackguard,’ ‘Vulgar Imitator of Royalty,’ ‘the detestable, drunken, would-be tyrant at Washington,’ ‘The Northern Ape,’ ‘The Monster,’ ‘The Baboon,’ ‘The Gorilla,’ ‘Fanatic Abe,’ ‘His Sable Excellency,’ ‘The Usurper,’ ‘The Tyrant,’ ‘The Despot,’ ‘King Abe’ and ‘Abraham the First, King of the Northern Nation.’

“Many editors… used the epithet without mentioning his name at all. When the Raleigh Register, for example, announced ‘Another Proclamation From the Tyrant,’ or when the Raleigh Standard called for recruits to ‘drive the hirelings of the Northern Ape back from…sacred soil,’ no further identification seemed necessary.”

— From “Malice Toward One: Lincoln in the North Carolina Press” by Richard Bardolph  (Lincoln Herald, Winter 1951). Tomorrow’s excerpt addresses how the press depicted Lincoln and race.

Vacation Time

As has previously been mentioned, our current staff-picks display is on “summer.” The entries, which we have shared on our FaceBook fan page, cover topics such as good summer reads, summer-themed movies, and fly fishing. My two picks were movies: I Know What You Did Last Summer (filmed in North Carolina) and Junebug (set in North Carolina).

However, I think I have found my new favorite, and I’ll share an image of the cover below.