World’s Largest . . .

Happening upon this CNN.com article about “world’s largest” roadside attractions, I couldn’t help but be reminded of some of the wacky or otherwise superlative NC tourist attractions represented in the Hugh Morton collection.

In the “world’s largest” category, we have, of course, the “World’s Largest Living Christmas Tree” in Wilmington . . . but my personal favorite has to be the “World’s Largest 10 Commandments” at the amazing Fields of the Wood Bible Park in Murphy. (Let me add that this website is DEFINITELY worth a visit). Some historical background for the park can be found here.

While it doesn’t quite qualify for the “world’s largest” superlative, Jockey’s Ridge State Park in Nags Head does boast itself as “the tallest natural sand dune system in the Eastern United States.”  This Morton image certainly captures its expansiveness:

Then we have Asheville’s Biltmore House, known as “America’s largest house”:

And the Blue Ridge Parkway, which qualifies as the “world’s longest, narrowest national park”:

Okay, I may be reaching a bit now (as perhaps are the promoters of these various attractions in their attempts to attract visitors). But there’s no disputing that this a perfect time of year to hit the road and explore our state’s many superlative treasures. May I suggest the fabulous website Roadside America to help you plan your adventure? I myself have always wanted to visit the Taxidermy Hall of Fame and Creation Museum in Southern Pines . . .

8 thoughts on “World’s Largest . . .

  1. Faris Jane Corey, in her 1971 book, “North Carolina Firsts,” says there are more than 125 North Carolina superlatives…”most are significant..a few trivial…all are interesting.”

    Elizabeth, you have opened up yet another interesting facet of Hugh Morton’s photographic life, and if I may, let me add a few more items to your list.

    (1) On page 23 of Hugh’s 2003 book, there is a Morton photograph of the world’s largest natural rhododendron garden…on top of Roan Mountain.

    (2) On page 5 of the 2003 book is a magnificent photograph of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, the tallest lighthouse in the United States.

    (3) On page 76 of Hugh’s 2006 book is an image of Mount Mitchell, the highest point in Eastern North America.

    (4) The outdoor drama, “The Lost Colony” ranks as the oldest historical drama in the United States. The classic Morton photograph of Andy Griffith as Sir Walter Raleigh is on page 129 of his 2003 book. Also in the oldest category, there are numerous Morton photographs of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the oldest state university and of Grandfather Mountain which is surrounded by the oldest rock formations in the world.

    (5) The 1,243 foot Linn Cove Viaduct around the base of Grandfather Mountain, is considered the world’s most complicated bridge. There is a Morton photograph of the bridge construction in Jerry Bledsoe’s 1984 book “Carolina Curiosities.” (Page 169)

  2. Thanks as always, Jack! I came across a few boxes of slide about 2 decades ago that only had the description “Superlatives” We’ve been trying to figure out what those slides are because they weren’t very “superlative”. Now I wonder if it is related to Faris Jane Corey’s book. I might have to relook at those and see if they match up. Thanks again.

  3. Amber, on page 48 of Ms. Corey’s book, under acknowledgements, it says the following:

    “To Hugh Morton of Wilmington and Linville, for photographs of Grandfather Mountain, Mount Mitchell, Mount Celo and Venus Fly-Trap.”

  4. Talk of superlatives reminds me of a correction that appeared in Southern magazine in 1988: “We mistakenly said a world record collard grown in Rocky Mount, N.C., was 35 feet tall. It was 35 inches. We regret the error.”

  5. I don’t know why, but Hugh once put together a slide show about superlatives. I remember the steeple on the First Baptist Church in Wilmington was “the tallest”. I remember because I kind of questioned it. The shots you show of the Biltmore House and the Blue Ridge Parkway aren’t up to his usual quality but isn’t the one of th sand dune marvelous. I don’t remember seeing it before. Who else could make a pile of sand look so good!

  6. Thanks, Julia, that explains (at least partially) that mysterious slide carousel labeled “Superlatives” (despite the fact that none of the images seemed all that “superlative”). I like the Biltmore and Parkway shots — their color has definitely faded over time, but I think it gives them a nice retro look.

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