The North Carolina Room turned 40 last week on Monday, June 15th and we had a wonderful celebration. The Friends of the Central Library sponsored our event. Lots of people stopped by to say thanks and to enjoy birthday cake, shortcake, fresh strawberries & blueberries, and lemonade. Balloons and flowers really made the affair festive. Attendees included patrons, former FCPL librarians, Forsyth County Genealogical Society members, and Forsyth County staff. We really enjoyed talking about the North Carolina Room’s history and sharing information about our collections. A family bible donation was a welcome surprise to be added to our genealogy collection. Thank you to everyone who attended!
June 23, 2015
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January 14, 2015
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Our first Collection Spotlight of 2015 features two books from our North Carolina monograph collection. These books have come to our collection by way of a generous donation of the Bethabara Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution.
The first, The American Revolution: A Historical Guidebook edited by Frances H. Kennedy is a historical account of almost 150 various sites associated with the Revolutionary War. From battlefields and encampments to taverns and state houses, the aim of the guidebook is to preserve the famous and not so famous places where men and women of the Revolution created a nation. Published in 2014 by the Oxford University Press, this substantial volume is of interest for historical researchers, readers interested in learning more about the Revolutionary War, and travelers with an appreciation for historic sites.
The second, Redcoats on the Cape Fear: The Revolutionary War in Southeastern North Carolina by Robert M. Dunkerly is a collection of “eyewitness accounts and other primary sources” that tell the tale of Wilmington and the Lower Cape Fear region during the Revolutionary War. The city had a politically polarized climate between Whigs and Loyalists and was a contested site for news, supplies, and blockade running. This revised edition, published in 2012 by McFarland & Company, Inc., is a great reference for anyone interested in the Revolutionary War history of North Carolina.
The North Carolina Room collection is always available for reference at the new location on the Second Floor of the Forsyth County Government Building, 201 N. Chestnut Street, Winston-Salem, 27101.
September 5, 2013
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A couple of days ago, while looking for something else, as is often the case, I found a couple of maps that we did not know we had. Both were produced in 1930 by the Winston-Salem Industrial Commission.
One shows the rail connections from the Twin City to other destinations in the the Carolinas / Virginia / Georgia region at the height of American railroading. The other shows intercity bus connections for the same area.
Since it may be some time before we can add them to the online NC maps collection in Chapel Hill, I have scanned them at a resolution high enough to be usable here. Just click on the image to enlarge it. Once posted at the UNC site, the resolution will be much larger.
The rail map is color coded by railroad. All of the lines from Winston-Salem are still operating. The Winston-Salem Southbound is still an independent entity which operates trains between W-S and Wadesboro, where they connect with the CSX line. The line shown as the Southern RR connecting with Wilkesboro and Mt. Airy is now operated by another independent line known as the Yadkin Valley Railroad, headquartered in Rural Hall, connecting with Norfolk Southern. And the line identified as Norfolk & Western is now known as Norfolk Southern. Among them they operate about a dozen freight trains a day in the Twin City area.
The bus map was too large to fit onto our scanner, so I have scanned the most important part as it relates to Winston-Salem. It shows the routes of the Camel City Coach Line (solid red) and their connections to other regional lines (dashed red lines). Camel City was founded in Winston-Salem in 1925 by the Gilmer brothers and eventually expanded to become Atlantic Greyhound, later a component of the national Greyhound bus line, which today still operates thousands of daily routes in the US and Great Britain.
I am working on a post about the Gilmers, who were pioneers in the department store, automotive sales and service, and intercity bus line businesses, beginning with a single general store on North Main Street in the 1890s and extending into the 1950s. You can find a little teaser on them by typing “car nuts” into the search box at the top of this page.
Don’t forget that you can click on the maps to enlarge them to usable size.
May 2, 2013
As anyone who does a lot of historical research knows, some of the best stuff comes through serendipity.
Recently, while looking for something else, I came upon a reference to a book that intrigued me. We didn’t have it in our collection, but I found a copy available at Abe Books, so ordered it. Here is the title page.
What a neat fit for next week’s centennial celebration, a book published locally in 1913 by a local man. Colonel H. Montague was one of the more interesting citizens as Winston and Salem became joined by a hyphen. A native of Wake County, the son of a Wake Forest College professor, he moved to Winston in the 1880s to practice law and became a major player in the local real estate world.
Every year, around high school graduation time, his name is widely published, so many have heard of him, yet have no idea why.
But perhaps the most intriguing aspect of his life was his name, always rendered as “H. Montague”. Soon I will do another post about him and the epic search for his real first name, which he took great pains to conceal. Stay tuned.
Meanwhile, you might ask “Who was Josh Billings?” Colonel Montague’s book gives us an image.
Suffice to say that “Josh Billings” was actually Henry Wheeler Shaw, probably the second most popular humor writer of the 19th century. Unfortunately for him, there was this other guy, Sam Clemens, who wrote under the pseudonym “Mark Twain”. “Billings” was eclipsed by the might of “Twain”, but he is not quite forgotten. He appears in many anthologies of American literature, so is at least known to college English professors.
Winston-Salem’s Centennial Celebration begins next week. Visit these two links for more information: