Episode 61: Tar Heel Lightning - Talking NASCAR with Dan Pierce

51m | Jun 14, 2022

Facebook Live Video from 2022/06/14 - Tar Heel Lightning - Talking NASCAR with Dan PierceGuest: DAN PIERCE

In this episode, you'll learn about moonshine history, how NASCAR emerged from the Prohibition Era and how moonshine runners' lives have an impact on today's world. 

Joseph is joined by our special guest Dan Pierce, he is a renowned author, columnist, and consultant. He earned degrees from WCU, the University of Alabama, and the University of Tennessee before becoming a history professor at UNC Asheville. Dan is an avid outdoorsman, passionate about NASCAR, moonshine history, Appalachian culture, environmental issues, and race relations. He lives with his family in Black Mountain, N.C. 

He joins us to talk about Tar Heel Lightning: How Secret Stills and Fast cars Made N.C. the Moonshine Capital of the World, NASCAR, and more.

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Tune in for this fun conversation at or watch the Facebook Livestream by Clicking Here.



Pierce grew up in West Asheville, and was born in Arkansas but moved at the age of 3. Father moved to pastor the Grace Baptist Church. Joseph discusses how he was born and grew up in Haywood County which is right next to Asheville but relocated to NYC and stayed for 27 years. Eventually, he moved back to Asheville because it’s a great place. Joseph and Pierce discuss the nostalgia of their childhoods in Asheville comparing it to how it is currently. They discuss good changes such as the dining expansion and interesting changes such as seeing more wildlife up close to their homes.


When asked about his dedication to being a teacher and writer Pierce responds by saying he arrived at wanting to be a teacher in his late teens. He liked kids as he ran a park and majored in education. Ironically he recalls himself as an awful student but had a widowed sixth-grade teacher who influenced him. She took him and another boy over the summer to Europe, and her kindness encouraged him to be an influential teacher as well. After becoming a coach in Nashville he ended up going back to school for a Ph.D. at 40 years old. At 45 he came out with a book, he enjoyed reading early on but couldn't imagine himself becoming a writer. With great mentors, he got grounded with discipline and mastered writing. He enjoyed his thesis as it surrounded him hanging around the Moonshine or a stock race. His second book is Real NASCAR, White Lightning, Red Clay, and Big Bill Frogs. The France Family were/still are the owners of NASCAR. Perce dives into the rough and aggressive origin of NASCAR.


Moonshine helped NASCAR and now Joseph wants to discuss how the roles were reversible, in that NASCAR helped NC become the Moonshine Capital. When the federal excise tax was put in place in NC after the Civil War, there was always a tradition in NC to make whiskey and so they made it illegal to upkeep the tradition whilst avoiding the tax. This would still be a strong local option during the prohibition. This made it a great market for Moonshine to thrive and it became a “two-way street” when it came to NASCAR. Successful drivers realized they could make more money with Moonshine than by winning races. There was an economic emergency or young people would get started with work with Moonshine. It became a part of the culture where people accepted the fact that it was needed for people’s livelihoods. Both Pierce and Joseph discuss how it’s still a lively product as they both are often gifted Moonshine. Popcorn Sutton was the bad image painted onto Moonshiners, but Pierce describes them as entrepreneurs and smart. He also talks about how there were also African Americans, women, and Native Americans. A.A. was actually a step ahead of white folks with illegal handmade liquor.


Pierce wrote many books about the Great Smokies National Park. One of the most popular books is, “ From Natural Habitats to Natural Parkings”. Another book was, “Moonshine and the Smokies, Corn from a Jar'' which sold the most. He also did a book on the Community of Hazel Creek in Swain County, which surrounds the long controversy about the road to nowhere. The most recent one was a collaboration with an old friend regarding the art of the Smokies, “Illustrated Guide to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park”. Pierce also discusses his book about ​​NASCAR vs the merits of college football. He was in a debate on the South Carolina Public Radio on a series called Tell About the South. Hardy Jackson from Jacksonville State in Alabama argued for football and Pierce argued for NASCAR. He won a lifetime award, the “Western NC Historical Association Outstate Achievement Award''. Pierce is big on equal rights and racial diversity, he’s leading a Railroad Incarcerated Committee to honor the forced labor of the 1870’s inmates.



00:00:41.010 –> 00:00:43.320 Joseph McElroy: Welcome to the gateway to the smokies.

00:00:43.320 –> 00:00:52.260 Joseph McElroy: podcast this podcast is about America’s most business National Park, the great smoky mountains national park, and the surrounding towns.

00:00:52.710 –> 00:01:01.470 Joseph McElroy: These areas are filled with natural beauty deep storied history and rich mountain cultures that we explore with weekly episodes.

00:01:01.950 –> 00:01:10.440 Joseph McElroy: I’m Joseph Franklin McElroy man of the world, but also with deep roots in these mountains My family has lived in the great smokies for over 200 year.

00:01:11.160 –> 00:01:18.540 Joseph McElroy: My businesses and travel, but my heart is in culture today we’re going to talk about tar heel lightning talking past NASCAR and.

00:01:19.080 –> 00:01:34.620 Joseph McElroy: and other mountain cultural touchstones with Dan Pierce, but first, our sponsors imagine a place evocative of motor courts of the past, yet modern and vibrant with a chic Appalachian feel.

00:01:35.250 –> 00:01:46.650 Joseph McElroy: a place for adventure for relaxation imagine a place where you could fish in a mountain parent is trout stream real the catch on fire, and he accompanied by fine line or craft beer.

00:01:47.340 –> 00:01:58.710 Joseph McElroy: Imagine a place in the old-time music world cultural cell, there is no other place like the middle like motel Maggie valley you’re a smoky mountain adventures start with where you stay.

00:02:00.630 –> 00:02:12.780 Joseph McElroy: The smoky mountains and surrounding areas is a vacation destination for all seasons, some of the nation’s best hiking trails waterfalls outdoor adventures and family entertainment can be found, right here.

00:02:13.470 –> 00:02:32.130 Joseph McElroy: start your adventure by using smokies adventure calm at smokies plural adventure to explore all the wonderful features of the great smoky mountains National Park trails waterfalls kids Code, the elk, and more and check out all the awesome family attractions.

00:02:34.050 –> 00:02:49.260 Joseph McElroy: slinky and interesting logical, it was facilities and entertainment, you and your entire family can enjoy the goal the smokies adventure calm is to be your meeting information source for adventures and experiences and the great smoky mountain.

00:02:50.850 –> 00:02:59.880 Joseph McElroy: Some upcoming events, I want to tell you about on June 18 at 4 pm is part four of the heritage books series with Bob Bob.

00:03:00.600 –> 00:03:11.790 Joseph McElroy: it’s another informative and entertaining and fun afternoon of history, food, and music as a part of part four of our heritage book series, and its an award-winning author and.

00:03:12.330 –> 00:03:15.930 Joseph McElroy: meadowlark smoky mountain heritage Center general manager Bob blog.

00:03:16.620 –> 00:03:31.710 Joseph McElroy: Discussing his fourth book colorful characters the great smoky mountains and then these books, he leaves the library stories of vibrant and intriguing characters, such as the Cherokee chiefs you don’t agus got okay Nice.

00:03:32.490 –> 00:03:44.610 Joseph McElroy: Oh, can I should have gotten this before I got on the cocoa know stone soda sorry if I really I’m really butchered that they have dragon canoe and their allies such as john will watch, along with their combat.

00:03:45.240 –> 00:03:57.210 Joseph McElroy: Robert Rogers quitting Kennedy King hailer the Stockbridge Mohicans Francis Marion and others and then there’s modern-day icon such as von plot Charles matt Miller and URL and.

00:03:57.900 –> 00:04:16.830 Joseph McElroy: there’ll be a book signing and Barbecue dinner, as well as a evening of acoustic music by Michael Guthrie in France it’s the Venice free to motel guests and heritage club Members but there’s an admission charge $10 for are all of the people call eight to 89261717 to reserve your place.

00:04:17.910 –> 00:04:33.270 Joseph McElroy: On July July night a mountain icon I the Iowa I a hatter is going to have a program called wild crafted and mothers nature natural guard and it starts on July 9 at 10 am and.

