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 by Taylor de Klerk


Chatham County Funeral Programs added to Digital Exhibit

The Chatham County Funeral Programs digital exhibit grew recently as we added 72 more programs, thanks to our partners at the Chatham County Historical Association. The new programs document the lives of African Americans from Chatham County who passed on from 1967 until as recently as 2018. The majority of these funerals took place in or near Goldston, though others were in Siler City, Pittsboro, and other towns. Several of these individuals were from the Alston, Bynum, Dark, Headen, Hooker, Turner, and Wicker families.

The funeral program collection from Chatham County Historical are a great resource for family history research and for research on the black community in the central part of the state.  To see all Chatham County funeral programs, check out our digital exhibit here. To learn more about the Chatham County Historical Association, visit their contributor page here or their website here.


New Photos of Chapel Hill Recently Added to DigitalNC

Thanks to our partners at the Chapel Hill Historical Society and their volunteer Julie Wiker, over 200 new photos were recently added to DigitalNC. Wiker is a student at UNC-CH’s School of Information & Library Science and she generously spent Fall 2019 scanning the photos and preparing their metadata to provide access online.

These photos are mostly of businesses and events in Chapel Hill and Carrboro, especially on or near Franklin Street, but also include some local cemeteries. Chapel Hill businesses include: Sutton’s (pictured above), the Eastgate shopping center, Carolina Coffee Shop, Top of the Hill, Danziger’s, and many more. Events include the bicentennial in 1993, the Fourth of July in 1995, and the opening of I-40 in 1987 (pictured below).

To browse all of these new photos, click here. To learn more about the Chapel Hill Historical Society, visit their contributor page here or their website here.


New Photographs from Johnston Community College are Available Now

Over four hundred photographs from Johnston Community College were recently added to DigitalNC, making our total number from this school nearly 2,000. This latest batch includes several groups of photos documenting the Tart Building’s construction, Cosmetology Department fashion shows, and other college activities.

In particular, the Tart Building photographs show the progression of the building’s construction from 1987 to 1989. Photos from 1987 show land being cleared and prepared, then photos from February and April 1988 show steel framing put in place. Later photos, from November 1988 show the building after drywall and other inside details were installed. Finally, photos from 1989 show the land surrounding the exterior of the Tart Building prior to landscaping and paving. Though construction finished in 1989, but a flood in the library space pushed its opening to 1990. There are photos from the library moving in on our site as well.

To see all of the photographs on DigitalNC from Johnston Community College, click here. DigitalNC also hosts several yearbooks from Johnston Community College from this time period–click here to view them. To learn more about Johnston Community College, visit their partner page here or their website here.


More Yearbooks from John Graham High School in Warrenton, NC now online

Thanks to our partners at the Warren County Memorial Library, we’ve added 13 new John Graham High School yearbooks to DigitalNC, bringing our total from this school to 22. We now hold each yearbook from 1947 until 1969, enabling digital access to resources on student life in Warrenton, North Carolina. The school integrated in 1966, so these recent earlier additions show the school when it’s population was all white students.  

Our holdings of John Graham High School yearbooks were created by the school after it had become a coeducational, public high school. The original school, named Warrenton Male Academy, was founded in 1786 and was one of the first high schools in the state. John Graham High School of the 1900s was the white high school in town until integration with John R. Hawkins High School in the mid-1960s. The class of 1981 was the last graduating class of John Graham High School, which then became a middle school. Local teenagers moved to the new Warren County High School building. The building is now the John Graham Center for Warren County Family Services.

To learn more about Warren County Memorial Library, visit their partner page here or visit their website here. To see these and other high school yearbooks, visit our North Carolina Yearbooks collection.


Durham County Aerial Photographs from 1980 and a 1951 Zoning Map Recently Added to DigitalNC

Comparison of part of I-85 from 1980 and 2019

Thanks to the Durham County Library, DigitalNC now hosts several aerial photographs and maps of the county from the second half of the twentieth century. Among the 1980 aerial photographs is a 1951 zoning map, which focuses mainly on the borders of the county and shows all major roads, bodies of water, and railroads. Landmark Engineering Company from Cary, NC, took the aerial photographs on March 13, 1980. They document the landscape of much of Durham County, though some are annotated to include street names.

Each photograph is identified by a four digit number followed by a two digit number in the bottom right-hand corner of the page. This index shows all four digit zones and how they split into four sections with two digits each. Use landmarks such as roads to identify the location of the photograph or map, then these locations can be matched to current landmarks on Google Maps or a similar tool. The hand drawn sketch (left) shows which segment of the county each grouping of photographs documents.

  1. Northwestern Durham County
  2. Northern Durham County
  3. Northeastern Durham County
  4. Northeastern Durham County
  5. Northwestern Durham County
  6. Northern Durham County
  7. Northeastern Durham County
  8. Eastern Durham County
  9. Eastern Durham County
  10. Southeastern Durham County
  11. Not included in this batch

To view all maps and photographs in this batch, click here. To learn more about the Durham County Library, visit their contributor page here or their website here.


New materials from Rockingham and Stokes Counties are now online!

New materials from the Rockingham County Public Library are now available on DigitalNC. This batch includes photographs, remembrance books, neighborhood histories, newspaper clippings, and a football schedule poster.

