If this year was 1909, then today would have been the day to head to Salisbury for the first day of the Rowan County Fair. Being that this is 2017, the 66th annual Rowan County Fair was September 15th through 23rd. That means the county’s first annual fair was in 1951—at least in its current incarnation. Fortunately there’s an even longer history to the county fair’s history, because 108 years ago I would have asked my dad to go see Strobel’s Airship!
On this day in 1853: Raleigh hosts the first North Carolina State Fair.
The fair will be racially integrated until 1891, when segregationist pressures lead to designation of a “colored day.” However, blacks continue to attend in significant numbers each day.
On this day in 1971: H.R. “Bob” Haldeman, chief of staff for President Nixon (referred to as “the P”), writes in his diary about evangelist Billy Graham:
“This afternoon the P got into a little harangue on IRS investigations, saying that he had been told by Billy Graham that the IRS is currently investigating him. . . . The P wants now to be sure that we get the names of the big Democratic contributors and get them investigated. Also the Democratic celebrities and so forth.”
The entry is one of many that portray Graham, longtime counselor of presidents, in a more political than spiritual light. Haldeman also reports Graham’s being used as an emissary to potential rival George Wallace and former President Lyndon Johnson and discussing with Nixon “the terrible problem arising from the total Jewish domination of the media.”
On this day in 1846: A hurricane punches through the Outer Banks into Pamlico Sound, creating Oregon Inlet (named for the first ship to pass through, the sidewheeler Oregon) and Hatteras Inlet.
Before the storm, Cape Hatteras was joined to Ocracoke Island.
On this day in 1929: Maxwell Perkins finishes editing Thomas Wolfe’s “Look Homeward, Angel.” Number of words trimmed: 90,000.
From John Walsh in the Independent of London: “When a novel by the hopeless title ‘O Lost’ was discovered on the Scribner’s unsolicited manuscripts pile, Perkins was told to make something publishable out of it. He made thousands of notes, analysed every scene, suggested cuts and changes but delighted the author by insisting he retain the coarse, vulgar and obscene bits. ‘Look Homeward, Angel’ [as renamed by Perkins] was published and another channel of American writing was opened….”
On this day in 1983: Highest temperature ever recorded in North Carolina: 110 degrees, at Fayetteville.
Less than two years later the state’s lowest temperature will be reached at Mt. Mitchell.
On this day in 1861: L. P. Walker, Confederate secretary of war, approves purchase of an abandoned cotton mill at Salisbury for use as a prison for captured Union soldiers. To their later regret, the owners agree to take payment in Confederate bonds.
On this day in 1844: Mary Baker Eddy, future founder of the Christian Science church, leaves Wilmington to return to her family farm in New Hampshire following the death of her husband from yellow fever.
She and businessman George Washington Glover, married barely six months, had lived in Wilmington while he planned a construction project in Haiti.
. . . was the first-page headline of The Herald-Sun, Durham’s newspaper, on July 9, 1997. At noon the previous day—twenty years ago today—family and friends buried and memorialized Charles Kuralt on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives is home to The Herald-Sun photographic negatives, so today we honor that anniversary by featuring the two photographs, cropped as they were then, that accompanied the newspaper’s story.
Kuralt’s connections to Carolina were long and deep. Born in Wilmington, North Carolina in 1934, his family moved to Charlotte in 1945. He attended UNC between 1951 and 1955, and he worked on the student newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel, as a reporter and columnist. In April 1954 he won the student election for the position of editor. After his time at UNC he wrote for two years for The Charlotte Observer before joining the Columbia Broadcasting System in 1957 as a news writer for radio. He became a CBS News correspondent two years later at the age of 25. Kuralt spent nearly his entire career at CBS, retiring May 1, 1994 at the age of 59. He was best known for “On the Road,” the long-running series of Americana short stories that he started in 1967 as segments aired during The CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite. Others may recall him as the fifteen-year anchor of CBS Sunday Morning, which first aired in 1979. Throughout his celebrated career and wanderings across the country, Kuralt maintained lasting love for his home state.
Charles Kuralt died on July 4, 1997. To mark that anniversary, sister blog A View to Hugh published an account of his passing and memorial service that features photographs by Kuralt’s friend Hugh Morton and documents from the Charles Kuralt Collection and the William C. Friday Papers in the Southern Historical Collection. Morton and Friday were two of the speakers at the memorial service attended by 1,600 people in UNC’s Memorial Hall. UNC’s social media Spotlight webpage republished a short excerpt of that blog post along with the University News Services’ July 8, 1997 story, “Life and legacy of Charles Kuralt honored during service at UNC-CH’s Memorial Hall.”
On this day in 1831: In Raleigh, a workman who goes to breakfast in the midst of soldering leaks in the zinc roof accidentally burns down the Capitol.
Backers of Fayetteville, a larger town with livelier commerce — that was just recovering from its own disastrous fire — will lobby unsuccessfully to have the capital relocated there.