Contribute to "N.C. Atlas"
Tom Ross into the field is always an adventure, and there is usually
good food along the way.
A recent road trip
included a stop at world famous Melvins in Elizabethtown for a
hamburger (dont ask for a cheeseburger) and then a visit to a
hog farm in eastern Robeson County.
Dr. Ross did not
know the owners of the huge hog farm before showing up at their doorstep,
but like he says, The people in North Carolina are absolutely
tops, especially the country folks.
True to his prediction,
the owners welcomed strangers wearing suits and gave a guided tour of
What I learned
in my travels is that North Carolinians are a vibrant, energetic, realistic,
well-adjusted and friendly group of people, Dr. Ross said. The
good part about my research for The North Carolina Atlas
is that while I traveled, I was able to do research for my chapter on
restaurants for the travel guide. (North Carolina
A Fodors Compass American Guides
Some academics might
object to this kind of research, but Dr. Ross, who has invested time
on both sides of the library doors, just laughs.
Some say that
wandering around and talking to farmers isnt scholarly work, and
that it is fun, he said. Its a challenge too because
you never know what youll run into around the next corner. The
cultural landscape of North Carolina is full of surprises, many of which
lead to other potential research projects.
Dr. Ross and adjunct
professor, the late Dr. Robert Reiman, contributed sections on agriculture,
forestry and mining to the recently published North Carolina Atlas:
Portrait for a New Century. Contributing to this voluminous reference
book it is 461 pages with 300 color maps and charts and 50 photographs
is a geographers dream.
a little like community service since there is no pay for the work,
Dr. Ross said. It is a real honor to be a contributor because
only a select group were chosen to participate.
considered it the capstone of his career, and he was the most respected
planner in North Carolina, Dr. Ross said. Sadly, he died
a week before the book was sent to contributors.
Besides their chapter,
the pair also contributed several photographs to the volume, ensuring
that this region is well represented. One of the four cover photos is
a Robeson County tobacco farm scene.
The book, edited
by Dr. Douglas Orr Jr., president of Warren Wilson College, and Al Stuart,
a UNC Charlotte geographer, has been hailed by critics as an important
In his foreward,
North Carolina Governor James B. Hunt called The North Carolina
Atlas a useful resource for government decision-makers, teachers,
students, or those who simply love The Old North State.
Carolina Atlas will benefit us all by reminding us of our history and
inspiring us to look forward as we head into the next century,
Gov. Hunt concludes.
The atlas captures
a changing North Carolina landscape. The old culture of tobacco, textiles
and quiet rural communities is disappearing at the end of the 20th century,
as Dr. Ross notes in his section on agriculture.
not only has been a pillar of the economy but also has helped to shape
North Carolinas unique character as a predominantly rural, small-town
state, he writes. Tobacco farming, with its unusually high-dollar
yields per acre, has been especially prominent in supporting a relatively
dispersed population pattern.
both population and economic activities in the state have taken on a
distinctly urban pattern, he writes. This has paralleled
a decline of agricultures role in the economy.
An expertly documented
case for a changing economy and way of life follows.
Carolina Atlas has had excellent reviews and will be on the reference
shelf of every library in the state. It will be used as a college textbook,
and it fits a coffee table too, Dr. Ross said.
(Stuart and Orr) put a tremendous amount of work in this Atlas,
he said. It is a real world book written for North Carolinians.
Dr. Al Stuart said
it was a lengthy labor of love, but worth it.
to University Newswire