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Goerch, Carl

by Grady L. E. Carroll, 1986
See also: Our State

10 June 1891–16 Sept. 1974

Carl Goerch. Image from the Digital North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives. Carl Goerch, editor, author, and broadcaster, was born in Tarrytown, N.Y., the son of Augusta Boetcher and Herman Goetsch, both natives of Pomerania. He received his formal education at the public schools of Tarrytown and was graduated from Washington Irving High School. Devoting his early years to journalism, he first served on the staff of his hometown newspaper. Subsequently he was editor of the Orange, Tex., newspaper; editor of the Daily News of Washington, N.C. (1916–20); editor of the New Bern Sun-Journal (1920–22); publisher and editor of the Wilson Mirror (1922–25); and editor of the Progress in Washington, N.C. (1925–33).

In 1933, Goerch moved to Raleigh and began publishing The State, a magazine promoting industry, tourist attractions, and the state's natural resources. In 1951 he sold the enterprise to Bill Sharpe and Bill Wright, yet continued to contribute to its columns regularly. Eighteen years earlier, in June 1933, he had also started a series of Sunday night broadcasts entitled "Carolina Chats" on radio station WPTF in Raleigh; this series continued for twenty-eight years until 10 Sept. 1961. As a third undertaking in 1933, he joined the Durham Life Insurance Company and broadcast for them on WPTF a series of programs called "Doings of the Legislature," which were aired for fourteen regular sessions and three extra sessions. In 1937, Goerch began the "Man on the Street" program, broadcasting from the front of the Wake County courthouse every Saturday morning. In addition to radio and television work, he spoke to civic organizations and groups in nearly two hundred communities in North Carolina and in thirty-one states. He was also a pilot and for fifteen years a member of the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority. An inveterate traveler, he visited fifty-two foreign countries.

Goerch was the author of Down Home (1943), Carolina Chats (1944), Characters . . . Always Characters (1945), Pitchin' Tar (1948), and Just for the Fun of It (1954), each consisting primarily of short pieces taken from articles in The State and radio talks, usually "full of good humor." Ocracoke (1956) tells the story of the remote North Carolina island he learned to love. He also wrote feature articles for national magazines and various newspapers.

In 1965, Goerch was named "Tar Heel of the Week" by the Raleigh News and Observer ; in 1968, he was named "Distinguished Citizen of the Year" by North Carolina Civitans for "accurately informing North Carolinians of their history and progress" during his fifty-five years as a writer and speaker; in 1969, the North Carolina General Assembly commended him in a resolution for service to the state; and in 1971, the General Assembly designated him "Mr. North Carolina." For many years he served as reading clerk for the state house of representatives.

In 1916 Goerch married Sibyl Wallace, a teacher in the Orange, Tex., school system; they were the parents of two daughters; Doris (Mrs. Harry P. Horton) and Sibyl (Mrs. E. K. Powe). He was a Baptist. After his death at age eighty-three, funeral services were held at the First Baptist Church in Raleigh and burial was in Montlawn Cemetery.


Mrs. Doris Goerch Horton, Pittsboro, personal information.

North Carolina Authors: A Selective Handbook (1952).

North Carolina Biography, vol. 3 (1941).

Raleigh News and Observer, 17 Sept. 1974.

Raleigh Times, 17, 25 Sept. 1974.

Gary Trawick and Paul Wyche, One Hundred Years, One Hundred Men (1971).

Additional Resources:

Carl Goerch in WorldCat:

Carl Goerch, by Tom Maxwell, in Our State:

Image Credits:

Carl Goerch. Image from the Digital North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives. Available from (accessed June 13, 2013).

Origin - location: 


I just finished reading OCRACOKE by Carl Goerch - [it really brings back memories] - my parents [lived in Winston Salem], & every Sunday evening, my father would faithfully listen to Carl Goerch's radio program "Carolina Calling". In 1947 my parents took me on "an adventure vacation" to Ocracoke Island - we caught the slow mail boat from Atlantic to Ocracoke, with stops along the way to meet small boats to get their mail [Cedar Island]. We stayed at the modern Wahab Hotel [adjacent to the movie house]. I was 15 and it was such an grand adventurous week!!! -maybe real pirates [buried treasure ?], real ship wrecks, real WWII flotsam/jetsam on the wide beach and daily fishing trip in Pamlico Sound. "Small world" - several years ago a cousin, Connie Leinbach, moved from PA to Ocracoke and is now the editor/published of the local newspaper OCRACOKE OBSERVER.

When I was about 16 Carl took me for an airplane ride somewhere around 1963. We flew over Raleigh and surrounding area. He owned a beautiful Cessna 140A. One day after mom and dad had dropped me off at Raleigh Municipal airport to hang out while they went into Raleigh to shop, (we lived in Fuquay) a man drove up on an old Indian motorcycle. Mr. Goerch liked it and said he would take him for a ride in the Cessna if he would let him ride the Indian around the field. Well, Mr Goerch wrecked the motorcycle against the side of the old Serv-Air hanger when he got the brakes confused. I can't repeat what the man said here but the incident is burned in my mind to this day! Howard Jones, airport manager, heard the commotion ran out and exclaimed oh my gosh! Now, at almost 70 I remember those days as one of the most cherished of my fledgling aviation memories. PS, I don't remember his name but Mr. Goerch was good friends with a banker in Raleigh who owned a Beechcraft Bonanza and the two frequently rode with each other.

Dear Greg,

Thank you so much for visiting NCpedia and sharing this story.  We always aprpeciate viewers sharing their personal connections to stories of North Carolina history.

Please visit NCpedia again!

Best wishes,

Kelly Agan, Government & Heritage Library

You are welcome Kelly. The rest of the story..... What the man said to Mr. Goerch as he was picking up his broken motorcycle was "just go to hell for about 5 minutes" after Mr. Goerch kept asking if he could help him by paying to get it fixed. I later received my degree in analytical chemistry from Methodist College and then joined the Navy training as a pilot flying 4 engine Douglas DC-4 transports. When I got out of the Navy I worked for the state of North Carolina for 30 years retiring as a DOT safety engineer.. Take care and continue to promote our great state!

Dear Greg,

Thank you so much for visiting NCpedia and sharing this story.  We always appreciate viewers sharing their personal connections to stories of North Carolina history.

Please visit NCpedia again!

Best wishes,

Kelly Agan, Government & Heritage Library

Mr Goerch did an article about my grand father R.A. Benthall called " He had an Idea" . It was about his stockyard and the auctions he had in Roxebel, NC around 1945 I believe.. I cant find a copy of it anywhere.Can you advise me where I should look please ? Regards, Chris Holoman

Dear Chris,

Thank you for visiting NCpedia and taking a minute to post your comment and question.

You are in luck!  NC Digital Collections recently added back issues of the State and Our State from the 1930s to 2013.

Here is a link to the article online --  It was in the October 5, 1940 issue.

Best wishes,

Kelly Agan, NC Government & Heritage Library

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