Hugh Morton’s energetic promotion of travel and tourism in the Southern Appalachians is well known. This High Country Press article provides Spencer Robbins’ first-hand perspective on Morton’s tourism work, which included helping found both the Southern Highlands Attractions Association and the High Country Host. (Please note: the Goodman article reflects personal perceptions of events, and contains at least one inaccuracy when it states that Morton considered a run for governor in the mid-1980s; it was in 1971 that Morton announced his candidacy for the 1972 election, but he dropped out before the primary.)
Morton’s boosterism is definitely reflected in the images he produced. In addition to the hundreds (thousands?) of shots in the collection taken of, on, or around Grandfather Mountain, there are numerous photos of other attractions including outdoor dramas, lighthouses and other coastal landmarks, the Barter Theatre in Virginia, Georgia’s Rock City, The Blowing Rock, Tweetsie Railroad, and the wonderful Land of Oz on Beech Mountain. (Some of these will be featured in a later blog posts, so stay tuned!)
But here’s one we just can’t figure out. This splotchy negative appears to show a re-creation of the giant’s house from the Jack and the Beanstalk story, shown with a real-life boy to provide perspective. The calendar on the wall reads, “Jack & Co. We Grow ‘Em Big! Dealer in Beanstalks at Magic Mt. Blvd. Pho.: Fe Fi Fo Fum.” The date on the calendar (oddly) is “Augustus 1063,” a month which apparently had 33 days. I know the J & B tale is old, but that old?
Part of my fascination with this image is that it seems vaguely familiar, as if I might have visited this place as a kid. Help me out—do you know why, where, when, or of whom this picture was taken?