A few Forsyth County Public Library staff members stopped by our reunion! We were happy to be shown their high school student and staff selves! We hope that everyone who came by enjoyed the yearbooks and will come by again when we have another reunion.

Can you guess who they are?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We are actively collecting high school yearbooks. See the index of yearbooks that we have in our collection. If you have one of our missing years and would like to donate please bring it by our North Carolina Collection on the second floor of the Central Library or call us at 336-703-3070.

We are in need of many high school yearbooks from Forsyth County, except for R.J. Reynolds High School. We’re not hating, promise! We just have most of the years that the Black and Gold was published.

We would love to have yearbooks from the Big Four high schools: Anderson, Atkins, Paisley, and Carver. We would also love yearbooks from Mineral Springs, Columbian Heights, Old Town, North Forsyth, East Forsyth, Parkland, West Forsyth, Walkertown, Mount Tabor, Salem Academy, Forsyth Country Day, and any other Forsyth County high school.

You might wonder why we offer yearbooks in our collection. Visitors to our collection have found parents, siblings, aunts/uncles, and friends in our yearbook collection. These little gems are a great resource for family genealogy, sports scores, and time capsules of local history. Many offer a look at clothing and hairstyles of the era as well as vernacular and pop culture.

 

Edit: We love our yearbook collection so much and everyone that comes by is having so much fun that we’re extending our reunion! We will have our yearbooks out for your enjoyment through Saturday. Come by for a visit!

Yearbookmustache

Come to the North Carolina Collection at the Central Library today to visit and reminisce with your high school days! A boombox we do not have, but we suggest the song of the day is Little River Band’s “Reminiscing”!  So come out and visit with your old classmates! We’d love to hear if you were in the band, played sports, or maybe you were in the school play?

We are also actively collecting yearbooks to fill in our high school collection. If you have one you would like to donate we can tell you if we need that year in the collection.

Hope to see you!

yearbooksreunion

 

 

As always, click on pics for larger size when available

When the planning for the new town of Winston began, a scheme was created for street names. East-west streets would be numbered, beginning with First (written out, never written as 1st). That coincided with the street that Salemites had been calling North Street, so for a time they retained their version while Winston used First Street.

The north-south streets would be named for trees and plants. There were two immediate exceptions. Main and Church would be continued from Salem through Winston. And Elm ran only from First Street to Fourth, where it zigged east a bit and became Old Town Street, because it connected northward to the road to the old towns of Bethabara and Bethania. Eventually, the entire length of Elm / Old Town would be changed to Trade.

Spring Street would also be an exception, because it was named for the four springs near its intersection with Fourth which made up the original Salem water supply. There would no streets between Spring and Poplar, Fourth and First for many years, because the area around the springs was off limits to development to protect the water supply.

In 1891, Pine Street was changed to Marshall Street in recognition of Frederic William Marshall, first oeconomus (chief administrator) of the Wachovia settlement, who guided events during the founding of the town of Salem.

That leaves one nonconforming north – south street, Liberty. All of the others make a simple, logical sense. But how did Liberty Street come to be called Liberty Street? Here is the story.

Johannes Reuz came from Pennsylvania to Salem, NC in 1780 to become the hat maker. He also taught singing to the Single Sisters. He married Magdalena Lick that same year. Among their five children was Joshua Reuz who was born in 1793.

Joshua became the town oil maker and seller. He and his first wife, Salome Phillips, had one child, Christian Lewis, before her death in 1822. Christian would later become a Moravian minister. Sometime in the 1820s, after Salome’s death, Joshua began attending Baptist services and eventually left the Salem Moravian congregation. He acquired some land north of Salem where he took up farming and continued his oil making business.

Along the way, the surname Reuz was evolving to fit the German pronunciation, first becoming Reutz, then Reitz, and finally Rights.

Among the children of he and his second wife Anna Elisabeth Reich was Charlotte Elizabeth, who, like all his children, was given the Americanized surname Rights. We shall hear a good bit about her later.

In 1828, Thomas Christman, the Salem saddle maker, also fell under the influence of the Baptists. Since one had to be a Moravian to live in Salem, the Elders Conference looked into Christman’s religious status. He said that he was still a Moravian. But others claimed that he was constantly espousing Baptist doctrine. After several months of contention, the Elders decided that Christman had become a Baptist and told him that he must leave the town.

Christman bought some land from Joshua Rights and became his neighbor. Soon they were joined by other disaffected Moravians, almost all of them master craftsmen. Their near neighbor was Van Neman Zevely, whose story can be seen here:

https://northcarolinaroom.wordpress.com/?s=zevely

This burgeoning community had no name throughout the 1820s. But by 1830, it had become “Liberty”. We shall find out how that happened soon.

By the time Forsyth County was created in 1849, the population of Liberty had increased significantly. The 1850 US Census treated Liberty as a separate census district, so we know exactly who was living there. The following list shows the head of each household; their spouse, if any; and their occupation.

Heads of household, Liberty, NC 1850

Van N. Zevely, farmer
Joshua Rights, Margaret, oil maker
Joseph Wiesner, Sarah, founder & pattern maker
Richard Baxter, Sarah, stage contractor
James F. Styers, Clarissa, wagon & carriage maker
Charles Tise, Maria, blacksmith
William S. Shore, shoemaker
Permilla Smith, widow
Levi Whicker, Agnes, farmer
William A. Warner, Molly,  tailor
Jacob Fettes, cabinet maker
John H. White, Elizabeth, farmer
Matthew Fitsgerald, Tabithy, carpenter
Alexander Nading, Sarah, shoemaker
Alfred M. Underwood, Henrietta, laborer
Francis R. Blum, Mary,  shoemaker
William Whicker, Louisa,  farmer
Allen Ivey, shoemaker
Thomas Joiner, Prissilla,  shoemaker
Thomas K. Siple, Matilda, shoemaker
John Noles, Charlotte, shoemaker
Daniel Noles, Martha, laborer
William Noles, shoemaker (not head)
Nathaniel Sanders, Lavina,  hatter
Nathaniel Byhan, Angelina, saddle and harness maker
Anderson Taylor, Mary, brick maker

Total population: 126

The number of shoemakers in Liberty can be easily explained by this 1836 ad. F. J. Burcham had obtained a contract with the Salem Female Academy to supply a wide variety of shoes for their students. As he explains in his ad, he needs a number of helpers, both journeymen and apprentices.

A number of these people would soon move and become founders of the town of Winston. Two of them were already making plans. 19 year old Joshua Simeon White, son of a Liberty farmer, and 18 year old Charlotte Elizabeth “Lottie” Rights, daughter of Joshua Rights, the founder of Liberty, were about to get married. They would move to the new town, still called Salem, and buy two lots right next to the barely under construction “calaboose”. On one they would build a house, on the other they would build the first town blacksmith shop.

The White house on Main Street. Sim is at the left, Lottie at the center, and their youngest son at the right. To the left is Sim’s blacksmith shop / buggy factory.

Joshua, known to all as “Sim”, would soon expand his blacksmith shop and begin making buggies. Lottie would begin having children, eight in all, between 1852 and 1874. Sim would join the Masons and other fraternal organizations and become an early business and civic leader of Winston. Lottie would become a social and civic leader among the women of the town.

