From 1952 to 1959 the Carolina Power and Light Company (CP&L) hosted a “Finer Carolina” contest, in which cities and towns in the CP&L service area vied for cash awards by engaging in community improvements. From a history of CP&L I learned that over the seven years the competition was held 4,600 projects were undertaken, including those aimed at “beautifying residential areas, improving cultural opportunities, upgrading municipal facilities, stimulating business, and attracting new industry”.
Some materials on DigitalNC are evidence of the participation of North Carolina’s communities, such as this 1954 scrapbook from the town of Burgaw documenting their Finer Carolina activities. The year 1954 was a banner year for the contest, according to a front-page article in the February 25, 1954 issue of the Raeford News-Journal. During this year there were 160 entries, including Raeford, N.C., competing for $6,750 in prizes. The Architectural History of Randolph County, N.C., also mentions the Finer Carolina contest, as the city of Asheboro took home the winning prize in 1954, as well as 1955, 1956, and 1958. But perhaps these awards weren’t such a boon for Asheboro after all, as the history describes the city’s improvement projects as resulting in “the nearly total destruction of the city’s nineteenth-century heritage”.
Items featured in this post are shared on DigitalNC by Pender County Public Library and Randolph County Public Library.