World Day for Audiovisual Heritage

Joe Clark with a large display of cameras.

Photographer Joe Clark (a.k.a. "Hill Billy Snap Shooter") posing with a large display of multiple cameras.

Today is World Day for Audiovisual Heritage!

To celebrate the occasion, the Girona City Council (Spain) through the Centre for Image Research and Diffusion (CRDI) and the Cinema Museum, with the collaboration of the International Council on Archives (ICA), created a terrific poster (caution: clicking that link downloads a large PDF of the poster) and website—both offered in four languages including English.

We celebrate the day here at A View to Hugh with the photograph above made by Hugh Morton of photographer Joe Clark, the “Hill Billy Snap Shooter” (who has been featured here in previous posts) and a vast array of cameras.

Last week I came across an interesting new discovery about the photograph of Clark and Andy Griffith used in one of those posts, “Don’t Smoke your Eye Out” on 12 June 2009.  I’ll be writing a follow up post on that discovery next week.  The other post that mentions Clark is about the Honorary Tar Heels, which includes a Morton photograph of Clark photographing while standing on top of the Mile High Swinging Bridge at Grandfather Mountain.

You can celebrate your audiovisual heritage today, too.  Just shoot a photograph or video!

A North Carolina homecoming

USS North Carolina berthing

USS North Carolina berthing, Wilmington, N.C., October 2, 1961

October 2nd, 2011 marked the 50th anniversary of the USS North Carolina’s arrival in Wilmington.  Hugh Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard takes a look at the final days of the historic journey.

October 1961 was a busy month for photographer Hugh Morton.  UNC’s football Tar Heels played host to Clemson, the North Carolina Trade Fair opened in Charlotte, President John F. Kennedy came to Chapel Hill for University Day, and the UNC basketball Tar Heels began practice under new head coach Dean Smith.  But it would be the events of October 2nd that would become a defining episode in the legacy of Hugh Morton.

On October 17th, 1945 the battleship USS North Carolina (BB-55) entered Boston harbor.  The ship had spent forty months in the Pacific during World War II traveling 307,000 miles.  On its arrival, freighters, tugs, transports, and work boats cut loose with whistles, sirens, and bells for the North Carolina’s first salute back home.  During World War II, the ship had been credited with twenty-four enemy planes, one enemy cargo ship, and had participated in every major offensive engagement in the Pacific from Guadalcanal to Tokyo Bay, earning fifteen battle stars.  In the summer of 1946, it twice visited the Naval Academy at Annapolis to embark midshipmen for training cruises in the Caribbean.  Then in October the North Carolina returned to its birthplace, the New York Navy Yard, for inactivation.  On June 27th, 1947 it was decommissioned and assigned to the 16th Fleet (inactive), Battleship Division 4, Atlantic, relegated to fourteen years of retirement at Bayonne, New Jersey.

USS North Carolina at Bayonne, New Jersey

USS North Carolina at Bayonne, New Jersey, no date (P0081_NTBR2_006361_10)

In 1958 a brief news item appeared in the media saying the World War II battleship was going to be scrapped by the United States Navy . . . sold for junk.  When James S. Craig, Jr. of Wilmington heard the news, he was outraged.  Craig set out to save the old ship.  He was able to get Governor Luther Hodges’ attention and support as well as that of incoming Governor Terry Sanford.  Hodges sent a dispatch to Washington requesting that the Department of the Navy postpone its plans to destroy, pending an investigation by the state into the possibility of salvaging the ship. On June 1st, 1960 the North Carolina was stricken from the official Navy list.

A little over five months later, on November 11th, 1960, Governor Hodges appointed the USS North Carolina Battleship Advisory Committee to investigate the feasibility of establishing the warship as a state memorial.  In the spring of 1961, a bill was introduced in the legislature creating the USS North Carolina Battleship Commission.  Hugh Morton was installed as chairman.  During the next five months Morton and his commission initiated an intensive “Let’s bring the USS North Carolina home” campaign that raised the needed funds.

Battleship USS North Carolina Commission visit to the White House, 1961.

Battleship USS North Carolina Commission visit to the White House, 1961.

