Digital North Carolina Blog

Digital North Carolina Blog

This blog is maintained by the staff of the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center and features highlights from the collections at DigitalNC, an online library of primary sources from institutions across North Carolina.

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Viewing entries tagged "maps"


Dozens of New Maps from Western Carolina University Show Off the WCU Campus, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and More

Over 50 new maps and blueprints have been digitized and added to DigitalNC, courtesy of our partner, Western Carolina University. Stretching from 1927 to 1988, these maps detail the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Great Smoky Mountains, Jackson County, the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, and more.

A section of the master plan to WCU, dated April 1978. E.J. Whitmire Stadium is in the top right.

There is a huge amount of variety in the maps in this batch. One map from 1930 includes planting and sectional plans for the Rock Garden Memorial at Western Carolina University. Other maps, such as the Cullowhee Quadrangle Map, were commissioned by the Tennessee Valley Authority to map entire towns like Cullowhee, Sylva, and Dillsboro and mountain ranges. Several maps were double-sided, and included local information or scenic photographs of interest on the reverse side.

This batch also introduces orthophotos to DigitalNC, the first of their kind on our website. Aerial photographs that have been scale-corrected for use in geographic information systems (GIS), these orthophotos show us how Jackson County looked from above in the 1980s. As you can see, the 1980 orthophoto featured below corresponds to how WCU was plotted out in the master plan above.

The equivalent orthophoto of the above master plan showing WCU, dated April 1980. E.J. Whitmire Stadium is in the top right.

The majority of the maps from this collection detail the Blue Ridge Parkway throughout western North Carolina and Virginia, drawn by the Department of the Interior National Park Service between 1942 and 1967. We also have the privilege to include eight segmented maps of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail from the 1980s.

All of these maps and additions represent an important addition to our collection of knowledge about the Appalachians. To see more materials from Western Carolina University, visit their contributor page or visit their website.


New Blueprints, Maps, and Artifacts from the Chapel Hill Historical Society Tell the Story of Chapel Hill

Almost a hundred new maps and blueprints have been digitized and added to DigitalNC, courtesy of our partner, the Chapel Hill Historical Society. Dated from 1875 to June 2007, these maps illustrate how much the city of Chapel Hill and Orange County has changed in the last century and a half.

A map of how Chapel Hill would have appeared in 1818. Franklin St and Columbia St are featured.

This new batch contains many different types of maps and blueprints, including maps of Chapel Hill neighborhoods, site plans for individual properties, blueprints of the Chapel Hill Public Library and its additions, maps of the city’s outer limits, and township tax maps.

A color-coded map of the Glen Lennox properties circa 2008

Beyond recent maps of Chapel Hill, this batch also includes several other interesting items. One map sketches Orange County, as well as the neighboring counties that ceded land between the years of 1752 and 1849. Another sketches the state of North Carolina as it appeared in 1753, when Anson and Rowan Counties stretched to the west. Another map, from 1976, sketched Chapel Hill as it would have appeared in 1818.

Other items in the collection tell their own Chapel Hill stories. In 1925, R.L. Strowd, a local landowner, sold a number of lots throughout Orange County, and those deeds of land sales are also included in this collection. Another record of land sale is included, when Samuel Morgan sold land to Jesse Hargraves in 1845 for the cost of $4,300. This batch of items also includes a book that contains detailed maps of the Chapel Hill and Carrboro area from the 1960s through the 1980s, as well as an informational pamphlet from 1953 advertising the Lake Forest neighborhood of Chapel Hill.

By adding yet more maps, blueprints and artifacts to our collection, we can learn and understand more about the city that DigitalNC calls home. To see more materials from the Chapel Hill Historical Society, visit their contributor page or check out their website.


Maps, Sketches, and Blueprints on DigitalNC from our new partner Wrightsville Beach Museum of History

A blueprint of the North Shore of Wrightsville Beach, with buildings, pipes, and pump stations marked in red.

Over four dozen historical maps, blueprints, and more have been digitized and added to DigitalNC, courtesy of our new partner, the Wrightsville Beach Museum of History. These maps, some dating back to as early as 1923, cover many different parts of the Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach areas and really illustrate to us how wide and varied the geography of New Hanover County really is.

Many of the blueprints detail buildings around Wrightsville Beach, while others show plots of land and city streets. Several of the maps are designed to show specific buildings and building sites, such as the former Babies Hospital at Mott’s Creek in Wilmington. Others are geological cross sections, showing tide lines, jetty locations, and inlets along the coast. These are invaluable blueprints for tracking the coastline, as well as illustrating how the beaches and the towns around them have changed over time.

A photo taken during the mid-scanning process of one of the larger, composited maps of Wrightsville Beach

Many of these maps are massive, with some stretching to nearly 6 feet in length. A few of the aerial shots of Wrightsville Beach were even longer, requiring a small team to handle the map just to make sure it could be documented. As a result, it was a slow process for us to roll out these maps and blueprints, scan them using our overhead camera, composite them into complete shots, and prepare them for production. We have posted an instructional video on our Flickr page to show and explain how we scanned them. Many of them, including the aerial view of Wrightsville Beach, took 3 and sometimes 4 individual shots to stitch together, resulting in images that were sometimes over 8000 pixels high and over 10000 pixels wide.

A portion of a 1956 map from the A.S.C.S. showing Moore Inlet and Mason Inlet.

