In the early days of the 20th Century, the Guilford College area was a pastoral burg on the western perimeter of Greensboro; the cocoon-like "bubble" of the campus even more pronounced. Having only a few hundred students at the time made the atmosphere quite intimate. Each undergrad knew or knew of one another. Like today, they lived, ate and sweated classes together, but in those days the vast majority were from North Carolina. Although most were N.C. natives, it's a large state with a hundred counties. Students formed "clubs" with folks from their home counties, the cliques being called, "County Clubs." Sharing a place of origin gave them something in common - an affinity group for the gregarious and homesick alike.
The largest County Clubs, with dozens of "members" were usually Guilford County, and a few neighboring counties such as Alamance, Stokes and Randolph. Smaller groups represented North Carolina's coastal and mountain counties, those being somewhat distant from the school's central Piedmont setting.
Some clubs represented several counties or regions. Inevitably, the fewest in number was the "Out of State Club," students from other states or countries - occasionally large in number, although there wouldn't be a significant number of out-of-state and international students until the 1930s.
Similar to the literary societies of the day, the County Clubs were important social outlets on campus, hosting informal parties and mixers, picnics and gatherings. However, a rotating seating arrangement in chapel and
during mealtimes in Founders kept students circulating, and clubs from becoming too exclusive. And like the literary clubs, the County Clubs largely petered out by the early 1930s as other student interests took hold, such as YMCA, YWCA, Debate Clubs, Glee Clubs, and the like.
Tar Heel Land
I'd rather be born in the home of a Tar Heel
With just a Tar Heel's fame
Than to be a prince in Europe
With a title to my name.
'Cause I love the song that the bluebirds sing
When the drone of a bee announces Spring.
We have no scrapping in in Tar Heel Land -
When everything goes right.
We have no fear of aeroplanes
To keep us up at night.
If one should stray away down home
A smile to the leader would surely come.
And he'd want to fly down to take a hand
With the good old folks in Tar Heel Land.
There are visions down home in a setting sun,
But not any music in a big siege gun.
We know how to handle them, that's all true,
But it's just one task that we hate to do -
So please excuse us and we'll hoe our corn,
While we whistle a tune in the early morn.
(*Poem by "I.T.V." in The Quaker, 1917. Photos also courtesy of The Quaker.)