The United States Navy turned the battleship over to the state of North Carolina in a ceremony in Bayonne on September 6, 1961, with noted newsman Lowell Thomas as master of ceremonies.  The ship’s towing to North Carolina was scheduled to begin on September 25th, but the remnants of Hurricane Esther had other ideas.  A one-day delay was in order.  The weather on Tuesday, September 26th was better and a proud warship headed home.  Instead of an infamous journey to the junkyard, the USS North Carolina’s final voyage would be to a memorial berth in Wilmington, North Carolina—and the stage was set for a true North Carolina homecoming.

Soon after 9:00 a.m. on September 26th, the 45,000 ton USS North Carolina was moved away from its dock at Bayonne.  Five tugs alongside and two others at the bow eased the battleship out into New York Harbor.  Several ships in the harbor gave the majestic North Carolina salutes with their deep-throated horns as it moved down the channel through the narrows to lower New York Bay and then the open sea.  Captain Axel Jorgensen of the lead tug Diana Moran answered each salute.  For the next four days, the Diana Moran and its sister tug the Margaret Moran guided the big ship down the east coast.  On Saturday afternoon, September 30th, the ship circled slowly the lee of Frying Pan Shoals, awaiting an early Sunday morning tide to assist its trip up the Cape Fear River.  The plan was to enter Southport Harbor about 7:00 a.m. on Sunday, October 1st.  But once again, mother nature stepped in: an unexpected northeaster blew in over coastal Carolina, bringing rain and low visibility.

North Carolina Governor Terry Sanford and the USS North Carolina, 1961.

NC Governor Terry Sanford in a borrowed Coast Guard cap, squinting, with the Battleship USS North Carolina on the water in the background. Cape Fear River, off Southport, N.C., October 1, 1961.

The battleship USS North Carolina spent its final night at sea just off Cape Hatteras—the “Graveyard of the Atlantic”—near the skeleton of the Laura E. Barnes, which wrecked off the Dare coast before the turn of the 20th century.  Then at 8:00 a.m. on October 2nd, the ship began the last twenty-seven miles of its final journey.  Thousands of spectators lined the river banks to watch.  Scores of boats followed the big ship as it was pulled by the Coast Guard cutter Cherokee and guided up the winding channel by a fleet of eleven tug boats.  As the North Carolina approached downtown Wilmington at 3:30 p.m., the crowds grew larger.  Bleachers had been set up at the Customs House, and people could be seen hanging out of buildings trying to get a look at North Carolina’s newest tourist attraction.  A band played “Anchors Aweigh” as the battlewagon cleared the Cape Fear River at 5:37 p.m.

USS North Carolina berthing, October 2, 1961.

Aerial view of tugboats maneuvering the Battleship USS North Carolina into its berthing place on the Cape Fear River, across from the Federal Court House in Wilmington, N.C., October 2, 1961.

“The berthing at Wilmington was one of the most tense moments in my lifetime,” said Morton in his 1996 book, Sixty Years With a Camera.  “If it did not work, we knew we had a mighty big ship that would make a formidable dam on the Cape Fear River.”  But it did work: at 5:40 p.m. on October 2nd, 1961, Rear Admiral William S. Maxwell, Jr. USN, Retired, superintendent of the Battleship Memorial, pronounced the USS North Carolina was home.

During World War II, the Japanese claimed six times to have sunk the North Carolina, but the gallant battleship survived every onslaught.  And when it was doomed for the junkyard the people of the great state whose name it had carried during the war, and led by planner and organizer Hugh Morton, saved it for future generations.

Unfortunately, James S. (Jimmy) Craig, Jr. did not get to see the mighty battleship slip majestically into its memorial shrine at the Port of Wilmington.  He was in the Army Burn Center at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, in critical condition from injuries suffered in an air show crash just eight days earlier.  He died on October 14th, the day “The Showboat” first opened to the public.

Flag Day: a memorable occasion

Resolved, that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.

Sign at Fort Fisher Battle Acre

Fort Fisher Battle Acre at Dawn, May 17, 1955.


