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About The Series 'Along The Great Wagon Road'

The Great Wagon Road in the Carolinas.

Tom Hanchett has always been one of my favorite voices on WFAE.

Greg Collard, WFAE News Director

Tom is the staff historian at the Levine Center for the New South. It’s in that role that Tom has been a frequent source in WFAE news stories, and a guest on Charlotte Talks.

It’s not just his knowledge that makes him so good. Tom is a great storyteller. When he speaks, I learn and feel like I’m eavesdropping on a conversation. In short, he makes for good radio. If only there was a way we could integrate him more into our programming…

The answer is in this series, Along The Great Wagon Road: Occasional Detours Through History With Tom Hanchett.

To be clear, this series is not about the horse-and-buggy days that gave the Great Wagon Road its name. It’s about the communities, events and people that came years later in part because of the path set by the Great Wagon Road.

The Great Wagon Road is the North-South trail that so many settlers followed to the Carolinas in the 18th century from Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. In fact, what we now know as Tryon Street was part of the Great Wagon Road.

The road and its offshoots pass through many of the communities we will visit with Tom every month as part of this series. And as the name suggests, we’ll also take some detours from the road’s path.

We plan to air these stories every month, but the series will live on this web site. You can come here to listen to the stories you missed (or hear them again), and access additional content. We will also seek ideas from you. I hope you enjoy this adventure we’re going to take Along the Great Wagon Road.

Greg has been with WFAE since 2008 as news director, and was named executive editor in 2023. He came to WFAE from West Virginia Public Broadcasting. In his eight years there, Greg had roles as a reporter, editor and producer. He was the executive producer of a television newsmagazine and news director for radio and television when he decided to head south for Charlotte.