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 "photos"


Durham Urban Renewal Records Have Been Renewed

In the early days of the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center, we digitized thousands of records created during the Durham Urban Renewal Project. Recently, we revisited these records with the intention of making them more accessible and useful to our partners and the public.

The Durham Redevelopment Commission was established in 1958 with the intention eliminating “urban blight” and improving the city’s infrastructure as more and more personal vehicles filled the city’s streets. Durham Urban Renewal targeted seven areas — one in Durham’s downtown district and six in historically black neighborhoods including Hayti and Cleveland-Holloway. The projects in these six neighborhoods impacted approximately 9,100, or  11.7%, of Durham citizens at the beginning of the project in 1961. Although the initial timetable for the project was ten years, the project efforts went on for nearly 15 years and was ultimately never completed. By the end of the urban renewal efforts, more than 4,000 households and 500 businesses were razed and a new highway — NC 147 —  stretched through the heart of Durham.

A public library building, two stories tall with ornate columns.

Some structures included in the collection, such as the second home for the main branch of the Durham Public Library, outlived the urban renewal project and still stand today. This building is located at 311 East Main Street.

The Durham Urban Renewal Collection contains studies, reports, appraisals, property records, photographs, brochures, and clippings that span the nearly 20 years of urban renewal projects. These materials are artifacts of Durham before, during, and after urban renewal dramatically altered the city.

In an effort to make these materials as accessible and accurate as possible, we recently completed a major cleanup of the collection. Properties are now listed by complete street address. Many of the residential properties — and some commercial properties — were appraised more than once during the urban renewal process. We have consolidated all appraisals, photographs, and other records for individual properties into single listings, and text in these records are full-text searchable. We also used historical maps of the city from the years of urban renewal to provide additional information for unaddressed or mislabeled appraisals and records. In addition to the changes made to improve accessibility by address, we made efforts to ensure that the names of property owners are complete, accurate, and consistent across the collection, so that records may be located more easily in searching by the owners’ names.

The materials in the Durham Urban Renewal Collection came from Durham County Library’s North Carolina Collection and are only a portion of the materials contributed by the library to date. To learn more about the Durham County Library, visit their website or partner page.


New items from the Grand Lodge of North Carolina now online at DigitalNC

Chorazin Chapter Royal Arch Masons 1914

A page from the Book of Marks of the Chorazin Chapter no. 13 of the Royal Arch Masons of Greensboro, NC, 1914

A new batch of items from The Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of North Carolina are now available online. The recently digitized materials consist largely of minute books, account ledgers, and membership rolls from the Grand Lodge and various other Masonic lodges in North Carolina. Also included is a selection of twentieth-century scrapbooks, bylaws, historical sketches, and programs from several different lodges. The textual materials originate mainly from lodges  in the Raleigh and Greensboro areas and date from the early 19th century to the 1960s.

 

Colonial Masters Royal White Hart Lodge

Officers of the Order of Colonial Masters at the Royal White Hart Lodge no. 2, 1911

Accompanying the textual materials are two groups of photographs, the first detailing various activities and features of the the Royal White Hart Lodge No. 2 of Halifax, NC in 1911. The second group of photographs documents a ball held on April 18, 1962 which celebrated the installation of Charles Carpenter Ricker as Grand Master of Phoenix Lodge No. 2 in Raleigh, NC. A single photo, taken circa. 1915, which details a gathering of Oasis Shriners in Charlotte, NC, accompanies the two larger sets.

To see more materials from The Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of North Carolina, visit their partner page or take a look at their website.


Cary, NC historical materials from the Page-Walker Arts & History Center now online at DigitalNC

Cary 1970s

Heading east on Chatham St. in downtown Cary (Rexall, now Ashworth, Drugs on the right), 1970s

A new batch of materials from the Page-Walker Arts & History Center is now online at DigitalNC. The batch consists of research notes compiled by author Thomas M. Byrd for his 1994 book, Around and About Cary, which describes the history of Cary, NC. The notes include pages of draft edits, copies of primary and secondary sources, correspondence, census information, and various planning documents. Byrd’s notes are a great resource for those interested in the history of Cary or, more generally, the planning and composition of local history works and the overall growth of the Wake County and Triangle area of North Carolina.  

Byrd’s notes are another addition to the existing Page-Walker Arts & History Center materials hosted online at DigitalNC. Please visit their website or DigitalNC partner page for more information.