00:04:34.380 –> 00:04:43.050 Joseph McElroy: it’s a program featuring a legendary wildcrafting expert I had her and she was also a renowned author filmmaker instructor and tour guide.

00:04:43.410 –> 00:04:49.410 Joseph McElroy: For the great smoky mountains National Park elite DSM field school education Program.

00:04:49.920 –> 00:05:01.350 Joseph McElroy: She is an expert on edible plants medicinal herbs of anything pertaining to wild craft forging and Appalachians plant trees and flowers, she is going to give it a presentation on.

00:05:01.860 –> 00:05:08.730 Joseph McElroy: On all sorts of stuff related to walk crafting and then she’s actually going to take our the guests, and people are on.

00:05:09.060 –> 00:05:24.510 Joseph McElroy: an adventure, on the grounds and the surrounding area to actually forge things and learn how to do it right your own backyard so costs eight to 89261717 to reserve your place is free for guests and heritage heard this club members and there’s a $20.

00:05:25.830 –> 00:05:27.960 Joseph McElroy: price per for admission for everybody else.

00:05:29.700 –> 00:05:36.750 Joseph McElroy: And then on August six six there’s going to be a chair the launch of cherokee heritage series with Davey art.

00:05:38.280 –> 00:05:47.490 Joseph McElroy: Davey arts is a world-famous Cherokee tribal historic and award-winning craftsman of traditional Turkey crafts, specifically masks and baskets.

00:05:47.880 –> 00:06:07.200 Joseph McElroy: And a beloved spokesman for the Eastern Cherokee tribe the event will be followed by a Barbecue dinner and music is $20 per guest and it’s free for hotel guests call eight to 89261717 to reserve your seat now and for all events at the Meadowlark motel so.

00:06:08.220 –> 00:06:16.110 Joseph McElroy: Today we’re gonna be talking with Dan pierce, who is a renowned author columnist consultant who earned degrees from Western Carolina University.

00:06:16.500 –> 00:06:22.380 Joseph McElroy: The University of Alabama and the University of Tennessee before becoming a history professor at unc Asheville.

00:06:22.890 –> 00:06:36.090 Joseph McElroy: Dan is an avid outdoorsman passionate about NASCAR moonshine history Appalachian culture environmental issues and race relations, he lives with his family and black mountain North Carolina hello, Dan how are you doing.

00:06:36.600 –> 00:06:37.980 Daniel Pierce: i’m good i’m good.

00:06:38.280 –> 00:06:38.760 yeah.

00:06:40.110 –> 00:06:43.680 Joseph McElroy: it’s good to be here it’s a little hot right now but we’re getting over it right.

00:06:44.130 –> 00:06:45.330 Daniel Pierce: Hopefully, hopefully.

00:06:45.660 –> 00:06:52.860 Joseph McElroy: yeah so so like me euro you’re a native Western or throw you grew up my sash all right.

00:06:53.220 –> 00:07:04.560 Daniel Pierce: I did you know I hesitate call myself a native because I was born in Arkansas but, as I say, I got here as quickly as I could I was three when I.

00:07:06.090 –> 00:07:17.100 Daniel Pierce: arrived in West Asheville I’ve always said, the good Lord i’m thankful to the good Lord for calling my dad to come to pastor the Grace Baptist Church in West Asheville, and so I grew up there.

00:07:17.910 –> 00:07:28.590 Daniel Pierce: kind of an as I put it, a combination of Mayberry and a cotton mill town in will stifle at that time, which is not at all what West Asheville is today.

00:07:28.680 –> 00:07:30.210 Joseph McElroy: I know it’s changed a little bit.

00:07:31.230 –> 00:07:32.190 Daniel Pierce: he’s a little lot.

00:07:33.570 –> 00:07:39.240 Joseph McElroy: Well, you know I just relocated with my family back you know I grew up in a wood county yeah right next to Asheville.

00:07:39.660 –> 00:07:53.970 Joseph McElroy: My family’s been in that county for over 200 years, so you know I got I was born and raised and all that sort of thing, but that has spent 27 years in New York City where my kids were born and I just reload your head the whole kit and caboodle back to Asheville so.

00:07:56.280 –> 00:08:09.930 Joseph McElroy: it’s you know it’s a it’s a great place to common yeah, as you can say, as you, as you mentioned this changed a lot, I think, in a positive way, but it was it was I thought it was pretty cool we were growing up what was it like growing up in West asheville.

00:08:10.530 –> 00:08:21.870 Daniel Pierce: Well, like I said it was kind of a combination of Mayberry and cotton mill town, you know when and course we were very much free-range kids at the time, and you know ride our bikes all ever West asheville and Walt.

00:08:23.190 –> 00:08:29.790 Daniel Pierce: You know I remember one particular Saturday bye buddy Steve Harris, and I just decided on the spur of the moment we’d walk despite.

00:08:30.180 –> 00:08:38.550 Daniel Pierce: to the top of the mountain, which is out in the last area, so we walked out Lester highway and we we remind me, you know 1112 years old and and.

00:08:39.210 –> 00:08:48.870 Daniel Pierce: Well, to the top of the mountain and back nobody knew, you know I mean it’s probably I don’t know 1015 miles when we walk that day, but that was the place, I grew up you.

00:08:48.870 –> 00:08:49.650 Daniel Pierce: know I mean we.

00:08:50.070 –> 00:08:51.510 Daniel Pierce: knew everybody and.

00:08:53.400 –> 00:08:54.570 Daniel Pierce: pretty much and.

00:08:55.770 –> 00:09:03.510 Daniel Pierce: It was just one of those kinds of neighborhoods so and the other great thing was being in western North Carolina and typically once.

00:09:04.710 –> 00:09:09.150 Daniel Pierce: You got a little more mobile and wheels, you know we went to the mountains, a lot and.

00:09:10.770 –> 00:09:16.830 Daniel Pierce: You know, we go the top of mountain play capture the flag and stuff like that a row rocks off the side of the mountain there.

00:09:19.290 –> 00:09:26.340 Daniel Pierce: and go to swimming holes and all that kind of stuff so it was a great I didn’t know at the time, but it was a great great place to grow.

00:09:27.060 –> 00:09:35.460 Joseph McElroy: it’s still good you know I I went right in our backyard so far we’re North asheville right and we’re on a real real wonderful street.

00:09:35.880 –> 00:09:42.840 Joseph McElroy: You know, and our kids bike on the street, just like you, you, you know you remember, they were out there with other kids and.

00:09:43.140 –> 00:09:56.430 Joseph McElroy: All you have to use your car and all the kids get off the road but it’s not there’s not really that much traffic but what’s interesting is is that in the in the week that we’ve been here we’ve seen had a BlackBerry to deer in our backyard.

00:09:57.510 –> 00:10:01.350 Joseph McElroy: which I don’t really remember Asheville being that prevalent for big wildlife.

00:10:01.650 –> 00:10:16.260 Daniel Pierce: yeah there were no turkeys there he never saw a bear unless you’re in the smokies and their head was in a garbage can and you never solved there you know it was it’s it’s really one of the great changes recent well.

00:10:17.700 –> 00:10:26.250 Daniel Pierce: I prefer to see bears a little less frequently in my yard actually one got up i’ve got my bird feeder strong about.

00:10:26.940 –> 00:10:42.930 Daniel Pierce: 15 feet up off the ground and one of them figured out how to get up there and kind of twine the wire and got one of the bird feeders to bounce off today, so a lot we we saw i’m trying it the other day and I shot him with a bb gun I don’t know if I can say that.

00:10:43.200 –> 00:10:43.500 yeah.

00:10:44.520 –> 00:10:45.420 Daniel Pierce: Is that legal.

00:10:48.210 –> 00:10:51.090 Daniel Pierce: And scare them off, but he got my bird feeder today and I.

00:10:51.090 –> 00:10:51.360 can’t.

00:10:54.270 –> 00:10:59.790 Joseph McElroy: bit bb guns and rocks over the thing back in the day and I think they’re probably still could have their uses.

00:11:02.700 –> 00:11:10.080 Joseph McElroy: So what do I think it’s interesting you grew up in West Asheville it’s changed a lot like you mentioned What would you think is the biggest change.