Photographs include the one above of Lowes Methodist Church, now Lowes United Methodist, in Reidsville, and one of Charlie Jackson Bennett laying in state in 1953. There are remembrance books for the same Bennett, as well as Carrie Lee H. Bennett and Sylvia Bennett Brown. The funeral home where Sylvia Bennett Brown was laid to rest also created a remembrance plaque, included in this batch of items.

Other items include a variety of materials documenting the history of Mayodan and Stoneville, North Carolina, mostly from the twentieth century. The Carolina Heights neighborhood in Eden, North Carolina, is also represented here by a leaflet sharing its history. Carolina Heights was formerly in Spray, which was consolidated into Eden in 1967. To see all materials on DigitalNC from Spray, click here.

DigitalNC is thankful to our partner, Rockingham County Public Library, for enabling access to these materials online. To learn more about the Rockingham County Public Library, visit their partner page here or their website here. To see all items in this batch, click here, and to see everything contributed by the library, click here.


New High School Yearbooks from Bethel in Pitt County Just Added

Thanks to our partnership with The Ward House: Bethel Heritage Center in Bethel, North Carolina, DigitalNC recently added fifteen yearbooks from Bethel High School (1949-1970). These yearbooks shed insight into the lives and activities of white students in northern Pitt County in the mid-twentieth century, particularly before the school was integrated with Bethel Union High School in the late 1960s. The class of 1970 was the final graduating class from Bethel High School. The following fall, North Pitt High School opened for students of Bethel, Belvoir, Pactolus, Stokes, and Staton House. Click here to browse all of the yearbooks from Pitt County on DigitalNC.

Click this link to see all fifteen yearbooks added in this batch. To learn more about The Ward House: Bethel Heritage Center, visit their contributor page here. To view more high school yearbooks from throughout North Carolina, check out our list here.


New Chatham County Photographs and the Story of Navigation on the Cape Fear and Deep Rivers

Thanks to our partners at the Chatham County Historical Association, DigitalNC now hosts nearly 100 new photos of Chatham County, as well as a profile of the Cape Fear and Deep River Slack Water Navigation from 1851 and the story of the Cape Fear and Deep River Navigation Company.

The Cape Fear and Deep River profile and its story are DigitalNC’s first additions to provide insight into North Carolina’s inland navigation system, though this information is complemented by several photos of the Cape Fear river on our site. The Deep River, along with the Haw River, is a tributary of the Cape Fear River. The two rivers meet just south of Jordan Lake in Chatham County, near Moncure and Haywood, North Carolina. The Cape Fear and Deep River Navigation Company was organized in 1849 in Pittsboro, NC, to enable steamboats to traverse the rivers. The company ensured navigation of the rivers by building dams and locks as a slack water system of navigation. To learn more about the company, visit Wade Hadley, Jr.’s history of the organization from 1980.

This batch of materials also includes nearly 100 new photographs of twentieth century Chatham County. Several showcase local high schools, activities at the Gilmore Hunting Lodge, dam construction, the Carolina Power and Light Company, churches in Mount Vernon, and other subjects.

To learn more about the Chatham County Historical Association, visit their contributor page here or their website here.


200 More Photos from Central Carolina Community College are Available Now!

Thanks to our partnership with Central Carolina Community College (CCCC), there are 200 new photographs on DigitalNC, making our total number of photographs nearly 4,000! These latest photographs document happenings at the college form the 1960s until 2001, focusing mainly on staff and faculty portraits and activities. CCCC originally opened as Lee County Industrial Education Center in the early 1960s, and later became Central Carolina Technical Institute, then Central Carolina Technical College, and finally Central Carolina Community College.

To learn more about Central Carolina Community College, please visit their partner page or their website. To see more photos like these from CCCC, check out the nearly 4,000 photos in the collection A Pictorial History of Central Carolina Community College.


More Materials from Johnston Community College are now Available

Aerial Photograph, 1983

Aerial Photograph, 1983

Thanks to our partners at Johnston Community College, DigitalNC is proud to make more photographs, a scrapbook and a 1988 class schedule available online. This batch follows a previous set of about 750 photographs from the college, and continues along themes of education, community, and the campuses in Smithfield and Four Oaks.

Some of the most notable photos are of campus personalities, including Dr. A. Curtis Phillips, President Donald Reichard, other faculty and staff, and several that focus on President John Tart as he was about to retire.

John Tart, his wife Marjorie Tart, and their grandchildren at President Tart's retirement party, 1998

John Tart, his wife Marjorie Tart, and their grandchildren pose by a series of cakes meant to look like the Johnston Community College at President Tart’s retirement party, 1998

The batch also includes the first scrapbook of news clippings produced by Johnston Community College. This book, filled with clippings from 1969 to 1972, is the first of many scrapbooks assembled by College faculty and staff. This book documents the origins and early days of the school, which opened as Johnston County Technical Institute in Fall 1969.

First class of curriculum students, September 1971 clipping in the 1969-1972 scrapbook

First class of curriculum students, September 1971 clipping in the 1969-1972 scrapbook

To see all of the photographs on DigitalNC from Johnston Community College, click here. DigitalNC also hosts several yearbooks from Johnston Community College from this time period–click here to view them. To learn more about Johnston Community College, visit their partner page here or their website here.