Goodnight Raleigh - a look at the art, architecture, history, and people of the city at night

The Conductor, the Flag and Sherman

 

PhC.19.58 Dallas T. Ward c. 1885 From the R. Beverly R. Webb Collection; State Archives, Raleigh.

PhC.19.58
Dallas T. Ward c. 1885
From the R. Beverly R. Webb Collection; State Archives, Raleigh.

It’s been said that every few minutes we take as many photos as all of humanity took in the 1880’s. In the mid 1800’s a photographic representation of reality was considered technological marvel. Needless to say, photography has changed a great deal over the past 150 years. Before camera phones, digital cameras, disposable film cameras or Kodak Brownies, there was the carte de visite — a small albumen print mounted on card stock measuring about 2″x3.5″. These small portraits about the size of a modern business card were traded among friends and family. Many times these small portraits ended up being pasted into blank books – the debut of the photo album.  Read more »

The Tornado and the Three Day Celebration

An 1892 replica of the Tornado, the first train to arrive in Raleigh. Currently housed in a museum in Hamlet, NC

1840 was a big year for Raleigh. In fact, it’s one of the most important in the city’s history. On March 21, 1840, the first steam locomotive came roaring and screeching into Raleigh on wooden tracks (the iron strips to cover them would come later). That same year would see the construction of the city’s most recognized and celebrated architectural treasure: the new State Capitol.

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Down by the Tracks

Were one to compile a list of major cities, state capitals no less, fueled and stoked by the “latest” technology, Raleigh would likely head the list. Her physical isolation and very location were a result of a fix for political problems sparked by sectionalism. That all changed with the railroad “craze,” launched locally in 1833 with Ms. Sarah Polk successfully dogging Mr. William to get into the game via a mile or so of experimental line drawn by oxen to run stone from a quarry near National Cemetery to the capitol site. The oxen were laid off in 1840 by the menacing promise of steam when the Raleigh and Gaston’s English-made Tornado shrieked and huffed the into town on the last 5 miles of fresh wood tracks, cheered on by the drunks amid a city-wide 3 day party.

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