Sim died in 1911. In 1915, someone mentioned to the editor of the Western Sentinel that Lottie was dying. They mentioned that despite her age, her mind was still razor sharp. The editor wisely sent a friend of his, attorney Peyton B. Abbott, to interview Lottie, and dispatched a photographer as well. Lottie had a lot to say.

She began with Liberty, naming many of the residents during her childhood years, most of them included in the list above. And she told how Liberty got its name.

She said that her mother, Anna Elizabeth Reich Rights, thought that any community ought to have a name. Since no one else had bothered naming it, she decided to do it herself. She explained that some felt oppressed by the church controlled economy and church controlled social life of Salem, so by moving a mile and a bit north had found true liberty, so the community had to be called “Liberty”. The name stuck, and gave its name to one of today’s busiest downtown streets.

She said that her mother grew cotton and flax and spun silk to make most of the family’s clothes, bedding and tablecloths. In 1836, her father bought Van Zevely’s wool carding and fulling mill and her mother made their winter clothes from the product of his mill.

She said that three men named Callahan built a small house to the north of Liberty in what would become Fairview, around what is now Fourteenth Street. They made a living cutting wood for the various Fries industries in Salem, but anyone was welcome to come and collect wood chips and small branches, so her mother would bundle her and her siblings in a wagon, drive up to Callahan and they would collect enough chips to fuel their wood stove for months.

She said that her mother grew corn and wheat to make bread. The wheat was ground at a mill in Salem. The nearest corn mill was to the east on the Brushy Fork, near the future City Memorial Hospital. Her mother would put a side saddle on a gentle horse, put a bushel of corn on the saddle, then plop Lottie on top of the load. The horse knew where it was going; the men at the mill knew who they were; when the grinding was done, Lottie would pay them and return safely to home.

She said that at age nine she entered the Salem Female Academy, but that her mother died the very next year, so she had to drop out and help her sister keep house for their father. When Joshua married Peggy Tise not long afterward, Lottie went back to Salem, joined the church and moved into the Single Sister’s house. There she would remain for several years, but she always had her eye on the man that she had grown up with in Liberty, who she knew would eventually become her husband.

On December 30, 1851, she married that man, Sim White, and they moved to Winston where she began keeping house for herself, Sim and their children. In 1891, they moved from the courthouse square to Pond Street, now Green Street. She had lived there for 24 years, contented and happy, with nothing to regret as she looked back over a long, well-spent life, with her children, grand children and great grand children all living nearby.

Charlotte Elizabeth “Lottie” Rights White, Friday, March 19, 1915, two days before her death.

The story, with picture, ran in the Sentinel on Tuesday, March 23, 1915. There was an editor’s note: “The interview with Mrs. White was obtained last Friday. As will be noted in our news columns, Mrs. White died Sunday morning.”

As always, click the pics for larger size…not always available.

At the height of the Great Depression, the Works Progress Administration did much to relieve the worst of the suffering for working people. It also provided many communities with much needed public amenities, some of which would have a long term effect for the citizens.

George W. Coan

In 1936, Twin Citizen George W. Coan, who had just served three terms as mayor of the city, became  the state administrator for the brand new WPA. Someone suggested that the city of Winston-Salem pursue a WPA grant to build a multipurpose stadium for sports and entertainment. Planning began immediately. Eventually, it was determined that such a facility would cost about $200,000. Since the WPA would pay half, the locals would have to find $100,000.

That amount was soon forthcoming…Natalie Lyons Gray offered to put up a significant amount as a memorial to her late husband, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company executive Bowman Gray. The board of directors of R.J.R. donated a suitable tract of land southeast of downtown. A committee comprising Mayor William T. Wilson, aldermen J. Wilbur Crews and Luther E. Martin, sportswriter Frank Spencer and RJR executive Bowman Gray, Jr. was appointed to oversee design and construction. Local architect Hall Crews and public works commissioner R. Allen Thomas designed the stadium.

Architect Hall Crews and public works director Allen Thompson worked together on the design, but it was Thompson, who spent hundreds of hours on the project, who truly created Bowman Gray Stadium.

Ground was broken on March 31, 1937. The stadium was completed in January, 1938, with only landscaping left to do. The initial seating capacity was just over 12,000. Wally Dunham, a recent UNC graduate, was appointed director of the new stadium.

Wally Dunham graduated from UNC in 1937 with a degree in education. He played on the varsity football team for four years and won the 165 pound intramural boxing championship three times. His son, Wally, Jr. would become a star athlete at Reynolds High School in the 1950s.

 

First event held at Bowman Gray Stadium, Mozart Club, May 1, 1938

The first event held in the new Bowman Gray Stadium, on Bowman Gray’s birthday, May 1, was a music festival sponsored by the local Mozart Club which filled the entire west side of the stadium. It featured Moravian brass bands and choirs from a number of local churches and schools. Two weeks later, the Twin City Medical Society, an organization of black doctors, held a similar sized gathering to celebrate, with thousands of their white friends, the completion of the Kate Bitting Reynolds hospital.

The second event at Bowman Gray was put on by the black Twin City Medical Society to celebrate the impending opening of the Kate Bitting Reynolds Hospital, one of the first in the South for black patients in the Jim Crow era. Left to right in the pic: J.W. Paisley; Rev. R.L. File; George W. Hill; Rev. G.J. Thomas; Lucy A. Dillard, RN; W. Avery Jones; Essie O. Donohue; C.A. Eaton, MD; Peter Hairston; Jack Atkins; and C.A. Erwin. Leet O’Brien, partner in the firm North & O’Brien, was the design architect for the hospital.

On October 22, Duke and Wake Forest played the first football game in the stadium. The unscored upon Blue Devils emerged with a 7-0 win before a sold out crowd. Duke went on to complete a 9-0 season, undefeated, untied and unscored upon, the first time that had happened since 1932. The “Iron Dukes” would extend their unscored upon stretch until the final minute of the Rose Bowl, when Southern Cal finally made a touchdown for a 7-3 win.

The first football game at Bowman Gray…George Wirtz, Wake Forest quarterback and captain, at left in light jersey, returns a punt for 30 yards…the Demon Deacons threatened several times, but the “iron Dukes” held and emerged the winner, 7-0. The Howler, Wake Forest yearbook, 1939

On November 5, Catawba defeated Elon 20-6 in the stadium to win the North State Conference championship. On November 19, Bluefield State, of West Virginia, defeated North Carolina A&T 13-0 in a driving rainstorm. That would be the first of hundreds of games played at Bowman Gray by historically black college teams. In fact, the very next game, on December 10, involved two more HBCUs, South Carolina State and Livingstone College, with the Aggies taking a 19-0 win. But the biggest game of the early years had to wait for November 11 the following year, when Davidson hosted UNC at the stadium. There was a parade downtown that morning, featuring the UNC and Davidson and several high school marching bands. And after the game, there was a dance at the Forest Hills Smokehouse with Charlie Wood and his orchestra. Big event, it was.

South Carolina State goes over the top for a TD to defeat Livingstone in the fourth college football game played at Bowman Gray, December 10, 1938.

But first, in the spring and summer of 1939, a number of other events would be held in the new stadium. In June, the city and the Winston-Salem Journal & Sentinel began a series of weekly concerts of spiritual, popular, folk and classical music, called “Melody in Moonlight”, which drew big crowds. Announced for August 29 was a jitterbug contest.

