This Day in North Carolina History

Winston-Salem’s Reynolds Building, 1929

Wed, 04/26/2017 - 01:00

On April 23, 1929, the newly-completed 22-story office building for the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company in Winston-Salem was officially opened for business. The public enjoyed access to the retail and commercial shops on the lower levels off the elevator lobby, including a barber shop, restaurant, pharmacy, telegraph office and a railway ticket office.

When the skyscraper opened, the Reynolds Company occupied half of the building, and insurance firms, brokerage firms, attorneys, architects and developers leased the other half of the space.

Reynolds president Bowman Gray, Sr., commissioned New York City architects R. H. Shreve and William F. Lamb to design the dramatic corporate headquarters in the popular Art Deco style. The $2 million limestone faced tower became the tallest building in the South, surpassing the 1923 Jefferson Standard Building in Greensboro.

Shreve and Lamb, with new partner Arthur Harmon, went on to design Manhattan’s Empire State Building, completed in 1931. The two buildings share a sleek, streamlined exterior with a distinctive stepped ziggurat roofline.

Historic rehabilitation of the building for apartments and a hotel is underway.

Other related resources:

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts, nature and culture, visit DNCR online. To receive these updates automatically each day, make sure you subscribe by email using the box on the right, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Major Depression-Era Loss at Wingate

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 01:00

On April 23, 1932, the Administration Building of what’s now Wingate University was destroyed by fire.

At the time, the building housed the college library and chemistry labs, classrooms, an auditorium and offices. The library, which had more than 5,000 volumes at the time, and the chemistry labs were totally destroyed.

The building was valued at $50,000 and the loss was only partially covered by insurance. Some equipment and furniture in the building was saved, as were the surrounding buildings. The fire began in the boiler room, even though the furnace had not been lit for several days.

Firefighters from Monroe and Marshville tried to save the building but a lack of water pressure and the chemicals from the lab hampered their progress. Another fire that night destroyed the W. A. Chaney building nearby. An investigation into a break-in there led to suspicions that the fire was set on purpose. There were suspicions too, that the Wingate fire was intentionally set, but its cause remain undetermined.

The board of trustees voted quickly to have a new building erected before classes began the next year and began fundraising. Local Baptist churches helped as much as they could in the Depression-strapped times.

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit Cultural Resources online. To receive these updates automatically each day, make sure you subscribe by email using the box on the right, and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

Robert F. Hoke, Victorious at Plymouth, Promoted

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 01:00

On April 23, 1864, Robert Frederick Hoke, then only 27-years-old, became the youngest major general in the Confederate States Army. He was promoted days after leading a successful campaign to recapture Plymouth in Washington County.

Early in April, Brigadier General Hoke and his division had been assigned the task of recapturing Plymouth, and thus reopening the Roanoke River to Confederate operations. Hoke was assigned his own division from the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, which was reinforced with additional troops and assisted by the newly commissioned ironclad, the CSS Albemarle.

Beginning on April 17, Hoke moved his ground troops against the federal garrison at Plymouth, while the Albemarle attacked Union gunboats stationed in the river. After the sinking of the USS Southfield, Hoke was able to besiege the river town and force the Union garrison to surrender on April 20.

Confederate President Jefferson Davis wired a telegram to Hoke to congratulate him for his victory and, within that message, was Hoke’s promotion to Major General. He and his division would finish the war fighting at other North Carolina engagements, including Fort Fisher, Wyse Fork and Bentonville before surrendering in Durham in April 1865, while serving under Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston.

Other related resources:

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit Cultural Resources online. To receive these updates automatically each day subscribe by email using the box on the right and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

U.S. Senator Sam J. Ervin, Jr. of Watergate Fame

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 01:00

On April 23, 1985, former U.S. Senator and Watergate Committee chairman Sam J. Ervin, Jr., died of respiratory failure at North Carolina Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem. He was 88.

Born in Morganton, Ervin graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1917 before serving in France during World War I. After earning a law degree from Harvard University in 1922, he returned to his hometown to practice law and, years later, still described himself as an “old country lawyer.”

