When my husband and I moved to Lake Norman in 2005 we knew pretty much nothing about the area, let alone the state. Since then we have discovered the beautiful mountains and beaches, the great weather, the wonderful blend of new and old, urban and rural, natives and resident transplants from all of the country.
One of the first things I did was subscribe to Our State: North Carolina. Our State is a beautiful source of history, current events and wonderful explorations into the wonderful state of North Carolina.
There was one article that made a greater impact on my appreciation for North Carolina than any thing else I have experienced. Titled Famous Firsts; “North Carolinians can take pride in being the first at making national history. From technology to education to culture to sports, the Old North State has paved the way for others across the nation and around the world.” Here is their list:
- First successful powered flight. Orville Wright’s first flight was on December 17, 1903 in Kitty Hawk NC.
- First English settlement in the New World. Sir Walter Raleigh arrived on Roanoke Island in 1587 and began the first English settlement in the New World.
- First formal sanction of American Independence. The “Halifax Resolves” of 1776 was the first official call for independence by a colony.
- First state or public university. “In 1793, the cornerstone was laid for the brick building that would become UNC Chapel Hill. In 1795 it was the first state university in the country to open its doors.”
- First Gold Rush: Move over California, it turns out North Carolina’s gold rush began 45 years before yours! During the height of the gold mining in NC, we led the nation in gold production!
- First musical note transmitted by radio: In 1902, Reginal Fessenden, considered to be greatest wireless radio inventor at that time, transmitted the first musical notes about 48 miles from Buxton to Manteo in 1902.
- First state-funded art museum: “In 1947, North Carolina became the first state to use public funds to purchase works of art for the public.”
- First state-funded school for the performing arts: “In 1963 the North Carolina School of the Arts was established…becoming the first state-supported school for the performing arts in the country.”
- First rural national parkway: Of course, we are talking about the incredible Blue Ridge Parkway which crosses the Southern Appalachian Mountains in North Carolina and Virgina. At 469 miles long, The Blue Ridge Parkway “was the country’s first and still the longest rural parkway.”
- First national shoreline: “The unique history and natural resources of North Carolina’s Outer Banks were preserved when the Cape Hatteras National Seashore was authorized in 1937…becoming the first seashore in the national park system.”
- First book published by an African-American in the South: George Moses Horton had been a slave for 68 years, “often walking miles to the UNC campus where he sold his poems to students…In 1829, The Hope of Liberty became the first book published by an African American author in the South.
- First school of forestry: Dr. Carl Schenk, who was hired by the Vanderbilts to manage their 125,000 acre estate which is now known as Pisgah Forest. “In 1898, Schenck began the first forestry school in America…”
This incredible list made me realize that North Carolina is much more than just a wonderful place to live. In fact, it has a deep and important history that has greatly impacted our entire nation. I am proud to be a North Carolinian!
(This issue of Our State was January, 2006. It is no longer on their website but I would be happy to send you a copy of the article from my own copy of the magazine.)