Picture of Doc Hoppes and his banjo.

“Doc” Walter Hoppes 1883-1945

Mitchell County was well represented at the Chicago World’s Fair of 1933. Miss Lucy Morgan of Penland unveiled the “Carolina Cabin” at the event that showcased the handicrafts, music, folklore, and people of the Southern Highlands. An unusual attraction was scheduled for North Carolina Day on September 7, 1933. “Doc” Hoppes, a well-known ballad singer and storyteller, performed for thousands of fair-goers. Hoppes was described as “an authority on the ballads and lore” of the North Carolina mountains. “Doc” was part of a contingent of Mitchell Countians, under the guidance of Miss Lucy Morgan of Penland, who performed in Chicago. The Penland Playmakers were also part of the festivities as they performed plays written by Dr. Frederick Koch, director of the famous Carolina Playmakers from Chapel Hill. Local residents who performed were May Gouge, Lillian Willis McKinney, Georgia Morgan, Ruth Morgan, George T. Wyatt, John Morgan, Jack Turbyfill, Jack Gouge, and Bonnie Willis Ford.