I didn't do a very good job photographing this very interesting structure in Tarboro. I read about it in Catherine Bishir's volume on Eastern North Carolina historic architecture and so set out to find it and take some snapshots. This is a cotton press and one of only three still remaining in the United States (the other two are in South Carolina and Louisiana).
However I was lucky enough to find photos that were taken by the National Park Service in the 1940's which shows the cotton press as it sat on The Commons in Tarboro without this shed sheltering it.
It was originally built in the late 18th century on a plantation outside of Tarboro to press fruit for wine and apples for cider, but by 1840 it was turned into a press for cotton after it was ginned so that it could be assembled into bales. Four mules or oxen were hitched to the two long booms to provide the turning power.
This is also the time of year that cotton is picked in the fields in eastern North Carolina by huge harvesters. You won't see field labor picking cotton anymore. The sides of the roads we drove on this past weekend was full of cotton bolls that had fallen out of the trucks (known as boll buggies) that follow behind these harvesters. I should have had the presence of mind to photograph them but didn't think of it until too late.