Today is Flag Day in the United States, commemorating the passing of the resolution (quoted above) on June 14, 1777 by the Second Continental Congress for the design of a marine ensign.  The evolution of the United States flag (more at wikipedia or Federal Citizens Information Center) includes a bit of Tar Heel history, too: the Battle of Guilford Courthouse flag, flown on March 15th 1781 in Greensboro, N.C. that is now preserved in the collections of the North Carolina Museum of History.

Here at A View to Hugh, you can fly a virtual flag by clicking on this search of the online collection for photographs depicting the American flag represented in Hugh Morton photographs.  After all, Flag Day is a memorable occasion.

"Champ" Davis

Champion McDowell "Champ" Davis, circa 1960s.


Donorians and the Good WILLmington Mission

Donora citizens participating in the Good WILLmington Mission at Bluethenthal Field

Before there was an Environmental Protection Agency, before there was an Earth Day, before Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring, there was Donora.

—W. Michael McCabe, Regional Administrator of the Mid-Atlantic Region, United States Protection Agency, 1998.

Tucked inside a horseshoe curve of the Monongahela River twenty miles south of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania lies the once industrial powerhouse town of Donora.  The 2010 United States Census counted 4,781 residents in Donora; in 1948, however, approximately 14,000 people called Donora home—except for one week in late November when a national tragedy sent 40 of its citizens to Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach in North Carolina.

Donora’s industrial roots took hold in the early 1900s—at first the site of a wire plant, rod plant, and steelworks, and then a zinc works.  Donora’s continual industrial growth, especially after World War II, made it one of several important small “steel cities” along the Monongahela River as it wends from the coalfields of northern West Virginia through what became known as “The Mon Valley” before reaching Pittsburgh to help the Allegheny River form the Ohio River.

With industrial growth came constant pollution. I grew up sixty miles east of Donora in Johnstown—another small steel city—in the 1960s and early 1970s.  During these years I also spent many, many days visiting my grandparents in Bridgeville thirty miles northwest of Donora.  I can still remember the horrible smells from the Koppers chemical plant there if the wind blew in the wrong direction, and the drive back to Johnstown through Pittsburgh with smoke billowing steel mill furnaces towering right next to the “Parkway East” interstate highway.  And though not as bad as the infamous 1940s when Pittsburgh often saw streetlights burning during the day, the 60s and 70s still had their fair share of air pollution.  It’s funny, however, that while growing up in western Pennsylvania I never heard about “The Donora Death Smog” of 1948; that is, until a few weeks ago when I saw the Hugh Morton photograph above, made in Wilmington, North Carolina—and came to learn something about my own regional heritage.

On Wednesday, October 27th, 1948 an air inversion formed above Donora, trapping a deadly smog over the city.  Many people became seriously ill. By the time rain dissipated the inversion on Sunday, 19 had people died, and between 4,500 and 7,000 (estimates vary) had been afflicted in some way.  The negative health affects of the smog, however, lasted well beyond those few days, especially since the air was usually polluted to some degree, inversion or no. The Death Smog of Donora quickly became front page national news.

Bird's-eye view of Wrightsville Beach, N.C. circa 1940s

After reading this news in Wilmington, North Carolina, L. C. LeGwin approached his friend Bill Broadfoot with the proposition that Wrightsville Beach had a lot of what Donora did not—fresh air and sunshine. Broadfoot was president of the Wilmington Jaycees (Junior Chamber of Commerce), and LeGwin proposed that they invite fifty citizens from Donora for an all-expenses-paid week to Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach. Broadfoot made a proposal to the Jaycees, which it approved, and on November 2nd—only two days after the sickening smog lifted—Jaycees secretary John H. Farrell called Donora’s mayor with the invitation.

A week later, doctors in Donora had a list of citizens most in need of help.  Volunteers and donors in Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach stepped up with free medical care, dinners, concerts, bakery goods, eggs, cereal, milk, vegetables, ice cream, pier fishing, laundry and dry cleaning, haircuts, newspapers, and more.  Government regulations, however, prevented airlines from providing free flights.  After a telegram appealing to President Truman (who was vacationing after his successful reelection in Key West, which included a brief two-hour stop at Cherry Point and New Bern, also photographed by Morton on November 7th) lead to a plea to the Civil Aeronautics Board.  After a few days more of bureaucratic resolve, the C.A.B. issued an exemption that permitted a round-trip flight on Capital Airlines—with one of its two hubs at the Allegheny County Airport in West Mifflin twenty miles upriver from Donora—for a $2,000 fee to be paid by the Jaycees through fund raising.  Finally on November 18th—a week before Thanksgiving Day—a plane donning “Good WILLimgton Mission” especially painted on its side landed at Wilmington’s Bluethenthal Field.

