Searchable Archive

This is the full archive of all Moving North Carolina blog posts from the newest to the oldest.

On this page, you can:

  • Scroll to browse through thumbnails of the entire collection.
  • Click on any thumbnail to read the full story.
  • Search by key word or category.
Search by Category
Gilbert S. Waters sits in his Buggymobile

Mr. Waters Builds a Buggymobile

In 1899, Gilbert Waters traveled to Baltimore where he saw the future: self-propelled vehicles motoring down the streets. Back in his New Bern workshop, Waters created the Buggymobile, possibly the first automobile built in the south. Early on, the principal difference between Gilbert Waters and his contemporary Henry Ford was that one secured funding for a new business.

Tell Me More »
A drawing of an odd assortment of men riding in an early railroad coach

Democracy on Rails

Early American rail service reflected the segregation by race and gender that was inherent in society at the time. But for foreigners traveling by rail in the American south, it was the cars reserved for white men that flummoxed them. There these travelers witnessed a rampant spirit of democracy that struck many as inappropriate and possibly dangerous.

Tell Me More »
Rip Van Winkle

The Rip Van Winkle State

In the 1700s, adventurous North Carolinians treked west over the mountains, lured by the promise of a better life. In the early 1800s, those who followed their footsteps were were not lured; they were propelled by an untenable existence in North Carolina. Any life would be preferable to the economic and cultural stagnation of “The Rip Van Winkle State.”

Tell Me More »

The Timelessness of Budget Knavery

When it comes to today’s large-scale infrastructure projects, we are used to advocates painting a rosy picture of fiscal prudence and fabulous benefits. Joseph Caldwell had something to say about this “budget knavery” nearly 200 years ago.

Tell Me More »
Hog Drovers on the Buncombe Turnpike

Hogging the Buncombe Turnpike

When the Buncombe Turnpike was completed in 1828, it was one of the best roads in North Carolina. The new toll road energized the local economy and transformed an entire mountain region. But while many smelled economic opportunity, some smelled only swine.

Tell Me More »
A boy rents boats on flooded Franklin Street

Boating on Franklin Street

In 1910, a heavy rain could turn North Carolina town and city streets – almost all yet unpaved – into ponds more suited to boats than to wheeled vehicles. Despite high ground and higher education, Franklin Street in Chapel Hill was no exception.

Tell Me More »
A bicycle club in Oxford NC circa 1900

Bicycles Led The Way

In the 1920s, when automobile owners in North Carolina finally started to motor down decent roads, they owed a debt of gratitude to ardent bicyclists of the 1880s. Bicycle enthusiasts were early activists for the movement that would eventually make North Carolina the Good Roads State.

Tell Me More »
Hay wagon on a plank road

Plank Road Fever

In the mid-1800s, North Carolina burned with an acute case of plank road fever. By lifting travelers above the omnipresent ruts and mires, wooden turnpikes promised to speed travel, to stimulate commerce, and to bring big profits to the companies that built and owned them. How could it fail?

Tell Me More »
Train Wreck at Bostian Bridge

Disaster at Bostian Bridge

Early on the morning of August 27, 1891, Richmond & Danville Railroad Passenger Train No. 9 plunged off the Bostian Bridge just west of Statesville. Twenty-three people died. It was “A Great Wreck!” “A Frightful Accident!” It was also a mystery.

Tell Me More »
Charles Dickens

Dickens on American Rail

Touring America in 1842, young Charles Dickens captured in his journal the manic exhilaration of traveling on early American railroads: “…on, on, on – tears the mad dragon of an engine with its train of cars…”

Tell Me More »
A bateau on the Haw River loaded with cotton bales

Bateaux Ruled Our Rivers

When waterways were our superhighways, bateaux ruled the rivers. These open, shallow-draft boats did the heavy lifting that drove North Carolina’s economy. They transported the bounty of upland farms to markets on the coast, and they returned with manufactured goods, coffee and sugar.

Tell Me More »

Coming Down The Road

Moving North Carolina will publish a new blog post every Sunday at noon, beginning August 4, 2019. Upcoming posts will feature bateaux, trains (snorting and plunging), road hogs, plank turnpikes, crusading bicyclists, and spooky bridges.

Tell Me More »
Close Menu