00:11:10.950 –> 00:11:12.600 Daniel Pierce: Well, the real estate prices for.

00:11:12.600 –> 00:11:13.890 Joseph McElroy: Oh yeah.

00:11:14.520 –> 00:11:21.090 Daniel Pierce: They were just talking about you know, is it going to be a million-dollar bungalow for sale and West Asheville soon you know it’s.

00:11:21.960 –> 00:11:37.920 Daniel Pierce: crazy, you know the House, it was very blue-collar when I when I grew up there, and, of course, you had the actual speedway down there having races and or or, as some people put it, you know what went to the fights and a race broke out, you know.

00:11:40.710 –> 00:11:48.120 Daniel Pierce: Pretty rough place but you know and the and the only dining establishment really was the tasty diner you know and.

00:11:49.470 –> 00:11:53.670 Daniel Pierce: Where you could go sit at the bar with jack ingram you know, is in the nascar hall of fame so.

00:11:55.320 –> 00:11:59.820 Joseph McElroy: Great foodie place now man there’s some great restaurants out there, look jargon right.

00:12:00.240 –> 00:12:04.410 Daniel Pierce: Now those weren’t there you know it’s kind of one of those deals, you know I hear they’re good.

00:12:04.890 –> 00:12:05.490 Joseph McElroy: yeah.

00:12:05.940 –> 00:12:07.350 Daniel Pierce: I don’t get the West Eiffel much.

00:12:09.450 –> 00:12:15.780 Joseph McElroy: jargon is good there’s a there’s a really great coffee place i’m drawing a blank on the name, right now, but then there’s.

00:12:16.740 –> 00:12:22.590 Joseph McElroy: You know the early girl is opened up West Asheville, which is a really good you have farm to table thing so.

00:12:23.580 –> 00:12:35.580 Joseph McElroy: it’s it’s become a great place to go and pick up some really good food i’m telling you right now, everybody should go visit there and then they got the artsy sort of seeing going on and performance and things like that.

00:12:36.240 –> 00:12:38.250 Joseph McElroy: And I read an interview that’s.

00:12:38.280 –> 00:12:41.190 Daniel Pierce: Not my day was the chili dog at the surfside.

00:12:41.220 –> 00:12:41.910 Joseph McElroy: yeah right.

00:12:42.570 –> 00:12:48.150 Joseph McElroy: Or, I remember driving back you know and we’d always stopped West actual at the denny’s after being at the nightclub but.

00:12:50.340 –> 00:13:06.270 Joseph McElroy: I don’t see to be open anymore so ready very interview that she said something the effect that folks around that actually had no pretense that are they they are who they are take it or leave it I you know, do you feel that’s that’s the way they are now to.

00:13:06.840 –> 00:13:09.240 Daniel Pierce: A it’s hard to say yeah.

00:13:09.240 –> 00:13:09.630 Right.

00:13:11.280 –> 00:13:14.070 Daniel Pierce: it’s a different I don’t have as good a raid on.

00:13:15.630 –> 00:13:20.190 Daniel Pierce: The recent arrivals as I did the folks I grew up with.

00:13:21.510 –> 00:13:28.500 Joseph McElroy: was very true but I grew up the same thing, and I think that the people that are local here are, and I think it rubs off, I do think that people.

00:13:28.890 –> 00:13:42.990 Joseph McElroy: come from different areas get a little bit let it get lost a little bit of the pretense and they become a little bit more authentic I mean not as authentic as yeah what we grew up with but yeah like you know, there was somebody that I read somewhere that.

00:13:44.010 –> 00:13:55.920 Joseph McElroy: Nobody really has a fancy car asheville you know it’s yeah everybody has you know sort of you know, work practical cars right.

00:13:56.790 –> 00:14:01.440 Daniel Pierce: Well, mine is minus the truck with us still a possible bumper sticker on it.

00:14:01.470 –> 00:14:07.320 Joseph McElroy: So I’m still I’m driving my dad’s 1984 GMC truck so.

00:14:09.900 –> 00:14:12.780 Joseph McElroy: To get this current gas moment i’m not driver that much.

00:14:12.840 –> 00:14:13.230 yeah.

00:14:14.430 –> 00:14:20.520 Joseph McElroy: hey listen, we have to take a break and we’ll come back talk a little bit more about your history and then get into some of your books all right.

00:14:20.850 –> 00:14:21.180 Daniel Pierce: All right.

00:16:37.200 –> 00:16:50.490 Joseph McElroy: howdy this is Joseph Franklin McElroy back with the gateway to the smokies podcast my guest Dan Pierce so Dan you grew up in Asheville, then you left it to go get your bachelor’s.

00:16:51.570 –> 00:17:06.510 Joseph McElroy: vs bachelor of science at Western Carolyn Carolyn diversity and your masters of Alabama and then your PhD at the University of Tennessee and now Lo and behold, you are renowned writer and history, Professor did you always want to be a teacher and writer.

00:17:08.310 –> 00:17:08.880 Daniel Pierce: well.

00:17:10.050 –> 00:17:15.840 Daniel Pierce: A teacher, I think, was something I arrived at, you know in my late teens I worked at a.

00:17:17.610 –> 00:17:30.030 Daniel Pierce: Had a partner program and Asheville and I ran apart for a couple of summers I like kids a lot and so ended up majoring in education, I taught fifth grade for three years and I had.

00:17:31.740 –> 00:17:39.270 Daniel Pierce: kind of a weird experience educationally I was a horrible student I was kind of a noxious kid but I had a sixth-grade teacher That was really.

00:17:40.200 –> 00:17:51.180 Daniel Pierce: inspiring she loved history and then a weird thing happened, where she was she was a widow she asked me if i’d like to go to Europe and so.

00:17:52.230 –> 00:18:00.210 Daniel Pierce: Taking me the next summer after my seventh-grade year to Europe me and another 12-year-old boy, it was.

00:18:00.750 –> 00:18:01.800 Joseph McElroy: A lot of studying.

00:18:02.280 –> 00:18:02.760 Joseph McElroy: Oh, my God.

00:18:02.940 –> 00:18:04.710 Joseph McElroy: yeah it changed your life.

00:18:05.580 –> 00:18:18.300 Daniel Pierce: yeah really strange and then she ended up being my mom’s best friend so in just a deer name is Steve Bennett and just a wonderful person so she kind of inspired me to teach and then I had a lot of bad examples I think that I learned from.

00:18:21.420 –> 00:18:27.540 Daniel Pierce: about what not to do, and so I taught fifth-grade love that but was young single went to.

00:18:28.650 –> 00:18:34.710 Daniel Pierce: pulled up and went to Alabama, which is a great experience for two years and got my masters and.

00:18:35.790 –> 00:18:40.440 Daniel Pierce: kind of cast my lot with southern history, at that point.

00:18:41.550 –> 00:18:52.410 Daniel Pierce: Then I got married and moved to Nashville Tennessee and taught high school for eight years and I was coach peers for that time and really enjoy that stage of my life but, but then decided.

00:18:53.670 –> 00:18:56.670 Daniel Pierce: With the help of my life to go back for a PhD so.

00:18:57.960 –> 00:19:06.540 Daniel Pierce: I finished my Ph.D. at about the age of 40 and so you know I kind of came this late in life and then.

00:19:07.890 –> 00:19:08.790 Daniel Pierce: You know the first.

00:19:10.440 –> 00:19:21.360 Daniel Pierce: The first book, I guess, I was 45 when the first book came out, so I really never imagined, you know I’ve always been an avid reader but I never imagined being a writer and then.

00:19:23.010 –> 00:19:28.260 Daniel Pierce: I just had some great mentors in graduate school that simplify things for me writing was always.

00:19:30.000 –> 00:19:43.230 Daniel Pierce: painful for me, and then they simplified things made it much easier and and and and taught me how to sit down and write in and so, then that you know that I don’t know you know seven oh.

00:19:43.590 –> 00:19:46.500 Joseph McElroy: Would you start writing before you came to unc actual.

00:19:47.400 –> 00:19:52.740 Daniel Pierce: Well, I could have had to write a dissertation I had to do a master’s thesis and dissertation and such.