That led to the first deliberate mixed race audience in stadium history. But Jim Crow was on the job. Black spectators would confine themselves to the east stands, with white spectators in the west stands. The problem was that 18,000 people showed up, overflowing onto the field and the color line broke down. It would be the largest crowd of spectators in stadium history until the mid-1950s.

22 white dancers from across the state competed to recorded music: “Little Brown Jug”, “Woodchoppers Ball”, “Knock-Kneed Sal”. After each round, the “judges”, who included Wally Dunham, the stadium manager, held their hands over each couple and let the crowd’s cheers determine who got to continue. “Handlers” sponged down the sweating survivors and the contest continued. Frank Alspaugh and Mildred Weaver won the first prize of $10.

Lib Palmer was the star of the 1938 RJRHS tennis team, graduated from Women’s College and spent much of her adult life as the executive secretary to R. B. Crawford, chairman of the board of the Hanes Hosiery Company

The turnout was so surprising that WSJS radio joined the newspaper in sponsoring a second contest the next week for black dancers. The crowd was about the same size, and the black competitors danced to two live black bands, Doc Cromwells Broadcasters and “Swing” Tomlin and the Five Jinks. Doc Cromwell’s sensational girl singer Virgie Brown entertained between rounds. The dancers split, pecked, hoisted and hipped until the winner was determined. Dorothy Watkins, a high school student, and James Warren, a section manager at RJR Tobacco, won the $10 first prize. The $5 second prize went to Mabel Ledbetter and Ralph Carter. And Lilian Bird and Welborn Stroud, a janitor, took $2.50 for third place.

Left to right, Bill Walters, Detroit; Clarence Traxler, Norwalk, OH; and Bud Rosenberg, Toledo, OH, pose with their cars at Bowman Gray Stadium on August 31, 1939. They are on the east straightaway of the cinder running track.

On Friday, September 1, 1939, the Winston-Salem Jaycees sponsored a set of midget car races on the cinder running track at Bowman Gray. World Champion Johnny Wohlfiel dominated the evening by winning one of the six lap heats, a ten lapper and the 15 lap feature. Between races, the winners of the August 29 jitterbug contest entertained the crowd. Pleased by the turnout, estimated at 5,000, the Jaycees announced more racing the following week. The series ended after three weeks. The cars had done significant damage to the track and the football field and midget racing would not return to Bowman Gray until 1947, when the track was finally paved.

Bud Rosenberg (#52 on the inside) prepares to pass slower traffic at Bowman Gray, September 1, 1939

A week later, the first high school football games were played at the stadium, a double header on September 22, 1939, which drew a crowd of over 6,000. In the first game, Children’s Home rolled over South (soon to be Gray) High School, 27-0. In the night cap, Reynolds blew out Hanes 35-0. From then well into the 1960s, Children’s Home, Reynolds, Gray, Hanes, Atkins, Carver and other high school teams would play an average of more than 20 high school games a year there, sometimes, in the 1950s, to crowds of 17,000 or more.

On December 17, 1940, WILM radio in Wilmington did a live broadcast from the 6th annual Tobacco Growers Christmas party held at the stadium. 20,000 tobacco farmers and tobacco executives attended. September 8-10, 1941, Bowman Gray hosted the annual convention of the National Boxing and Wrestling Association. 42 rounds of boxing, a sparring exhibition by Billy Conn and a single wrestling match provided the entertainment at the stadium. Among the thousands on hand to watch were Ken Overlin, who had just surrendered his middleweight world title and the legendary Jack Dempsey himself. Tickets were sold through the Bobbitt drug outlets at the Reynolds and Nissen Buildings and the Hotel Robert E. Lee.

Handsome Billy Conn starred in his own biopic, “The Pittsburgh Kid”, 1941. In his heavyweight championship fight, “the best fight ever”, that year, he had a comfortable lead over Joe Louis after 12 rounds. All he needed to do was avoid the Brown Bomber’s thunderous right for three rounds and he was the heavyweight champion of the world. But trying to impress the blonde at ringside, Billy went for the knockout. Louis put him down for the count. He later told a reporter “I lost my mind, and a million dollars.” He eventually won the blonde and a rematch with the champ, who knocked him out again. But on the comeback trail to the rematch, he did a four round exhibition with his sparring partner at Bowman Gray in September, 1941.

 

Overlin, right, vs Crawford

 

Jack Dempsey was on hand to watch

There would be a number of other boxing events over the years, but the biggest by far would occur in 1952. That year, Twin City boxer Joe McFadden, a former football star at Atkins High School, began his climb to a heavyweight boxing championship match. In New York, he met Joe Louis, the Brown Bomber, who still holds the record for the longest reign as world heavyweight boxing champion. Louis agreed to give him a a leg up by coming to Winston-Salem for an exhibition match at Bowman Gray under the lights.

Twin Citizen Joe McFadden, left, takes on the #1 heavyweight contender Roland Lastrza at the legendary St. Nicholas Arena in New York, spring, 1952.

Louis had not been in the ring for a year, so was out of shape and a bit sluggish. McFadden went right at Louis in the first round. But when the bell rang for the third, Lewis came out slugging. Those on hand said that it was as good a fight as anyone could have hoped for. At the end, the two boxers embraced. When Louis took off his gloves, it was for the last time in his life anywhere in the world, so Bowman Gray was Joe Louis’s last stand.

Joe McFadden, left, mixes it up with the great Joe Louis in an exhibition match at Bowman Gray Stadium, 1952. It would be the Brown Bomber’s last ring appearance.

An informal poll of sportswriters at ringside gave McFadden the first round, scored the second even, and gave Louis the last two, but it didn’t really matter because it was merely an exhibition. There was no winner or loser. Shortly afterward, McFadden’s hopes were ended by a TKO loss to the undefeated Cleveland Williams at the Municipal Stadium in Philadelphia. He went on to a thirty year career as a highly respected member of the Winston-Salem Police Department.

Shortly after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the US Navy realized that they would need to increase the number of Navy pilots at least ten-fold right away. To that end, in early 1942, they established four new Navy pre-flight training centers at Athens, GA; Chapel Hill, NC; Iowa City, IA and St. Mary’s, CA, all located on college campuses. The centers would function as a one year condensed version of college, offering courses ranging from basic military training to physics and navigation.

The Chapel Hill center quickly established branches at NC State and Duke. Since physical fitness was a must for carrier pilots, all three soon created full college level sports programs and the “Ration Conference” for them to play in. All would field teams in basketball, baseball, boxing and other sports, competing against each other, other pre-flight schools and college teams across the nation. Chapel Hill would also field a football team, known as the “Cloudbusters”. The Navy established a newspaper, “The Cloudbuster”, which covered all aspects of the NC centers.

On September 12, 1942, the Chapel Hill Cloudbusters football team, which featured future Alabama legend Bear Bryant as an assistant coach, played their first game at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem. The team was made up of college players from everywhere, so was still struggling to get in synch with itself. Nevertheless, they managed to beat Catawba College 13-2. They would go on to defeat such contemporary powers as Harvard and Syracuse before losing their final game to Fordham, 6-0, at Yankee Stadium, having compiled an 8-2-1 record.