The Pennsylvania guests, or “Donorians” as the Wilmington Morning Star dubbed them, stayed in heated homes and apartments around the Lumina (the large building seen left of center in the above bird’s-eye view of Wrightsville Beach). The week’s activities were many and, needless to say, Hugh Morton and camera were often in attendance.  The Wilmington Morning Star published five Morton photographs during that week, including one very similar to the image below made on Friday, November 19th when the Donorians rode in a motorcade to Orton Plantation. The photograph’s caption noted that their tour was “personally conducted” by Billy Broadfoot and Mrs. Betsy Sprunt. (The Sprunt family owned Orton Plantation from 1884 until selling it in December 2010.)

Donora smog victims at Orton Plantation

A second photograph’s caption exclaimed, “Donorians See First Moss”—to which I can attest that Spanish Moss is not native to western Pennsylvania—as Cesare Valreri “adorns” Elizabeth Chiedor with the natural garland gathered during their tour of Orton Plantation.

Donorians See First MossThere is a detailed account of the festivities held during the Good WILLmington Mission in chapter twelve, “Escaping Donora’s Deadly Smog” in the book, Wrightsville Beach: The Luminous Island by Ray McAllister (2007). Among their activities, a photograph of their tour of Airlie Gardens on Saturday, November 20th is neither in the newspaper nor in the Morton collection.  A Morton photograph made during a dinner at the Trail’s End restaurant appeared in the November 23rd edition of the newspaper; the negative is in the Morton collection, but it is deteriorated.

Donate to Donora fundraisers

An image similar to the “Donate to Donora” photograph (above) depicted Jaycees treasurer Tom James and president Billy Broadfoot raising money for the chartered air flight during the gala farewell party at the Cape Fear Armory on Wednesday night.  (The gentlemen in the picture above are unidentified.)  The published version didn’t appear in the newspaper until Friday morning, however, with the headline “Feed the Kitty”—published politely, perhaps, after the visitors had returned because the newspaper said they were still short $1,400 to cover the cost of the flights.   The photograph below also ran in the Friday newspaper, although cropped as a tight vertical centered on Wilmington mayor pro tem James E. L. Wade and his farewell kissers.

Donorians giving goodbye kisses to mayor pro-tem Wade

The Donora Smog Museum emblem touts, “Clean Air Started Here October 1948.” I find myself wondering about the connection between the Donora Smog and Hugh Morton’s later efforts to document photographically the harmful effects of acid rain in mountains forests. There may not be a direct connection, but the experience may have been one of those small stepping stones along the way to Morton’s campaign against acid rain, which culminated in his award-winning (CINE Golden Eagle, 1994) film, “The Search for Clean Air” narrated by Walter Cronkite.

“I Too Am Glad I Was There.”

Note from Stephen: Today’s post from JACK HILLIARD is presented in honor of NASA shuttle Discovery’s last mission scheduled for lift-off today, but postponed until Wednesday.

It is a cloudy, warm January afternoon on a sandy cape area east of Walt Disney World in Central Florida. It is a place where the Banana River winds its way through thick marshes. . . where you may see herons and pelicans . . . manatee and alligators . . . eagles and egrets. As you lift your eyes toward the horizon, in the distance stands the mighty Saturn V (pronounced “five”) Rocket . . . all 363 feet of it fueled and ready to fly. You are at NASA’s Complex 39 Press Site at the Kennedy Space Center. Within the next six hours, Apollo 14 will begin America’s fourth trip to land a man on the lunar surface. The Mission Commander is Astronaut Alan Shepard. He was America’s first man in space about ten years earlier. The Command Module is called “Kitty Hawk” and is piloted by Stuart Roosa. The Lunar Module is called “Antaries” and is piloted by Ed Mitchell. All three men have spent time in the simulator at the Morehead Planetarium on the UNC campus.

