Thursday, September 16, 2010

Are you ready for some football?

How about Newton-Conover High School football...circa 1950? Courtesy of The Cardinal yearbook:

A team picture:

And, what's football without cheerleaders?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Back to School

With Catawba County schools back in session this week and the CCHA's exhibition on Catawba College now installed in the museum hallway, we'd like to share some images from our collection and from the latest book available for purchase in the gift shop, So Close to My Heart: Memories of Catawba College in Newton, North Carolina.

Classroom, circa 1880s

Library, circa 1906

Interior of a room in the men's dormitory, circa 1906

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Poker Run on Saturday

A reminder that the CCHA's first poker run, visiting historic sites throughout Catawba County, will be held on Saturday, June 19. For more information, see below or visit Murray's Mill on Facebook.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Summer reading: Truth Magazine, 1899 [part 1]

" How racy was this?"


Here are some scans from summer issues of Truth magazine from 1899. I have not been able to found a lot of information on this social commentary publication, but from what I found on PBS's History Detectives website has been quite interesting. Here's an excerpt from an interview:

Rich West: It’s a great image. This is very typical of the work that he did for “Truth” magazine in the 1890s.
Wes: I’m not familiar with “Truth” magazine.
Rich: It was a dominant 1890s publication. They called themselves “the handsomest illustrated magazine in the world.”
Wes: Oh, great!
Rich: And this is an example, I think, of why it could rightly claim that title.
Wes: So, Rich, have you seen this particular image in “Truth?”
Rich: It’s vaguely familiar to me. I may have seen it before, but I can’t really place it.
Wes: So what exactly would this have looked like in the magazine?
Rich: Well, I’m sure they had the name “Truth” up at the top that’s been trimmed off and there most certainly was a caption on the bottom that’s been lost.
Wes: Really?
Rich: It’s very rare to find any 1890s artwork where the editor couldn’t resist putting in a tag line. Yeah, I suspect it’s not because the artist supplied these beautiful drawings, but the editors supplied the captions, and my guess is it’s probably wittier than that.

Wes: Do you have any copies of “Truth?”
Rich: Yes.
Wes: Can we take a look at some?
Rich: Sure, let’s go.
Wes: Okay, great.
Rich: So there’s a woman on the cover.
Wes: That’s unusual, isn’t it?
Rich: Yes, especially this early. Of course, after the turn of the century, every magazine in America had a woman on the cover, but at this time, it was an unusual thing.
Wes: How racy was this?
Rich: There were a lot of libraries that refused to subscribe to a magazine like “Truth” because it was not appropriate family reading matter.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Summer time

From the archives...some lovely ladies and gentlemen enjoying warm weather...anybody know who they might be or where they are? The last photo looks like maybe a 4th of July you see the American flags?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sherrills Ford Strings

We recently acquired a photograph to add to our archives. The writing on the back says, "Sherrills Ford Young Tarheels Farmers Band 1934-36." It was given by Mr. Charlton Lindler, who is the last on the right in the first row, with the banjo. Thank you for your contribution! Does anyone know anything more about this group?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Confederate Memorial

Monday marked Confederate Memorial Day in both North and South Carolina. May 10 commemorates Stonewall Jackson's death in 1863 and the capture of Jefferson Davis in 1865. Five other states also officially observe Confederate Memorial Day: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, and Texas. Common events on this date include services and ceremonies to place flags and wreaths on Confederate graves and memorials. This wreath was added by the UDC to the memorial on the courthouse square in downtown Newton.

The holiday is usually surrounded by controversy. What do readers think? Is Confederate Memorial Day necessary? Did you know about the ceremony?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Retro summer

Tomorrow and Friday's weather is supposed be hot, hot, hot! Thought I'd share this photo from the archives. Does anyone know who these bathing beauties (taken in Hickory) might be?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Preservation Week

President Obama once wrote, “Part of America's genius has always been its ability to absorb newcomers, to forge a national identity out of the disparate lot that arrived on our shores.“ The memories and treasures of individuals, families, and communities are essential to the record of this process—they contribute to our understanding of history and its participants just as collections in libraries, museums, and archives do.  

