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The Home Guard, Peace Keepers During the Civil War

This Day in North Carolina History - Wed, 07/12/2017 - 01:00

On July 7, 1863, the North Carolina General Assembly passed legislation to create the Home Guard.

By 1863, the Civil War had become an internal crisis for the state of North Carolina. Large sections of Piedmont and western North Carolina were openly opposed to the Confederate government and the administration of Gov. Zebulon Vance. There was strident opposition to the Confederate Conscription Acts, which allowed large slave owners to be exempted from military service, and heavy taxes were being levied to pay for the war effort.

In an effort to deal with lawlessness, the Home Guard was created to provide an emergency police force. White men between the ages of 18 to 50 who were exempted from the conscription laws were automatically enrolled in these units. The units were then classified either first, second or third class depending on the physical condition of the men enrolled. All counties had at least one a home guard unit, which could be called into service for three months at a time for the “public defense.”

By the end of the war, eight regiments were formed, comprising roughly 12,000 men. These units rounded up deserters, attempted to maintain law and order within communities, skirmished with invading Union forces and guarded federal prisoners.

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Bo Time Began in 1977

This Day in North Carolina History - Wed, 07/12/2017 - 01:00

On July 6, 1977, the first Bojangles’ Famous Chicken ‘n Biscuits restaurant opened in Charlotte.

The quick service restaurant was founded by Jack Fulk and Richard Thomas. It was a walk-in location with no seating, and was located in what was then a less desirable part of Charlotte. The location was Fulk’s way of proving the quality of his food, and indeed, it came to be very successful. Bojangles offered a brand of seasoning that stood out from the rest.

First franchised in 1978, the regional chain of fast food restaurants quickly grew. The chain’s success is mostly attributed to Fulk, a Davidson County native, who showed innovation and perseverance and always tried to adhere to the highest standards of quality.

The restaurant has been enormously popular, achieving near legendary status across the Southeast. In 2008, the Wall Street Journal named Bojangles one of only eight restaurant franchises in its elite “25 Franchise High performers,” and today Bojangles boasts more than 500 stores in 10 states, Washington, D.C. and two foreign nations.

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.

Flightless Birds Race in Brevard, 1935

This Day in North Carolina History - Wed, 07/12/2017 - 01:00

On July 6, 1935, an ostrich race was held on Main Street in downtown Brevard.

The race pitted two ostriches against each other. Each bird was ridden by a young woman. According to the Transylvania Times, a local newspaper, the two jockeys, Billie Dean and Amie Register, rode without a bridle, saddle or any other sort of equipment.

Accounts of the race vary, but an article in the Times before the race said that each 350-pound bird would be blindfolded while the jockey mounted it and that, after the blindfolds were removed, folks weren’t exactly sure what would happen, though the hope was that the birds would race down Main Street toward a railroad bridge and hopefully reach 35 miles per hour.

The race’s victor has been lost to history, but one account mentions that one of the ostriches got off track and ran into a Ford Model T, knocking the rider unconscious, though she soon recovered.

The entire event was a traveling show that had originated in Florida where, again according to the Times, 14,000 people had turned out a racetrack in Miami to watch the race. The paper mentions that Brevard was the 11th town outside of Florida where the race had been held.

A special thanks to the Transylvania County Public Library and Local History Librarian Marcy Thompson for helping us find primary sources for this story. 

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.

Rayon Key to Success of Burlington Mills and Spencer Love

This Day in North Carolina History - Wed, 07/12/2017 - 01:00

On July 6, 1896, textile industrialist J. Spencer Love was born in Massachusetts.

Though Love’s family roots were in North Carolina, he remained in New England until finishing his studies at Harvard and serving a brief stint in the Army during World War I. After he was unable to find work in Boston, Love moved to Gastonia and joined his grandfather and uncle in the textile business.

Love owned the Gastonia Cotton Manufacturing Company briefly in the late 1910s and early 1920s, but sold it and moved to Burlington where he set up a new textile operation. He had a penchant for experimentation and took a gamble on producing a new product, rayon.

That move helped Love’s Burlington Mills expand and evolve into Burlington Industries, the largest textile manufacturing company in the world and among the nation’s largest 50 corporations in the 1960s.

In addition to his business pursuits, Love was active in industry groups, civic organizations and state politics throughout his life. He died in 1962 and is buried in Greensboro.

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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.

Tarboro’s “Cool Pool”

This Day in North Carolina History - Tue, 07/11/2017 - 01:00

On July 9, 1933, the Tarboro Town Council approved the purchase of a refrigeration unit for the town’s municipal pool. The council’s action was in response to the unseasonably hot summer that year in eastern North Carolina. The town had a just recently put in an Olympic-sized pool for residents to enjoy, but the water in the pool was kept too warm by the weather and all the activity of swimmers.

The council asked Frick and Company of Waynesboro, Pa., to design and install a refrigerating unit in the pool. The company did so, and by mid-August the device was installed at a cost of nearly $3,000. Some of that money may have come from the federal government as part of Depression-era economic development programs.

The pool—nicknamed the “Cool Pool”—drew large crowds of swimmers and played host to a number of state and regional meets during the 1930s and 40s. A national meet was held there in 1943, with Gov. J. Melville Broughton as the honored guest.

By the 1970s, the pool was closed. It is believed to be the first and only refrigerated pool in the nation.

See more images believed to be of the “Cool Pool” from the State Archives.

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.