[caption id="attachment_160501" align="alignnone" width="1140"] Photo Credit Enabled[/caption] 1939: Going Twice ... Sold! During the first half of the 20th century, farmers from across the region flocked to Durham’s warehouse district
During the first half of the 20th century, farmers from across the region flocked to Durham’s warehouse district for the fall tobacco auction season. Local stores often held big sales to capitalize on the influx of farmers, who now had cash to spend and time to spare. Outside the auction warehouses, they could buy products like socks, shoes, scarves, ties, tablecloths, medicines, produce, and livestock — including, around Thanksgiving, live turkeys.
These Marines from Camp Lejeune’s Motor Transport School in Jacksonville may not have been able to celebrate the holidays with their families, but they were still treated to a full Thanksgiving dinner. While in the field for truck driving and combat training, they took a break to enjoy “the bird of the season and accessories on the roadside.” The base had just been established two years earlier in response to the United States’ need for an amphibious training facility on the East Coast during World War II.
George and Beth Paschal and their family celebrated one of their first holidays at their new home in 1951. Designed by modernist architect James Fitzgibbon, the house featured expansive windows for ventilation, and heated floors and a sunken fireplace to keep warm in the winter. In the kitchen, Beth prepared the Thanksgiving turkey while her daughter, Laura Huston, tended to the partridge in her own miniature oven.
Every year since 1945, the Saturday before Thanksgiving has been reserved for Raleigh’s Christmas parade. The event actually began in 1939 as a way for merchants to give back to the community and to encourage locals to get a head start on their holiday shopping, but it was put on hold for several years during World War II. By the 1950s, the parade had become a beloved family tradition. As the years went on, floats, balloons, and performances became bigger and more elaborate. Today, about 80,000 spectators line Fayetteville Street as the procession heads east toward the State Capitol.
In the mid-’60s, a family of 11 — like that of Forsyth County residents Clay and Bernice Smith, pictured here with five of their nine children, (from left) Gary, Gloria Jean, Karen, Denny, and Norris — would have paid about $11.65 for their entire Thanksgiving meal, compared to an average of $77.52 today.
For “Band Day” at Wake Forest University’s football game against the University of Virginia on the Saturday before Thanksgiving in 1972, the marching band gave a special holiday greeting to the spectators at Groves Stadium (now Truist Field). Not long after the band was formed in 1927, the Old Gold & Black wrote that it was “the only organization of its kind in the State which combines marching formations and letter formations as a part of its program given at football games in the fall.”
In 1970, North Carolina was ranked third in the nation for turkey production — by 1981, it would move up to first. Most of the state’s turkey farms, like this one in Goldsboro are still concentrated in the southern Piedmont and Coastal Plain. Goldsboro Milling Company began in 1916 as a feed mill, and in 1958, it turned its attention to raising turkeys. In the mid-1980s, the company joined with Carroll’s Foods (later Smithfield Foods) to form Carolina Turkeys, which eventually became Butterball — a brand now seen on Thanksgiving tables across the country.