WSTC club football team, 1927

Since at least the 1920s, Winston-Salem Teachers College had been represented by club football teams, but in 1942, the college officially sponsored its first football team. The first game was played at Bowman Gray Stadium on October 3, 1942 against West Virginia State College. The West Virginians won that one, 19-0.

Winston-Salem Journal, Thursday October 1, 1942

 

1945 WSTC football team. Head coach Brutus Wilson is at far right. Far left, rookie assistant coach Clarence E. Gaines.

In 1945, Clarence Gaines, a two-time All-American football player, graduated from Morgan State University with a degree in chemistry. He had planned to go directly to dental school, but his coach at Morgan talked him into giving coaching a try. So Clarence became the assistant to Howard “Brutus” Wilson, another Morgan grad who was the head coach of all sports at Winston-Salem Teachers College.

WSTC (red and white striped helmets) vs Johnson C. Smith, 1946. The field house can be faintly seen to the left of #40, with the scoreboard above to the right. Digital Forsyth

 

WSTC cheerleaders on a rainy day at the stadium, 1946

Their 1945 football team went 0-7-1 and Wilson moved to Shaw University, leaving Clarence, at age 23, the head coach of all sports and the athletics director at the Twin City school. In his third season, 1948, at age 26, Clarence guided his football team to an 8-1 record and was named the CIAA football coach of the year.

Arthur Nick Pappas was almost certainly, at 83 pounds, the smallest person to score points in a high school or above football game at Bowman Gray. Black & Gold, 1944

On November 6, 1943, the Black Demons of Reynolds High School thrashed Burlington high 34-0 under the lights. The last point of the game was scored by RJR’s 83 pound place kicker Arthur Pappas. In 1945, the Winston-Salem Jaycees created a new post-season football game, the Piedmont Bowl. The first two years, it pitted the Winston-Salem All-Stars, drawn from the Reynolds, Gray and Hanes high teams and Children’s Home; against Greensboro high. The All-Stars won the first year, 20-6. The second game was a 6-6 tie. After that, the game became a matchup between the two best teams that had not played each other during the regular season. In 1947, Fayetteville High defeated Children’s Home 20-0 before a crowd of 9,000. Two years later, Children’s Home would get its first Piedmont Bowl win under legendary coach Wilburn Clary by edging Salisbury Boyden 7-6.

The second Piedmont Bowl promised an added attraction…the bowl queen would be delivered to the stadium by helicopter…the first ever night landing in a stadium…but that was not to be…the Saturday night game was “fogged out”…so the game was moved to Monday afternoon…

The helicopter shown in the newspaper ad was a Kaman twin rotor…but on Monday, the bowl queen was delivered by a US Navy Sikorsky R-6. Seen left to right, Barbara Cook, Gray High; Sam Dorsett, president of the JCs; queen Lettie June Vernon of Hanes High; Navy Lieutenant George Reeves, the pilot; and Peggy Wingate of RJ Reynolds High.

1946 Piedmont Bowl…Whirlwind star Jim Breedon (#34) is hauled down by B.T. Henderson’s flying tackle…Digital Forsyth

The second Piedmont Bowl in 1946 was one of the most exciting football games ever played at the stadium. The Greensboro Whirlwind scored early and held a 6-0 lead all afternoon. With time running out, the All-Stars got one last chance, starting from their own 20. Gray High quarterback J.R. Jones found Reynolds back Glenn Clubb at the Greensboro 40. First down. The local crowd was pumped. But then disaster struck. Jones was sacked on the next three plays. That and a penalty put the Twin City boys on their own 48 with time for one more snap.

1946 Piedmont Bowl heroes

As Jones faded back for his last pass, his cousin, Paul Jones and Reynolds end B.T. Henderson battled to get open deep in Whirlwind territory. Finally, J.R. launched a desperation heave. Cousin Paul leaped above the defenders and came down with the ball at the 23. He shrugged off one tackler, but another was directly in his path to the goal. B.T. Henderson took that defender out with a perfect block and Paul Jones waltzed into the end zone. The point after touchdown failed, but the Twin Citizens were saved from defeat.

In 1950, the Piedmont Bowl, influenced by new R.J. Reynolds high coach John Tandy, a recent UNC football star from New Jersey who had northeastern connections, changed its format. They invited the Massachusetts state champion Concord high team, which had just completed its fifth consecutive undefeated season, to play in the Twin City. R.J. Reynolds high got its first Piedmont Bowl bid, which created a problem, because RJR star Sonny Ridenhour had also been selected for the Shrine Bowl in Charlotte, pitting all-star squads from North and South Carolina against each other. Ridenhour had to make a choice. He chose his RJR teammates, which turned out to be good for the home team and the state in general. On December 1, Ridenhour electrified a crowd of 11,000 at Bowman Gray by returning the opening kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown. Late in the game, his teammates threw up a determined goal line stand to preserve a 14-13 victory, ending Concord’s 48 game winning streak.

RJRHS’s Sonny Ridenhour bedazzles undefeated Concord, MA in the Piedmont Bowl, December, 1950, ending their 48 game winning streak

Concord went undefeated the following year as well, winning yet another Massachusetts state title, then returned to Bowman Gray to defeat the unbeaten Wilmington New Hanover state champions, led by yet another legendary coach, Leon Brogden, 20-13 . The soon to be great Sonny Jurgenson was the backup quarterback on the New Hanover team. By then, the Piedmont Bowl had raised over $78,000 for the Winston-Salem and Forsyth County peace officers pension fund. Inspired by that success, other high school bowl games began popping up, including the Hosiery Bowl in Graham and the Smoky Mountain Bowl in Bryson City. But at that point, the NC School Board decided to ban post season games involving NC high schools.

After much scrambling, a number of false starts and a good bit of lawyering, the Jayceees managed to put on a game on December 9, 1952 at Bowman Gray between a team from Lowell, MA and yet another Winston-Salem All-Star team. They got away with that, so repeated on December 5, 1953 when Fork Union Military Academy of Virginia defeated the W-S All-Stars 14-7. On December 4, 1954, the Winston-Salem high school All-Stars battled the Forsyth County high school All-Stars at 8 PM at Bowman Gray. But that was the last year for high schoolers in the Piedmont Bowl. As we shall see, the Jaycees had come up with a better way to raise money for retired cops.

1954 RJRHS homecoming…Peggy Holder and Jim Chatham lead the homecoming court onto the field at halftime…Black & Gold, 1955

In March, 1947, Lou Franco announced the formation of the Carolinas-Virginia midget automobile racing circuit involving six cities: Norfolk, Roanoke, Charlotte, Raleigh, Columbia, SC, and Winston-Salem. Midget cars had run three races under the sponsorship of the local Junior Chamber of Commerce at Bowman Gray in the summer of 1939. The racing series brought good crowds to Bowman Gray, but there was a serious problem. The 1/4 mile track around the football field was made of cinders, intended, like almost all tracks around football fields, for track and field competition. The midget cars did significant damage to the track and also to the football field.

But Franco had a solution. On June 1, 1947, the Bowman Gray track was paved with asphalt at a cost of about $2,000. Franco agreed to reimburse the city with installment payments as his racing series continued .

