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Marking the Birthplace of the Official NC State Song

Above is a marker on the Hargett Street side of the Edmisten Building denoting the spot where Judge William Gaston penned the official North Carolina state song “The Old North State Forever”. Visible in the reflection is the Odd Fellows Building.

In late 1830s, he composed the song to counter the charge that North Carolina was the “Rip Van Winkle State”—backward and unchanging.  This motivation is evidenced in the following line: “Tho’ the scorner may sneer at and witlings defame her, Still our hearts swell with gladness whenever we name her.”   In 1927, the state officially adopted Gaston’s song.

— The North Carolina History Project


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