Elizabeth (Beth) King
North Carolina Historic Preservation Office
Where do you currently work?
I work in the the North Carolina Historic Preservation Office in Greenville.
Tell me a bit about your career?
I am employed as a survey specialist conducting a comprehensive survey of the historic architectural resources of rural southern Beaufort County, North Carolina. My fieldwork has resulted in the recordation of nearly two hundred previously unidentified houses, churches, schools, and occupational structures south of the Pamlico River. The history of the southern half of Beaufort County has received very little attention from historians and architectural historians focused on eastern North Carolina, so this project has been particularly dependent upon local knowledge. Upon concluding my fieldwork, I will prepare a countywide report that outlines the history of Beaufort County with regard to its architectural heritage.
How has folklore prepared you for your career?
Folklore, and perhaps more specifically the focus and strengths of the curricula at Western Kentucky, has enabled me to approach strangers on their own turf, engage them through meaningful dialogue about the places they know best, and cultivate relationships that allow natives of these remote communities to play a heavy-handed role in creating a record of local history. Folklore has taught me that locals best understand the meaning and significance of the communities I am studying and that only by exchanging information with the experts can I create a record of interest and value to future researchers. The Department of Folk Studies at Western Kentucky, in particular, prepared me for this project by teaching me the methodology I need to conduct fieldwork day-to-day and providing the experiences that gave me confidence when beginning the survey.
A picture of Beth taken on Porter Creek while she was documenting a historic landing in southern Beaufort County.