Our Vanishing Americana: A North Carolina Portrait

Our Vanishing Americana: A North Carolina Portrait

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Overview

Our Vanishing Americana: A North Carolina Portrait by Mike Lassiter

Someone once said, “If you start forgetting how things began, you stop beginning things.” With undaunting energy and perseverance,Mike Lassiter spent six years traveling across the stateof North Carolina, looking for the lifeblood of small towns, community icons and historic businesses—the beginnings of Tar Heel commerce, livelihoods, family enterprises. At first it was old storefronts and signage that captured his imagination; soon he became enamored with the people inside the buildings and their stories.

In the old days, before big box retailers and interstates, folks relied on mainstays within their communities. Pretty much whatever anyone needed they purchased at the general store. (As they say at Mast Store, the granddaddy of all N.C.’s general stores, “If you can’t buy it here, you don’t need it.”) Back then, folks gathered their news while sitting around a pot-bellied stove at the hardware store, or in a chair at the barber shop. The local druggists whipped up cures for whatever ailed their customers (or their customers’ livestock); likewise they created some of the tastiest confections known to youngsters, ice cream sodas and orangeades. For entertainment, nothing beat the picture show or a meal out. Today, some of these institutions still survive—a few thriving, others mere skeletons of their former selves. Often, just a faded signpost or abandoned marquee is all that’s left and must suffice to conjure a memory of how life used to be.

This book explores not only beginnings, but continuations, and sadly a few endings, too. It showcases second-, third- and, in a few rare cases, fifth-generation businesses. Nine chapters, each devoted to one business genre—from general stores to barber shops to theatres— include an informative and entertaining essay and numerous photographs. A county-by-county index follows, making Our Vanishing Americana a testament to North Carolina’s unsung heroes and an indispensable guide to the state’s treasures.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780970465191
Publisher: Lorimer Press
Publication date: 12/28/2006
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 10.50(w) x 11.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

Mike Lassiter is a North Carolina native, raised in Statesville. A graduate of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and Campbell University School of Law, he currently practices law n his hometown. His passion for photography and appreciation for days gone by, combined with his love of driving the state’s backroads resulted in this book. Lassiter lives in Davidson with his three children, Grace, Erin and Michael.

Lee Grant, originally from North Carolina, now lives in Tennessee and works as a medical writer in Memphis. A frequent contributor to Our State — Down Home in North Carolina, he is also the author of three books, including Everybody on the Truck, The Story of the Dillards. He and his wife Jayme live in Bartlett, Tennessee with their son Jack and daughter Taylor.

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Our Vanishing Americana: A North Carolina Portrait 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
FCTOM More than 1 year ago
I purchased this book after seeing a PGS special where the author went back at a later date and interviewed the owners of many of the businesses. It's had for the book which laces that personal insight to live up to that show. I 61 and while I never liven in or have visited North Carolina the types of businesses represented in the book bring back memories of a time when most businesses you dealt with were small mom and pop operations. I think if I had just come across the book without having first seen the PBS show I would be giving it five starts.
grannyfaye More than 1 year ago
I am so thankful someone has taken the time, trouble, expense and other things involved in bringing this book to print. I was born and raised in South Carolina but have spent almost half my adult life in North Carolina and have visited many of the places in this book. Turning the pages of this book is like visiting old friends. The pictures are so vivid and with the descriptions bring back so many images of these very special places...especially since, as the title infers, they are vanishing or have already vanished. A great, quality publication. Thank you, Mr. Lassiter!