Report on Scadin Holdings in Polk County, NC

Polk County Historical Association

Polk County History Museum, Tryon  N.C.



Mike McCue and Jean Scott [avid historical postcard collector] met at the museum Thursday, June 12, 2008  with James Metcalf [board member].  We reviewed all the postcard holdings and those photographs that are on public display.


Four noteworthy objects were found which we can positively attribute to photographer R.H. Scadin (1861-1923):


Accession number 2001.134

            A souvenir card, postcard-sized overall, hand-signed “Scadin” in graphite, recto lower right.  This object is a hand-tinted photographic print [trimmed to margin] depicting Trade Street, Tryon, lightly tacked to a larger lightweight tan heavy paper (the Scadin signature is on this paper).   The condition of the object is excellent and the presentation of the small image is beautiful.

            A period graphite note of some kind on verso is obscured by a later adhesive label with explications of buildings depicted in the image.


Accession number 1999.1925

            A photographic print, size 4.5 by 6.5 inches, on lightweight stock, titled in Scadin’s distinctive hand, in the image, “Fairview and Valhalla, Pacolet Valley [number] 021”  I do not recall whether this identical image is in UNC-Asheville’s Scadin archive.  The print is unmounted, in fair-to-good condition, with no documentation of any sort on verso.


Accession number 1999.424

            A landscape panorama consisting of five separate photo prints arranged horizontally.   The one furthest-left is titled in Scadin’s hand (with the distinctive squiggle underlining) simply “Tryon, N.C.”   Each print is somewhat larger than a postcard (sight measurements not taken due to time, and actual measurements not known due to the fact the edges are covered by a mat).  This is in a period frame.  Object condition overall is good.

            Verso:  dust cover over framing.  Label informs the object was donated by Elsie & Margerie Strong.  These sisters were daughters of famed author and social philosopher Josiah Strong (1847-1916) of New York.  Their uncle was William E. Strong, important early Tryon cultural leader.  Their house on Melrose Circle was built 1926 and is now the home of Tryon’s mayor Alan Peoples, who is an avid collector of historic Tryon memorabilia.  As Mr. & Mrs. William Strong lived in Tryon much earlier than the sisters, it seems likely Henry & Kate Scadin knew them and so the Scadin diaries or journals may contain material linking them, or even mentioning that this possibly-unique panorama was created for them. 

My hypothesis is that this object predates the well-known 1911 Herbert Pelton panorama of Tryon.  By internal image evidence I’d date it circa 1905.


Accession number 2005.051

            Real-photo postcard bearing publisher’s notation verso “Published by R.H. Scadin, Dana, North Carolina.”  Titled recto in image “100 Foot Fall.”  This image is head-on of the famous waterfall on Horse Creek, White Oak Mountain [directly north of Columbus, North Carolina] now known as Upper Shunkawakan Falls.  I can’t recall whether this identical Polk County image is in UNC-Asheville’s Scadin archive.

            The address side is divided, dating this postcard to post-1905.  The stampbox is AZO.  Condition good.


Michael McCue

PO Box 250

Columbus NC  28722

Art Advisor, PCHA