As I stand there on the bank of the Banana River, I remember the handwritten sign on the planetarium door that said “No Class Today.” That was March 2, 1960 and students in Harvey Daniell’s Astronomy 31 Lab did not meet in the Morehead Planetarium that afternoon. The reason, America’s Mercury Astronauts were taking classes in celestial navigation in the planetarium simulator. I didn’t know it at the time, but one of the astronauts in the Planetarium that day was Commander Shepard.

Launch Complex 39, the nation’s first operational spaceport, ranks as one of history’s great engineering achievements. Three and a half miles from Pad A at the press site, several hundred media personnel have gathered including Hugh Morton. (I was not aware that he was there at the time). As always, he not only documented the Apollo launch, but went to an adjoining location, where several special NASA guests were gathered at the VIP site. Among those guests on this day . . . Vice President Spiro Agnew [left center in photograph below], the future King of Spain, Juan Carlos [far right] and his wife Princess Sophia . . . Henry Kissinger, US security advisor to President Richard Nixon . . . America’s first man on the moon Neil Armstrong [right center], and Hugh O’Brian, movie and TV star. (Editor’s note: NASA bestowed Hugh O’Brian its “Freedom Through Knowledge” Award in 1971.  And is that Caspar Weinberger in the upper left?—Stephen)

As the countdown proceeds toward the scheduled launch time of 3:23 PM, a bank of clouds moves over the space center. Then, a brief shower. The countdown is at T-8 minutes and holding. We wait 40 minutes for the clouds and rain to move out of the area. Then at 3:54, comes the familiar voice of NASA’s Jack King: “This is Apollo launch control, we will resume the count at 3:55 PM.” A cheer goes up from the assembled media.

Nothing can prepare you for the sights and sounds of a Saturn V launch. Films and television are simply inadequate to convey the awe and power of the experience.

The countdown proceeds smoothly during the next eight minutes. Then at 4:03 PM on January 31, 1971, the fire and smoke of the Saturn V’s first stage becomes visible. Another cheer from all the viewing areas, even before the staccato roar of the engines is heard. (That’s a neat, unique thing about seeing a Saturn V launch in person. You see the cascade of smoke and flame long before you hear the sound of the engines, which takes longer to travel the three and a half miles. We’re use to seeing a launch on TV where the microphones are located on the launch pad and the sight and sound are together.) Finally, the Apollo 14/Saturn V rocket lifts off and is on its way to the moon.

As I stand watching this awesome site of Commander Shepard and his crew flying to the lunar surface, it of course never crosses my mind that 18 years later on June 16, 1989, I would have the honor of meeting Alan Shepard when he and four of his fellow Mercury astronauts gather at the Morehead Planetarium to celebrate several anniversaries . . . the 30th anniversary of the U. S. space program, the 40th anniversary of the Morehaed Planetarium, and the 20th anniversary of the first moon landing. When I finally get a chance to shake his hand, I tell him that I was at the Apollo 14 launch.  He says, “that was a great day . . . I’m glad you were there.”

Me too.

Loafer’s Glory, or happiness in the hills

I want to go back to Loafer’s Glory and have another cup of coffee in the small diner there, look out the windows at the wooded hills, maybe while away some time “just sittin,” as the mountain folk say. Watch the play of light and shadow on the mountains and perhaps discreetly observe the people as they come and go.

Thomas James Martin, 2001

In my last post, I mentioned a messy box of roll film I found, previously overlooked, in the stacks. As dirty and jumbled as the box was, I assumed it would be filled with, shall we say, less-than-premium examples of Hugh Morton’s work. I was (at least partially) wrong. Among the many rolls of the Morton sons’ high school basketball games I found shots of Terry Sanford’s 1961 inauguration as NC Governor, Kerr Scott at the 1956 Democratic National Convention, and Billy Graham preaching at “Singing on the Mountain” in 1962, among other high-quality scenes.

