New Towns Uploaded to NC Postcards


During the month of March, we uploaded a couple of new towns to NC Postcards.  The card above shows a busy street corner in Enka.  Be sure to check them out!

  • Enka, Buncombe County
  • Polkville, Cleveland County
  • The card below is a real photo view of the Tapoco power dam in Graham County.  The card bears the title “Tapoca,” and I almost mis-identified it as a new town.  The NC Gazetteer notes that the town of Tapoco’s name is derived from the Tallahassee Power Company, and it was established in ca. 1930.


    Josiah Bailey, father of modern conservatism?

    “Taking the offensive [in 1937], Josiah Bailey, the North Carolina senator, issued a ‘manifesto’ demanding tax cuts and a balanced budget, and heralding private enterprise and states’ rights. Bailey hoped to reenergize the bipartisan coalition that had beaten [FDR’s plan to pack the Supreme Court] and, ultimately, to spark a political realignment. Though the manifesto failed in this, it would come over time to serve as something of a mission statement for modern conservatism.”

    — From “Supreme Power: Franklin D. Roosevelt vs. the Supreme Court” by Jeff Shesol (2010)

    Lake Mattamuskeet’s Mistaken Lighthouse


    The above postcard shows the Lake Mattamuskeet hotel and restaurant in New Holland, NC.  The building used to be a pumping station, but it was converted to a lodge in 1937.  We had originally described the postcard as showing a lodge and a lighthouse, but that is not the case:  although it’s been painted in the same pattern as the Bodie Island Lighthouse, shown below, it’s actually a smokestack that was converted into an observation tower when the hotel opened!


    New Online Collection: Views from Variety Vacationland

    The NC State Archives and Library recently mounted a new digital collection of photographs called, “Views from Variety Vacationland: Historic North Carolina Travel and Tourism Photos.” The project description notes:

    The initial pilot project contains 1130 images from the North Carolina Conservation and Development Department, Travel and Tourism Division Photo Files pertaining to six popular topics: cotton, Cherokee Indians, galax, jugtown pottery, Plott hounds and textiles. More images surrounding other topics will be added over time.

    And just a reminder – the NCC has an online exhibit that displays the official postcards created in 1939 to publicize Variety Vacationland in 1939.  Below is a postcard showing spectators on a golf course.


    A horse is a horse, of course, of course


    “When the [Senate Watergate Committee’s] report failed to single out the President, [Chairman Sam Ervin explained] that it was possible to draw a picture of a horse in two ways. You could draw the picture with a very good likeness. Or you could draw the picture and write under it, ‘This is a horse.’ Well, said Ervin, ‘We just drew the picture.’

    “In this… Ervin was a product of his culture,  for John Randolph of Roanoke, while making a sinister implication against President Adams in 1826, had said: ‘I do not draw my pictures in such a way as to render it necessary to write under them, “This is a man, this is a horse.” ‘ ”

    – From “The Natural Superiority of Southern Politicians” (1977) by David Leon Chandler

    Pictured: Pinback button produced by Ervin’s admirers during the Watergate hearings.

    Postcards of Cherokee, N.C.


    The postcard above shows an aerial view of the Cherokee Indian Reservation from ca. 1940-1950.  In the lower middle of the card, you can see a small main street of the town of Cherokee.  Recently, we’ve uploaded many real photo postcards of Western North Carolina, including the Cherokee Indian Reservation in Swain County.

    These postcards show people and activities on the reservation, including potters, weavers, athletes, dancers, and chiefs.  There are also postcards that show gift shops, restaurants, and hotels, and I was curious to know more about the relationship between the reservation and the phenomenon of tourism that is evidenced by the postcards we have of the area.

    The Cherokee were heavily involved in the lumber industry until the mid-1920s.  Shortly after, the Cherokee turned to tourism as a means of economic development.  The decision by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Cherokee Historical Association to engage in tourist endeavors was aided by the Good Roads movement, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (which opened in 1934), and the Blue Ridge Parkway.  These parks and roads helped develop an infrastructure that encouraged a large number of tourists to visit the area, and regional tourist advertising took the form of billboards and postcards.


    The real photo postcard above shows a Cherokee man wearing a headdress and standing in front of a strip mall that features a gift shop of Cherokee crafts and a Dairy Queen.  Cherokee men often dressed in garments that were typical of Plains Indians (rather than Cherokee dress) because Hollywood had popularized that image in the 1930s.  Christina Taylor Beard-Moose’s book, “Public Indians, Private Cherokees:  Tourism and Tradition on Tribal Ground,” gives an excellent account of the tension between maintaining traditional Cherokee culture and earning a living by “performing” for tourists.


    The postcard above from ca. 1940 shows a woman sitting on a porch making pottery.  Pottery, baskets, and other Cherokee crafts were sold at gift shops on the reservation and at nearby hotels, including the Grove Park Inn.  The Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual, Inc. was created in order to protect Cherokee craftsmen and craftswomen by helping to secure fair prices for the artists.

    Click here to see more postcards of Cherokee, NC.

    Hoey’s premonition of McCarthyism


    “During the early 1950s [the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations  of the Committee on Government Operations] had been chaired by Senator Clyde Hoey, a mild-mannered Democrat from North Carolina. Under Hoey’s leadership the subcommittee had investigated such bland subjects as… the reorganization of the Bureau of Customs. [Joe] McCarthy, the ranking Republican, had attended fewer than 20 percent of the public hearings.

    “Only once did McCarthy get into the flow of action. During a hearing on the sale of government-owned tankers, he pummeled a witness for supposedly having engaged in trade with Red China. ‘You are either… the greatest dope or dupe of all time… or you are making a vast amount of money soaked in American blood.’    The witness was understandably upset. ‘Why don’t you ask questions the way Senator Hoey does? Be a gentleman,’ he pleaded.’

    “[After the new Congress was sworn in in 1953] Hoey quickly resigned from the subcommittee. Having worked with Joe in the past, he did ‘not wish to be responsible for what might develop.’ ”

    — From “A Conspiracy So Immense: The World of Joe McCarthy” (2005) by David M. Oshinsky

    Pictured:  Pinback button from Hoey’s successful campaign for governor in 1936.