During the first race on the newly paved track in 1947, at least one driver ended up facing in the wrong direction

The Bowman Gray races would be held on Friday nights. 24 drivers showed up for the first race on June 6. Bill Frick of Paterson, NJ and Larry Varier of Miami placed one-two in the opening show before a crowd of about 8,000. That first year, the midget racers established the first “ladies’ night” at the stadium, with a half price admission for the fair sex. The midget races would continue into 1948, when the league folded, leaving a portion of the paving cost yet unpaid.

Meanwhile, from May 12-16, 1948 the Piedmont Festival of Music and Arts presented music at Bowman Gray and drama and opera at the RJ Reynolds High School auditorium. This was the beginning of the movement to establish the nation’s first local Arts Council, which came to fruition in 1949.

On April 25, 1949, a custom designed DC-6 landed at Smith Reynolds Airport. As some local dignitaries and a handful of curious spectators watched, the crew of one of America’s most popular radio shows emerged. Billy Farrell, singer; Irene Ryan, comedienne; Les Brown, band leader; Doris Day, the hottest new blond singer and comic actress in the nation. And Bob Hope.

Doris Day and Bob Hope

Hope was whisked away for a few holes of golf at a local country club. The others snacked and napped. After dark, they took the stage at Bowman Gray stadium and put on a rousing show. But the weather was unseasonably cold, temps in the 40s. And the publicity had not been all that good. The city was caught up in the grand celebration of the centennial of the founding of Forsyth County. So a meager crowd of about 1.500 watched Hope crack jokes about the weather and the meager crowd. And they watched Doris shiver and rub her arms in her little sundress as she sang “Cruising Down the River” and other tunes. When the show ended, the cast hung out for a bit in the lobby of the Hotel Robert E. Lee, chatting with locals and country singer Roy Acuff, who happened to be staying there that night. Then they returned to the airport, boarded their DC-6 and departed for another place.

US Marine F4U Corsairs stream above the Journal & Sentinel Building, 1949

 

Three weeks later, after a year of planning and preparation, on May 12, 1949, local citizens celebrated the 100th anniversary of the founding of Forsyth County. There were art exhibits, concerts, choral performances and a big parade, featuring flyovers by four US Army F-80 Shooting Star Jets and the 2nd US Marine Air Wing, 32 Vaught F4U Corsair fighter planes. Local police estimated that 150,000 people attended the parade.

Joe “Vinciata” King was the ringmaster for the county centennial…here seen with UNC football star Charlie “Choo Choo” Justice and world famous super model Leslie Ames, formerly known as Martha Pfaff, RJR High School cheerleader

Leslie Ames, 1952

But the big event, Forsythorama, an outdoor pageant and historic spectacular with a cast of over 500 local actors, actresses, singers, dancers, jugglers, acrobats, etc, was held at Bowman Gray Stadium that night at 8 PM before a huge crowd. Forsythorama was based on “A Lantern in the Pines”, a story by local author Thomas I. Carroll, which detailed the century long history of the county.

Magnificent beasts, dancers, drama occupied four stages at Bowman Gray during Forsythorama, 1949

Film actress Kathryn Grayson, a Twin City native, and her husband, singer Johnny Johnston, just back from a tour of Europe, were the featured guest performers. She sang “Home Sweet Home” and he sang “Beautiful Dreamer”.

Kathryn Grayson with Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly in “Anchors Aweigh”, 1945

Stock car racing came to Forsyth County in the 1940s at the Winston-Salem (later Peace Haven) Speedway. Here, in this 1952 pic from Peace Haven we see five of the most important drivers at both Peace Haven and Bowman Gray Stadium during the first decade. Leading is #21, Glenn Wood. Second is Jim Paschal of High Point, #80. Shorty York is in the 48A car owned by Sleepy Hendrix and built by Slim Rominger. Fonty Flock of Atlanta is in #99, owned by local racer J.S. Pope, and Pee Wee Jones brings up the rear in  #9. The race was ultimately won by the one and only Bobby Myers.

Bill France

Alvin Hawkins was the co-promoter with Bill France of Bowman Gray racing and also the chief starter for NASCAR’s first super speedway race, the Southern 500, at Darlington from 1950-1961. Here we see him in 1952 signing up the first women for the stadium’s “powderpuff” races. Getty Images

In 1947, in Daytona Beach, Bill France and others incorporated the National Association for Stock Car Racing. The first NASCAR sanctioned race was held at Daytona on February 15, 1948, won by Red Byron. The first NASCAR sanctioned race in North Carolina was run on dirt at the Greensboro Fairgrounds in the spring of 1948, with another at North Wilkesboro the following week. The first NASCAR sanctioned race in Forsyth County was run on Hallowe’en Sunday, October 31, 1948 at the Winston-Salem Speedway, soon to be renamed Peace Haven Speedway. Fonty Flock won that race, with Red Byron second.

Around that same time, Bill France and his partner Alvin Hawkins approached the city of Winston-Salem with an offer to finish paying for paving of the race track. The first NASCAR race was run at Bowman Gray on Wednesday, May 18, 1949. The feature event was won by Atlantan Fonty Flock, whose brother Tim would become the first season track champion. By the end of that summer, the Bowman Gray races had moved to Saturday nights, where they remain to this day.

Fonty Flock won the first feature race in Forsyth County and the first feature race at Bowman Gray

 

High Point Museum

In 1952, the first “powderpuff” race for women was run at the stadium. It was won by an attractive and dainty woman named Pearl Brinkley. She dominated the early women’s racing, but was eventually challenged by a number of other first class female drivers, including Dorothy Wood, Denton; Sally Parker, Greensboro; Allie Wylie, Charlotte; Mary Murphy and Doris Martin, Roanoke; Sara Smith, Kernersville; Mary Padgett, Betty Spainhour and Pat Boyles, King; Lee Stone, Hazel Smith, Iris Randleman and Jo Brown, Winston-Salem; Mary Hull, Wallburg; Colleen Hege, Advance and Temple Nell Wilds, Stanleyville. Several wives of Bowman Gray regulars also participated: Fay Holloway (Jack Holloway); Lorene Myers (Bobby Myers), Margaret Rominger (Slim Rominger); and  Louise York (Shorty York). The women’s races were quite popular with the fans, but were largely ignored by the white male racing establishment. In the 1960s, Pearl’s son Ralph would win his first race at the stadium and go on to become one of the giants of Bowman Gray racing history.

Pearl Brinkley, left, was the first star of the powder puff derbies. Seen here with “Hot Rod Happy” Patty Jarvis of Richmond, against whom she ran several match races.

In 1954, Hawkins announced that a new event, the Tobacco Bowl race, would be held on Saturday, January 1, 1955. It rained that day, so the event was put off for a week. On January 8, Curtis Turner won the first heat, Pee Wee Jones won the second. In the inaugural 100 lap Tobacco Bowl race, after a brisk give and take, Turner pulled away from Jones on the last lap to win by 50 yards. Joe Weatherly finished third, Glenn Wood fourth and Billy Myers fifth.