I also found an intriguing roll of 120 film depicting a North Carolina destination with which I was unfamiliar — a very small community in the NC mountains called “Loafer’s Glory.” To quote Mr. Martin again, “Loafer’s Glory is a wide place in the road in the mountains of western North Carolina. At last count less than a hundred souls live in the community, but at least there is a caution light marking the spot on NC Highway 226 where it it intersects NC 80 of this ‘gloriously’ named town near the Tennessee border perhaps 50 or 60 miles west of Asheville.” (Be sure to read the entirety of Martin’s lovely article on the importance of taking time to “loaf”).

According to a resource on Mitchell County Place Names, Loafer’s Glory “is probably Mitchell County’s most famous named place. Located at the bend of the river about three miles north of Bakersville, Loafer’s Glory was reputedly coined by the women of the community, who took a dim view of the men’s habit of ‘lollygagging’ on the porch of the community soter, rather than working.”

Hugh Morton appears to have visited the community sometime in the 1950s-early 1960s, on his way to or back from a “hillbilly festival” taking place in the middle of the road (the two shots below are on the same roll of film as the Loafer’s Glory images). The road signs for highways 64 and 28 in the bottom image would indicate a location of Highlands, NC, which then leads me to the distinct possibility that these are shots of “Highlands Hillbilly Days.”

According to Anthony Harkins’ Hillbilly: A Cultural History of an American Icon, the Hillbilly Days were held each August between 1951 and at least 1957 — “participants dressed as hillbillies and participated in beauty contests, as well as the more traditional pursuits of wood chopping, square dancing, and ballad-singing” (263).

Can anyone verify this? Is this, in fact, “Highlands Hillbilly Days”? And, have you ever loafed in Loafer’s Glory?

A “wee bit” of Scotland in NC

“Brawny athletes, delicate dancers, noisy bagpipe band parades, rocking Celtic music and a spectacular highland setting makes this colorful celebration of Scottish culture the ‘best’ highland games in America . . .” (or so says the website).

The 55th Annual Grandfather Mountain Highland Games were held this past weekend in MacRae Meadows, at the base of Grandfather. The continuing popularity of the Grandfather Games is perhaps the most visible indication of a long history of Scottish settlement and the continuing influence of Scottish culture in the North Carolina Mountains. In our latest Worth 1,000 Words essay entitled Scottish Heritage at Linville, anthropologist CELESTE RAY explores these traditions and the role of the Morton family in attempting to maintain them. (Did you know, for example, that Hugh Morton’s mother and brother Julian began the development of “Invershiel,” a replica 16th-century Scottish village in Linville?). Read Ray’s essay to find out more.

And finally, for those of you in the Wilmington area, I’d like to offer one last reminder of our Worth 1,000 Words event this coming Monday. Details below; hope to see you there!

Monday, July 19, 5:30 p.m.
New Hanover County Public Library, NorthEast Branch, Wilmington
Information: Paige Owens,, (910) 798-6327

“A Great Day in Mudville,” or the Loss of ‘The Boss’

NOTE FROM ELIZABETH: This past Monday, Morton images of the New York Yankees’ 1979 visit to Chapel Hill just happened to come up in our scanning queue. As I added images of George Steinbrenner to the digital collection, I chuckled to myself about those silly Seinfeld plotlines featuring The Boss. So, I was very surprised and saddened to learn of Steinbrenner’s death the very next morning. I asked our resident sports expert Jack Hilliard to write this tribute post.

It was the second Tuesday in July — the day of the “Midsummer Classic,” the 81st Major League Baseball All-Star Game. A time when baseball celebrates the best players in the game . . . but the sad news from Tampa, Florida on the morning of July 13, 2010 was that a giant of the baseball world had died. George M. Steinbrenner III, owner of the New York Yankees, died at 6:30 AM of a massive heart attack, nine days after his 80th birthday, and 14 hours before the first pitch of the All-Star Game in Anaheim, California.

He was loved my many, hated by a few, but ignored by none. Steinbrenner once told a reporter for USA Today: “I’ll never have a heart attack. I give ‘em.”

