Dixie Fire Insurance, chartered in 1906, is long lost into a series of industry mergers, but its handsome headquarters — at five stories, once Guilford County’s tallest skyscraper — remains as the nominally truncated Dixie Building.
Now that Winston-Salem has renamed the Dixie Classic Fair the Carolina Classic Fair and Winn-Dixie has beaten a retreat from the state, the Dixie Building may be the Triad’s most prominent bearer of the increasingly-contentious name.
Also from Dixie Fire Insurance’s store of desk accessories: this eye-catching mirror/paperweight from World War I.
“The first Forsyth County fair, in the 1880s, was dedicated to wheat, at the time the most valuable product, along with fruits and berries, grown in the area. But in 1897, the tobacco interests put on a huge ‘Industrial and Tobacco Fair’ which eclipsed all former efforts. The Twin City Sentinel published a special commemorative edition. All of the events were held in the tobacco warehouses.”
— From the colorful and thorough “Tobacco warehouses…T.J. Brown lights the fire…” by the North Carolina Collection, Forsyth County Public Library
The Tobacco Fair turned into the Dixie Classic in 1956 and then into the Carolina Classic in 2019.
“Council Member James Taylor is backing away from his suggestion that [Winston-Salem] consider dropping the word ‘Dixie’ from the name of its popular fair.
“ ‘The support at this time seems to be for leaving the name the same,’ Taylor said of the Dixie Classic Fair. ‘Because this seems to have driven a wedge in the community, I don’t see a need to pursue it any further’….
“Taylor’s discomfort with ‘Dixie’ makes sense to…William Ferris, senior associate director of the Center for the Study of the American South at UNC Chapel Hill: ‘It’s a highly charged word and, like the [Confederate] flag, it will increasingly be relegated to the pages of history in a public way.’…
“Though Taylor is now supporting keeping the fair’s name, it’s likely the issue may surface again, Ferris said.
“ ‘You have people who look back at displaying the flag and singing “Dixie,” and the Old South was a place to long for,’ he said, adding that those memories are being increasingly contested by people who view the Old South through a prism of violence and human rights violations with little affection for the “land of cotton.”
“ ‘The South is evolving and considering its future and figuring how to best understand its history. And contesting those memories is one way to do that,’ Ferris said. ‘The word “Dixie” is part of that re-evaluation of what the South is and how it should be publicly presented.’ ”
— From “Council member says he won’t pursue name change for Dixie Classic Fair” by Lisa O’Donnell in the Winston-Salem Journal (Aug. 12)