But most of the excitement that day was provided by the amateur race which immediately preceded the 100 lapper. The sequence shown on the Journal’s sports page above begins with Ken Rush (#33 of High Point) exiting the track near the field house/pit area. On the very next lap, at the very same point, Clint Bodford (#97 of Winston-Salem) duplicated the feat. Bodford’s wreck looked much worse, but in the last two pictures we see him, first standing on top of the wreck to let the fans know that he was OK, then pointing out the damage to Old 97. All of the pictures were taken by Journal photographer Frank Jones (who else?), so we have actual pix of the incident. In the real photos, as we see Bodford going over the rail, we can see the sportsman cars waiting for their turn in the background. Sitting on top of #9 is the owner/builder of that car, Frank Steelman, Jr. It was that car, driven by Pee Wee Jones, that would press Turner to the end in the inaugural Tobacco Bowl race. A year later, Turner would repeat his performance, this time barely nosing out Jones.

Pee Wee would win five consecutive stadium championships from 1956 – 1960, the longest string ever, then came back to win a sixth in 1967. His only rivals for the all-time Bowman Gray best title are Ralph Brinkley, who won eight titles between 1973 and 1987, but never more than three in a row, and the current top dogs, Tim Brown, who won 10 championships between 1996 and 2015, and Burt Myers, who won 8 between 1999 and 2017. Brown won three in a row, 1996-98. He is the only driver other than Jones and Brinkley to achieve that record.

Pee Wee Jones

 

Ralph Earnhardt, father of NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt, ran many races at Bowman Gray

 

Jack Thomasson won quite a few races at Bowman Gray under his “racing alias” Perk Brown

In 1958, NASCAR ran the first of 29 Grand National championship races at the stadium. That was the top division of NASCAR, eventually becoming the Winston Cup, now the Monster Energy Cup. Rex White won six of those races, Glenn Wood, Richard Petty and Junior Johnson won four each, David Pearson won three and Bobby Allison won two. All of those drivers are in the NASCAR Hall of Fame, as are other Bowman Gray winners Ned Jarrett, Lee Petty, Richie Evans and Jerry Cook.

Rex White won six Grand National races at Bowman Gray

 

Junior Johnson won four Grand National races at Bowman Gray, as did Glenn Wood and Richard Petty

 

Paul Radford, seen here in his “driving suit”, won his 55th race at the stadium at age 55. His record would stand for several years until broken by Ralph Brinkley in 1990.

Ralph Brinkley, who broke Radford’s stadium record, tells a racing story

Now, back to football. In July, 1955, the Winston-Salem Jaycees announced that the Piedmont Bowl would be making a small transition, from high school to professional football, and with a slight date change from December to September. And so began a six year run of NFL exhibition games between the Washington Redskins and the Green Bay Packers at Bowman Gray. The Redskins would be the home team for the game.

The Kembly Inn, off Cloverdale, was the local home of the Washington Redskins for six years. Digital Forsyth

Each year, the Redskins arrived in the Twin City up to three weeks before the Piedmont Bowl game. They worked out daily at the new Wake Forest College campus site off Reynolda Road. They stayed at the Kembly Inn, on Cloverdale. And they ate their meals at the Baptist Hospital cafeteria. Kurt Maunder was the manager of the cafeteria. His food was both delicious and healthful.

Curt Maunder

The Packers made their pregame headquarters in Greensboro at the legendary Oaks Motel, one of the few places during the Jim Crow era that welcomed black customers…among the most famous: Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, James Brown, Mahalia Jackson, Martin Luther King, Jimi Hendrix. They worked out on the Greensboro Senior high (now Grimsley) field.

In the first game on September 11, 1955 before a crowd of 13,000 in drizzling rain, tiny 5-7 Redskin quarterback Eddie LeBaron and tall 6-3 Redskin receiver Billy Cox, a former Duke quarterback from Mt. Airy who had been converted from passer to catcher, put on one of the most thrilling comebacks in stadium history.

Billy Cox was an all-star at Mount Airy High and played against Choo Choo Justice at Duke

With six minutes to play, the Packers held a seemingly insurmountable 31-19 lead. But LeBaron connected three times with Cox, the third being a touchdown to cut the margin to 31-26. Moments later, LeBaron hit Cox again, but Billy fell just shy of the Packer goal. There were only fifteen ticks left on the clock. LeBaron cooly hustled his teammates into line, took the snap and sneaked the last six inches into the end zone as time expired. Skins 33, Packers 31.

Eddie LeBaron, right, with Choo Choo Justice and Cleveland Browns Hall of Famer Otto Graham

Reynolds High majorettes sheltering from the drizzle at the first Redskins-Packers matchup, 1955

The Skins won the next two out of three, but by 1959, Vince Lombardi had taken over at Green Bay, so when the series ended in 1960, the W-L total stood at 3-3. The final year, Lombardi, of southern Italian ancestry and so naturally olive skinned, and tanned by his outdoor profession, was refused service at a Jim Crow Winston-Salem restaurant. He never said a word about it in public, but he was done with the Twin City.

Vince Lombardi before he was famous

On September 29, 1956, Wake Forest College played their first official home game at Bowman Gray. They outplayed the Maryland Terrapins all day long, but wound up on the short end of a 6-0 score. The lone bright spot was Billy Ray Barnes, who rushed for 166 yards on his way to a 1,010 yard season. The Demon Deacons would claim Bowman Gray as their home until the second Groves Stadium opened in 1968.

Billy Ray Barnes rips off yardage against Maryland, 1956. The Howler, 1957

Saturday, November 5, 1960 was a busy day at Bowman Gray Stadium. The afternoon promised the most anticipated college football game in the stadium’s history, a showdown between the ACC’s two best quarterbacks, Roman Gabriel of NC State and the Demon Deacons’ Norman Snead. Both would go on to Hall of Fame careers in the NFL, but Sunday morning found local citizens still arguing about who was the better of the two. The verdict would have to wait for Carlton Byrd’s column in the Monday Sentinel.

Bobby Allen snares a Norman Snead TD pass during the great quarterback showdown, 1960

Meanwhile, another huge game was scheduled for the evening. It was homecoming weekend at Winston-Salem State Teachers College. The opponent was St. Augustines, a team that had recently spoiled a couple of Ram homecoming celebrations. There was the usual exuberant parade in the morning, wending its way through downtown. By evening, a cold drizzle was falling, but it could not put a damper on the Rams’ Revenge. The Guthries were the answer…Charles at quarterback and Nelson at halfback…both of whom proved to be a mystery to the Falcons’ defense. With Charles throwing and Nelson running, WSSTC scored on every possession in the first half except the last, when time ran out before they could do it again. With the halftime score at 40-0, WSSTC coach Tank Conrad cleared his bench in the second half and the Rams cruised to a 52-0 win.

Nelson Guthrie making ground against St. Augustines, 1960

At its peak around 1960, Bowman Gray was hosting at least 15 high school, ten college and one professional football game per year. Throw in the odd playoff game here and there and the annual total was around 30 games…say about 600 games in all between the early 1940s and the late 1960s. Today, that number stands at over 800 games, about 1/3 involving local high school teams and another 1/3 involving HBCU teams. Add in over 1,000 NASCAR sponsored races, and you’ve got quite a busy schedule. But it is the “other” elements, music and band festivals, Joe Louis’s last four rounds in the ring, tobacco farmers, jitterbuggers, the Soap Box Derby, and at least one mule race, which I witnessed but cannot yet document, that give Bowman Gray Stadium its true local flavor.