Over 150 photos from the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History now online at DigitalNC

NC Granite workers

Workers atop a large piece of granite at the North Carolina Granite Corporation

A new batch of over 150 photos from the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History is now online at DigitalNC. The photos document the operations of the North Carolina Granite Corporation of Mount Airy, NC roughly between 1900 and 1970. The NCGC, which operates what has been recognized as the largest open-faced granite quarry in the world, was founded over 125 years ago. Most of the photos originate in the period during which John Davis Sargent served as the superintendent and later president of the company (1910-1945). He is present in many of the depicted scenes.

 

The newly digitized images fall into four major categories: quarry operations, aerial views, quarry personnel, and building projects. Perhaps the most striking of the four are the aerial photos, which give one a sense of the scale of operations at the NCGC.

NC Granite Aerial

Aerial view of the North Carolina Granite Corporation, circa 1915-1945

The personnel and operations photographs are fascinating as well, for they allow one a glimpse into the backbreaking and dusty world of stonework during early 20th century.

NC Granite workers

Quarry workers at the North Carolina Granite Corporation

The NCGC constituted an important source of white granite in the Eastern US throughout the 20th century and the stone produced at the Mount Airy quarry can be seen in countless buildings and monuments in the area. Some prominent examples include Wright Brothers National Memorial at Kill Devil Hills, NC (pictured below), the United States Bullion Depository at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and the Arlington Memorial Bridge, which bridges the Potomac River between Washington, DC and Arlington, Virginia. Many houses, churches, monuments, and municipal buildings across North Carolina also feature Mount Airy granite, photos of which constitute a major portion of those now online at DigitalNC.

Wright Brothers National Memorial

The Wright Brothers National Memorial at Kill Devil Hills, N.C.

For more information, please see the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History website or visit their contributor page here at DigitalNC. 


Nike Missile Program materials from Alamance County Public Libraries now available online at DigitalNC

Nike Missile Pamphlet

Nike Missile Program pamphlet

Interested in Cold War history?

A new batch of materials from Alamance County Public Libraries (ACPL) is now online at DigitalNC. The materials, which include several publicity scrapbooks, three photo albums, and a collection of loose photographs, detail the Western Electric Company’s involvement in the US Army’s Nike Missile Program during the 1950s and 1960s. Throughout that period, the Western Electric Company manufactured guidance equipment for the Nike missiles, which were part of a large anti-ICBM defense network then under development by the US Military. The company operated a major manufacturing facility in Burlington, NC, a plant that features heavily in the ACPL materials. In 2016, the old plant was officially listed as part of the National Register of Historic Places by the National Park Service.

White Sands 1952

WE equipment at White Sands Missile Range, NM, 1952

The scrapbooks were donated to ACPL by longtime Western Electric employee Raymond Donnell (1921-2002) and include a wealth of press clippings, memos, and photographs concerning the Tarheel Army Missile Plant in Burlington, NC and Western Electric’s missile-related activities in general.  Many of the clippings relate to the political battles surrounding the Nike Program and the program’s effects on Burlington and the surrounding area.

BTN Headline January 30 1954

Burlington Times News, January 30, 1954

The photographic materials relate both to Western Electric’s production of missile guidance equipment and the US Military’s use of it. Many of the photographs provide views of the working environment at the Tarheel Army Missile Plant during 1953, while the three albums detail various tests at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico and facilities at the Kwajalein Pacific Missile Test Range.

We Workers 1953 Tarheel

Workers at the Tarheel Army Missile Plant, 1953

The newly digitized materials are an addition to the considerable amount of ACPL materials already online at DigitalNC. Visit ACPL’s DigitalNC partner page here or head to their website for more information.

 

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.


Hundreds of New Photographs and Artifacts from Kings Mountain Historical Museum and Mauney Memorial Library Now Online at DigitalNC!

Hundreds of new photos, documents and artifacts have been newly digitized at DigitalNC, courtesy of our partners, the Kings Mountain Historical Museum and the Mauney Memorial Library. These digitized materials are part of a joint project between the two institutions, DigitalKM.

Vice President Rockefeller speaking at Kings Mountain High School in 1975 in celebration of the bicentennial.

Included in this batch is nearly 600 images and over 50 historical artifacts from Kings Mountain Historical Museum. These photos include blueprints for the U.S. Post Office at Kings Mountain, photos from the Kings Mountain Centennial parade and celebrations, school and class photos, photographs of military personnel, pictures of local clubs, bands, and sports teams, and much, much more.

