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Festival Rocked Iredell County Community, 1970

This Day in North Carolina History - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 01:00

On July 16, 1970, the “South’s Woodstock” was launched at Love Valley. The rock festival swelled the small Western-themed community of about 100 people to almost 200,000.

Located north of Statesville, Love Valley was the creation of Andy Barker in 1954, who had always wanted to live like a cowboy in an Old West town.  The idea of the rock festival was Barker’s and he charged $5 a person for the three-day event.

While the festival could not draw the band lineup of Woodstock, which the Iredell County event was modeled after, the headliner was the Allman Brothers Band. Young and on the rise, the band played several sets during the weekend festival and documentarians captured it in about 20 minutes of film. Several local bands, including Kallabash of Greensboro, were also on the program

Organizers had hoped to do a documentary like the one made at Woodstock, but a lack of funds meant that they were only able to capture parts of each band’s performance. In spite of some locals’ dire worries about illegal and immoral behavior, the weekend passed without major incident, and the festival in the valley lived up to its name.

Don’t forget to check out the N.C. Arts Council’s summer performing arts guide for suggestions on how you can experience great Tar Heel arts experiences now.

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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.

State Treasurer Edwin Gill, “Mr. Integrity”

This Day in North Carolina History - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 01:00

On July 16, 1978, long time state treasurer Edwin Gill died in Raleigh. Gill was known as “Mr. Integrity” during his more than 30 years of service as a public finance official.

Born in Laurinburg in July 1899, Gill opened a law practice there in 1924 after attending what’s now Duke University in the early part of the decade. He represented Scotland County in the legislature for one term before working as Governor O. Max Gardner’s private secretary.

 

Gill became the first head of the North Carolina Paroles Commission in 1933 before serving as the state Commissioner of Revenue, his first financial post, for much of the 1940s. He was federal internal revenue collector for the state from 1950 until 1953, when he was appointed state treasurer.

 

After that initial appointment, Gill was consistently re-elected and remained the state treasurer for five consecutive terms until he retired in 1977. Under his direction, the state attained the highest possible credit rating, reflecting his saying, “In North Carolina, we have made a habit of good government.”

An avocational painter, he served on the boards of the North Carolina Arts Council, the North Carolina Museum of Art and the State Art Society. He was considered a “respectable” pianist and organist. An avid reader, he collected books and donated to libraries.

He is buried in Laurinburg.

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.

Stonewall Jackson Wed in Lincoln County, 1857

This Day in North Carolina History - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 01:00

On July 16, 1857, Thomas Stonewall Jackson married Mary Anna Morrison at “Cottage Home,” the Lincoln County plantation of the Morrison family.

The couple first met through Morrison’s sister, Isabella, who was married to D. H. Hill, a faculty member at what’s now Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. Jackson, who had previously attended West Point and fought in the Mexican-American War, was on the faculty of the Virginia Military Institute, also in Lexington.

Married not long after their meeting and the death of Jackson’s first wife, the couple were said to be deeply devoted to one another and to have had a happy home despite the death of their first child. The couple was not married long before they were separated by the advent of the war in 1861. After Jackson’s death at the battle of Chancellorsville, Mary returned to Lincoln County and never remarried.

Though Mary was said to not approve of her husband’s nickname “Stonewall,” since she thought it didn’t accurately reflect his character, she came to accept and be highly regarded as his widow throughout North Carolina and the rest of the former Confederacy. She was often visited by Confederate veterans and received military honors at her death in 1915.

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“Uncle Jim” Patterson and WBT Sign-On, 1949

This Day in North Carolina History - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 01:00

On July 15, 1949, announcer Jim Patterson signed on Charlotte’s WBTV, the first television station in the Carolinas, two months ahead of WFMY in Greensboro, which began airing programming in September 1949.

At the time, both WBTV and WFMY were owned by Jefferson Standard Broadcasting Company, an affiliate of the life insurance company of the same name. The company filed an application for a Charlotte license with the Federal Communications Commission in December 1947. A construction permit arrived two months later and work began on an antenna atop Spencer Mountain in Gaston County that would broadcast the signal. At the time there were only 12 television stations in the nation, and most were in larger cities.

Test patterns began running on Channel 3 on July 1, 1949. Station owners set up a viewing party in the Charlotte Armory and thousands packed the venue for three days beginning on July 15. Less than 1,000 families in the area owned television sets at the time, but that count was up to 8,500 by year’s end.