The Gray High School Dixie Debs and the Dancing Boots from RJRHS put on a joint performance at Bowman Gray in 1962. Digital Forsyth

 

The Ram band enters the stadium in the rain, 1968. Digital Forsyth

Oh, and about that TV series “Madhouse”. Some want you to think that the title came from today’s goings on at the NASCAR races. But that craziness has been around since the early days. In fact, it is far toned down from the time when a fist fight or two between drivers on the infield was pretty much standard fare every Saturday night. Not to mention the night that Bobby Myers went looking for Curtis Turner with a tire tool in hand.

Curtis Turner, left

 

Bobby Myers

In the early 1950s, Bill France and Alvin Hawkins came up with a great idea. Since the starting positions were decided by qualifying speeds, the first heat of each night began with the fastest cars in front, so not much fun. They decided that the second heat starting positions would be reversed, so that the slowest cars would begin in the lead. That led to a crazy chase as the faster drivers struggled to get by the slower ones on the narrow 1/4 mile track. And that became known as the “madhouse scramble”, by far the most popular race for all kids, and most adults as well, who would later become loyal Bowman Gray racing fans.

Billy Myers died of a heart attack while leading the feature race at Bowman Gray, April 12, 1958. His brother Bobby had been killed in a crash at the Darlington Southern 500 the previous year.

srp2018

Summer Reading is just around the corner! This year Summer Reading will take place between June 8th and July 27th. We wanted to let you know about this fun annual event at all branches of the Forsyth County Public Library and what programs we have coming up for you in the North Carolina Collection.  Visit the Summer Reading page on the Library’s website for suggested reading lists, event calendars, and reading logs. Reading logs will be available at the start of Summer Reading on June 8th.

We have three programs coming up for the summer months. The first is a High School Yearbook Reunion on Thursday, June 14th from 10 am to 12 pm in the North Carolina Collection. We will have yearbooks from local high schools available for viewing. Bring your memories to share and reminisce about your school days!

The second program is Creating Family Oral Histories on Tuesday, June 19th from 3-4 pm in the Computer Learning Center. This program will teach you how to interview and record conversations with family members and how to preserve the sound recordings for future generations.

The third program is Genealogy and Your DNA on Thursday, July 12 from 10-11 am in the Computer Learning Center. Learn what your DNA does and does not tell you about your genealogy and how genealogy DNA tests differ.

We also have staff and volunteers available to help you with genealogy questions. Our Local History & Genealogy Program calendar has dates and times for Genealogy Help and program information too.  Print it out or pick one up in the North Carolina Collection research room the next time you visit the Central Library.

Call the North Carolina Collection at 336-703-3070 if you have questions about any of our programs. We look forward to seeing you at the Library this summer!

SummerReading2018NCC

As always, click the pix for full size. I am not a big fan of colorizing old monochrome photographs, but still have an interest in the process and try to keep up with the latest algorithms. The images in this post have been colorized using Algorithma’s most recent update.

 

The question seemed simple. “How did Depot Street in Winston become Patterson Avenue?” I knew the answer, but of course, it was nowhere near as simple as I thought it would be.

Depot Street originally extended only two blocks, from Second Street to Belews Creek. By the early 1880s, it had been opened northward to Liberty Street.

Rufus Lenoir Patterson

Image from Archive.org

Rufus Lenoir Patterson was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, but during his lifetime he turned the spoon gold.  His father was a wealthy planter from Caldwell County and also served as the North Carolina state treasurer and the president of the Raleigh & Gaston Railroad. His mother was the daughter of Edmund Jones, a powerful Wilkes County politician; her brother, Edmund W. Jones, became a power in Caldwell as well. And Rufus’s brother Samuel served for a time as the NC commissioner of agriculture.

After graduating from the University of North Carolina, Rufus studied law under the legendary John A. Gilmer, but he never practiced, instead deciding to marry Marie Louise “Mary” Morehead, the daughter of former governor John Motley Morehead. After a bit of misdirection, in the early 1850s, in partnership with his father-in-law, he bought the recently failed Salem Cotton Manufacturing Company and converted it to a grist mill. Eventually he also owned and operated a cotton mill and a paper mill as well.

In 1860, he was adamantly opposed to secession, but like many others, knuckled under to enormous pressure and voted for secession in 1861. But during the war he was a vocal critic of the Confederate government. Mary Patterson died in 1862. In 1864, Rufus married Mary E. Fries, the daughter of Salem industrialist Francis Levin Fries.

Rufus Patterson house, Factory Row…Old Salem Museums & Gardens

After the war, he entered a number of partnerships with Francis Fries’ brother Henry R. Fries and son Henry W. Fries, primarily in the area of textile and paper mills. He was also involved in railroads, becoming a director of both the Western North Carolina and Northwestern North Carolina lines, and treasurer of the latter. In 1874, he was appointed to the board of trustees of his alma mater, the University of North Carolin. At that time, the school had been closed for several years. Rufus was one of those who worked very hard to reopen the nation’s oldest state university.

In the early 1850s, Rufus Patterson and his father-in-law purchased the defunct Salem Cotton Manufacturing company and converted it to a grist mill. Rufus would later operate cotton mills and a paper mill. Old Salem Museums & Gardens

A number of his children found great success as college professors, inventors and business founders. But the second child of his marriage to Mary Morehead, Jesse Lindsay Patterson, is the one of interest here. Rufus Patterson died on July 15, 1879 at age 49 and is buried in Salem Cemetery.

Jesse Lindsay Patterson

Image from Archive.org

Jesse Lindsay Patterson was born May 16, 1858, the second child of Rufus and Mary Morehead Patterson. He attended the Boys School in Salem, the prestigious Finley High School in Lenoir and graduated from Davidson College in 1878, second in his class. He passed the NC state bar in 1881 and began a 41 year law practice in Winston-Salem. On September 6, 1888, he married Lucy Bramlette Patterson, who he had first met while she was attending the Salem Female Academy.

Jesse was known for his elequent courtroom arguments. One of his most famous trials dragged on for years and required several appearances before the state Supreme Court to decide the ownership of the knob on top of Pilot Mountain. But the case that made him famous involved the attempt, in 1901, by the Conservative controlled legislature to impeach two Republican justices of the state Supreme Court. His final argument before the NC Senate is still considered to be the greatest speech ever delivered there and is still read in law schools. Both defendants were acquitted on all charges.

In April, 1891, a group of Roanoke, VA and Winston-Salem businessmen who knew each other from their efforts to build the Roanoke & Southern railroad to Winston organized the North Winston Development Company. The officers were R.J. Reynolds, president; H.R. Starbuck, vice-president and secretary; and J. Lindsay Patterson, treasurer. They purchased 200 acres of land north of the Winston limit, along the Richmond & Danville and Roanoke & Southern railroad tracks. At the same time, Lindsay Patterson bought several dozen acres adjacent to the other tract to the east at the northern end of Depot Street. That area would come to be known as the Bramlette Addition. The two companies petitioned the Forsyth County Commissioners to build a new road, extending Depot Street north of Liberty Street into their area. The commissioners agreed that the road could be built, but not with their money. They did agree to lend a bit of money to the project, at six percent interest. Lindsay Patterson went to Raleigh and convinced the state legislature to put up $300 more for the project.

By October of the following year, they were ready for their first auction sale. Their flier mentioned that already operating on the property were a furniture factory, a bedspring and mattress factory and a wood working plant, with the opening of the high tech Kester Machine Works due to come on line any minute. The auction was judged a success, with 38 lots sold at an average price of $113. A second sale was scheduled a few weeks later.