00:19:53.190 –> 00:19:55.260 Joseph McElroy: A good writing the books and so you got to do and CA.

00:19:55.410 –> 00:20:01.950 Daniel Pierce: yeah well the dissertation became the first book, but I had to do some significant rewriting on it and.

00:20:03.060 –> 00:20:19.800 Daniel Pierce: And I’ve been very fortunate to be the places where I’ve been where I’ve kind of been able to pick and choose what I wanted to do research on to write about so you know you know, I have a good time with it, so there are some people I know who hated their dissertation topic.

00:20:19.800 –> 00:20:19.920 Joseph McElroy: and

00:20:20.910 –> 00:20:26.310 Daniel Pierce: You know they hate their research but they’re kind of stuck because of the requirements of their tenure whatever and.

00:20:27.120 –> 00:20:36.510 Daniel Pierce: I’ve just been able to do what I want, so I have a good time and I get to do research by you know going hiking in the mountains or going to a stock car race or hanging out with moonshine are.

00:20:36.510 –> 00:20:37.530 Joseph McElroy: not bad research.

00:20:37.530 –> 00:20:41.670 Daniel Pierce: Right like that are traveling in the West, recently, you know.

00:20:41.850 –> 00:20:49.590 Joseph McElroy: how did you get I don’t know if it’s lucky or whatever that actually get to come back to your hometown to be a professor for so long.

00:20:49.860 –> 00:20:54.600 Daniel Pierce: It was totally accidental I was in graduate school finishing up and.

00:20:55.950 –> 00:20:58.500 Daniel Pierce: One-year position opened up at marcell.

00:20:59.730 –> 00:21:07.740 Daniel Pierce: University and did that, for a year and then I was fortunate enough to get a one year deal at unc asheville.

00:21:08.880 –> 00:21:21.390 Daniel Pierce: And then I was fortunate enough to get a one-year deal at Western Carolina University and then I kind of adjunct it for a while and, finally, I think unc Asheville figured I wasn’t going to go away and they finally hired me on the tenure track.

00:21:22.590 –> 00:21:24.150 Daniel Pierce: Oh yeah and.

00:21:24.480 –> 00:21:25.110 Joseph McElroy: She actually.

00:21:25.140 –> 00:21:31.320 Joseph McElroy: A very interesting place you know we were we moved on right there right, so I paid attention to what you know I actually.

00:21:31.740 –> 00:21:39.600 Joseph McElroy: You know I’ve been an artist I’ve been in some museums and things but yeah one of my first actually my first formal training in art.

00:21:40.110 –> 00:21:48.780 Joseph McElroy: was at unc Asheville I mean I’d gone to do and then had a career in technology and I burned out for a little while and just sort of tooled around in my first formal training.

00:21:49.230 –> 00:21:58.980 Joseph McElroy: of any sort of school was at unc Asheville before I moved on up North and went to other places, but so sort of fun for me to be live in there, you know it’s.

00:22:00.690 –> 00:22:08.970 Joseph McElroy: it’s a great place that they’re having something very soon that thing is interesting you’re having a world-class conference called the idea festival.

00:22:09.390 –> 00:22:09.930 Daniel Pierce: yeah.

00:22:10.050 –> 00:22:10.950 Joseph McElroy: Pretty crazy right.

00:22:11.190 –> 00:22:11.940 Daniel Pierce: yeah I got.

00:22:15.660 –> 00:22:16.530 Daniel Pierce: yeah lots of.

00:22:18.270 –> 00:22:20.610 Daniel Pierce: Speakers john meacham.

00:22:21.450 –> 00:22:23.430 Joseph McElroy: My major people really.

00:22:23.880 –> 00:22:29.850 Joseph McElroy: yeah I am in the middle of moving I’m still doing this, I can’t go, but I probably go next year, it looks great.

00:22:30.300 –> 00:22:47.580 Joseph McElroy: yeah so your books and articles cover a pretty wide range of subjects, all of them interested you already started mentioning them, but in 19 to 2010 you released real NASCAR white lightning red clay and bill big bill France was that your first book.

00:22:48.300 –> 00:22:58.080 Daniel Pierce: Now that was the second, the first one was 10 years before that actually was my dissertation it was on it’s called the great smokies from natural habitat to the national park and it’s.

00:22:59.130 –> 00:23:10.800 Daniel Pierce: That was one of the great smoky mountain National Park, so it kind of cast that’s kind of been, I guess, if I have an area, you know for my books are related to the great smoky mountains so.

00:23:12.030 –> 00:23:15.120 Joseph McElroy: He looks are your series on Nascar to and moonshine so you have.

00:23:15.450 –> 00:23:15.900 yeah.

00:23:18.360 –> 00:23:22.230 Daniel Pierce: yeah there’s some overlap there, so I did the NASCAR book and then.

00:23:23.310 –> 00:23:35.610 Daniel Pierce: A guy with the great smoky mountains, association, and editor there asked me to do a book on moonshine the smokies, and then that turned into a bigger book I’ll moonshine in North Carolina so well.

00:23:35.970 –> 00:23:39.390 Daniel Pierce: So they all kind of run together in kind of a weird way.

00:23:40.230 –> 00:23:44.670 Joseph McElroy: Why why, why did you write a book on NASCAR, I will get what was their interest there.

00:23:45.210 –> 00:23:55.230 Daniel Pierce: Well, the big thing I always you know I grew up and I put it within earshot of the what they call the new Asheville speedway or the or the river, which was kind of a leg.

00:23:56.700 –> 00:24:00.840 Daniel Pierce: yeah dental Nam boy road and West Asheville and it was a big hang out.

00:24:02.550 –> 00:24:14.580 Daniel Pierce: I was kind of well easily influenced by my brother my older brother and he was all about kind of living down your West Asheville roots and.

00:24:14.940 –> 00:24:27.510 Daniel Pierce: and your redneck roots in and hanging out with the North Asheville kids and all that, so I always I never went to a race there, I never thought about we just didn’t do that kind of thing you know Baptist preacher son and.

00:24:27.900 –> 00:24:31.920 Daniel Pierce: and always kind of make fun of it, but then I had a roommate at Western.

00:24:32.700 –> 00:24:36.810 Daniel Pierce: Western Carolina who was avid I mean he still is and.

00:24:38.310 –> 00:24:47.520 Daniel Pierce: And he kept trying to get me to get a races and then finally right, as I was finishing up my PhD work at Tennessee he was living in East Tennessee.

00:24:48.360 –> 00:24:56.400 Daniel Pierce: He said I got take it so got a couple of tickets to Bristol why don’t you come to go with me, and so I thought well you can’t call yourself a southern historian if you’ve.

00:24:56.910 –> 00:24:57.600 Joseph McElroy: never been done.

00:24:58.770 –> 00:25:06.930 Daniel Pierce: You know, and so that was 1994 and I went to my first race was night race at Bristol I don’t have a clue about anything.

00:25:07.860 –> 00:25:17.760 Daniel Pierce: the first thing he didn’t say anything about how loud, it was and I didn’t have any earplugs or anything I thought I was going to go deaf and so fortunately I had a strap on my sunglasses and I was able to stuff that my ears and.

00:25:18.360 –> 00:25:31.530 Daniel Pierce: And, but the thing that got me, I think I mean the racing was incredible I mean it was just really exciting, but the thing that got me where the fans that just were unreal I mean just the past.

00:25:32.190 –> 00:25:34.680 Daniel Pierce: fanatics yeah yeah there was a guy.

00:25:35.040 –> 00:25:37.050 Joseph McElroy: What explains that popularity yeah.

00:25:37.110 –> 00:25:41.250 Daniel Pierce: You know I don’t know I don’t see it as intense as it was at that.

00:25:42.570 –> 00:25:58.980 Daniel Pierce: But it was intense and I’ll never forget, there was a guy sitting in front of us and we were way up near the top and we’re 100 rose up or more, and this guy was sitting if he had a big old cooler he brought he and I don’t know how many beers he driving but.

00:25:59.130 –> 00:26:13.560 Daniel Pierce: yeah but he would they at bristol’s a half mile track so they’re coming by every 16 1516 seconds this guy would stand up every time Dale Earnhardt’s car came by and she didn’t bark.

