“Channel 7 has had three broadcast towers over the years in Grifton. The original one of 919 feet was the tallest in the market at the time. It was replaced in 1961 with a 1,549-foot tower, and then in 1978, the current 2,000 foot structure was erected.”
— From “WITN History: A Look At How We Began In 1955” at witn.com
How proud did the Greenville station feel about that 1,549-foot tower? Proud enough to label it “The High and the Mighty” — and to point out its supremacy to the Empire State Building (1,454 feet), the Eiffel Tower (1,063 feet) and the Washington Monument (555 feet).
Municipal license plates are no longer being issued by Grifton (or most other towns), but the Shad Festival lives on. This year’s will be April 20-22 (and will of course include the traditional Shad Toss).
Since 1971 the town has been celebrating the annual return of shad upstream from the Atlantic Ocean to Contentnea Creek, a tributary of the Neuse River.
But the festival idea, proposed by Cooperative Extension Agent Ed Comer, didn’t meet instant acceptance. Many anglers disdain the predominant local variety, the hickory shad, which is smaller and bonier than the American shad. (Both are in the herring family.)
Mayor Dave Bosley saved the day for the hickory shad: “We don’t have to eat the shad; they don’t eat azaleas at the Azalea Festival or mules at Mule Day in Benson.”
On this day in 1712: After nearly a month of fighting near present-day Grifton, colonial forces persuade the Tuscarora to agree to a truce and peace treaty. The war starts anew, however, when Col. John Barnwell begins selling Indian prisoners as slaves.