A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from February 10, 2016
North Carolina: Turpentine State (nickname)

Entry in progress—B.P.

Wiktionary: Turpentine State
A nickname alluding to its extensive production of turpentine.
Proper noun
Turpentine State

1. North Carolina

Wikipedia: Tar Heel
Tar Heel is a nickname applied to the U.S. state of North Carolina and its inhabitants. It is also the nickname of the University of North Carolina athletic teams, students, alumni, and fans.

The exact etymology of the nickname is unknown, but most folklore believe its roots come from the fact that tar, pitch, and turpentine created from the vast pine forests were some of North Carolina’s most important exports early in the state’s history. For a time after the Civil War, the name Tar Heel was derogatory, but it was later reappropriated by the people of North Carolina.[1]
History of term
In its early years as a colony, North Carolina settlements became an important source of the naval stores, tar, pitch, and turpentine, especially for the British navy. Tar and pitch were largely used to paint the bottom of wooden British ships both to seal the ship and to prevent shipworms from damaging the hull.

At one time, an estimated 100,000 barrels (16,000 m3) of tar and pitch were shipped annually to England. After 1824, North Carolina became the leader in the United States for naval stores. By the Civil War, North Carolina had more than 1600 turpentine distilleries, and two thirds of all turpentine in the United States came from North Carolina and one-half from the counties of Bladen and New Hanover.

Historians Hugh Lefler and Albert Newsome claim in North Carolina: the History of a Southern State (3rd edition, 1973) that North Carolina led the world in production of naval stores from about 1720 to 1870.

At the time, tar was created by piling up pine logs and burning them until hot oil seeped out from a canal. The vast production of tar from North Carolina led many, including Walt Whitman, to give the derisive nickname of “Tarboilers” to the residents of North Carolina. North Carolina was nicknamed the “Tar and Turpentine State” because of this industry.

(Oxford English Dictionary)
Turpentine State n. (U.S.) see quot. 1859.
1850 M. Reid Rifle Rangers I. v. 46 The danger is, we may stick in the Turpentine State.
1859 J. R. Bartlett Dict. Americanisms (ed. 2) Turpentine State, the State of North Carolina, so called from the quantity of turpentine obtained from its pine forests.

Google Books
Universal Dictionary of the English Language
Edited by Robert Hunter and Charles Morris
New York, NY: Peter Fenelon Collier, Publisher
Pg. 5343:
North Carolina. Old North State. The Turpentine State (from one of its principal products).

Google Books
Focus on American English & Culture (Second Editions)
Edited by Pierfranca Forchini
Milan: EDUCatt - Ente per il diritto allo studio universitario dell’Universit√† Cattolica
Pg. 49:
By 1844, the state (North Carolina—ed.) was being called the Tar and Turpentine State, and by 1859 just Turpentine State.

Posted by Barry Popik
Other ExpressionsOther States • Wednesday, February 10, 2016 • Permalink

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