00:26:14.820 –> 00:26:16.290 Joseph McElroy: Ah, so.

00:26:16.650 –> 00:26:18.840 Joseph McElroy: If it goes a little bit like pro wrestling there they.

00:26:21.300 –> 00:26:22.140 Joseph McElroy: Had a little bit of a.

00:26:24.210 –> 00:26:27.450 Joseph McElroy: Of a character that represented yeah.

00:26:27.510 –> 00:26:40.920 Daniel Pierce: yeah but I mean there was a lot of that kind of it was very almost a moral drama almost, particularly at that time Jeff Gordon was coming on the scene is kind of clean-cut California kid you know and here’s Dale earnhardt this rough.

00:26:42.150 –> 00:26:51.480 Daniel Pierce: A rough and tumble God worked in a cotton mill you know, and you know Greece under his fingernails kind of guy which is not necessarily true but.

00:26:52.110 –> 00:26:52.710 Daniel Pierce: But he had.

00:26:52.740 –> 00:26:57.660 Daniel Pierce: Any image, you know, and so it was great you know I mean it was just intense you know.

00:26:58.080 –> 00:27:05.940 Joseph McElroy: The first big name in NASCAR was William Henry Getty Big Bill France well what was this what was his position on sports?

00:27:06.120 –> 00:27:06.900 Daniel Pierce: way he was.

00:27:07.440 –> 00:27:22.800 Daniel Pierce: The founder basically the order, I mean the France family it’s unique and professional sports and that that nascar is owned by the France family still as a woman, by the France family and so his.

00:27:26.790 –> 00:27:38.640 Daniel Pierce: His brother or his side, Jim France is pretty much the head of it now, but then his his grandchildren well Brian Francis kind of out of the picture now he ran it for a while a grandchild and.

00:27:39.990 –> 00:27:50.040 Daniel Pierce: Lisa France Kennedy is has a big hand and so it’s still a family run business and then he kind of ran it with a with an iron fist back in the day and course it was.

00:27:50.160 –> 00:27:52.650 Joseph McElroy: Back in those days, it was all those guys were like.

00:27:52.740 –> 00:27:55.680 Daniel Pierce: yeah I mean it was it was a pretty rough crowd you.

00:27:55.680 –> 00:28:06.510 Daniel Pierce: know the you know there was a lot of those guys, you know got their first high speed driving experience behind about you know, a 39 for coop you know Holland liquor.

00:28:06.840 –> 00:28:08.820 Daniel Pierce: yeah right somewhere so.

00:28:08.820 –> 00:28:16.890 Joseph McElroy: trying to get trying to get the front end of one of those coops we got the moonshine room, I was well put it in there yeah so you know.

00:28:17.460 –> 00:28:30.660 Joseph McElroy: I would take a break soon, but you have you declare at the end of that book I would humbly suggest this time for Nascar to stop modernizing tradition and start embracing his tradition what’s the simple explanation of that statement.

00:28:31.230 –> 00:28:41.790 Daniel Pierce: Well, you know they are kind of hidden from their moonshine roots they’re doing a little bit more now, but I think they ought to embrace it, you know, I think that they it’s a great story you.

00:28:41.790 –> 00:28:42.060 know.

00:28:43.290 –> 00:28:52.020 Daniel Pierce: These guys, who had nothing you know but we’re very creative and entrepreneurial and aggressive you know, maybe.

00:28:52.320 –> 00:29:03.420 Joseph McElroy: Some of my relatives ran yeah moonshine and now they had souped up cars man and the stories of them racing through the hills, to avoid revenue, or is there a pretty heritage right so.

00:29:06.210 –> 00:29:12.300 Joseph McElroy: cool we got to take another break when I come back i’ll talk a little bit more about moonshine and your book so matt.

00:31:22.080 –> 00:31:29.610 Joseph McElroy: howdy this is Joseph Franklin McElroy back with the gateway to the smokies podcast my guest is Dan Pierce so Dan you know you.

00:31:30.300 –> 00:31:34.350 Joseph McElroy: You wrote another book you’ve actually written a couple of books about moonshine you wrote another one.

00:31:34.650 –> 00:31:51.240 Joseph McElroy: That combined NASCAR and moonshine called tar heel lightning how secret stills and fast cars mean North Carolina the moonshine capital, the world, so we talked about how moonshine helped nascar how did nascar fast cars make North Carolina the moonshine capital.

00:31:52.020 –> 00:32:03.510 Daniel Pierce: Well it’s a long story, but from the very beginning, when you know, making whiskey became la or illegal, that is, if you didn’t pay the federal excise tax, and that was.

00:32:05.220 –> 00:32:07.950 Daniel Pierce: Well, went into effect in North Carolina right after the civil war.

00:32:09.060 –> 00:32:24.720 Daniel Pierce: North Carolina from the very beginning, you know, there was a long tradition of making making whiskey in North Carolina I mean going back to the earliest white settlers who brought that skill with them and brought their skills, with them perfectly legal activity.

00:32:26.340 –> 00:32:28.380 Daniel Pierce: With few exceptions, up until then.

00:32:29.580 –> 00:32:37.260 Daniel Pierce: And you know they weren’t about to give it up, you know, and so it was too important of economic activity, they couldn’t make any money if they.

00:32:37.740 –> 00:32:48.330 Daniel Pierce: On it, if they pay the tax, and so they made it illegally and, and so it just became very much ingrained in North Carolina history and culture as hard as the.

00:32:48.810 –> 00:32:56.730 Daniel Pierce: Federal Government and then went around the turn of the century, you started getting probation and then North Carolina became one of the first states to.

00:32:58.350 –> 00:33:00.900 Daniel Pierce: To have statewide probation in 1909.

00:33:01.920 –> 00:33:13.110 Daniel Pierce: And it’s it’s kind of interesting there’s that that that dynamic with prohibition and moonshine that they really go hand in hand and part of the reason North Carolina was.

00:33:14.010 –> 00:33:24.150 Daniel Pierce: Such moonshine was so important in North Carolina and so big in North Carolina was because probation was so strong and so.

00:33:24.510 –> 00:33:24.780 Joseph McElroy: You know.

00:33:24.990 –> 00:33:35.430 Daniel Pierce: After national you know you had national prohibition when that ended you still had local option in North Carolina and so most counties were dry well into the 60s and 70s and.

00:33:36.000 –> 00:33:47.460 Daniel Pierce: Even still have some dry municipalities and stuff like that around the state but but, again, it was long time before you know, most people could buy.

00:33:47.910 –> 00:34:01.920 Daniel Pierce: Legal liquor in this state, so there was a great market for moonshine which course fed into nascar, you know as kind of a you know, a two way street, there you know you had people who who became successful drivers who.

00:34:03.000 –> 00:34:05.580 Daniel Pierce: figured out, they could make more money hauling liquor then they could win.

00:34:08.250 –> 00:34:14.640 Joseph McElroy: or an economic, it was I mean it had a it was an economic boom for people in the mountains, even though it was also.

00:34:15.120 –> 00:34:25.200 Joseph McElroy: devastating you know and a lot of social ills from it as well, but now it was like quick money right yeah there was you couldn’t get loans you couldn’t get anything else, but you could make money with moonshine right.

00:34:25.680 –> 00:34:35.790 Daniel Pierce: yeah for a lot of people, it was kind of an insurance policy, and you know, most people were not career moonshiners you know they weren’t your popcorn sutton’s you know who.

00:34:36.210 –> 00:34:43.200 Daniel Pierce: Who did it all their life, you know they did it, you know, and they were there was kind of an economic emergency or there or they’re young they’re you know they’re kind of.

00:34:44.460 –> 00:34:56.790 Daniel Pierce: You know, starting out so a lot of people, you know you know it’s kind of funny you know you talk to people everybody says Oh well, you know I in my family, you know someone so holic or something like that and.

00:34:57.270 –> 00:35:03.000 Daniel Pierce: And it was just a common thing you know for a lot of people, it was one of the few ways that you could get cash money.

00:35:03.330 –> 00:35:06.120 Joseph McElroy: yeah yeah hard to get cash.

