Our Neighbors to the East (North, South & West)

The North Carolina Collection at Pack isn’t solely focused on Asheville and Buncombe County. The collection offers a wealth of information and images from many other parts of Western North Carolina. Looking for something related to Canton or Haywood County; Tryon or Polk County? How about our neighbor to the east, the town of Marion in McDowell County?

McDowell County was formed in 1842 from parts of Burke and Rutherford counties. Marion was chosen as the county seat in 1844. Both were named after Revolutionary war heroes.

An early Marion postcard in the North Carolina Collection is of Elhanan Training School.

Elhanan was founded in 1898 as an orphanage and school for needy children. Miss Mattie Perry (1868-1957) was a native of Oconee County in South Carolina and the founder of Elhanan. Perry purchased an unfinished hotel (with 125 rooms!) in Marion to house her students. The school closed in 1927 when the children’s dormitory burned down and in June 1928 the remaining buildings burned down. Perry’s biography on healingandrevival.com is interesting reading.

A couple of recent additions to the North Carolina collection include a photo of the McDowell County Courthouse circa 1938. The postcard was a takeaway from North Carolina’s exhibit at the 1939 New York World’s Fair.

McDowell courthouse back.jpg

One of the more interesting Marion postcards I’ve found and recently donated to the collection is of “The Big Four”. The postmark is a bit difficult to read, but the undivided back dates it to 1901-1907.

Patti Holda of the Abe Simmons Genealogy & N.C. History Room at the McDowell Public Library kindly sent the following information about the image. The photograph is in the collection of the Historic Carson House Collection between Pleasant Gardens and Marion. According to information on the reverse of the photograph “not only were they physically large, these four men were prominent in civic affairs in Marion, during the first quarter of the twentieth century.”

Robert L. Gilkey (1872-1920) was owner of a livery stable. Bruce B. Price (1852-1918) served in the state legislature in addition to owning a hardware store and serving as a bank president, Registrar of Deeds, and Clerk of Superior Court. Daniel E. Hudgins (1869-1929) was an attorney, member of the Board of Trustees of First Methodist Church, and the first president of Cross Cotton Mills. James L. Morgan (1854-1938) was a bank president, vice-president of the Clinchfield Manufacturing Company, and owner of Marion Power and Light.

Visit the North Carolina Room Collections at https://ncroom.buncombecounty.org/Presto/home/home.aspx

Posted by Terry Taylor, Friends of the North Carolina Room Board Member

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