Seen at the Pinehurst Gun Club: Could this be Annie Oakley?

P077-9-126 - annie oakley

The winter resort village of Pinehurst, N.C. began in 1895, and  the Carolina hotel opened there in 1901.  It was the largest hotel in the community, and at the time of its construction, the largest hotel in the state.  Pinehurst featured several other hotels, boarding houses, and cottages for rent, but none offered the same services, amenities, and recreational opportunities as The Carolina.

One recreational activity offered by the hotel was the gun club, which enabled guests to take lessons from instructors and also featured exhibition demonstrations by the instructors.  The image above is an excerpt from a postcard depicting an event at the Gun Club,  and shows a woman in a white dress shooting a rifle.  To see the entire postcard, click on the image.

While we’re not certain, it’s possible that the woman depicted here is Annie Oakley …

After a long stint in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West traveling show, Annie Oakley and her husband, Frank Butler, came to live at The Carolina in 1915.  They had positions on the hotel’s staff, and Annie would give exhibitions and shooting lessons at the gun club, and Frank was in charge of the skeet range.  Her lessons and biweekly demonstrations were extraordinarily popular.  In the six years she worked at The Carolina, she gave lessons to hundreds of people each winter season.

This postcard dates to when she would have been employed by the hotel, and the large crowd gathered to watch (don’t miss the two boys on the roof of the club house!) suggests that this was not an event to miss.

This is the only postcard we have of the Gun Club, but you can view other postcards of The Carolina (and some of its other recreational activities) here.

Flory, Claude R.  1966.  “Annie Oakley in the South,” in North Carolina Historical Review, 43(3), 333-343.

5 thoughts on “Seen at the Pinehurst Gun Club: Could this be Annie Oakley?”

  1. On the other hand, Lew, it might not have rated a mention because it was thought to be common knowledge at the time, or too obvious to mention.

  2. Good point, Jane….As Hugh McColl Jr. explained in 1984 about the absence of an NCNB logo on the bank’s new Tampa office tower: “Would you put a sign on Raquel Welch that said ‘girl’ ?”

  3. I would agree that this is a photo of Annie Oakley. This is her exact set up for shooting, Frank Butler would be kneeling behind the table to assist, this is her style of clothing and her perferred rifle. It’s her.

  4. This card is an enlargement of a photo of a demonstration by Annie at the first Pinehurst Gun Club. Check Tufts Archives in Pinehurst for the photo.

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