00:35:06.150 –> 00:35:18.990 Daniel Pierce: Right cash money, and you know if you’re willing to take the risk, and so you know for a lot of people, it was you know almost unexpected depend on the Community you’re in you know is almost an expected thing you know and.

00:35:20.400 –> 00:35:22.230 Daniel Pierce: And for a lot of people it wasn’t great.

00:35:22.710 –> 00:35:35.730 Daniel Pierce: You know, particularly in rural areas that when a great disability, you know the preacher might preach against it but, but the preacher understood to that you needed to do what you which could put shoes on your kid’s feet and.

00:35:38.700 –> 00:35:39.840 Daniel Pierce: and feed them and so.

00:35:40.980 –> 00:35:43.320 Daniel Pierce: And the preacher also knew that he got.

00:35:44.340 –> 00:35:47.700 Daniel Pierce: You know that money in the offering plate often came from laker money so.

00:35:47.820 –> 00:35:58.800 Joseph McElroy: I listened to all the general stores loved it, because who bought word they buy the sugar where they buy that you know the components that fed the economy in general, so you know it was a.

00:36:00.000 –> 00:36:09.840 Joseph McElroy: And then yeah you hadn’t things different you wrote a book called corn from a jar which we actually carry here at the metal Arc that explored, a lot of these issues didn’t it.

00:36:10.770 –> 00:36:13.260 Daniel Pierce: yeah like specifically at the smokies but.

00:36:14.400 –> 00:36:15.630 Daniel Pierce: Again, you know that’s a.

00:36:17.850 –> 00:36:18.150 You.

00:36:19.410 –> 00:36:21.330 Joseph McElroy: Know moonshine is good for cough.

00:36:21.600 –> 00:36:22.290 Daniel Pierce: Well, it is.

00:36:24.900 –> 00:36:27.660 Daniel Pierce: I got a freezer full of it people keep giving it to him.

00:36:28.710 –> 00:36:29.250 Joseph McElroy: Oh yeah.

00:36:29.310 –> 00:36:30.900 Daniel Pierce: we’re still i’m pretty active.

00:36:31.800 –> 00:36:39.990 Joseph McElroy: Oh man I get people showing up at the motel we have our pavilion we have like a will have a bluegrass festival or something man everybody’s giving me boo chatting yeah.

00:36:40.650 –> 00:36:41.340 So.

00:36:42.570 –> 00:36:43.890 Daniel Pierce: I got a freezer full of it.

00:36:44.370 –> 00:36:44.820 Joseph McElroy: yeah.

00:36:45.600 –> 00:36:46.980 Daniel Pierce: I do need to go against it but.

00:36:47.880 –> 00:36:53.640 Joseph McElroy: My dad you know here’s a bunch of he probably still he used to eat popcorn he probably still have some popcorn.

00:36:53.820 –> 00:36:57.330 Daniel Pierce: yeah well I think everybody has some purportedly.

00:36:57.630 –> 00:37:01.200 Daniel Pierce: yeah a chat I’ve heard a lot of it, oh yeah I got some popcorn.

00:37:03.960 –> 00:37:18.900 Joseph McElroy: So what’s up you know, there was a lot of cultural representations of moonshiners and I think a lot of that you know was purposely you know denigrating people making them into bumpkins but what do you think is the side of moonshine that most people have never seen.

00:37:19.680 –> 00:37:23.250 Daniel Pierce: Well, there guys, there are a lot of signs and that was what the book.

00:37:26.070 –> 00:37:35.580 Daniel Pierce: Tar heel lighting is really bad it’s kind of a lot complicating I guess the image, because if people’s me to moonshiners kind of popcorn site, and you know.

00:37:36.570 –> 00:37:46.500 Daniel Pierce: Guy with a beard and overalls and they’ll truck and you know, in the file mouth, and you know and apparently popcorn was no dummy for sure and.

00:37:48.360 –> 00:37:51.060 Daniel Pierce: But you know one they were.

00:37:52.260 –> 00:37:58.410 Daniel Pierce: A lot of these people were very smart they were very entrepreneurial they were very skilled.

00:38:00.360 –> 00:38:15.990 Daniel Pierce: have often talked about junior Johnson that famous car driver and car owner, but he, of course, got his start you know, in the family business, which was moonshine but I’ve often said about junior Johnson I think he’s one of the smartest people he didn’t come across is.

00:38:17.040 –> 00:38:26.700 Daniel Pierce: Particularly intelligent, but he was one of the smartest people I’ve ever encountered often said he probably never read a physics book, but I think you could write one.

00:38:29.160 –> 00:38:31.590 Daniel Pierce: A lot of these people were really smart The other thing was that.

00:38:33.540 –> 00:38:50.700 Daniel Pierce: We had the same as the white mountain near and the fact of the matter is in North Carolina in particular and most of the South, it was all over I mean you know there are many coastal swap moonshiners is that we’re mountain moonshiners you know lower in Piedmont, it was all over.

00:38:51.930 –> 00:39:00.900 Daniel Pierce: And it was an end, and they weren’t all fly there were a lot of native Americans particularly manga lambie down the eastern part of North Carolina.

00:39:00.930 –> 00:39:03.450 Joseph McElroy: They sort of taught moonshiners about corners as.

00:39:03.690 –> 00:39:04.530 Daniel Pierce: Well yeah you.

00:39:05.550 –> 00:39:07.200 Daniel Pierce: Know actually the.

00:39:08.190 –> 00:39:17.970 Daniel Pierce: The first moonshiners in North Carolina were African American and Native American because in the 1830s the legislature passed a law that said.

00:39:19.140 –> 00:39:24.210 Daniel Pierce: said free persons of color could not make liquor or sell liquor.

00:39:25.680 –> 00:39:30.570 Daniel Pierce: And so they were making it illegally before you know before white people were.

00:39:31.140 –> 00:39:31.620 Joseph McElroy: made were used.

00:39:31.770 –> 00:39:32.640 Daniel Pierce: to watch a nation.

00:39:32.670 –> 00:39:36.120 Daniel Pierce: Plus, they were also traditions of slaves too.

00:39:37.710 –> 00:39:43.290 Daniel Pierce: apply plantation distilleries using slave Labor so like a lot of African Americans knew how to make liquor.

00:39:43.410 –> 00:39:44.640 Joseph McElroy: I knew very good.

00:39:45.630 –> 00:39:51.360 Daniel Pierce: yeah, then the other thing I think that that’s that kind of blows people’s minds was the number of women involved.

00:39:52.440 –> 00:39:55.350 Daniel Pierce: And that’s just a fascinating story, you know.

00:39:55.350 –> 00:39:57.930 Joseph McElroy: Especially on the brandy, they made from those that.

00:39:57.990 –> 00:40:01.740 Joseph McElroy: moonshine right at it out yeah for things like.

00:40:02.520 –> 00:40:17.370 Daniel Pierce: Well, if you had fruit trees, you know back in you know well before refrigeration became common if you had free trees, there was one reason why you did, and that was the to make brandy or apple jack or something.

00:40:17.370 –> 00:40:19.590 Daniel Pierce: Like alcohol from it.

00:40:21.570 –> 00:40:32.880 Daniel Pierce: Because you couldn’t you know if you had a big orchard, I mean you couldn’t preserve all that you couldn’t get to market, but you could distill it and you could get that the market and it would really sale to.

00:40:33.060 –> 00:40:44.790 Joseph McElroy: find the things that you can you know I just discovered, I can make me from hmi here at the motel and once we get our fortified wine and liquor license and I’m going to be making I’m gonna be making our own been.

00:40:45.870 –> 00:40:47.730 Joseph McElroy: A tradition to figure out what you can.

00:40:48.990 –> 00:40:50.700 Daniel Pierce: that’s right, you have it handy.

00:40:51.270 –> 00:40:56.700 Joseph McElroy: But you know I want to get to you know you said you’d wrote four books about the great smoky mountains and.

00:40:58.350 –> 00:41:06.360 Joseph McElroy: You know, and I think the first one was natural habitat to national parks it seems you’re a passionate environmentalist, can you tell us about this book?

00:41:07.110 –> 00:41:15.060 Daniel Pierce: yeah well again it’s on the establishment of the park and it’s a yeah it’s a great story, you know it’s a unique story because.

