Viewing entries tagged "maps"

New Sanborn Maps of Burlington Area Now Available!

Our partners at the Graham Historical Museum have contributed a new bound volume of 1924 maps of Burlington and the surrounding areas. These were created by the Sanborn Insurance Company, which produced massive numbers of maps to assess buildings for fire risk from 1867 to 1970. They depict building features in great detail, sometimes even by room. Sanborn often surveyed the same places multiple times, making their maps an incredibly helpful resource for tracking changes over time in cities and specific buildings.

This latest batch depicts Burlington, North Carolina and surrounding areas of Altamahaw, Glen Raven, Bellemont, Hopedale, Elon College, Ossipee, Glencoe, and Saxapahaw. The volume contains an index of streets and significant buildings, general information on population and economic activity, and specific information pertaining to fire insurance assessment. If you are a music lover, the Saxapahaw map may be of particular interest. Like most towns in Alamance County, Saxapahaw’s economy was based on textile production and most residents worked at the cotton mill. The cotton mill closed in 1994 and was eventually converted into apartments overlooking the Haw River. The adjacent former dye house is now the Haw River Ballroom, a state of the art music venue that hosts touring acts from around the country and the world.

A deindustrialization success story, Saxapahaw has undergone transformational changes since this map was published 100 years ago. Researchers can see how it and other Alamance County communities have evolved since 1924 by viewing the map here. More digitized Sanborn maps are available on DigitalNC, as well as through UNC Libraries. See all of our collections from the Graham Historical Museum at their contributor page and learn more by visiting their website.

Newest Partner Challenges Our Scanning Abilities with 1934 Lake Mattamuskeet Map

While we are no strangers to digitizing large objects here at DigitalNC, our newest partner, the Hyde County Historical and Genealogical Society, gave us quite the scanning challenge with their 1934 Mattamuskeet Lake Migratory Bird Refuge Grant Map! Measuring in at 6ft 4in by 3ft 9in, the map was over a foot longer than our largest scanning table. Since it was impossible for us to scan the whole map in one shot, we had to utilize our Phase One camera and its removable table top to scan the map in parts using a horizontal scrolling type technique.

A portion of the map was set up on the table top with small weights carefully applied to hold the map in place and edges down while library carts and people supported the parts of the map off the table. Once a portion was scanned, the weights would be removed, the map shifted for the next portion (with overlap), and weights reapplied. This process was repeated over 30 times. Afterwards, the scanned images were pieced together to create an impressive full digital image of the map which shows the boundary of the lake and parcels of land along with individual parcel owner names, dates the land was acquired, and parcel acreage. A more detailed version of the map can be viewed here on DigitalNC.

Lake Mattamuskeet is recognized as North Carolina’s largest natural freshwater lake—stretching 18 miles long, seven miles wide, and averaging only two to three feet deep. While the lake may be shallow, its history is certainly not. The following paragraphs provide some information about the lake’s ancient and more recent past, but detailing its full history is beyond the scope of this blog post. If you are interested in learning more, please visit the resources that are linked at the end of this post.

At least 800 years before England’s 1584 expedition arrived at Roanoke Island, the coastal region of the state was occupied by several small Native American tribes, including the Algonquian-speaking Machapunga (also known as the Mattamuskeet or Marimiskeet American Indians). The Machapunga were a small tribe of the Algonquin language living in the Pungo River area who migrated south from the Algonquin peoples of the Powhatan Confederacy.

At that time, the Mattamuskeet were known as skillful watermen who made their boats and nets of size interlocks for herring, drum, shad, netting needles, and floats. In addition to their work on the water, they hunted; trapped; gathered berries, nuts, and fruit; and farmed. They grew plants such as corn, beans, pumpkins, goosefoot, sunflowers, knotweed, and squash. The women of the Machapunga are specifically noted as being fierce warriors. Today, the genealogical descendants from the original historic Mattamuskeet Indians of Hyde County, along with the original historic Roanoke-Hatteras (Croatan) Indians of Dare County comprise the Alogonquian Indians of North Carolina.

In 1934, the Mattamuskeet Lake Migratory Bird Refuge Grant Map was created—showing parcel boundaries along with providing the name of the parcel’s owner, the acreage, and the date it was acquired. Some names present on the map, such as Collins, Barber, Chance, Clayton, and Bryant, can trace their American Indian heritage back to the Mattamuskeet. The same year the map was published, the lake was acquired by the United States Government and the Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge was established. This was likely a result of Roosevelt’s New Deal policies that helped provide jobs and relief to citizens during the Great Depression. Today, the Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge (which includes the lake and surrounding area) remains federally protected and supports “large numbers of wintering waterfowl, as well as a variety of breeding songbirds, mammals such as black bear and bobcat, and other wildlife.”

