We post a new episode of Appalachian History weekly podcast every Sunday. You can start listening right away by clicking the podcast icon over on the right side of your screen. If you’d rather grab the show off itunes for later listening, click here:
We open today’s show with guest author Aaron Barlow’s examination of loss and nostalgia in Appalachia. “Appalachia has always had a pull for its dispersed children, a pull I have felt my whole life,” says the western North Carolina native, who now lives in New York City. “It was always a hard land settled by tough and often despised ‘borderers’ who had been removed from the Scottish lowlands to Ulster Plantation in Ireland, who had left there for Pennsylvania only to head south, skirting the lowlands of Virginia where the English dwelt, settling in the mountains where few others (mainly Irish and German outcasts) were willing to join them. Their descendants, though, still look back to the mountains as home, as the better place that it never was.”
We’ll pause in between things to catch up on a Calendar of Events in the region this week, with special attention paid to events that emphasize heritage and local color.
“I did not realize how dark and small the old Oconaluftee Visitor Center at Great Smoky Mountains National Park was until I walked into the airy, spacious new one,” says guest author Danny Bernstein in her review of the new facility. “The 6,300-square-foot visitor center and history museum, located two miles north of Cherokee, NC, opened April 1 to the public. The site has so many improvements to attract visitors who used to drive straight through, but it’s the museum that will keep people in the building longer.”
Ahhhh, dandelion wine! The popular name comes from dent de lion, French for “lion’s tooth,” referring to the teeth on the leaves. Wine is made from the heads. Choose dandelions from an open field far from any insecticide spraying. Pick early in the season when the leaves of the plant are still tender. Flowers that have just opened are best.
“In 1996, on my last visit to San Toy, Ohio, I had to stop and ask directions twice,” says guest author Matt Zuefle of his search for Ohio’s Little Cities of Black Diamonds. “Driving down a long, unpaved road to the bottom of a deep, wooded valley, I came to a crossroads with a signless post marking the intersection. This was the San Toy of my seeking. My very own Appalachian city of Cibola. I had heard about it since I had starting working in the area, and now I had found it.”
We’ll wrap things up a Cherokee folktale titled “How the Partridge got his Whistle.” As the story opens, it’s the Terrapin, not the Partridge, who whistles so beautifully. The Partridge begs and begs the Terrapin to let him borrow his whistling ability—only for a short while, then he’ll give it right back. Well. We all know what happens when you lend something to someone who says that.
And, thanks to the good folks at Juneberry78s.com, we’ll be able to enjoy some authentic Appalachian music from Charlie Bowman and His Brothers in a 1929 recording of ‘Moonshiner and his Money.’
So, call your old Plott hound up on the porch, fire up your corn-cob pipe, and settle in for a dose of Appalachian History.