For nine decades, Our State has made its way into homes across North Carolina, the United States, and the world. To celebrate, every month this year, we’re paying tribute to
For nine decades, Our State has made its way into homes across North Carolina, the United States, and the world. To celebrate, every month this year, we’re paying tribute to the readers who inspire us, offering a taste of our earliest recipes, and revisiting old stories with new insights. Follow along to find out how our past has shaped our present.
Were it not for an innovative female photographer and her trusty camera, Fayetteville’s famed Fort Liberty military base might still be a desolate field of sand and pines.
New Bern native Bayard Wootten was best-known for her portraits and outdoor photography, but the story of her contributions to the Army cannot be overlooked.
The tale begins in 1910, during the National Guard’s annual encampment at Camp Glenn in Morehead City. According to a November 1985 article in The State, Wootten accompanied the troops on maneuvers there and took pictures of the “uniformed civilians in training,” photos that the guardsmen “bought like hotcakes to send back home to their girlfriends and families.”
Wootten’s work was so appreciated — officials claimed it boosted morale and re-enlistments — that she was given a uniform and designated the camp’s publicity chief, unofficially making her one of the Army’s first uniformed female members.
Around 1921, Gen. A.J. Bowley, commander at Camp Bragg — then a hastily built World War I training base that nearly shut down after the war — heard about Wootten and invited her to the camp to take photos depicting its “total pathetic and disreputable appearance,” The State wrote. “Armed with Mrs. Wootten’s pictures, Gen. Bowley was able to influence Washington to begin installing permanent brick and concrete structures at the sand- and pine-covered area.”
The base became Fort Bragg — now Fort Liberty — and today it’s one of the largest military installations in the world.print it