Street signs can be much more than guideposts. They often can provide interesting clues into an area’s history.
On July 12, 1833, Frankie Silver was hanged for the murder of her husband. Nearly 10,000 people traveled to Burke County to witness her execution. She was the first woman executed in North Carolina by hanging. Numerous ballads, articles, and documentaries have added to Silver’s myth and legend.
James City emerged as a haven for free black men and women in eastern North Carolina during the Civil War. By 1865, approximately 3,000 blacks had migrated to the city, and the town thrived after the war. However, after the federal government allowed the original landowners sole ownership of James City, the black community started leaving the area. Today, nearly 700 black residents live in James City, and social organizations have sought to preserve the history of the region.
Operating from July 1861 until February 1865, the Confederate Prison at Salisbury held nearly 10,000 Union soldiers during the Civil War. The prison was the only one of its kind in North Carolina, and overcrowding and poor prison conditions led to the deaths of many Union prisoners of war. Today, the Salisbury National Cemetery honors those who died at the prison garrison.
Coleridge was the home of the Enterprise Manufacturing Company, the southern most cotton mill built on Deep River. Its construction in 1882 was the final link in the chain of Randolph County’s water-powered textile industries that had begun to be forged in 1836.
The Concerned Parents Association (CPA) was an anti-busing protest group within the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system. Though CPA successfully mobilized public opinion, they failed to stop the court-ordered busing. Their influence was greatly reduced after they tried—and failed—to boycott Charlotte-Mecklenburg public schools.
The story of the House in the Horseshoe, and the men who fought there during an American Revolution skirmish, reveals the nature and influence of the war in the North Carolina backcountry. One of the first “big” houses built in the frontier lands of North Carolina, the House in the Horseshoe still has bullet holes from the fighting that took place in 1781.
While several states have an official dance, North Carolina is among the few with two official state dances. In 2005, the General Assembly passed a bill making clogging the official folk dance of North Carolina and shagging as the official popular dance of North Carolina. Both dances were chosen for the entertainment value that they bring to “participants and spectators in the State.”
An influential supporter of the ratification of the U.S. Constitution, Archibald Maclaine may have been even more influential if not for his defense of Tories within the state. One of the original trustees of the University of North Carolina, Maclaine was known for his belief in the law and order and for his willingness to stand in the minority for issues he supported.
What started in 1913 as 500 pounds of unwanted Virginia peanuts has evolved into Lance Inc., with revenues steadily approaching one billion dollars. Phillip L. Lance, a Charlotte-based food distributor, ordered 500 pounds of peanuts directly from a planter with the intent to resale them to one of his customers. When Lance’s customer reneged on the peanut deal, Lance roasted the peanuts at his home and sold them on the streets of Charlotte for a nickel a bag instead of returning them to the planter. The home roasted peanuts quickly became popular among Charlotte residents, and Lance soon started producing peanut butter.