Memories and treasures should last a lifetime and be passed on to future generations. The first national collections Preservation Week, “Pass It On!”, will take place May 9-15, 2010. Sponsored by the ALA’s Association of Library Collections and Services and partner organizations, Preservation Week will inspire actions to preserve personal, family and community collections of all kinds, as well as library, museum and archive collections. It will raise awareness of the role libraries and other cultural institutions can play in providing ongoing preservation information. Local libraries, museums, and archives are asked to do one thing in their communities to celebrate Preservation Week, even if the action or activity is small. For more information, visit

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The first Mother's Day holiday

From The History Channel:

"On this day in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson issues a presidential proclamation that officially establishes the first national Mother's Day holiday to celebrate America's mothers.

The idea for a "Mother's Day" is credited by some to Julia Ward Howe (1872) and by others to Anna Jarvis (1907), who both suggested a holiday dedicated to a day of peace. Many individual states celebrated Mother's Day by 1911, but it was not until Wilson lobbied Congress in 1914 that Mother's Day was officially set on the second Sunday of every May. In his first Mother's Day proclamation, Wilson stated that the holiday offered a chance to "[publicly express] our love and reverence for the mothers of our country."

This sweet photograph of a mother and daughter is from the archives. Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

V-E (Victory in Europe) Day

May 8, 1945 marks V-E or VE Day, the day on which the Allied forces accepted the surrender of Nazi German forces, ending the reign Adolf Hitler's Third Reich in Europe. Many of Catawba County's World War II vets served in the European Theater. We'd like to share a few snapshots of Catawba soldiers we've had the pleasure of scanning over the past few weeks: 

"Hello Mom, This is me taking it easy on a spring day here in Germany. I'll be sitting on the porch at home soon. Love, Joe"

Monday, May 3, 2010

Happy birthday, Jen!

Today is a CCHA staffer's birthday--Jen--museum registrar, Murray's Mill site manager, and milling extraordinaire! Happy birthday!!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Happy May Day

May Day and Maypole celebrations are common in Germanic countries. Since many Catawbans trace their roots back to Germany, the tradition of "winding the maypole" lived on. Many residents recall the weaving of ribbons around a wooden or metal pole to music, creating a lovely pattern to welcome spring. The above picture was taken in Hickory, and I believe that George Lyerly is in it, but correct me if I'm wrong.

A woman online actually collects postcards of different maypole dances and May Day festivities and can be found here. She got the postcards from California and they are so interesting! She also has links to learn more about this intriguing ritual.

Her own recollection of the celebration: "I remember that the pole was in the school yard and the colorful crepe paper ribbons were attached to the top. The boys would have a ribbon and walk to the right, the girls would take a ribbon and walk left. The boys and girls would walk in opposite directions holding the ribbons taut. As the children met, we would alternate by going under the ribbon of the first boy then go over the ribbon of the next boy (the boys would reverse the pattern) and so on. This up and down or in and out movement would create a weaving pattern (tabby weave) down the pole as the ribbons got shorter and shorter. I'm not positive, but I think there was an odd number of either boys or an odd number of girls in order to create the weave. It was almost like a dance because we moved to music. The winding of the Maypole was a traditional activity every year that the whole school participated in to welcome spring. Also, when I was young we made May baskets out of squares cut from left over wall paper--rolling them into cone shapes, adding a handle, then filling the baskets with handpicked flowers. That evening we would hang them on our friends' doors (usually older seniors), ring the door bell or knock, then run and hide and watch them find the flowers from our hiding places. I have very fond childhood memories of May Day."

Happy May Day, Catawba County!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Book Includes Murray's Mill

Last weekend, a visitor to the Mill brought with her a great book entitled "Our Vanishing Americana," by Mike Lassiter. She brought it because her goal is to visit all the different places featured in the publication and have an employee or interpreter at each location sign her book. Kind of like a North Carolina-themed "bucket list."

The book was beautiful and I was surprised by the pages dedicated to Murray's Mill, right here in Catawba County. Check out the website for the book, learn more about the author's project, keep updated on news and events, and enjoy some photographs.

Lassiter, a Statesville native and UNC Chapel Hill grad, teamed up with PBS to create a production based on his book in 2009. Enjoy the site...and turn your volume up! The website has nice music.

