Friday, January 29, 2010

This week in 1929...

Conducting research in the archives of the Museum, I've been really interested lately in life in Catawba County from the 1920s through the 1940s. Fortunately, the CCHA has years upon years of newspaper records from various publications that we are able to access to help satisfy my curiosity.

Looking at the last week in January of 1929, in addition to the articles about bootleggers being caught and punished, I was most intrigued by the advertisements I came across. Many were for department stores, clothing, Lucky Strike cigarettes, and automobiles.

Scattered throughout the issues were multiple local theaters advertising movies. One particularly dramatic and eye-catching ad featured the Imperial Theatre's showing of "Wings," a love story set in WWI.

This silent film, produced in 1927, won an Oscar for Best Picture and was the only silent movie in history to do so. And with movie prices hovering around $8.75 in Hickory today, you'll be interested to know that you could view "Wings" for between 10 and 30 cents, depending on if you preferred balcony to floor seats.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Old "Old Courthouse Building"

When describing the Museum's location, we often refer to our current building as "the old courthouse." However, the Museum of History resides in the courthouse built in 1924. Above is a postcard from our archives of what you could really call the old "old courthouse" in Newton's square. If you look closely, the postcard was sent from Mary to "my dear Sarah," all the way in Texas. It says she is having a wonderful time, despite being a little under the weather.

It was not unusual for a county seat to have postcards featuring their courthouse, as it was often the community's most well-known landmark.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Thinking about floods...

All this extra rain has had me thinking about floods, particularly 1916 and 1940. I wanted to share some pictures with you...

Oxford Dam after the 1940 flood. Notice that all the flood gates are open all the way. At the bottom of the power station you can just barely see the top of the arch.

Oxford Dam January 25, 2010. One flood gate is open after all the rain from the day before. At the bottom of the power station you can see the arch that is almost completely covered in the 1940 picture.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Site Introductions

As the first post of our new blog, we'd like to introduce you to our multiple properties:

The Catawba County Museum of History

The Museum is located in downtown Newton and is housed in the old Courthouse, built in 1924. Here, visitors can browse many exhibits about the history and development of the County at their leisure, or request a guided tour (when available). Highlights include several period rooms, exhibitions on local pottery and furniture, a new hands-on gallery designed just for children, and many other permanent displays. Currently, the first floor gallery houses our temporary exhibit about the Catawba Soldier in WWII.

The Harper House/Hickory History Center

The Harper House is a stately Queen Anne Victorian style home dating from the late 19th century, full of history and surprising stories. It is located in downtown Hickory near Frye Hospital. It is available for tours and rentals, making it a beautiful setting for an elegant wedding.

Next to the Harper House is a restored Arts and Crafts style bungalow, built in 1912, which houses a wonderful space for parties and programs. This property contains temporary exhibitions on the first floor and "The Miracle of Hickory" exhibit on the second floor, about the polio hospital quickly constructed near Lake Hickory - a saving grace for the Piedmont.

Murray's Mill

Located in the charming town of Catawba, Murray's Mill highlights the agricultural past of the County. Visitors can enjoy tours of the waterwheel grist mill (we still grind each year during the Harvest Folk Festival!). The acres surrounding the mill are ideal for picnics and the site includes nature trails along Balls Creek. In addition to the mill, you can stop by the general store, built in 1890, for a cold drink and some old-fashioned candy. The annual Harvest Folk Festival in September always draws a large crowd. At that time, the John Murray home and the Huffman House are open to visitors. Murray's Mill is open from March through November.

Bunker Hill Covered Bridge

The Bunker Hill Covered Bridge was constructed in 1895 and is located on Hwy. 70 in Claremont. Designated as a National Civil Engineering Landmark in 2001, the Bunker Hill Covered Bridge is the only remaining example in wood of the Improved Lattice Truss patented by General Herman Haupt. The bridge spans Lyle's Creek on old Island Ford road, a former Native American trail. The bridge site is open daily from dawn until dusk and has picnic tables.