Map title and associated information. United States Department of Agriculture Bureau of Biologial Survey. Jay. N. Darling. Chief.
Mattamuskeet Lake Migratory Bird Refuge Grant Map. 
New Holland Corporation Tr[?].
Hyde County. North Carolina.
R.C.F. Surveyor. 
Scale 1:15,840
[Bar for scale]

To learn more about the Hyde County Historical and Genealogical Society, please visit their website linked here.

To view more maps of North Carolina on DigitalNC, click the following link.

History and information about Lake Mattamuskeet was found using the Lake Mattamuskeet and Mattamuskeet Indians NCpedia entries.

Information about the Algonquian Indians of North Carolina was found on their website linked here and the National Park Service’s page “The Carolina Algonquian.”

Burlington Sanborn Maps and W. J. Nicks Store Ledger Now Available!

Thanks to our partner, the Graham Historical Museum, Sanborn Insurance Maps of Burlington, North Carolina along with the 1889-1895 W. J. Nicks Store ledger are now available to view on DigitalNC!

The building that eventually became known as the W. J. Nicks Store was built circa 1851 by builder Henry Bason for the Hanner Trading Company. At the time, the commercial space was the largest in Graham with three full stories and a full basement. Some of the bricks used in the construction of the building were created by enslaved laborers.

About 40 years after its construction, in 1892, the store was bought by W. J. Nicks who later added the two story-addition seen on the south side of the building. According to the ledger, customers of the W. J. Nicks Store primarily paid with cash, but some, such as G. W. Peterson (shown above), are noted to have traded other goods such as eggs, oats, and flour.

Information about the W. J. Nicks store was obtained from NCSU’s North Carolina Architects & Builders Biographical Dictionary and the Graham Walks Walking Maps brochure published by the City of Graham Recreation & Parks Department.

To learn more about the Graham Historical Museum, visit their website using the link here.

To view more materials from the Graham Historical Museum, visit their contributor page linked here.

Chronicles of Jeanne Swanner’s Miss North Carolina Reign Now Available on DigitalNC!

Thanks to our partner, Graham Historical Museum, a Sanborn Insurance Map of Graham, North Carolina, a program from the 1963 Miss Graham pageant, along with six scrapbooks that chronicle Jeanne Flinn Swanner’s Miss North Carolina appearances, telegrams, and Graham’s trek to Atlantic City to cheer her on at the Miss America 1963 pageant are now available to view on DigitalNC!

In 1963, Jeanne Flinn Swanner was named the winner of the Miss North Carolina crown. During the pageant, Swanner quickly became a favorite, winning the swimsuit competition and receiving a standing ovation for her performance of original songs on the ukulele. In the same year, she competed in the Miss America pageant held in Atlantic City, New Jersey. She did not win the Miss America crown, but was voted Miss Congeniality.

Following the completion of the pageants, Swanner returned to Auburn University and completed a bachelors degree in physical education. After receiving her degree, she started teaching during the week while giving speaking engagements on weekends. After nearly a decade of teaching, Swanner decided to pivot her career into professional speaking full-time. She credits the year following her Miss North Carolina win, when she traveled to nearly every corner of the state giving over 500(!) speeches, for her career as a professional humorist.

Individual in a light colored dress and long white finger gloves holding a rose while sitting in a chair.
Miss Jeanne Swanner pictured in the Graham High School yearbook, The Wag [1961]

To learn more about the Graham Historical Museum, please visit their website linked here.

To view more materials from the Graham Historical Museum, please visit their contributor page linked here.

To explore more yearbooks from across the state, please visit our North Carolina Yearbook Collection linked here.

Information about Jeanne Flinn Swanner was gathered from her obituary, the newspaper clippings within this batch, and the New York Times article announcing her passing in 2021.

Explore Enchanting Mountain Views in Latest Southwestern Community College Materials!

Thanks to our partner, Southwestern Community College (SCC), a new batch of materials are now available on DigitalNC! This batch has over 190 new records that include a Great Smoky Mountains trail map, local histories, previous course catalogs, various newsletters, SCC program pamphlets, over 100+ photograph slides showcasing the college campus and nearby beautiful mountain views.

Located in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina, Southwestern Community College held its first classes on December 1, 1964 under the name “Jackson County Industrial Education Center.” During that time, the school was a satellite of Asheville-Buncombe Technical Institute. In September 1967, however, the satellite became an independent school and was renamed Southwestern Technical Institute (STI). The school’s name changed once more in 1979 to Southwestern Technical College before becoming Southwestern Community College in 1988.