00:41:16.260 –> 00:41:18.240 Daniel Pierce: smokies and Shenandoah we’re.

00:41:19.650 –> 00:41:27.720 Daniel Pierce: Creating a unique way at that time and in the 1920s Congress said they would not purchase lands for national parks, all the national parks.

00:41:28.440 –> 00:41:45.300 Daniel Pierce: Were were in the West, and they were in the federal domain, all you did was say to sign, basically, of which federal agencies managing it so, but the Congress wouldn’t buy land for for national parks and so, but then they said, if the states will buy the land.

00:41:47.070 –> 00:42:00.240 Daniel Pierce: And we approve this land is appropriate for national park, then, then the states can turn the land over to us and we’ll make it a national park and so that’s what happened, but it was a long slow process because they had to.

00:42:02.550 –> 00:42:07.230 Daniel Pierce: They had raised the money to buy to buy the land, so they had private donations.

00:42:09.990 –> 00:42:11.730 Daniel Pierce: They had state bonds and then.

00:42:13.350 –> 00:42:21.180 Daniel Pierce: Finally, it was john D Rockefeller jr who who know $95 million to make it happen so.

00:42:22.200 –> 00:42:23.700 Daniel Pierce: it’s a unique thing so.

00:42:26.520 –> 00:42:26.730 He.

00:42:28.380 –> 00:42:31.140 Daniel Pierce: So people, the Western North Carolina and East Tennessee.

00:42:32.190 –> 00:42:35.490 Daniel Pierce: feel a real sense of ownership about the.

00:42:36.660 –> 00:42:36.990 Daniel Pierce: About.

00:42:38.460 –> 00:42:40.680 Daniel Pierce: about the park that other places don’t have.

00:42:41.790 –> 00:42:47.640 Joseph McElroy: cool well you know we’re good, I think we could take it that we could take a break, right now, and you get some more water and.

00:42:49.770 –> 00:42:54.840 Joseph McElroy: And then we’ll come back we’ll talk more about some of your books and some of the other things that you’ve done in.

00:42:56.640 –> 00:42:56.970 Daniel Pierce: Hello.

00:45:00.630 –> 00:45:11.220 Joseph McElroy: howdy this is Joseph Franklin McElroy back with the gateway to the smokies podcasts and my guest Dan peers so, then you wrote several books about the great smoky National Park.

00:45:12.360 –> 00:45:19.410 Joseph McElroy: That, I mentioned the one that was really popular from natural habitat to national party what are some of the others that people might look up.

00:45:20.790 –> 00:45:21.510 Daniel Pierce: Well, I did.

00:45:22.470 –> 00:45:26.760 Daniel Pierce: yeah I did the one on been shot in the smokies corn from a jars part of the book that sold the most.

00:45:27.090 –> 00:45:28.710 Daniel Pierce: yeah and.

00:45:29.880 –> 00:45:40.020 Daniel Pierce: And then I did a book on Community of hazel creek and swine county which was displaced and then there was a long, long controversy about the road to nowhere.

00:45:41.430 –> 00:45:45.420 Daniel Pierce: There in that in that county that was that was resolved, you know, maybe 10 years ago.

00:45:46.680 –> 00:45:49.170 Daniel Pierce: Finally, after 50 years or so.

00:45:50.220 –> 00:45:52.620 Daniel Pierce: And that’s just a really interesting community and.

00:45:54.990 –> 00:46:01.440 Daniel Pierce: And kind of a legendary Community it’s kind of now it’s more kind of a legend is a trout fishing destination, but.

00:46:01.680 –> 00:46:02.640 Joseph McElroy: yeah good job fish.

00:46:02.880 –> 00:46:03.960 Daniel Pierce: yeah yeah.

00:46:05.310 –> 00:46:12.870 Daniel Pierce: And then the, the most recent when I did I can kind of see in the background, there i’ll leave my head over is a poster by.

00:46:13.920 –> 00:46:25.050 Daniel Pierce: an artist graphic card is by the name of Joe Anderson gentlemen, our friends, when I lived in nashville 30 years ago, and then we lost touch with one another and.

00:46:27.300 –> 00:46:29.850 Daniel Pierce: He went on to a very successful career.

00:46:31.050 –> 00:46:41.580 Daniel Pierce: Start his own company and and then he gave up basically its advertising business that just do poster art full time and he has an incredible business.

00:46:42.330 –> 00:47:00.210 Daniel Pierce: is best selling posters or national park posters and so he did a book in 2016 for the for the hundredth anniversary National Park service on all the national parks and use this poster art in the sun did the text and so.

00:47:01.320 –> 00:47:06.990 Daniel Pierce: I brought in you and CA to do a program about art and the national parks and.

00:47:08.010 –> 00:47:27.090 Daniel Pierce: Over dinner, he asked me if I would be interested in doing a book with him and on the smokies, and so I said sure, and so we made about seven seven or eight trips into the smokies had some great adventures sell some really cool places it was it was so much fun to take him and his son.

00:47:28.710 –> 00:47:32.730 Daniel Pierce: Around to see a lot of these places that had meant so much to me.

00:47:33.840 –> 00:47:46.740 Daniel Pierce: And I learned a lot in the process, but anyway that turned into a book called the illustrated guide to the great smoky mountain National Park, and which is solving all the bookstores now, this is a great kind of coffee table book, so it was a real.

00:47:46.740 –> 00:47:47.250 departure.

00:47:48.630 –> 00:47:58.710 Daniel Pierce: And so that was that was so much fun and we had so much fun doing them trips together and all that you know and again, you know doing quote research in.

00:48:00.720 –> 00:48:01.440 Daniel Pierce: The park and.

00:48:02.340 –> 00:48:05.190 Daniel Pierce: Then that morphed into one that just came out.

00:48:06.240 –> 00:48:15.540 Daniel Pierce: This is an illustrated guide to the to the grand circle of Arizona and utah and so its southern utah.

00:48:16.650 –> 00:48:17.460 Joseph McElroy: niche itself.

00:48:17.730 –> 00:48:18.330 yeah.

00:48:19.620 –> 00:48:23.220 Daniel Pierce: yeah that was just out and, but that was so much fun we.

00:48:26.040 –> 00:48:28.260 Joseph McElroy: had some fun books, I saw that you Co.

00:48:28.260 –> 00:48:33.870 Joseph McElroy: wrote a book debating the merits of NASCAR versus college football in the south, so.

00:48:35.340 –> 00:48:35.820 Joseph McElroy: How did that.

00:48:37.620 –> 00:48:40.980 Joseph McElroy: come out about what was the conclusion.

00:48:41.880 –> 00:48:44.250 Daniel Pierce: Well, I won, but.

00:48:44.910 –> 00:48:48.690 Daniel Pierce: It was actually a debate, you know that was done on the.

00:48:49.950 –> 00:49:04.380 Daniel Pierce: South Carolina public radio, which was broadcast all over I think a lot, it was it was a series called tell about the south, and it was you know they brought on to scholars to discuss or debate some issue so.

00:49:05.640 –> 00:49:16.200 Daniel Pierce: So getting the party to Jackson who’s was from Jacksonville state and Alabama did the football side, and I did the NASCAR side and so.

00:49:17.520 –> 00:49:18.690 Daniel Pierce: I got whipped him but.

00:49:19.470 –> 00:49:30.240 Joseph McElroy: Alright cool and then you what have you books and I didn’t find out which one you tell me one the Western North Carolina historical association outstayed achievement award which one was the book.

00:49:30.720 –> 00:49:35.040 Daniel Pierce: Well, that was just that achievement awards is kind of a lifetime achievement.

00:49:35.070 –> 00:49:36.210 Joseph McElroy: Over the lifetime of cheese and.

00:49:36.210 –> 00:49:37.530 Daniel Pierce: Whatever book yeah.

00:49:37.980 –> 00:49:41.010 Joseph McElroy: yeah okay well it’s it’s it’s Nice, I mean.

00:49:41.250 –> 00:49:41.610 Daniel Pierce: you’ve got.

00:49:41.700 –> 00:49:45.360 Joseph McElroy: Great titles I think it’s really great, but I also think that.