In the thirty-seven and a half years Steinbrenner was “The Boss,” the Yankees won 7 World Series Championships, 11 American League Pennants, and 16 American League East Titles. Over the years, his practice of firing and hiring, re-firing and re-hiring made him famous, or perhaps I should say infamous. In his first 23 seasons,  he changed managers 20 times (including dismissing Billy Martin on FIVE separate occasions!). In 2006, he turned the day-to-day operation of the Yankees over to his sons, Hank and Hal. On April 13, 2010, Yankee stars Derek Jeter and Joe Girardi privately presented him the first 2009 World Series Championship ring. He was “almost speechless” . . . almost.

George Steinbrenner was no stranger to Chapel Hill and UNC. His daughter Jennifer is a 1981 graduate of Carolina, and on three occasions between 1977 and 1981, he brought his Yankees to play the Tar Heels in Boshamer Stadium.

The game on April 3, 1979, is the game many remember as “A Great Day in Mudville.” On that day 7,000 Tar Heel partisans jammed into Boshamer, filling the 2000 seats and the grass-covered embankment along the first base line, lining the fence around the stadium four and five deep, and filling the balconies of the surrounding dorm. Due to rain, the start of the game was delayed and the end came early. And there, in the middle of it all, was Hugh Morton, cameras in hand.

Morton documented the action on the field and also visited with his friend Clyde King, Yankee pitching coach and scout. (King was a North Carolinian from Goldsboro, and during the 1982 season became Steinbrenner’s third general manager, going 29 and 33 over the last 62 games of the season. Some of the players thought he was a spy for “The Boss.”)

Tar Heel native Jim “Catfish” Hunter was the hit of the party.  A good time was had by all . . . well, almost. Steinbrenner’s Yanks won the game 9 to 4.

The next time you visit the new and improved, rebuilt Boshamer, notice the entrance courtyard. It is named for the Steinbrenner family — the result of a one million dollar donation by George Michael Steinbrenner III.

When future baseball historians write about the events of July 13, 2010, the 81st Major League Baseball All-Star game will not be the lead story. The loss of “The Boss” will.

Celebrating Bill Friday

William C. Friday, “the man whose name is synonymous with North Carolina higher education during much of the 20th century,” (according to a UNC Arts & Sciences article), celebrates his 90th birthday today. Friday served as President of the UNC system for three decades, and a more respected figure in the UNC community would be hard to identify. (Today’s Herald-Sun features a charming interview with Friday in which he discusses the past and future of the UNC system).

As Bill Friday was a close friend and frequent photographic subject of Hugh Morton’s (as well as a key player in the donation of Morton’s portfolio to UNC-CH!), A View to Hugh offers this brief and inadequate tribute to his remarkable lifetime of public service.

To the left is a lovely portrait Morton took in April 1995. The images below show Friday with President John F. Kennedy at University Day on October 12, 1961 (cropped); Friday with John Chancellor and Terry Sanford at the groundbreaking for the National Humanities Center in April 1977; and Friday, again with Sanford, viewing Morton photographs shortly before Sanford’s death, in January 1998.

The public are invited to attend an open house hosted by UNC and the UNC General Alumni Association today from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the Carolina Club at the Hill Alumni Center. (If you can’t attend the birthday celebration, greetings may be sent to the Friday home at 521 Hooper Lane, Chapel Hill, N.C. 27514).

“Some of those holy rollers really cut shines…”

This past Sunday, the joyful hordes descended on MacRae Meadows at the base of Grandfather Mountain for the “Singing on the Mountain” gospel festival, just as they have done every year since 1925. If you read this blog, you know that we’re all big fans of Hugh Morton’s evocative photographs of the “Sing” throughout the years. From the wonderfully-bearded Shelby Ever Gragg, to George Pegram, Johnny Cash, “Happy John” Coffey, Robert Harris, Jerry Falwell . . . they’ve all been to the Sing, and Hugh Morton was there to photograph them.

For more information on the Sing (and some choice quotes, such as the title of this post), please have a look at our latest WORTH 1,000 WORDS essay by authors DAVE HANEY and LISA BALDWIN entitled The Singing on the Mountain. Haney and Baldwin (recent exports from Appalachian State University to the faraway lands of Black Hills, South Dakota), offer unique interest in and perspective on the topic as traditional musicians themselves. Enjoy!