Some of the artifacts from Kings Mountain Historical Museum include souvenir programs and other memorabilia from the centennial (100 years), sesquicentennial (150 years), and bicentennial (200 years) anniversaries of the Battle of Kings Mountain. This collection also includes a set of different photographs of military personnel, individuals from Kings Mountain, Trinity Episcopal Church in Kings Mountain, sports teams from the Kings Mountain High School, and much, much more.

A Boeing Flying Fortress, purchased with war bonds bought by Kings Mountain residents during WWII.

Also included are over 125 photos from Mauney Memorial Library and over a dozen historical objects. The photos include class pictures from schools around Kings Mountain, photos of churches around Cleveland County, areas and buildings in Kings Mountain, several aerial views of local schools, and much, much more.

Among these artifacts from Mauney Memorial Library are a collection of research binders by Bonnie Mauney Summers, which contain hand-written notes and charts of genealogical research on 3 branches of the Mauney family and others around Kings Mountain. There is also a binder of monthly meeting minutes taken by the secretary of the Kings Mountain House and Garden Club, dating from 1956-1963. Finally, this collection includes a series of different photographs of areas and people around Kings Mountain, as well as a batch of letters to military personnel sent and received during World War II.

Charles E. Neisler Jr, relaxing in the Davidson College Chemistry Lab, circa 1915.

You can learn more about the Kings Mountain Historical Museum by visiting their contributor page or by visiting their website. To learn more about the Mauney Memorial Library, click here to visit their partner page or click here to visit their website. This collection is part of a joint project to digitize materials related to Kings Mountain history. To learn more, visit the DigitalKM website.


New Images from Central Carolina Community College Now Online at DigitalNC

Nearly 75 new photographs have been digitized and added to DigitalNC, courtesy of our partner, Central Carolina Community College.

A photo of CCCC students working in the Guided Studies Building

This new batch comes in five collections. The first contains photos of students and staff lining up and working at the bookstore on campus in the 1960s and 1970s, back when it was still called Central Carolina Technical Institute. The second collection contains around two dozen photos from 1984 of Budd Memorial Court and Budd Hall on the Lee County campus of CCCC. The third collection focuses on the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center at the Lee County campus, with nearly two dozen photos of students or shots of the building from the 1990s. The fourth contains photos of the Classroom and Fitness Center on the Lee County campus, featuring students and campus views. Finally, the fifth features images of the Guided Studies Building on the Lee County Campus.

A shot of the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center on the Lee County CCCC Campus.

These photos bring yet more knowledge and representation about what it meant to be a student at CCCC throughout the 20th century. To learn more about Central Carolina Community College, please visit their contributor page or check out their website.


Sketches of the Battle of Kings Mountain and More Now Online

A sketch of the Battle of Kings Mountain, drawn by Kathryn L. Bolin.

New photographs and sketches of Kings Mountain have now been digitized and uploaded to DigitalNC, courtesy of our partner, the Kings Mountain Historical Museum. These sketches were created by Kathryn L. Bolin, and depict militiamen and soldiers at the Battle of Kings Mountain. These sketches were designed for the Mural of Battle of Kings Mountain in the Kings Mountain City Hall.

These sketches in particular join the collection of materials on the Battle of Kings Mountain we have already digitized on DigitalNC. In our holdings, we have photographs of the bicentennial celebration of the Battle, materials like programs from that celebration, histories of Kings Mountain, and more.

Having these materials in our collection helps complete our understanding of the Battle of Kings Mountain, as well as how we remember it. To see more from the Kings Mountain Historical Museum, check out their contributor page here, or click here to visit their website.


New Materials from Rockingham County Public Library Include News Clippings, Booklets, and More

cover of an economic packet for encouraging economic investment in Madison-Mayodan, NC.

The Madison-Mayodan, N.C. Story

A new batch of materials from our partner, Rockingham County Public Library, adds scrapbooks of news clippings, books and booklets about Rockingham County History, images, and more to DigitalNC. Included are two volumes collecting “Remember When” columns from The Madison Messenger, which recount historic events from the town’s past and the “Madison-Mayodan Story” which was a packet put out by the Chamber of Commerce to encourage investment in the community in 1960.  It includes statistics about industry in the town, as well as some great photographs.  

The full batch can be seen at the links below.  

Images:

Learn more about Rockingham County Public Library by visiting their partner page or their website.