The precise date of construction is currently unknown, but at about that time, Lucy Bramlette Patterson built a grand house on the new street at the center of a two block long section between Fourteenth and Sixteenth Streets. She named it “Bramlette”, after her mother’s family, and the name soon became attached to the entire area. The central house was three stories, with a two story ell in the back. Single story porches adorned the front and both sides, while the back had a two story Bermuda style porch. The new street would be listed in city directories for about twenty years as “Bramlette Addition” before it was officially designated as Patterson Avenue. And the portion south of Liberty would remain Depot Street until 1921. But right away, “Bramlette” became an important center of social and intellectual life in the Twin City.

Lindsay Patterson died on November 6, 1922 and is buried in Salem Cemetery.

Lucy Bramlette Patterson

Lucy Bramlette Patterson was born at Castle Rock, her mother’s family home, in Tazewell, TN on August 22, 1865. Her paternal grandfather, Major General Robert Patterson had fought in the War of 1812, the Mexican War and the Civil War (Union). Many other members of her family had distinguished themselves in a wide variety of fields, including politics and literature.

Like her mother before her, she attended the Salem Female Academy. But unlike her mother, who received, at best, a certificate of attendance, she received an actual diploma. In 1878, the Academy, under the direction of their first “senior teacher”, Emma Lehman, granted their first high school diplomas. Four years later, Lucy Bramlette Patterson got hers.

While at the academy, she met a young man with the same last name as hers, Patterson, as in Jesse Lindsay, who had just graduated number two in his class at Davidson College. They were not related, but there was definitely a spark of interest.

Bramlette, c 1893. Original Image from NC Digital Collections

Lucy returned to her home in Tennessee while Lindsay was beginning his long and successful legal career. But eventually the spark expanded into a flame and they were married on September 6, 1888. Apparently, it was a match made in heaven. They had no children, but reared two orphan nieces. Lucy was known for her entertaining skills, which made Bramlette parties one of North Carolina’s most sought after invitations.

But once her house was in order, Lucy plunged into more serious matters. In May 1902, Lucy issued a call for members of various NC women’s clubs to meet on the campus of the Salem Academy. In those days, women were not encouraged to travel on their own, so only a handful showed up: Sorosis, Round Table, and Embroidery of Winston-Salem; Sorosis of Wilmington; Circulating Book Club of Salisbury; Goldsboro Women’s Club; and Alpha Club of Statesville. But they established the NC Federation of Women’s Clubs. Soon, dozens of other clubs across the state managed to join. They have been a civilizing force in the Old North State ever since. A North Carolina historic marker commemorating that meeting stands at the corner of South Main and Cemetery Streets in the Twin City. Lucy Bramlette Patterson was elected the first president.

Lucy Patterson established the “Patterson Memorial Cup”, gold on silver. Between 1905 and 1933 it was awarded to a resident of the Tar Heel state who had achieved high literary distinction. Upon its retirement, it was presented the the NC Historical Museum, and was succeeded by the “Mayflower Cup”, which would continue until 2002. Image from the NC Digital Collection

Lucy had a special interest in history and literature. She would become, along with fellow Twin Citizen Daisy Hanes and her husband R.D.W. Connor (SEE https://northcarolinaroom.wordpress.com/2014/03/09/1st-archivist-of-the-united-states/), a founder of the North Carolina Historical Commission and the North Carolina Literary and Historical Society. In 1905, she established the Patterson Memorial Cup, to be awarded when justified, for literary achievement by a North Carolinian. For several decades she published essays on a wide variety of subjects in newspapers and in the state literary magazine, “Sky-Land”.

Sky-Land magazine was one of Lucy Patterson’s most treasured projects. Its board of advisers constituted a who’s who of Tar Heelians, from governors to senators to civic leaders in every corner of the state. It was published in Winston-Salem from 1913-1916. Image from NC Digital Collections

She was the organizing regent of the Centennial Chapter (now the Joseph Winston Chapter) of the DAR, served as state regent and was twice elected as national vice-president of the DAR. She also led the DAR campaign to erect a series of markers (not to be confused with the inaccurate arrowhead markers) commemorating the life of Daniel Boone.

Lucy Patterson, Kate Bitting Reynolds and Martha Maslin pose with one of their DAR Daniel Boone markers on the campus at Salem Academy & College. Old Salem Museums & Gardens

She also served as president of the Southern Woman’s Interstate Association for the Betterment of Schools and many other education related organizations. She was state chairman of the Jamestown Historical Commission, the Ter-Centenary Shakespeare Celebration and Work Relief in Belgium. The North Carolina exhibit at the 1907 Jamestown Exposition, mostly her work, was awarded one of three silver medals for best exhibit.

After World War I, she visited the Balkan countries. She was made an honorary member of Kola Sestera, an organization for the relief of war widows and orphans. She became acquainted with many local leaders, was entertained by Queen Marie of Romania and was decorated for her relief work by King Alexander of Yugoslavia.

In 1921, she leased her two city block long estate and house for a month to the local North State Film Company. They brought in a professional producer/director and actors from New York and made a feature film, “A Giant of His Race”, a “race movie” aimed at black audiences. The many extras in the movie were mostly local black citizens. The film premiered at the Lafayette Theater on East Fourth Street, moved to the Lincoln Theater in Chicago, then began a long run in Harlem, later moving out across the nation, with at least one more local appearance.

Princess Theatre, Vicksburg, MS, December, 1921. Image from Newspapers.com

“A Giant of His Race” received positive reviews, with one critic calling it the best of the “race movies”. Unfortunately, like so many of the early silent films, the seven reels have disappeared into the ether. More on this subject can be found here: https://northcarolinaroom.wordpress.com/2017/03/14/black-hollywood-in-the-twin-city/

And in 1922, less than two years after ratification of the 19th (Suffrage) Amendment, Lucy ran for Congress in the NC 5th District against incumbent Democrat Charles M. Stedman. Colonel Stedman won by about a 2-1 margin, but he spent $1,300 on his campaign. Lucy spent $125. She would go on to serve on the Republican National Executive Committee for about twenty years, first as an associate member and finally as the national committee woman from North Carolina. Lucy died on June 20, 1942 and is buried near her birthplace in Tennessee.

So now when you’re driving on Patterson Avenue, you will have a better idea of where that name came from.

Last week, Wake Forest University students held a reception in the Central Library auditorium for the opening of their new exhibit “They Welcomed Us: Illuminating Refugee Resettlement in the Triad.” One student explained that the meaning of the title phrase “They Welcomed Us” has a double meaning. It was a phrase used by a refugee to describe their experience coming to the Triad and the response of the community. The student also explained that “They Welcomed Us” relates to how the students felt being welcomed into refugees homes while they were conducting interviews to collect oral histories of the refugee’s experiences.

The exhibit is on display outside the North Carolina Collection on the second floor at the Central Library. It will be on display through June. Please stop by and take a look at the information these students gathered with the assistance of World Relief, a humanitarian aid organization specializing in refugee resettlement in the United States and abroad. It’s a very informational exhibit that relates to the history-in-the-making of our area.

If you are a refugee who owns a business or know someone who employees refugees, we are collecting business cards to add to the exhibit. Please stop by and leave your card!