A Democrat, Ervin won election to three terms in the General Assembly, was appointed to Congress and served on the North Carolina Supreme Court before beginning a 20-year career in the U.S. Senate in 1954. Considered a strict constitutionalist, Ervin defied ideology or party lines. He sat on the committee that censured Senator Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s, led filibusters against civil rights laws while simultaneously advocating for civil liberties in the 1960s and opposed the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s.

His folksy humor, distinctive accent and Southern charm made “Senator Sam” a national figure during the televised Watergate hearings in 1972-73. Ervin retired in 1974 and again returned to his hometown, where he wrote three books and continued to practice law.

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit Cultural Resources online. To receive these updates automatically each day, make sure you subscribe by email using the box on the right, and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

Fayetteville Arsenal Surrendered, 1861

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 01:00

On April 22, 1861, the U.S. Arsenal at Fayetteville surrendered to a force of state militia troops roughly a month before North Carolina seceded from the Union.

At the time of the firing on Fort Sumter 10 days earlier, the Fayetteville Arsenal was guarded by a company of the Second U.S. Artillery. On April 22, the U.S. soldiers were confronted with a large force of nearly 1,000 state militia troops reinforced with artillery.

Former Governor Warren Winslow, acting as agent for then Governor John Ellis, negotiated the surrender of the post, which allowed the federal soldiers to leave with their equipment, but forced them to turn over the arsenal’s equipment to the state. By April 27, the Union artillerymen were able to get transportation to Wilmington, and by May 7, the company had arrived at Fort Hamilton in New York City.

During the Civil War, the arsenal manufactured small arms for the Confederacy with machinery shipped there shortly after secession from Harpers Ferry, Va. One of the arsenal’s better-known products was the “Fayetteville Rifle,” a copy of the US 1855 rifle.

Union Major General William T. Sherman captured the arsenal in March 1865, and had the installation destroyed.

Other related resources:

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit Cultural Resources online. To receive these updates automatically each day subscribe by email using the box on the right and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

Librarian of Congress Lawrence Mumford of Pitt County

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 01:00

On April 22, 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower nominated Lawrence Quincy Mumford for the post of Librarian of Congress. Mumford was the eleventh person to hold the office and the first trained as a professional librarian.

Born near Ayden in Pitt County in December 1903, Mumford began his education in a one-room school house and continued at Duke, where received an M.A. in English in 1928. He earned a B.S. in library science from Columbia the following year.

He worked first at the New York Public Library, where he also did work for the Library of Congress, before moving to the Cleveland Public Library, where he became director in 1950.

Confirmed by the Senate in July 1954, Mumford began his tenure at the Library of Congress under a dark cloud for the institution and its leadership. At his confirmation hearings, Congress expressed dissatisfaction with the library’s increasing public service role as a national library beyond its original mission as Congress’s legislative library.

Despite this and other tensions, Mumford’s 20 years at the Library saw extraordinary growth in its appropriations, completion of the Madison Building, adoption of the first computer-readable format for library catalog records and continued expansion of the its national role.

Mumford retired from the Library in December 1974 and died in Washington, D.C. in August 1982.

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts, nature and culture, visit DNCR online. To receive these updates automatically each day, make sure you subscribe by email using the box on the right, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Tar Heel Junior Historians Learn, Boost State History

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 01:00

On April 22, 1953, the General Assembly established the Tar Heel Junior Historian Association program to advance the study of North Carolina history in public and private schools.

Administered by the North Carolina Museum of History, the association enrolls about 8,000 students in grades four through eight each year. The highlight of program comes each spring when students gather at a convention in Raleigh to share projects and conduct competitions.

Educators William H. Cartwright and J. C. McLendon were the driving force behind the creation of the program. They studied junior history programs in other states and met with Christopher Crittenden, then director of the state Department of Archives and History to sketch out a plan for the program.

In 1961, the association first issued the Tar Heel Junior Historian magazine, which is still published to this dayThe North Carolina History Quiz, later renamed the Christopher Crittenden State History Quiz, was started in 1976.

When state history as was reintroduced as a separate eighth grade course in 1988, the association’s enrollment increased exponentially, and in 1995, the Tar Heel Junior Historian Gallery opened in the new Museum building in downtown Raleigh, giving the association a permanent space to display student work.

Visit: History in Every Direction: THJHA Discovery Gallery, an exhibit at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh, showcases the most recent winners of THJHA Annual Contests, allowing junior historians to share what they have learned with thousands of annual visitors.

Other related resources:

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit Cultural Resources online. To receive these updates automatically each day, make sure you subscribe by email using the box on the right, and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

The Confederate Cabinet Meets in Charlotte

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 01:00

On April 22, 1865, the Confederate Cabinet held the first of a series of meetings in Charlotte to determine their final official actions as an organized government. The Confederate Cabinet began its journey south on April 2 , when Confederate General Robert E. Lee recommended that the Confederate Capitol, Richmond, should be evacuated due to the advance of Lieutenant General U.S. Grant’s Spring Offensive.

Confederate President Jefferson Davis and his fellow cabinet members traveled first by rail to Greensboro. On April 12, President Davis conferred with Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston and other officials concerning potential surrender negotiations with Major General William T. Sherman. The Cabinet then moved south to Charlotte, and arrived there on April 19.

Davis and his cabinet held their final meetings in the Branch office of the Bank of North Carolina on Tryon Street, which served as the final center of the Confederate government. Faced with the inevitability of defeat, Davis adjourned his government, and planned to escape southwest overland to Mexico, where he could establish a government in exile. On May 10, Davis and his wife, Varina, were captured near Irwinville, Georgia.

Other related resources:

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit Cultural Resources online. To receive these updates automatically each day, subscribe by email using the box on the right and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

Charlotte Airport Dedicated

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 01:00

On April 21, 1941, New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia dedicated the Charlotte Douglas International Airport in front of a crowd nearly 10,000 local residents.

The airport has its roots in Morris Field, which was constructed in 1936 with funds from the Works Progress Administration at the urging of local business leaders. With the U.S. entry into World War II in 1941, the Army Air Corps took control of the field and transformed it into an airbase to support several large military facilities in the Charlotte region.

In May 1946 the Air Corps vacated Morris Field. Charlotte officials then converted the base’s structures into apartment buildings to relieve the postwar housing shortage. The airport is named after Mayor Ben E. Douglas who was instrumental in the completion of the airport project.

Other related resources:

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit Cultural Resources online. To receive these updates automatically each day, subscribe by email using the box on the right and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

Myrtle Grove Sound Third Site for State Salt Works

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 01:00

On April 21, 1864, the state salt works in New Hanover County were attacked by Federal forces and about a third of the site was destroyed.

An important ingredient for the preservation of the meat, salt was essential for the security of the food supply during the era. Salt works were established in Currituck County and near Morehead City, though both were captured by federal troops who controlled much of northeastern North Carolina by the end of 1863.

For the remainder of the war, state salt production was anchored in the Wilmington area, where numerous private salt works had previously been operated. The state brought 220 acres near Myrtle Grove Sound for its works, and soon began assembling the required furnaces. In November 1862, Governor Zebulon B. Vance reported 200 kettles in operation, producing 1,200 bushels of salt per day. At peak of production, the facility was putting out 8,500 bushels each day.

Late in the war Gen. W. H. C. Whiting, the Confederate commander at Fort Fisher, suspended state salt works operations in the Cape Fear region, and principal center of production shifted to the mountains of Virginia.

Other related resources:

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit Cultural Resources online. To receive these updates automatically each day subscribe by email using the box on the right and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

Warm Welcome in New Bern for President Washington

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 01:00

On April 20, 1791, George Washington visited Tryon Palace in New Bern during his Southern Tour.