The years following STI’s independence from Asheville-Buncombe Technical Institute were filled with construction of buildings, receiving accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, their first on-campus commencement ceremony, establishment of the Cherokee Center, and much more. Today, SCC has facilities across several counties as well as on the Qualla Boundary, is the only community college in the nation to enter into a cooperative science agreement with NASA, and offers over 40 academic programs for students to choose from.

To learn more about Southwestern Community College, please visit their website linked here.

To view more materials from Southwestern Community College, please visit their partner page linked here.

To view more materials from community colleges across North Carolina, please view our North Carolina Community College Collections exhibit linked here.

Information about SCC was gathered from the college’s College History page located on their website linked here.

Additional Firefighter Materials Reveal History of Women Firefighters in the City of Greensboro

Thanks to our partner, Greensboro Firefighters History Book Committee, a batch of over 100 records documenting the history of firefighters in Greensboro are now available on our website. The materials in this batch include photographs, scrapbooks, issues of the City of Greensboro’s City Beat, and much more. Utilizing the various materials in this batch specifically, one is able to uncover the history of “firewomen” in the Greensboro Fire Department.

Prior to 1884, fire protection in the City of Greensboro was dismal. Although a fire protection became law in the city in 1833, there was no guaranteed protection from fire. Improvements in fire protection only came after devastating fires such as one in 1849 that nearly ended the business community and in 1872 that destroyed a large portion of the city. After the 1872 fire, a second volunteer fire company was created and equipped with a chemical engine. While they had a chemical engine, the company had not been equipped with horses. This meant that the firefighters had to pull the engine to fires by hand on the City’s unpaved streets.

The Greensboro Fire Department began as a volunteer organization in 1884 after Harper J. Elam, future founder of the Greensboro Record, noticed the city’s lack of fire protection relative to his former home city, Charlotte. In an effort to upgrade the firefighting capabilities of the city, Elam put out a call of duty for firefighters. A group composed of around 100 white business and younger men answered the call, forming Steam Fire Engine Company No. 1 which was located at what was formerly known as 108 West Gaston Street.

Circa 1889, a Black volunteer fire company known as Excelsior Hose Company No. 2 was formed. Located at the City Market, the company was “well equipped with jumper, uniforms and other equipments” and always gave “good and satisfactory service in conjunction with the other companies for the city’s protection.” While segregated companies may have fought fires alongside each other at times, it was not until 1961 that the city’s fire department was integrated.

The earliest mention of “firewomen” in this batch comes from 1974. In August 1974, Fire Chief G. C. “Buck” Wuchae responds to an article for the paper stating he is not opposed to women joining the fire department nor should they fear being discriminated against by his office. The article’s writer seems to feel differently, asking the chief “But what if a woman meeting the requirements was hired and successfully completed the training—what would the fire department do with her?” Wuchae simple responds, “We would have to make some arrangements.” However, it is not until four years later, in 1978, under Greensboro Fire Chief R. L. Powell that the department actively began to recruit “firewomen.”

On October 2, 1978, after 129 years, Dee Ann Clapp, Melanie Trado, and Sandra K. Pearman became the Greensboro Fire Department’s first women firefighters after completing a 13-week training class with other trainees. Fire Chief Powell states his satisfaction with the success of their training stating, “I have no doubt at all that they (the women) are now ready to operate out of our fire stations and do the job well” and that one of the women was one of the top in the class. Clapp, Trado and Pearman were assigned to separate platoons at Station 8. In 1984, six years after joining the Greensboro Fire Department, Dee Ann Clapp makes history again as the first woman to receive the State of North Carolina’s “Outstanding Young Firefighter” award.

Information about the early history of the Greensboro Fire Department was compiled from the May 3, 1899 issue of The Greensboro Patriot, The History of the Greensboro Fire Department page, and newspaper clippings from this batch.

To view more materials from the Greensboro Firefighters History Book Committee, please visit their contributor page linked here.

To learn more about the Greensboro Firefighters History Book Committee, please visit their website linked here.

To view more newspapers from across North Carolina, please view our North Carolina Newspapers collection linked here.

Handbooks, Reports and More from Roanoke – Chowan Community College!

Zoning Map of Roanoke - Chowan Community College

Zoning Map for Roanoke – Chowan Community College in October 1973.

