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Posts Tagged ‘transportation’

When Cultural Resources Sec. Susan Kluttz took office last May, one of the three things Gov. Pat McCrory tasked her with was beautifying the state’s transportation infrastructure. To that end, the secretary and DCR staff have been partnering with DOT staff during the past year to build a vision for a public-private “Art That Moves You” program that will highlight the best of state’s arts and culture and integrate it with the transportation infrastructure we all use every day.

Though the details of the program’s first projects are still being finalized, the overall goal is to promote tourism through the use of creative landscaping, artwork and lighting; continuing the legacy of  transportation beautification that began with First Lady Dottie Martin’s efforts in the 1980s. Local communities will also have a say in the design aesthetic from the beginning of projects to potentially personalize a bridge or walkway, for example, with a design ‘stamp’ or be able to utilize local stone or materials.

A couple weeks back, Sec. Kluttz sat down with Capital Tonight’s Tim Boyum to discuss this initiative. A major announcement will be made on this project at an upcoming big event coming to North Carolina. Details to follow. The segment with Sec. Kluttz starts at the 16:40 mark.

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Bentonville Battlefield will commemorate the 148th anniversary of the  the Battle of Bentonville with cannon demonstrations and other activities

Bentonville Battlefield will commemorate the 148th anniversary of the the Battle of Bentonville with cannon demonstrations and other activities

Behind-the-scenes battleship tours, Civil War cannon demonstrations and the chance to drive a train are all part of the family fun offered this weekend by the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.

The weekend fun starts early Thursday when the Museum of the Albemarle in Elizabeth City hosts a kids program on farming and food and continues when artist Donna Nyzio will give step-by-step instructions while creating maritime-inspired works of art at the N.C. Maritime Museum in Beaufort. That night the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA) in Winston-Salem will also present the film Chasing Ice, which artistically portrays the process of climate change.

The fun continues Saturday when the Battleship North Carolina in Wilmington will offer behind-the-scenes tours of engineering facilities. The N.C. Transportation Museum in Spencer will give visitors the chance to drive a train, while Bentonville Battlefield in Four Oaks will commemorate the 148th anniversary of North Carolina’s largest Civil War battle with a living history program.

The weekend wraps up Sunday with a second day of re-enactments at Bentonville, the screening of a documentary on the Colorado River at SECCA and an oral history program on the sinking of USS Indianapolis at the Museum of the Albemarle.

Throughout the weekend, Ratio Theatre will present the musical Songs for a New World at Tryon Palace in New Bern, while the N.C. Symphony will hosts concerts of Mozart, Mendelssohn and Elgar in Southern Pines and Raleigh.

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Harriet Berry

All this month we’re bringing you stories from North Carolina women’s history. Check back here each week day for a new tidbit on the women of our state’s past.

Harriet Morehead Berry, often called the champion of good roads, was born in 1877 in Hillsborough. Tutored by her mother until age 12, she then attended the Nash-Kollock School in Hillsborough and the State Normal and Industrial School (present UNC-Greensboro).

In 1901 Berry went to work with the North Carolina Geological and Economic Survey in Chapel Hill, led by Joseph Hyde Pratt. She rose from stenographer to secretary for the Survey, and became its acting head in 1917 when Pratt entered military service. As acting director, Berry became active with the Good Roads Association and in 1919 led that organization in lobbying for legislation to create a state highway commission. Believing that the adopted bill was inadequate she undertook a massive campaign to fix it, speaking in 89 counties and flooding the state with news releases and petitions.

The General Assembly responded in 1921, creating a strong highway commission and setting the foundation for the modern highway system. As a result of her efforts, the News and Observer called her “the best woman politician in the state.” In 1986 the Board of Transportation named a section of Interstate 40 through Orange County the “Harriet Morehead Berry Freeway.”

Read more from the N.C. Museum of History here.

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One of my favorite exhibits at the N.C. Transportation Museum in Spencer is a fully restored hospital railroad car – one of the few to survive into the 21st Century.  The development of these mobile care centers really helped in the logistics of transporting wounded soldiers. On the home front during World War II, hospital rail cars were vitally important because of the sick and wounded who arrived daily from overseas.  Many of the patients still needed medical attention, care, and supervision during the journeys to military hospitals.

The Museum’s hospital car, located in the last bay of the Bob Julian Roundhouse, is just one of the many interesting exhibits to encounter during the 2012 Southeastern Rail Days June 2 and 3 in Spencer.

Harper’s Weekly in 1864

Illustration of a Civil War hospital car from Harper’s Weekly in 1864.

Hospital rail cars actually date to the Civil War.  Patients were transported by trains throughout the war—but the bumping and jerking of the rail cars caused further suffering. By 1864 a Union Army surgeon designed a means by which cots could be suspended by thick rubber belts so that they would not jostle the patients.

During World War II the government purchased hospital cars of two principal types: ward cars and ward-dressing cars.  Ward cars had wide aisles for carrying litters, patient beds, office space for nurses, and cleaning facilities.  Ward-dressing cars had all of the above plus a small area for attending to dressings or performing emergency surgical procedures.  In a hospital train there were usually 2 ward cars to each ward-dressing car.  The hospital cars were often pulled by regularly scheduled passenger trains.  North Carolina destinations for the army’s hospital cars included Camp Butner, Salisbury, and Swannanoa.

Interactive exhibit in the restored hospital car at the North Carolina Transportation Museum.

Interactive exhibit in the restored hospital car at the North Carolina Transportation Museum.

After the war, the government sold off the surplus hospital cars—in fact Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus bought several!   Kept in case of future need, some were eventually sent to Korea.  Now, of course, the military uses trucks and airplanes to transport patients.  But, thanks to the Museum’s interactive exhibit, you can really get a feel for what it would have been like to travel the rails to recuperation.

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