“Viva the Gazetteer” Lecture

This announcement came to us this morning through the Dept. of Cultural Resources mailing list. If you happen to be in downtown Raleigh and are looking for a way to spend your lunch-break, this would be a wonderful opportunity:

Free State Capitol Lecture Jan. 31 Highlights Stories of N.C. Places

On Monday, Jan. 31, the Capitol will host a lecture by Michael Hill, co-author of the 2nd edition of the “North Carolina Gazetteer.” The free lecture, “Viva the Gazetteer!: The Making of the New Edition of a North Carolina Classic” takes place at noon in the old House Chamber.

The “Gazetteer” first appeared to wide acclaim in 1968 and has remained an essential reference for anyone with a serious interest in the Tar Heel State, from historians to journalists, from creative writers to urban planners, from backpackers to armchair travelers.

The revised and expanded edition (published June 2010) adds approximately 1,200 new entries, bringing to nearly 21,000 the number of North Carolina cities, towns, crossroads, waterways, mountains and other places identified here. The stories attached to place names are at the core of the book and the reason why it has stood the test of time. Some recall faraway places: Bombay, Shanghai, Moscow, Berlin. Others paint the locality as a little piece of heaven on earth: Bliss, Splendor, Sweet Home. In many cases the name derivations are unusual, sometimes wildly so: Cat Square, Huggins Hell, Tater Hill, Whynot.

Hill will discuss his role in updating this essential guide and how the “Gazetteer” tells us much about our own history. Hill’s talk promises to be an engaging, authoritative look at the stories behind the places that make North Carolina great.

The State Capitol’s mission is to preserve and interpret the history, architecture and functions of the 1840 building and Union Square. The Capitol is bounded by Edenton, Salisbury, Morgan and Wilmington streets. For more information, visit www.nchistoricsites.org/capitol/default.htm or call (919) 733-4994.