Transportation

Subject

Commentary
Political History

How North Carolina Came to Be Shaped As It Is Today

1664-1775

When did North Carolina become known as North Carolina and acquire its modern shape? We must go back to Jan. 24, 1712, when Edward Hyde became the first governor of what became known as North Carolina, or more specifically, he was the first official governor under the Lords Proprietors. Carolina was then divided into two...

Business and Industry

Plank Roads Were An Economic Engine Before the Civil War

1776-1835

During the 1840s, North Carolinians embraced the use of plank roads to improve the state’s economy. These wooden highways — built mainly with private funds — were purported to be an improvement over rough, dirt roads and a necessary step to create an intrastate (and eventually an interstate) trade network of plank roads, railroad hubs, and seaports.

Transportation

Dismal Swamp Canal

1776-1835

The Dismal Swamp Canal, originally chartered in 1790, connects the Albemarle Sound and the Chesapeake Bay. Opened in 1805, the Dismal Swamp Canal created a passage between northeastern North Carolina and Norfolk, Virginia. By the mid-1820s, the Dismal Swamp Canal was widened and deepened enough for reliable commercial traffic. As a result, international trade shifted from Albemarle Sound towns, like Edenton, to Norfolk, Virginia.  Today the Dismal Swamp Canal is primarily used for recreational boating.

Places

Currituck Beach Lighthouse

1866-1915

Currituck Beach Lighthouse is located on the Outer Banks in Corolla, North Carolina. It was put on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1973; the lighthouse is the last brick lighthouse built on the Outer Banks.

Transportation

Blue Ridge Parkway

1916-1945

  Stretching nearly 470 miles from the Shenandoah National Park to the Great Smoky Mountains, the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina is a popular tourist attraction.  In 1912, Colonel Joseph Pratt had an idea for a mountainous parkway; however, funding issues contributed to its intermittent construction.  The Blue Ridge Parkway was completed in 1987 with the construction of the Linn Cover Viaduct.

Transportation

The North Carolina Highway Patrol

1916-1945

Originally created due to the increase of traffic on North Carolina roadways, the North Carolina Highway Patrol was commissioned on July 1, 1929. The first Highway Patrol class drove Harley-Davidson motorcycles and assisted stranded motorists, administered first aid in emergency situations, and pursued lawbreakers on the state’s highways.  As of 2012, the State Highway Patrol employs over 2,300 officers, radio specialists, engineers, and civilian staff.

Transportation

Wright Brothers National Memorial

1916-1945

Congress established Kill Devil Hills National Memorial on March 2, 1927 to commemorate Wilbur and Orville Wright and their contribution to aeronautics and for conducting the world’s first successful heavier-than air flight.

Transportation

Fort York

1836-1865

  A little known Confederate fort that was built in anticipation of Union General George Stoneman’s Raid into Piedmont North Carolina and to protect the North Carolina Railroad Bridge, Fort York is now located adjacent to I-85 in Davidson County and across the Yadkin River from Rowan County.   

Transportation

Island Ford Steel Bridge

1866-1915

In 1901 the Virginia Iron and Bridge Company of Roanoke received a contract to build a three-span iron bridge across the river in Franklinville at Island Ford. The bridge was more than 350 feet long, and spanned the Deep River in five sections.

Sports and Entertainment

Richard Petty (1937 – )

1916-1945

Referred to as the King of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR), Richard Petty remains the driver in stock car racing history with the most wins. Petty was born to a racing family in Level Cross (Randolph County), North Carolina, in 1937, and as a twenty-one year old, he started racing. Known also for his trademark racing techniques, such as drafting, and charming personality, Petty won seven championships and was voted the most popular driver in NASCAR for nine years.

Sports and Entertainment

Dale Earnhardt, Sr. (1951 – 2001)

1946-1990

One of the greatest American stock car drivers of all time, Dale Earnhardt was born in Kannapolis, North Carolina. The son of Ralph Earnhardt, Dale continued the racing legacy, and it lives on today with his son, Dale Earnhardyt Jr., and the company Dale Earnhardt Inc. (DEI). Known as the Intimidator for his aggressive driving style, Earnhardt won seven NASCAR titles, rivaling fellow North Carolinian driver, Richard Petty.

Governors

John Branch (1782-1863)

1776-1835

A Jacksonian turned Whig politician, John Branch served as three terms as Governor of North Carolina and championed internal improvements in the Tar Heel State.  He later held federal posts, including Secretary of Navy, Congressman, and territorial governor of Florida.  After the scandalous Eaton Affair, a disenchanted Branch left the Democratic Party to help create a new Whig Party in North Carolina.