In 1791, the federal government was new and so was the presidency. Washington had been elected only two years before in February 1789, and North Carolina had become part of the Union in November of the same year.

Like any political move, the formation of the United States was seen with much skepticism from both citizens and government leaders. Washington’s tour of the Southern states allowed him to explore the nation he led, giving him the opportunity to promote national unity among its people. In his diary, Washington reported details about the geography of the states, exports such as tobacco and the attitudes of the citizens.

Washington’s visit was warmly received by New Bernians. During his two-day stay, the president dined at Tryon Palace and attended a “dancing assembly” with about 70 ladies. He also visited many of New Bern’s well-known citizens including John Wright Stanly, John Sitgreaves and Richard Dobbs Spaight.

Leaving New Bern on April 22, Washington headed south toward Wilmington.

Visit: Tryon Palace and the New Bern Preservation Foundation will celebrate the anniversary of Washington’s visit to the area with a whole host of activities this weekend.

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit Cultural Resources online. To receive these updates automatically each day, make sure you subscribe by email using the box on the right, and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

Asheville Engineer Charles Waddell

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 01:00

On April 20, 1945, pioneer electrical engineer Charles E. Waddell died.

Waddell grew up in Asheville, and was educated at Bingham Military School before teaching himself electrical engineering. He worked as superintendent of the Asheville fire alarm system when he was only 14-years-old. He continued his engineering training in New York and Maine.

Waddell returned to Asheville to start his own business, and one of his company’s first projects was the development and installation of an electrical heating system for the Biltmore House. From 1901 on Waddell was the electrical consultant for the Vanderbilt estate.

Biltmore wasn’t Waddell’s only project, however. He went on to build hydroelectric power plants for Weaver Electric Company and served for many years as a director of the business, which later became the North Carolina Electric Company.

Skilled beyond electrical engineering, he also designed a bridge over the Swannanoa River at Biltmore—one of only two area bridges to hold up in the flood of 1916. He was instrumental in the industrialization of western North Carolina, overseeing large projects for Champion Fiber Company and American Enka Corporation, among others.

An active patriot during World War I, Waddell served as an engineering consultant for the state and federal governments. His genius and influence helped shape industrialization across the state and region.

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit Cultural Resources online. To receive these updates automatically each day, make sure you subscribe by email using the box on the right, and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

 

Hydroelectric Power Introduced, 1898

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 01:00

On April 20, 1898, the Fries Manufacturing and Power Company transmitted electrical power 13 miles from the generating plant to the Fries-owned Arista textile mill.

The transmission, which originated near the Yadkin River bridge west of Clemmons in Forsyth County, was North Carolina’s first long-distance transmission of electricity.

Long interested in the use of electricity to power industrial machinery, Henry Fries of Salem founded the company to harness the hydroelectric capability of the river.

Construction on the power plant began in 1897 and it soon became known as Idol’s Hydroelectric Station, after a ferry that was once located on the same site. The dam built for the station was 482 feet long and the reservoir covered about 35 acres. The flow of the dam generated about 2,500 horsepower.

The station later provided power for other textile and grain mills, fertilizer plants, the Winston-Salem electric railway, electric street lights and wood and metal working shops in Winston-Salem.

Fries sold his power company in 1913 to Southern Public Utility Company, which was purchased by Duke Power in 1914. Duke Power, now Duke Energy, operated the Idols station until 1996. The station burned two years later.

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts, nature and culture, visit DNCR online. To receive these updates automatically each day, make sure you subscribe by email using the box on the right, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Beginnings of Busing

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 01:00

On April 20, 1971, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in the Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education case, allowing for school desegregation by busing.

In 1965, attorney Julius L. Chambers filed suit on behalf of 10 pairs of African American parents who contended that the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education’s assignment plan did not sufficiently eliminate the inequalities of the formerly segregated system. The board tried to redo the assignment plan, but the plaintiffs argued decades of discrimination could only be undone through extensive busing. Federal district court judge James B. McMillan agreed.

