There’s so much to love, and so much to say, about our September Artifact of the Month.
This head scarf from the mid-1950s features a brightly-colored pictorial map of North Carolina.
Elizabeth Stinson, who donated the scarf, describes acquiring it during a childhood moving around between Greenville, South Carolina and Cooleemee, Ridgecrest, Black Mountain, and Greensboro, North Carolina. She writes:
Our family, especially my father, liked to visit western NC. (Mother, coming from Charleston, preferred flatlands, though she gained the respect of my brother and me by passing a big truck on a winding mountain two-lane.) We would picnic at a concrete table set up on the roadside by a stream, investigate the water, and we always had to stop at a country store for apples and souvenirs. While at Greensboro, we traveled to Fontana Village. Sometime along the way between Cooleemee and Greensboro, I acquired the headscarf, probably earlier than later.
The images on the scarf speak volumes about North Carolina’s popular attractions in the post-World-War-II era, from “fine tulips” to Bridal Veil Falls (where “your car passes under.”)
Looking at this artifact is like traveling back to a more wholesome (and admittedly imaginary) time, when giant bears roamed freely through Hickory, and a person had nothing more urgent to do than while away the hours in Rockingham, cooking over an open fire.
The scarf is all the more charming for the things it doesn’t get quite right:
Orville and Wilbur Wright, sitting cheerfully side by side on their first flight…
… and the first state university in the country, known here as “N.C.U.”
But what’s most appealing about this scarf is knowing its history. Envisioning the childhood road trip to Fontana Village, and the excitement of picking up this colorful souvenir, makes this artifact come to life in a rare and rich way. Many thanks to Elizabeth Stinson for sharing both this scarf and her memories.