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 a fond look at the season’s most beloved treat. It’s summertime, and there’s nothing so fine as freshly made rock salt ice cream. Just make sure you gather every kid in the neighborhood to take a turn cranking the ice cream maker.
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.
The second annual State of Dade Heritage Festival took place last month at the Dade County [GA] Recreational Facility and Fairgrounds without much of a hitch. However, the Sons of Confederate Veterans, State of Dade, Camp No. 707, did not mention the festival on their 2011 events calendar, though in helping to promote the 2010 festival they had prominently featured the history behind the phrase State of Dade in their 2010 newsletter. Trouble is, they got the history wrong.
By the end of his long career, John Paul Riddle (1901-1989) had received the British Empire award and been inducted into the Kentucky Aviation Hall of Fame and the Florida Aviation Historical Society. But on July 4, 1923 the Pikeville, KY native and ex-Army airman was busy flying his Jenny under the town’s Middle Bridge and barnstorming his way across the countryside.
“People in the hotel were reluctant to go on the 2nd floor,” recalls bellman Booker T. Sherrill about a famous 1936 murder at Asheville’s Battery Park Hotel. “I was off duty during the time of the murder and was not questioned, but there were bad feelings about this. Some think it was never solved. Some think the son of the manager was to blame. It upset this city and it took 8-10 years for the people to relax. Room #224 was permanently blocked.”
We’ll wrap things up with an excerpt from Michael Abraham’s new book “Harmonic Highways; Motorcycling Virginia’s Crooked Road,” which released last month. Abraham introduces us to Jim Mullins of Dickenson County, who comes from a long line of musical family. “There is a type of singing called shape-note singing,” says Mullins. “We were taught the notes within an octave: do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti, do, and how to harmonize. I have never read music. Everything is by ear. It is an organic thing, and it has always been part of who I am.”
And, thanks to the good folks at Rounder Records (The North Carolina Banjo Collection, Rounder CD0439/40), we’ll be able to enjoy some authentic Appalachian music from Sam McNeil in a 1978 recording of “Jake Gilly.”
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.