Disagreements between the board and McMillan on the specifics of the plan landed the case in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which reaffirmed McMillian’s decision with qualifications. The school board and plaintiffs appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which unanimously reaffirmed the ruling in April 1971.

Though initially quite divisive in the community, many Mecklenburg residents eventually began to take pride in their new schools, and some observers have linked the city’s growth and prosperity in the 1980s to the school board’s continued commitment to full integration.

Other related resources:

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit Cultural Resources online. To receive these updates automatically each day, make sure you subscribe by email using the box on the right, and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

States’ Rights Champion, Governor and Senator David Reid

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 01:00

On April 19, 1813, David Settle Reid, governor and member of both houses of Congress, was born in Rockingham County.

Reid was raised in a community that in time became the city of Reidsville, named for Reid’s father. After first holding public office as a state senator at age 22, Reid won his second bid to the U.S. House of Representatives at age 30. Reid was elected governor in 1850, calling for sensible internal improvements, support for public schools and states’ rights.

Reid’s two terms as governor were marked by expanded internal improvements; appointment of Calvin H. Wiley as the first Superintendent of the Common Schools; initiation of a statewide geological survey; and confirmation of land titles held by Cherokee Indians who had remained in North Carolina.

In late 1854, the General Assembly elected Reid to fill a vacancy in the U.S. Senate. Reid in turn transferred his duties as governor to Warren Winslow. Reid served only one term in the Senate, where he championed the defense of states’ rights.

After being defeated for reelection in 1858, Reid retired to private life. He suffered a severe stroke in 1881 that left him paralyzed. He fought failing health for a decade before dying in 1891. He was buried in Reidsville.

Other related resources:

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts, nature and culture, visit DNCR online. To receive these updates automatically each day, make sure you subscribe by email using the box on the right, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Wanchese and Manteo Conclude Visit to London, 1585

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 01:00

On April 19, 1585, Algonquian Indians Wanchese and Manteo set sail aboard the English vessel The Tyger to return to the Roanoke Island region. The Indians had sailed to England in 1584 with Arthur Barlowe and Thomas Harriot. They caused a sensation when they were presented at the English Court.

While in England they were hosted by Sir Walter Raleigh at the Durham House. There they met with Thomas Harriot and, over the course of several visits, taught him the Algonquian language. Wanchese, unlike Manteo, was not curious to learn English.

Wanchese remained suspicious of English motives and the English in general and eventually thought of himself as a captive rather than a guest. These ill feelings would cause trouble for the colonists once he returned to Roanoke.

The Tyger raided Spanish shipping lines during the voyage to America and forcibly exchanged goods with Spanish traders on Puerto Rico, where the ship waited to reunite with its fleet. From there the vessel continued on to Roanoke, arriving near Ocracoke Inlet in June 1585.

Wanchese slipped away from English control in early July. He urged resistance to the settlers, setting himself at odds with the English and Manteo.

Other related resources:

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit Cultural Resources online. To receive these updates automatically each day, make sure you subscribe by email using the box on the right, and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

Asheville Launching Pad for the “Singing Brakeman,” Jimmie Rodgers

Mon, 04/24/2017 - 01:00

On April 18, 1927, Jimmie Rodgers – one of country music’s first superstars – got his big break on Asheville radio station WWNC.

Born in 1897 near Meridian, Mississippi, James Charles Rodgers liked to yodel and won an amateur talent contest at age 13. That same year he became a railroad water boy. In March 1927, Rodgers moved to Asheville, working as a railway brakeman and doing other jobs until he and friend Otis Kuykendall began performing live weekly on WWNC. The duo soon added other musicians and billed themselves as the Jimmie Rodgers Entertainers.

In August 1927, Victor Records recorded Rodgers doing two songs. One, “The Soldier’s Sweetheart,” became an instant hit. Another hit, “Blue Yodel,” quickly followed. By 1929, Rodgers was a star. He appeared in a short film, “The Singing Brakeman”; toured the Midwest with humorist Will Rogers; and recorded with a young trumpeter, Louis Armstrong.

