On May 28, 1900, a total solar eclipse occurred. Though the eclipse’s path could be tracked across the Southeast, roughly from New Orleans to Norfolk, scientists determined that Wadesboro, in Anson County, was the best place in North America to view it.

Scientific expeditions were mounted from some of the world’s preeminent astronomy programs including Princeton University, the University of Chicago, the Smithsonian Institution, and the British Astronomical Association. S. P. Langley and C. A. Young, two of the founders of modern astronomy, were also there.

According to the Anson Independent, a local newspaper, the public came out in droves. Extra trains—including a special excursion train from Charlotte—brought out hundreds of people, and by the time the eclipse’s effects were beginning to be seen around 7:30 a.m., the streets were packed and people were vying for better spots on top of and out of the windows of buildings.

Photo: North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
Photo: North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources 

The same local newspaper described the total eclipse itself as lasting for less than a minute and a half, and recorded that though a large crowd was on hand it was nearly silent during that entire time. The paper also mentioned that the drop in temperature from the shadow caused by the eclipse was quite significant.

August 21, 2017 | Several NC towns included in solar eclipse totality path. Columbia, SC was the spot most the nation focused on. Here's a video WFMY News 2 grabbed of a family watching it happen and their reaction.