These maps were in excellent condition, and we are honored in being able to digitize them and host them for everyone to see. To learn more about the Wrightsville Beach Museum of History, please visit their contributor page or their website.


Maps, Sketches, and Blueprints from Chapel Hill Historical Society Now Online at DigitalNC

A portion of one map of Carrboro and Chapel Hill – showing Franklin St, Main St, and Greensboro St.

Nearly three dozen maps and blueprints have been digitized and added to DigitalNC, courtesy of our partner, the Chapel Hill Historical Society. Dating from 1929 to 1963, these maps really illustrate how much the city of Chapel Hill has changed in the last century.

Blueprint of the west side of Dr. J.B. Bullitt’s house in Chapel Hill.

This new batch contains many different types of maps and blueprints, including cross sections of the Chapel Hill Municipal Building, a survey of East Rosemary Street, cross sections of local doctor J.B. Bullitt’s home, and Planning Board maps of the Chapel Hill and Carrboro region. Also included are maps for proposed developments of segregated cemeteries, which would have been established next to NC state highway 54. These maps are fascinating to see and compare to what we know of the area today, and to see how much has changed since these maps were created.

These maps are very large, with some stretching out to be over 6 feet in length! While most could be scanned with our overhead PhaseOne camera (our process is documented on video here), several were so large that they had to be framed in a vacuum-sealed rotating container so that they can be preserved in the highest quality. Some of these largest ones took two different shots to compose together, resulting in images that were 7000 pixels tall by 11000 pixels wide. That’s far larger than anything even the most high-tech cell phone cameras can shoot.

One of the maps being scanned inside a vacuum-sealed container for maximum quality

Having these maps and blueprints in our collection is very important, as it helps us understand the changes to the city which DigitalNC calls home. To see more from the Chapel Hill Historical Society, visit their partner page, or take a look at their website.


A Visit from Wayne County Public Library

A few weeks ago, our partner Wayne County Public Library brought three over-sized materials for us to scan here at the NCDHC while they waited.  The items were a beautiful map of Goldsboro from 1881, and two posters related the building campaign for a memorial building in honor of those from Wayne County who died in World War I.  

1881 map of Goldsboro, NC

While we scanned these items, folks from UNC Communications stopped by to see us in action.  You can see the footage they shot of our scanning processes here.

Learn more about our partner Wayne County Public Library on their partner page, or on the Wayne County Public Library website.


Maps and scrapbooks from High Point institutions now online

Five new scrapbooks from High Point have been digitized and are now available at DigitalNC, courtesy of our partner, the Heritage Research Center at High Point Public Library. These scrapbooks date from December 1962 to October 1965. They join previously digitized collections, dating back to 1952.

A scrapbook page from April 1964 with articles on urban renewal in High Point and a proposal for a shopping complex on N. Main St.

These scrapbooks contain newspaper clippings from the High Point Enterprise and Greensboro Daily News, arranged in chronological order. In many cases, articles were pasted and taped into the scrapbooks overlapping each other, so digitizing required taking multiple images of each page. Many of the newspaper clippings relate to local events in High Point and Greensboro, including political events and local races, decisions about local laws and town planning. Every so often, national events are also included, like the Beatles’ tour of the United States in 1964.

To view the individual scrapbooks, visit the links below:

A 1964 map of High Point and the surrounding area.

From the High Point Museum we have added ten new maps and atlases of High Point from the 1950s to the mid-1970s. The maps show roads, schools, municipal buildings, schools and local businesses in the High Point area and surrounding suburbs. Occasionally there are larger maps with information about Greensboro or Winston-Salem. Many of the maps also include facts about High Point, like the population, number of churches, list of media outlets, and photos of local businesses being highlighted.

To see more materials and learn more about the Heritage Research Center at High Point Public Library visit their partner page or take a look at their website.  Visit the High Point Museum’s website or High Point’s partner page to learn more about them.


Set of Maps from Johnson C. Smith University Show McCrorey Heights Neighborhood in Charlotte

The heading of a 1949 property map of McCrorey Heights

A set of maps contributed by our partner, Johnson C. Smith University, show property divisions over time in the McCrorey Heights area of Charlotte, North Carolina. McCrorey Heights is a neighborhood in west Charlotte that was established by Johnson C. Smith University President H. L. McCrorey at the turn of the century. In the early 1900s, the neighborhood was a home to the city’s black professional class and continues to be heavily associated with Johnson C. Smith University.

The six maps show the area from 1912-1949, and changes in the neighborhood property lines can be tracked over this time period. The 1949 maps include names of community member associated with each section of property along with other hand-written notations. These maps help tell the story of Charlotte’s history.

To see more materials from Johnson C. Smith University, take a look at their DigitalNC partner page or visit their website to learn more.


Detailed 1904 map of Anson County now online from new partner, Anson County Historical Society

anson

DigitalNC is happy to welcome a new partner– the Anson County Historical Society!

The Anson County Historical society is an organization devoted to providing access to Anson County’s rich history through educational, cultural, and recreational resources. This includes the preservation of physical items, like this map from 1904. An excellent resource for genealogists or local historians, this map documents family names and property locations in addition the other intricate details, like schools, cemeteries, businesses, railroads, and homesteads. Maps with this much detail are rare and serve as excellent research tools.

For more information about the Anson County Historical Society, please visit the contributor page or the website. For maps of North Carolina on DigitalNC, please search the Images of North Carolina Collection and limit by “maps.”