By the time he returned to Asheville in December 1929, the “Father of Country Music” had been living with tuberculosis for five years. He died in 1933. In 1961, Rodgers became the first performer inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. A state highway historical marker in downtown Asheville also honors him.

Other related resources:

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit Cultural Resources online. To receive these updates automatically each day subscribe by email using the box on the right and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

Battle of South Mills, April 1862

Mon, 04/24/2017 - 01:00

On April 18, 1862, Federal forces landed in Camden County to begin a two-day march and fight directed at finding and destroying the locks on the Dismal Swamp canal system. Closing that system would prevent Confederate naval forces from sending ships from a shipyard in Virginia to the Albemarle Sound.

The landing action, now known as the Battle of South Mills, involved about 3,000 Union soldiers commanded by General Jesse L. Reno and 900 Confederates commanded by General Ambrose R. Wright. The battle was part of the Burnside Expedition, which had the wider goal of reclaiming northeastern North Carolina for the Union.

After the federal troops landed and moved toward locks on the canal, one group of men took a wrong road on the advice of their guide. That misstep led to an unplanned 10-mile march, and by the time the stray group reunited with the larger force, they found their fellow soldiers hotly engaged by entrenched Confederates.

The confusion prevented Union troops from reaching the locks, so the federal forces broke off the engagement allowing the Confederate troops to retreat from the scene. Both sides claimed victory—Union forces for retaining the field of battle and the Confederates for preventing the locks’ destruction.

Purportedly, Federal forces executed the guide who took the circuitous road.

Visit: Dismal Swamp State Park preserves land near where the battle was fought.

Other related resources:

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts, nature and culture, visit DNCR online. To receive these updates automatically each day, make sure you subscribe by email using the box on the right, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Washington’s Tarboro Layover, 1791

Mon, 04/24/2017 - 01:00

On April 18, 1791, President George Washington arrived in Tarboro. Washington was met at the Roanoke River by Col. John B. Ashe who escorted him into town. The procession was welcomed by a salute from a single cannon.

While in town, the President was entertained at the home of Major Reading Blount. After a single night’s stay, Washington left Tarboro for Pitt County. In his diary, Washington remarked that the town of “Tarborough” was “more lively and thriving” than Halifax.

Washington’s stay in Tarboro was part of tour of the Southern states that he embarked on in early 1791, after establishing a site for the new “Federal District” along the Potomac River. The tour was part his effort to visit every state during his term of office.

After leaving Virginia and crossing the Roanoke River, Washington’s first stop in the Old North state was Halifax. From there, the President’s carriage tour took him through Tarboro, GreenvilleNew BernTrenton and Wilmington before heading to South Carolina. On his return trip, Washington came back into North Carolina near Charlotte and traveled northward, visiting SalisburySalem and Guilford Court House.

NCpedia has a great overview of Washington’s Southern tour.

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit Cultural Resources online. To receive these updates automatically each day, make sure you subscribe by email using the box on the right, and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

Agricultural Research Stations Date to 1877

Mon, 04/24/2017 - 01:00

On April 19, 1877, the first agricultural experiment station opened in a one-room chemistry lab at UNC. It was the first such station in the South, and the second in the nation.

A movement had been building to found the research station since 1885, when the General Assembly directed the Board of Agriculture to start acquiring land and machinery for it. The actual legislation establishing the station was passed in February 1877 with a focus on research that would aid in plant nutrition and develop new fertilizers.

In 1889, management of the station was transferred to what is now N.C. State University. The change was the result of the federal Hatch Act, which sent federal funds for agricultural research to the states through land grant colleges.

At the same time, the N.C. Department of Agriculture began establishing “test farms” across the state to try different crop, fertilizer and soil combinations and discover which crops were best suited to particular regions.

The program has continued to grow, and today the department and the N.C. State jointly operate 18 research stations around the state.

Other related resources:

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit Cultural Resources online. To receive these updates automatically each day, make sure you subscribe by email using the box on the right, and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.