1946-1990

Timeline

Agriculture

Gristmills: North Carolina’s First Public Utilities

1664-1775

Gristmills—mills that use water power to grind corn and wheat into flour—were a “familiar feature of the 19th century countryside,“ wrote Grimsley T. Hobbs in 1985. His book, Exploring the Old Mills of North Carolina, includes detailed, hand-illustrated descriptions of 39 of the most interesting mills remaining in the 1980s.[1] A few mills continued to...

African American

Sweet Potatoes in North Carolina History

1664-1775

North Carolina produces more sweet potatoes than any other state in the United States and has been a leader since 1971.[1] In 2021 its production represented 64 percent of total U.S. production.[2] The potatoes are grown primarily in central and eastern North Carolina. The largest producers are currently the counties of Sampson, Nash, Wilson, and...

Sports and Entertainment

Clogging: North Carolina’s Official Folk Dance

1664-1775

Clogging is the official folk dance of North Carolina (declared so by the state legislature in 2005).[1] It is a style of dancing that originated in the Appalachian mountains, so North Carolina shares it with other states such as Tennessse and Virginia. All clog dancing involves “fancy footwork”—there are many variations on stepping, shuffling, sidestepping,...

Political History

North Carolina Constitution Is an Important Governing Document

1776-1835

I often have wondered how many North Carolinians have taken the time to study or at least generally refer to the North Carolina Constitution. Most likely, more than a few from the Old North State would be surprised to learn that such a document exists. In this regard, North Carolinians probably are not alone. Most...

Commentary
Sports and Entertainment

Southern Culture’s Multiracial Mix Affects American Music

1946-1990

North Carolinians, and their Southern counterparts, have contributed much to the American music scene.

New Deal/ Great Depression

Journey for Joedel (1970)

1916-1945

Although a movie was based on his The Ballad of the Flim-Flam Man, Guy Owen considered Journey for Joedel his best novel. For it, he won the Sir Walter Raleigh Award and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. The esteemed novelist Walker Percy described Journey for Joedel as “touching, tender, and highly readable.”

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.

Counties

Madison County (1851)

1836-1865

Madison County is located in North Carolina’s mountains along the Tennessee border. It was formed in 1851 out of Buncombe and Yancey Counties, and was named for President James Madison.  Marshall, the county seat, was incorporated in 1863.

Counties

Wayne County (1779)

1776-1835

Wayne County was formed from Dobbs County in 1779 in North Carolina’s Coastal Plain.  Wayne County is named after “Mad Anthony” Wayne, one of George Washington’s most trusted generals.  Goldsboro is the county seat, and Wayne is also home to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.  Wayne is also the home of numerous cultural institutions and events.

Sports and Entertainment

Poor No More (1959)

1946-1990

Robert Ruark's second novel did not sell as well as his first, Something of Value.  Most critics disapproved of the long manuscript, with its controversial topics and vivid descriptions.  After spending approximately four years on the work, Ruark had a different opinion.   

Commentary
Sports and Entertainment

1960s Novel Easily Could Describe Political Debates of Today

1946-1990

Fiction is more than entertainment.  It informs readers about the times in which it was written. An Inch of Snow (1964) is such a novel.  It was written by William E. Cobb, a Burke County Republican, who served as a minority leader in the North Carolina Senate and served as the North Carolina Republican Chairman.

Commentary
Modern Era

Echoes From the Past

1946-1990

A recent history column briefly described An Inch of Snow (1964), an out-of-print novel depicting a state legislative race in North Carolina.  It was more than entertainment depicting small-town North Carolina life. The novel’s fictitious speeches by Democratic and Republican candidates reflect the actual economic concerns of North Carolinians in the 1960s.  The arguments offered are often repeated nowadays in print and on air and behind debate podiums and at dinner tables across the state.