Circles on the map, Circle Towns or Round Towns

Circle Towns: One of my childhood map memories is the distinctively circular shape of Shelby, NC, on the state’s official highway map:

Shelby is a circle on NC highway map

Shelby on 1970 NC Highway map, courtesy of North Carolina State Archives

Shelby was not an anomaly; there were quite a few North Carolina towns whose limits were originally prescribed by a perfect circle. Continue reading

Nathaniel Batts: Buried at sea, but not originally

Nathaniel Batts: Buried at sea, but not originally

Nathaniel Batts may not have been the first permanent European settler in North Carolina (there is vague evidence that he was not), but he was undoubtedly one of the earliest and best documented. Where is his grave site? Continue reading

Niagara falls in North Carolina

Perhaps varying in rate but seemingly unending is the migration of northerners to The Old North State, a process that led to the development of Pinehurst and Southern Pines in the late 19th century, and the population explosion in the late 20th century of the town of Cary (resulting in the acronym CARY = Containment Area for Relocated Yankees). Not all the land speculation schemes resulted in great success. An example of one that did not is Niagara, North Carolina. Continue reading

North Carolina’s Official Highway Maps

A post about North Carolina’s official State highway maps sounded interesting. Turns out, someone has already done it for us. Well, maybe not specifically for us, but it’s been done. For a wonderful synopsis of the history of North Carolina’s State highway maps, take a look at this pdf.

After you’ve read that, perhaps you’d like to see some of North Carolina’s early State highway maps. Many of them have been scanned as part of the North Carolina Maps digitization project. Nicholas Graham, Program Coordinator of the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center, has provided a wonderful link to images of the North Carolina highway maps available for viewing.