Digital NC is excited to add new materials from our partner Roanoke – Chowan Community College to our collection. Founded in 1967, Roanoke – Chowan Community College is a two-year community college located in Hertford County, North Carolina. The new items added to our collection include status reports from 1969 and 1975, handbooks related to the goals and objectives of the community college from 1978 – 1979, and long-range plans from the 1990s.

Most interesting in the collection are the expansion plans for R-CCC, including the October 1973 Master Plan. The Master Plan details the new projected additions, such as new classrooms and buildings that would benefit the community college and the community of Hertford County as a whole.

Currently, the community college offers associate degrees in numerous fields and transfer options to different colleges across the state of North Carolina. Visit their website here to learn more about Roanoke – Chowan Community College. You can also find other materials in our R-CCC collection on our website.

Special thanks again to Roanoke – Chowan Community College for their partnership!

Historic Edgecombe Architecture Showcased in Latest Batch From ECML

A view of the front and side of a gray, two-story house

404 E. Park Avenue, 2001

A view of the front and side of a yellow, two-story house

404 E. Park Avenue, 2002

Some excellent photos of the historic homes of Tarboro have just been added to our site thanks to our partner the Edgecombe County Memorial Library. These photos document many of the buildings of downtown Tarboro—some of which are no longer standing—and include some information about the structure’s history. 

While many of the photos from the early 2000s are standard color prints, several of the older buildings, which have since been demolished, are preserved on color slides.

Black-and-white photo of a large wooden house

The Dennie Cox (?) House (1880s). Located on Highway 64, “half way to Rocky Mount,” before it was demolished.

A photo of a red brick school building set against a blue sky. A large tree takes up the left third of the image.

Bridgers School (demolished)












This batch also included another ledger from W. S. Clark’s store. This ledger, from 1913, joins five other ledgers already on our site from Clark’s Tarboro store. Additionally, we’ve uploaded six minute books from the Edgecombe Magazine Club ranging from 1911-1952, as well as the 1928 Maccripine yearbook from South Edgecombe High School.

You can see the full batch of photographs, minute books, and the store ledger here. To see more materials from Edgecombe County Memorial Library, visit their partner page and their website.

Posters From Durham County Library Celebrate Festival of the Eno

An artistic print of large green trees alongside a green river

As residents of Durham, nature fans and music listeners may already know, the annual Festival for the Eno is quickly approaching. And while the Eno River Association has several past and present posters available, our latest batch of materials from our partner, the Durham County Library, includes some of the older vintages.

An artist's print of a river otter standing up on it's back legs

This poster, from the 1982 festival, features an alert river otter, a species found across the state of North Carolina. While sightings of otters are usually rare (they tend to be secretive and their total population is somewhat low), they are playful animals.

In the 1990s, according to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, there was an effort to re-expand the territory of river otters into the western part of the state, where they were seen in the 1930s. To do this, the NC Wildlife Resource Commission trapped and relocated several to western river systems. They also brought several otters to West Virginia, which was trying to restore its otter population.

In exchange for otters, the West Virginia gave North Carolina wild turkeys, which brings us to the 1985 poster:An artist's print of a wild turkey against a blue background

The wild turkey is also a native North Carolinian, but the population declined quickly in the early 1900s due to overhunting and habitat loss. In 1985 (during restoration efforts), the total population was estimated at 14,000; in 2020, it was estimated that our state was home to 270,000 turkeys. Today, turkeys are classified as “Big Game,” and their hunting season is strictly limited.

Other posters from the earlier years of the Festival for the Eno feature fish, people in costumes, and other landscapes. Some of the informational posters have lists of performers and activities as well. 

You can see the full batch of maps and posters from the Durham County Library here. To find out more about them, you can visit their partner page or their website. The 43rd Annual Festival for the Eno will be held on July 2 and 4, 2022 in Durham, N.C. 

New Maps from Person County now on Digital NC!


Map of Cluster Springs, Virginia in Halifax County (1968)


Map of Ridgeville, North Carolina in Person County (1968)

Thanks to our partner, Person County Public Library, Digital NC has now digitized maps from several counties and communities in North Carolina and Virginia. Several maps in the collection include the Ridgeville Quadrangle taken in 1968 of the small community of Ridgeville in Person County, the Cluster Springs Quadrangle from 1968 representing the community of Cluster Springs, Virginia, located in Halifax County, and the Hurdle Mills Quadrangle map from 1980 representing the small community of Hurdle Mills in Person County. Along with these maps, the collection includes maps from the 1970s and 1980s of communities in Person County.

Special thanks again to our partner Person County Public Library for the chance to digitize these maps. If you want to see more items from Person County Public Library, visit their collection.

Visit here to see more items in our Images of North Carolina collection.

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