The game, presumably modeled after the game Life, describes events that still sound familiar to contemporary high school students. One square reads, “Back to school. Laugh at sophomores — get lecture on maturity. Lose 1 turn.” Others are less relatable: “Term papers: your typist charges you $1.50 a page and you run out of money on page 2 — Lose turn.” While the board does seem to be weighted toward academic and social pitfalls, at least all players start with a credit (since “Everybody passes biology first time around!”).
One of the main characters of this stretch of yearbooks is longtime teacher and alumnus Tom Orr, who graduated in 1957 and came back to teach at his alma mater after attending UNC Chapel Hill and Western Carolina. The HHSAA recently posted a scholarship announcement honoring his contributions to the school as well.
Since these yearbooks span a few decades, you can see Mr. Orr back when he was still a student in 1955. Back then, he was on the business staff of The Red and White as one of the ad men. Perhaps this is what later inspired him to pursue teaching English as a career.
His obituary notes that he taught at the school for 32 years, and in that time, he received several teaching awards, both for English and Drama.
Tuscola High School’s mascot, the Mountaineers (colloquially referred to as “The Mounties”) is appropriate for this campus, which is nestled in the North Carolina mountains (as you can see in the photo to the left). According to the school’s website, the school is “affectionately referred to as ‘The Hill’ due to our commanding view of the Smoky and Balsam Mountain ranges.”
In addition to the sweeping mountain views, a common sight in the 1973 edition of The Mountaineer is students arranging themselves into the shape of mountains. Apparently, this was the hottest formation for taking your club photo—especially if you got to be on the top.
Who can say why so many students felt the need to literally climb on top of each other this year? Maybe they were trying to camouflage in their mountainous surroundings. Perhaps it is a social commentary on relationships or teamwork. Though we may never know for sure, there are plenty of examples in this yearbook for the intrepid researcher.
Even though these yearbooks might make it seem like high school was just yesterday, there have been at least a few changes to the curriculum since the 1960s and ’70s. For instance, the Business Department at Watauga High School was much more typewriter-centric than business programs today. Some of the classes taught in 1970 included Typing (I and II), Shorthand, Bookkeeping, General Business, and Business English. Perhaps the focus on problem-solving skills has remained the same, though—the caption for the photo above reads, “Tony Hagler, and member of one of the typing classes, seems deeply involved with the completion of his problems.”
Ironically, one of the events featured in the 1977 edition of The Lighted Lamp is “the night the lights went out.” The good news is that the event refers to the spring prom rather than a night at the hospital, and the power was eventually restored. The description of the event sets the scene well, describing students preparing for the big night:
“They worked really hard while at Butner making hula girls, treasure chests, and other various decorations. Afterwards, they vigorously scrubbed the carpets and the walls that had been splattered with paint. And then they had to lug all of this back to High Point in the back of an El Camino in pouring down rain.”
Sadly, once everyone arrived in their formalwear, there was no electricity, “all because of a dumb old storm.” For an hour and a half, the prom progressed in “romantic candlelight” until the power came back on.
This photo, from the 1955 edition of The Wag, is called “Jubilant Conference Champions,” since this team was the Eastern AA champion of 1954 and the runner-up to the state championship.
It seems like the 1954 Red Devils were a bit stronger than the 1949 team, which published its season of scores in the 1950 edition of The Wag. Even though the team was victorious against Siler City, Draper, Mebane, Hartsel, Durham County, and E.M. Holt, they also took some tough losses against Roxboro and Oxford. 1949 was also apparently the year that the team faced off against Trinity in the Hosiery Bowl.
Vaiden Whitley, now East Wake High School, is located in Wendell, N.C. in Wake County. These yearbooks show the school back in 1971-1973, also known as some of the most fashionable years for both yearbooks and student basketball uniforms.
While these games may not have been quite as exciting as some of the ones in this year’s NCAA tournament, they do illustrate North Carolinian’s longstanding cultural obsession with the sport. In 1971, the Vaiden Whitley men’s team only came out on top in 8/19 games—not quite as good as the women’s team, which won 7/13. Still, the coaches called it a “profitable season.”
Have you ever wondered what fire fighting was like in the 1930s and ’40s? Our latest batch of materials from the Greensboro History Museum offers a look into some of the gatherings of the North Carolina State Firemen’s Association through a set of booklets documenting their annual convention and tournament.
The convention rotated between several North Carolina cities, including Asheville, Winston-Salem, and New Bern, among others. The convention booklets contain lists of officers, transcripts of speeches from the leaders, and memorial pages dedicated to the fire fighters lost in the line of duty. They also include editions of the Association’s constitution and bylaws.
The tournament part of the gathering seems to include competitive drills that test fire fighters’ abilities. The last few pages of the most recent booklet (from 1942) list the records of some of the events from previous years, including the Horse Hose Wagon Contest (tied between Kinston and Morehead City in 1916 at 27 and 2/5 seconds), the Hand Reel Contest (won by Kannapolis in 1937 in 16 and 2/5 seconds), grab races and motor contests.
According to our partner, these photographs were taken in the 1950s by Arthur Hill London III, grandson of Arthur Hill London Sr. (1974-1969), who was the secretary and treasurer of the Odell Manufacturing Company at the time.
These photos are only part of a batch from our partner, which also includes a set of yearbooks and an early home movie of the Siegrist family on a visit in Pittsboro around 1933. The movie shows some of the centennial celebration of the St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church, scenes of a cemetery, and some footage of people gathering at a family member’s home.
One yearbook in this batch is the 1940 edition of The Seniorogue yearbook from Siler City High School. It is the second-oldest edition in our digital collection so far (after the 1939 edition), and it has a surprising amount of information about each student along with their picture, including the names of their parents.
This blog is maintained by the staff of the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center and features the latest news and highlights from the collections at DigitalNC, an online library of primary sources from organizations across North Carolina.