00:49:47.460 –> 00:49:52.530 Joseph McElroy: That you are, you are you’re very passionate about eight equal rights and racial diversity.

00:49:53.940 –> 00:50:11.730 Joseph McElroy: And you know, and you know our associate Bob plot, you know it is a mutual friend wrote about a great book about his son and about the story of wmc are the railroad the mercury branch railroad built almost entirely by conflict Labor contract Labor.

00:50:14.910 –> 00:50:22.290 Joseph McElroy: And it was a brutally inhumane form of legalized slavery, supported by both political parties for two decades.

00:50:22.620 –> 00:50:37.050 Joseph McElroy: yeah few people are aware of this and the sacrifice made people to open up w Western North Carolina to the outside world, you are leading a committee dedicated honor to these inmates the railroad incarcerated Committee, can you tell us about that.

00:50:37.530 –> 00:50:40.200 Daniel Pierce: yeah so I live at ridgecrest which is.

00:50:41.370 –> 00:50:45.720 Daniel Pierce: One of the most storied section of the railroad.

00:50:46.770 –> 00:50:51.930 Daniel Pierce: And the big roadblock to building railroad into Western North Carolina was.

00:50:53.370 –> 00:50:56.040 Daniel Pierce: What was called a sua know upgrade or.

00:50:57.390 –> 00:51:01.800 Daniel Pierce: Or the mountain division, the railroad so it was so hard to.

00:51:04.710 –> 00:51:14.700 Daniel Pierce: So it’s about a Three Mile stretch as the crow flies but it’s it’s nine miles a railroad so it twists and turns up the mountain there are seven tunnels in that section.

00:51:16.020 –> 00:51:20.670 Daniel Pierce: It took three years, using over 3000.

00:51:22.080 –> 00:51:25.980 Daniel Pierce: incarcerated libraries in the in the north Carolina state penitentiary.

00:51:27.210 –> 00:51:28.200 Joseph McElroy: Basically, slavery.

00:51:29.040 –> 00:51:36.090 Daniel Pierce: Yes, and it was it was it was brutal and again they’re using nitroglycerin it’s very dangerous work.

00:51:37.140 –> 00:51:39.450 Daniel Pierce: Their crap together in horrible conditions.

00:51:42.630 –> 00:51:43.590 Daniel Pierce: And we know.

00:51:45.060 –> 00:51:58.350 Daniel Pierce: From the records that at least 139 of these people died in the process and countless other injuries and you know you know, probably permanent injuries as well we just don’t know.

00:51:58.980 –> 00:52:00.840 Daniel Pierce: yeah but there was no.

00:52:01.920 –> 00:52:15.720 Daniel Pierce: there’s really no I mean there have been a few books written and some you know there’s a little awareness, but there’s no public recognition there’s a and so a group of us.

00:52:17.460 –> 00:52:31.950 Daniel Pierce: Actually kind of started on my front porch over breakfast with a friend of mine, whose name is Steve little and he’s a lawyer and the Mayor of Marion North Carolina but a big railroad buff and he’s been fascinated by this section a railroad since he was a kid.

00:52:33.360 –> 00:52:40.410 Daniel Pierce: And so we put We contacted some folks and put together a committee of people from McDowell county and bumping county.

00:52:42.240 –> 00:52:42.720 Daniel Pierce: To.

00:52:43.800 –> 00:52:58.920 Daniel Pierce: build a memorial, and so it, you know it really we you know, put it was kinda like a little rascals you know we didn’t really know what you’re doing you know it’s gonna let let’s put on a show and but we didn’t have a clue as to what we’re doing, and so we just kind of.

00:52:59.970 –> 00:53:18.600 Daniel Pierce: You know what one of our committee members put together a website and we just started contacting people and got some good publicity and Western North a lot of historical associations partner with us and we were able to put a you know, a donate now button on the thing and.

00:53:20.100 –> 00:53:23.970 Daniel Pierce: They started coming in and for we knew it was OK, now we.

00:53:24.390 –> 00:53:29.880 Joseph McElroy: We got the money you know a lot of people here remember the railroads back in the day and my great grandfather.

00:53:31.170 –> 00:53:37.350 Joseph McElroy: was an engineer for the logging railroads and my man, that was a brutal brutal brutal business.

00:53:37.470 –> 00:53:43.320 Joseph McElroy: yeah yeah and the slaves, the slave Labor prison Labor got the worst of it, so I think it’s a good thing that you’re doing.

00:53:44.700 –> 00:53:47.820 Joseph McElroy: And I appreciate it, you know we’re getting close to the end here.

00:53:49.620 –> 00:54:01.200 Joseph McElroy: And I want you to have the opportunity to shout out anything we haven’t mentioned or where people can look up your books or get in contact with you or however you want them to remember from this this this podcast.

00:54:01.890 –> 00:54:10.860 Daniel Pierce: Well yeah i’m always looking for folks to check out, I would encourage folks to check out Anderson design group.

00:54:11.460 –> 00:54:26.850 Daniel Pierce: Has a coffee table books and it’s just an incredible site with all you know if you love the smokies and you want to have something on your wall is posters are just incredible and so I would encourage you to do that to patronize the park.

00:54:28.020 –> 00:54:38.190 Daniel Pierce: gift shops that con lefty and in Bryson city and all over the great smoky mountain National Park I’m on there I’m on their board and so.

00:54:39.240 –> 00:54:43.560 Daniel Pierce: Just leads, you know come back to the park in a great way and they sell my book, so.

00:54:44.850 –> 00:54:46.350 Joseph McElroy: Are you on Facebook or anything?

00:54:46.830 –> 00:54:47.130 Daniel Pierce: But.

00:54:47.430 –> 00:54:48.690 Joseph McElroy: Are you on Facebook you.

00:54:49.350 –> 00:54:54.360 Daniel Pierce: know you know I’m not I haven’t done social media as well.

00:54:55.350 –> 00:55:00.210 Daniel Pierce: Okay I’ve done in the past, but it just kind of eats up your life and so.

00:55:01.800 –> 00:55:06.210 Daniel Pierce: And so I don’t but, but I would also encourage folks to.

00:55:09.030 –> 00:55:12.720 Daniel Pierce: check out rail rei l

00:55:13.950 –> 00:55:30.990 Daniel Pierce: Which is our website for the rail project, one of the really cool things just real quickly we’ve done recently is to bring in human remains detection dogs and ground penetrating radar and have located some mass graves.

00:55:32.010 –> 00:55:43.650 Daniel Pierce: Which is is is sad and tragic but we’re going to be able to, we are looking for funds to be able to mark those places and you know.

00:55:44.730 –> 00:55:51.480 Daniel Pierce: do what we can and you know we can’t bring those people back, but it’s it’s important to work I think so.

00:55:51.630 –> 00:55:58.380 Joseph McElroy: Thank you so much for being on the show you know I enjoy the books that you read you're written and.

00:55:58.860 –> 00:56:08.670 Joseph McElroy: I’ve read a little bit of the corner of the JAR and bring some others of yours, and I look forward to seeing what you do in the future, and now we should keep in touch, so thank you for being on the show.

00:56:09.030 –> 00:56:10.350 Daniel Pierce: But enjoyed it thoroughly.

00:56:11.580 –> 00:56:22.380 Joseph McElroy: This is the gateway to the smokies podcast you can find out more about says gateway to the smokies podcast as well as on the network.

00:56:22.830 –> 00:56:32.730 Joseph McElroy: or they have lots of live podcasts that are worthwhile going to look at and watch for, ranging from small business's self-help to travel.

00:56:33.180 –> 00:56:38.910 Joseph McElroy: Like we’re having here, I also have another podcast called wise content creates well, which is about marketing and Ai.

00:56:39.330 –> 00:56:43.830 Joseph McElroy: and helping businesses, you know achieve better results with their content marketing.

00:56:44.430 –> 00:56:57.510 Joseph McElroy: And that’s on Fridays from noon to one and don’t forget to check out the metal or motel call it to call eight to 89261717 for a reservation for any events or just come and visit us I’d love to see you.

00:56:58.470 –> 00:57:07.410 Joseph McElroy: So see you next week for this podcast K with smokies from six until seven on Tuesday night and until then have a good week.

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