Originally housed in the Wilder Building on Tryon Street, the current site of the Marriott Hotel, WBTV moved to its present location in 1955.

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.

Good Times for Ernie Barnes of Durham

This Day in North Carolina History - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 01:00

On July 15, 1938, football player, painter and all around Renaissance man Ernie Barnes was born in Durham.

As a child, Barnes began to draw as an antidote to bullying. He later developed physical discipline and became captain of Durham’s then segregated Hillside High football team, receiving an athletic scholarship to what’s now N.C. Central University in 1956.

At Central Barnes studied art, but he left in 1959 before graduating to play professional football for six years.

Nicknamed “Big Rembrandt,” Barnes kept a sketchbook with him on the field and turned the physical and emotional violence of the game into paintings. He also became known for depictions of people, often African Americans, engaged in everyday life but with their eyes symbolically closed.

His work is evocative and tangible, fusing elongated sculptural forms of the human body with vibrant color, movement and emotional intensity.

Barnes’s paintings have appeared on the sitcom “Good Times” as the work of the show’s character JJ.  “The Sugar Shack”, a well-known painting, appeared in the show’s credits and later became the cover image for Marvin Gaye’s album “I Want You.”

In addition to his work as a painter and athlete, Barnes authored books, co-created a TV special, and appeared in a number television programs and films, including episodes of “Good Times”.

He died in Los Angeles in 2009.

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.

Henry Gatling and His Flying Machine

This Day in North Carolina History - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 01:00

On July 15, 1816, Henry Gatling, inventor of an early flying machine and brother of Richard Gatling of Gatling gun fame, was born in Hertford County.

In interviews, Gatling claimed the flight of the turkey buzzard as his inspiration. The bird, he observed, could soar for long intervals with only slight wing movements. To try to mimic this method of flight, he developed a flying machine with hinged triangular wings that could be moved with wires.

Gatling selected hand-cranked engines with blower-type wooden blades in front of each wing. The blades blew air to the underside of the wings to keep the plane aloft until necessary momentum was achieved.  Anticipating the ground maneuvering needs of aircraft, Gatling placed large wooden wheels at the front and a smaller one under the tail of his “aeroplane.”  The completed contraption was about 18-feet long with a 14-foot wingspan.

Gatling performed a number of ground and air trials of his airplane the summer and fall of 1873. Eyewitnesses to machine’s 1873 first (and only) trip through the air recalled an approximately 100-foot flight from a raised platform, with the plane descending rapidly suggesting that it was actually more of a “glide” than a “flight.” The descent left the machine badly damaged, and Gatling never made the repairs necessary to attempt further flights.

The flyer garnered wide press attention in 1872 and 1873. One article claimed that the machine was “destined at some future day to eclipse the [his brother’s] famous gun, and fly triumphant over time, space, and water.”  There is little doubt that the statement reflects the inventor’s aspirations on both counts.

Gatling was murdered on his property in September 1879.  The airplane, which had been stored in a barn, was destroyed by a fire in 1905.

A group of enthusiasts in Murfreesboro have built what they believe to be an accurate replica of the Gatling flying machine.

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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.

Television Broadcasting Began in the Carolinas

This Day in North Carolina History - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 01:00

On July 15, 1949, announcer Jim Patterson signed on Charlotte’s WBTV, the first television station in the Carolinas, two months ahead of WFMY in Greensboro which signed on in September 1949. The Charlotte studio at that time was in the Wilder Building on Tryon Street, the present site of the Marriott Hotel.

WBTV and WFMY in 1949 were owned by Jefferson Standard Broadcasting Company, an affiliate of the life insurance company of the same name. The company filed an application for a Charlotte license with the Federal Communications Commission in December 1947. A construction permit arrived two months later and work proceeded on an antenna atop Spencer Mountain in Gaston County. At the time there were only 12 television stations in the nation, mostly in larger cities.

Test patterns began running on Channel 3 on July 1, 1949. Station owners set up a viewing party in the Charlotte Armory and thousands packed the venue for three days beginning on July 15. At that time the number of television sets in the area was less than 1,000; that count was up to 8,500 by year’s end.  In 1955, WBTV moved to its present location.

More on TV in North Carolina’s history is available on NCpedia.

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.

