NC Forest Service Photo Gallery Now Available

By James Lewis on August 1, 2012

Between 1891 and 1938, forestry in North Carolina saw many changes. The state government hired its first state employee to carry out forestry work in 1891; its first professionally trained forester, John Simcox Holmes, in 1909; and its first fire wardens in 1915 (four years after the Weeks Act had passed). However, when Holmes was given the titles of State Forester and State Forest Warden in 1915, no additional funding was appropriated for the positions. In 1922, the North Carolina state legislature gave less than $3,000 to the state for fire protection. Nonetheless, twenty counties matched state funds and each hired a fire warden. In 1926, the state constructed its first fire tower, in Harnett County. Between 1933 and 1938, the Civilian Conservation Corps helped build 52 new fire towers, as well as hundreds of miles of telephone line, roads, and trails, while also assisting with other forest beautification projects. By 1936, two-thirds of the state’s forests had been brought under organized fire protection.

Photographs featuring this history were tucked away in a box in a dilapidated warehouse in Clayton, North Carolina, when Coleman Doggett gained permission to retrieve them in the 1970s. The staff at the Forest History Society has since processed over 500 photographs from Doggett’s collection and posted a finding aid to the collection. The photographs, taken between 1923 and 1947, feature various aspects of forestry in North Carolina, such as lookout towers, fire control (both fire lines and controlled burns), exhibits, groups and gatherings, machinery, roads, and signs. A portion of those images may be found in a new photo gallery.

A few gems from the collection can be found below.

North Carolina state forester John Simcox (J.S.) Holmes with warden D.L. Moser at Mt. Mitchell State Park, 1923.

D. L. Moser (right), the first forest warden of Mt. Mitchell State Park, with J. S. Holmes (left), North Carolina’s first state forester, at Mt. Mitchell State Park in 1923 (CD9).

Nursery bed, Mount Mitchell State Park, 1928. Ed Wilson, park warden, in background. Yancey County, NC.

This photo, taken in 1928, shows park warden Ed Wilson standing behind a four-year-old Southern Balsam (or Fraser fir) that was planted by D. L. Moser in 1924. Moser began experimenting to see if he could artificially repopulate Fraser fir forests (CD5).

Lorain Dragline purchased by Riegel Parker Corp. in March 1939 and turned over to CCC for road construction, Brunswick County, NC.

This Lorain Dragline was purchased in 1939 for approximately $1,200 by Riegel Paper and turned over to the Civilian Conservation Corps for road construction projects (CD39).

Pacific Pumper used on Old Swamp Fire in NC.

The Pacific Pumper was used to draw water from nearby lakes or rivers in order to fight fires. This particular one was used to fight the Old Swamp Fire (CD63).

Hertford County, NC, fire tower under construction, 1928.

The Hertford County fire tower seen under construction in 1928. An Aermotor tower, it was 102 feet tall (CD29).

Horse Ridge lookout tower in Burke County, NC.

The Horse Ridge lookout tower in Burke County was erected in 1928 (CD24).

North Sampson County fire tower, NC.

The North Sampson County Tower, built in 1938, was made of creosoted wood and stood 120 feet tall (CD30).

Motion picture truck at Old Dock Consolidated School in Columbus County, NC.

The motion picture truck distributes literature to students at the Old Dock Consolidated School in Columbus County, 1929 (CD21).

Forest Planting and Fire Protection exhibit at the North Carolina State Fair, 1928.

Forest Planting and Fire Protection exhibit at the 1928 North Carolina State Fair (CD15).

Marching band in parade through downtown Asheville, NC, 1941.

Marching band in parade through downtown Asheville, 1941 (CD83).

Continue browsing selections from the collection in our new North Carolina Forest Service Photo gallery.