Tag Archives: appalachian history

I used to flesh them by hand

“I started working at tanning when I was fifteen years old and I’m 63 now. It’s hot. Like putting your nose right on the grindstone all the time– day in and day out like taxidermy. Deer hides, deer skin products, clothes, bags, coats — we do the whole thing right from the rawhide to the […]

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The Supine Dome flops in a NC field

It was the centerpiece of the Montreal Expo of 1967: Buckminster Fuller’s Geodesic Dome, a vaulted structure made of lightweight materials that form interlocking polygons. Nineteen years before that majestic statement, Fuller, an architect, author, designer, futurist, inventor, and visionary, had gathered a group of students together at Black Mountain College in Bunscombe County, NC […]

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Telegraphy Shortcuts

When timber and coal camps started springing up throughout Appalachia in the late 19th century, they provided work for surveyors, lawyers, engineers, doctors, dentists, mechanics, railway workers, postal employees, and telegraph operators. The telegraph offered employment to anyone who could master the technology, regardless of background. There was even a hierarchy of status, as operators […]

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Daring young men in their flying trapezes

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 […]

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Cotton was his past; Angus was his future

The McPhail Angus Farm, in the vicinity of Seneca, SC, has been a locally significant farm for more than one hundred years. The farm illustrates twentieth century developments in agriculture in the South Carolina upcountry, most notably the transition from a traditional dependence on growing cotton as a cash crop to raising cattle as a […]

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