The New Bern Historical Society is dedicated to sharing the rich history of New Bern, NC and has been doing so since 1923. The Historical Society offices are located in the Attmore-Oliver House, c. 1790, in New Bern’s historic district. In addition to offices there is a Civil War display and room installations reflecting life in the mid-19th century. Beautiful historic gardens are located behind the house. The New Bern Historical Society also owns and stewards 30+ acres of the Battle of New Bern’s Civil War battlefield. The New Bern Battlefield Park is located near James City just off of Highway 70 East.
Today is Wednesday, so "What is in the Attic with Jim?"
We are so delighted when folks share photos and memorabilia about famous New Bernians. This newspaper clipping was shared by Jack Waters,grandson of Gilbert S. Waters, who was the inventor, owner and manufacturer of the buggymobile. Mr. Walters appeared on the weekly Radio Show called "We the People" on March 7, 1939. The host of the show was Gabriel Heatter. Mr. Waters was interviewed about his buggymobile invention in 1899 and a later more advanced model in 1903 which he had with him at the show. The original transcript is in a private collection at the State Archives in Raleigh, NC) We have only printed a small excerpt below. (many thanks to Jack Waters for sharing this delightful bit of history)
Mr. Heatter-"Henry Ford, Charles Buick, JOhn W. Willys. Men who made millions building automobiles-men who started one of our greatest industries! Standing here is a kindly, white haired man whose name might have been as famous as theirs-who might have made a million dollars too. For he was one of the first men to dream of mass production of automobiles-and he built one of the first cars in America. What happened to this man's hopes and plans? Well, Sanka Coffee brought him here tonight all the way from New Bern, North Carolina. And with him is his 36 year old automobile. Mr. Gilbert S. Waters. All right sir.
Mr. Waters-Well, Mr. Heatter, back in 1899 I used to make buggies down in New Bern. One day I went to Baltimore, and saw my first horseless carriage-run by steam. I decided to make a horseless carriage. So I made a chassis out of some buggy parts. Finally, I finished my machine. Only I used a gasoline engine. I called it a buggymobile.
Heatter-Well, tell me, Mr.. Waters, did it run?
Waters-You bet it did Mr. Heatter. On my first test, I raced down main street at 12 miles an hour. A few weeks later I got a great idea. I decided to raise money for a factory to make buggymobiles by the thousands. I went to see a banker in our town. But he laughed at me. Said my buggymobile would never be practical. And everyone said the same thing. I argued-pleaded for money, but they wouldn't help me. Well, I was pretty broke up about it. But there was nothing I could do. So I went back to making buggies. A year or so later Henry Ford opened an automobile plant in Detroit. And the first model-T fords came off the assembly line.
Heatter-Mr. Waters, how do you feel today about all the money you might have made?
Waters-Well, Mr. Heatter, a man of 70 doesn't waste much time thinking of what might have been. I 've had a good life. And I wouldn't give up the fun I've had running a small town store-for all the money in the world. Today-folks all over the world have buggymobiles. And I guess that's the main thing after all.
Heatter-Mr. Waters, does your buggymobile still run after all these years?
Waters-It sure does Mr. Heatter. It runs as good as it did 36 years ago. I can still hit 35 miles an hour in it. And I can get 40 miles to the gallon. That's better than most streamlined cars can get. I think mine is better looking too. Don't you Mr. Heatter?
Heatter-Mr. Waters is cranking up his buggymobile now. I wish all you people could see it. It's a one-seater buggy-with a gasoline engine mounted on the rear. It has big wooden buggy wheels-a stick for a steering gear-and a whip stuck in the dash board.Well, Mr Waters, is there a horn on your buggymobile?
Waters-No-but I've got an old bicycle bell It's good enough to scare away the cows. Listen! (RING) Yes sir-it's a great little car. And I know it'll be good for another 36 years! (APPLAUSE, MUSIC)" ... See MoreSee Less
7 hours ago ·
This comes under the heading that truth is stranger than fiction or you never know what you will find in the newspaper. Thanks to historian Skip Riddle for finding this notice. (Belmont chronicle., October 11, 1883, page 2 About Belmont chronicle. (St. Clairsville, Ohio) 1855-1973)
"An aged owl, the pet of a family in Norfolk, VA was buried on thursday night of last week, with distinguished honors and the recitation of the appropriate lines from the" Burial of Sir John Moore." Above the grave of the pet bird-which by the way, was dubbed William- is the following inscription: "Sacred to the memory of William Owl; born February 22, 1800; died August 22, 1883." The owl came from Newberne, N.C. and it is said it was actually 83 years old, having been handed down from family to family in Newberne and his history being accurately preserved." (photo is not of this particular owl)
#newbernhistorical ... See MoreSee Less
2 days ago ·
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