The Mill always has great guests with wonderful stories to share. Thank you!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day

For Earth Day, we wanted to remind readers that Murray's Mill is collecting aluminum cans to raise money for two projects: painting the waterwheel and getting a glass case made for Lloyd Murray's CLOSED sign. Collecting aluminum cans for these projects uses items that are already available at the mill and is environmentally friendly. It helps contain waste that could end up around our site, on the road, and in the creek. It also shows that lots of 'little bits' together can make something big and a big difference. Thanks for your support!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

"Run of the Mill" Saturday

Today Murray's Mill hosted Catawba Valley Community College's "Seeds of Service" 5k cross-country run/walk. Registration began at 8 and the race kicked off at 9 am. Volunteers cheered runners along with encouraging words and water. The day started out a little bit cool and overcast but warmed up and was gorgeous by the end of the event.

Race proceeds this year benefit Safe Harbor Rescue Mission in Hickory and New Vision Ministries, a global organization that helps feed children in Haiti.

Visit and to learn more about these charities. Enjoy the photos from the day!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Taxes through Time

Ever find yourself sitting around wondering, "how did the U.S. government finance the Civil War?" Yeah, I didn't think so, but the answer might surprise you--in fact, you may even have evidence of it in some old family scrapbooks.

In "celebration" of today being federal income tax day, I wanted to share something interesting I recently learned while researching photographs for a genealogy project. I was trying to estimate dates from a few photos called cabinet cards or carte-de-visites (a "CDV" in archival jargon). You may be familiar with CDVs without realizing it; they are portraits, usually of a quite stoic-looking ancestor, printed onto what feels like cardboard. A clue on the back gave me a date range that helped significantly.

They were quite popular in the 1860s as they were relatively inexpensive and could be mailed easily or used as calling cards. You could even buy CDVs of famous people, such as Ulysses S. Grant, and studio portraits of entertainers, actors, and actresses, sort of like collecting baseball cards would be later on.
Anyway, on the backs of many CDVs are small adhesive squares of paper that look much like postage stamps, a direct result of the Revenue Act of 1862 (Now that whole Stamp Act thing from social studies is starting to make sense, right? Yep, actual stamps on paper). You can read more here.

Virtually every document was required to carry a tax stamp, as were many proprietary articles such as matches, medicines, playing cards, perfume, and, you guessed it, photographs--but only for a short period of time, thus narrowing down the possible date ranges for this mystery person.

While many of these stamps have been lost over time, the durability of CDVs allowed some to survive. The two I have on my photographs are both blue, 2-cent stamps featuring George Washington's portrait, but there were several varieties printed during the "War Between the States." Start looking at the backs of your pictures and see what you may find!

Monday, April 12, 2010

"Wanted: War stories"

The CCHA's participation in the Veterans History Project was featured on the front page of the Hickory Daily Record today. You can read the article here. Please contact the Museum of History, (828) 465-0383 or our website for more information.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Hickory Crawdads

In the Charlotte Observer today, there was an article about the Hickory Crawdads baseball team getting a new field manager, Bill Richardson.

In February, the CCHA received a mounted article donated by the Hickory Crawdads. The article, entitled "Hickory Sticks," was front page news in the August 15, 1994 issue of the "The Sporting News" magazine. "The Sporting News" was established in 1886 to cover baseball. It currently publishes articles about several sports and is owned by American City Business Journals, a company based in Charlotte.

"Hickory Sticks" profiles the team, "Crawdadmania," and provides photographs of spectators in L.P. Frans Stadium. The minor league team, initially affiliated with the Chicago White Sox, debuted in 1993. The Crawdads set the South Atlantic League attendance record that year.

The Hickory Crawdads now are a Class A affiliate of the Texas Rangers. The first home game of the 2010 season is April 16 versus the Kannapolis Intimidators.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Miracle of Hickory

Have you seen the "Miracle of Hickory" exhibition at the Hickory History Center yet? Incredible story about our community coming together to fight the polio epidemic of the 1940s. For further reading about polio and Hickory, Joyce Hostetter has written several wonderful books about the topic, including "Blue" and "Comfort". Joyce also recently blogged about our blog! You can read more here. Thanks, Joyce!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Pretty day for a picnic!

This weekend's weather is supposed to be warm and sunny. Both Murray's Mill and the Bunker Hill Covered Bridge make great places for a picnic. You'll find picnic tables in several locations on the mill property as well as a nature trail along the creek. The General Store will be open with sodas in glass bottles (they just taste so much better that way!) for sale. Come on out and welcome spring!

Bunker Hill Covered Bridge.

Balls Creek at Murray's Mill.

View of the pond at Murray's Mill.