Carolina Cavalier J.J. Pettigrew Mortally Wounded at Falling Waters

This Day in North Carolina History - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 01:00

On July 14, 1863, Confederate General James Johnston Pettigrew was fatally wounded by a gunshot to the stomach in a skirmish at Falling Waters, Md. Born in 1828 in Tyrrell County to a wealthy planter family, he entered the University of North Carolina at age 14 and graduated as valedictorian in 1847.

In 1856, Pettigrew was elected to the South Carolina legislature, but his arguments against a series of bills that called for reopening the foreign slave trade ensured his defeat in the next election. After the outbreak of the Civil War, Pettigrew was elected colonel of the 22nd North Carolina Infantry, which he led until he was severely wounded at Seven Pines in May 1862. Taken prisoner, he survived his wounds and was repatriated. For his courage, Pettigrew received a promotion to brigadier general.

In May 1863, Pettigrew’s brigade joined General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia for the Pennsylvania Campaign. Between July 1 and 3, Pettigrew led his men at Gettysburg and participated in Pickett’s Charge. Eleven days later Pettigrew was shot in the stomach.

He died three days later in West Virginia and is buried at his family’s plantation.

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Silas McDowell, Originator of the Thermal Zone Concept

This Day in North Carolina History - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 01:00

On July 14, 1879, Silas McDowell, prolific self-taught scientist and originator of the concept of the thermal belt, died.

Originally from York, South Carolina, McDowell attended school at Asheville’s Newton Academy and then began work as a tailor in Charleston. He returned to the North Carolina mountains in 1823 and bought a farm in what’s now Macon County. There, in Franklin, he began a long career of farming, viticulture and horticulture, including an extensive apple production operation that developed many new varieties.

McDowell applied science to all his endeavors, published articles on agriculture and began to develop a theory of thermal belts from his observations. In 1861, he published his best-known article, “Theory of the Thermal Zone,” in which he proposed the idea of the thermal belt, a mountainside temperate zone ideal for growing crops.

McDowell also made contributions to botany, guiding a number of the day’s prominent botanists in explorations of the state’s mountains. His wide-ranging interests also included mineralogy, geology and zoology.

In his later years, McDowell retired from farming and turned to history, literature and poetry, penning biographies of prominent local people and accounts of historical events, and writing poetry recalling his youth and the mountain landscape.

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.

So Great the Devastation in 1916 Flood

This Day in North Carolina History - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 01:00

On July 14, 1916, the worst flood in western North Carolina’s history occurred after six days of torrential rain. In one 24-hour period the region saw more than half of a normal year’s total rainfall. The 22 inches of rain that fell that day set the record for the most rainfall in a single day in the United States.

Because the ground was saturated, most of the water immediately filled streams and rivers, causing them to reach flood stage in just a few hours. At least 50 people lost their lives and the property damage surpassed $22 million, $1 million of that in Asheville alone.

Asheville and Hendersonville were completely cut off from the outside for weeks. Railroad tracks that were not destroyed had their supports washed out from under them, leaving tracks eerily suspended over mud-covered ravines—895 miles of track were rendered useless.

Everyone was taken by surprise at the speed with which the water rose. People were stranded in trees when their cars or homes were overwhelmed and they had nowhere else to go. Industrial plants along the rivers were swept away and landslides engulfed homes.

For most of western North Carolina the 1916 flood remains the benchmark for disasters.

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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 Flood of 1916 and Unprecedented Destruction in Western North Carolina

This Day in North Carolina History - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 01:00

On July 14, 1916, the worst flood in western North Carolina’s history occurred after six days of torrential rain. In one 24-hour period the region saw more than half of a normal year’s total rainfall. The 22 inches of rain that fell that day set the record for the most rainfall in a single day in the United States.

Because the ground was saturated, most of the water immediately filled streams and rivers, causing them to reach flood stage in just a few hours. Eighty people lost their lives and the property damage surpassed $22 million, $1 million of that in Asheville alone.

Asheville and Hendersonville were completely cut off from the outside for weeks. Railroad tracks that were not destroyed had their supports washed out from under them, leaving tracks eerily suspended over mud-covered ravines—895 miles of track were rendered useless.

Everyone was taken by surprise at the speed with which the water rose. People were stranded in trees when their cars or homes were overwhelmed and they had nowhere else to go. Industrial plants along the rivers were swept away and landslides engulfed homes.

For most of western North Carolina this flood remains the benchmark for disasters.

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.