Past Times Blog

  • Past Times: Hurricane Hugo hit 25 years ago

    Posted by Teresa Leonard on September 18, 2014

    This Eckerd Drug Store opened for emergency supplies in the aftermath of Hurricane Hugo.

    By any yardstick, Hugo was among the worst storms ever for the Carolinas. It killed 41 people on the United States mainland, including seven in North Carolina. Eighteen others died in the Caribbean. Damage has been estimated at $9 billion for the United States and Caribbean islands, with $964 million in North Carolina losses.


  • Concord native was a mastermind of crime

    Posted by Teresa Leonard on September 11, 2014

    Gaston Means was the subject of a sensational murder trial.

    The highly gifted Gaston B. Means had started his career in his own community of Concord as a representative of textile king J. W. Cannon. The work, however, did not furnish the drama and excitement which he relished.


  • Ma Cross fed the Duke students

    Posted by Teresa Leonard on September 4, 2014

    Ma’s boarding house on Fourth Street in Durham.

    Ma’s boarding house is a University tradition. It’s a tradition older than the Blue Devils, or even older than the Duke Chapel.


  • Happy 80th birthday, Under the Dome

    Posted by Teresa Leonard on September 3, 2014

    The News and Observer, as the major state capital paper, has long made political and government coverage its meat and potatoes. For most of its history, Raleigh was a company town, and the business was government - and education.


  • Monster computer lived in bunker at UNC-Chapel Hill

    Posted by Teresa Leonard on August 28, 2014

    The Univac computer occupied the reinforced basement of Phillips Hall at UNC-Chapel Hill.

    In the age of Google, it's hard to remember that computers weren't always a part of our daily lives. It was 55 years ago that one of the first Univac computers was installed in the basement of Phillips Hall at UNC-Chapel Hill, primarily to support the work of the US Census Bureau with its upcoming 1960 census.


  • Past Times: Betsy Holmes and her bull Joe were a Raleigh institution

    Posted by Teresa Leonard on August 21, 2014

    This cart in front of the Governor’s Mansion was thought to be driven by Aunt Betsy’s son.

    A frequent sight in the streets of downtown Raleigh about 1900 was "Aunt" Betsy Holmes, who drove her cart to market each day. Drawn by a bull named Joe, it came to be known as her "automobull." When she died in 1906, the newspaper noted the end of an era.


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