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In the early 1900s, 1,400 apple varieties were known to have existed in the South. Today, only a few hundred survive. A number of people, including Creighton Lee Calhoun are searching for these Southern apples before they are gone forever. On his Chatham County farm, Calhoun seeks to preserve this apple heritage by collecting cuttings of old varieties and growing them.
Twenty years ago Edith and Creighton Calhoun bought land in Chatham County after retiring from the military. A chance conservation with a neighbor sparked a twenty-year search for old southern apples, or varieties dating back before 1928. Of the 1,600 varieties, only around 300 exist today. Calhoun collects cuttings of old varieties he finds to grow on his land to preserve the apple heritage. His book, Old Southern Apples, published in 1995, is the first comprehensive work on the subject.
At one time 1,600 different types of apples grew in North Carolina, but the number declined after the Civil War. In the late 1970s, Creighton Calhoun of Chatham County began a twenty-year search for old southern apples that date back before 1928. He collects cuttings of old varieties he finds to grow on his land. In the late 1990s, Horne Creek Living Historical Farm near Pinnacle, in collaboration with Calhoun, started planting historical apple trees. The farm is \"the only public collection of historical trees in the nation.\"
At one time, over 1,300 varieties of apples grew throughout the Southeast. Today, only a few hundred survive. On his Chatham County farm, Creighton Lee Calhoun, Jr. seeks to preserve the apple heritage by collecting and growing over 350 varieties.