Photographing the slopes

Skiers at Ctaloochee Ski Slopes

Skiers at Cataloochee Ski Slopes, February 22, 1964.

Winter has definitely descended upon North Carolina, so what better time than now to look at skiing photographs made by Hugh Morton.  In the Morton collection, most snow skiing photographs are grouped together as Series 6.6, but there are others filed by name of location in Series 1.

Cataloochee Ranch was the first facility to offer commercial skiing in North Carolina, which at the time was the highest and southernmost skiing resort in the eastern United States.  Cataloochee’s first skiers hit the slopes of Fie Top on Christmas Eve morning, Sunday December 24th, 1961.  On Christmas Day the Asheville Citizen carried a story (no byline) with a staff-photograph by Parris.  (Would this be the newspaper’s editor John Parris?)  Later in the season, The State published a short cover article by “Old Trudge” (a pen name used by Carl Goerch) in its March 3rd issue that began, “We hate to admit it, but we saw our first skiing recently.”

What brought Old Trudge to his reluctant observation?  Artificial snowmaking.

Snowmaking has its beginnings in the post-World-War-II Canadian airline industry, and its alpine skiing roots in 1950s New England resorts.  In his autobiography Mountain Fever, Cataloochee Ranch proprietor Tom Alexander wrote that he first had the idea for a ski slope at the resort in 1937—annotating the location of a “skin run” in the margin of a panoramic snapshot of the property.  Monitoring winter weather conditions, however, revealed that snowfall was too inconsistent to make a run of it.  Skiing at the resort was left to family members using homemade skis and golf clubs for ski poles.

Alexander came to learn of snowmaking technology by the late 1950s.  In 1959 and 1960 he and his wife twice traveled to New England ski resorts to see if the snow guns used by northern resorts would work in the southern Appalachians.  The Alexanders decided to “start small,” installing a rope tow at the base of Fie Top behind the ranch house, using a fishpond for water to make snow, and converting a cow barn into a ski lodge.  In keeping with the northeastern resorts, Cataloochee hired a European ski instructor, Karl Schoenschaller from Innsbruck, Austria.

Chronologically speaking, Cataloochees Ski Slopes’ opening date and instructor selection are interesting on two fronts: Squaw Valley, California hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics—only the second time in the United States, the first being Lake Placid, New York in 1928—and Innsbruck would host the 1964 winter games.  The Alexanders were apparently trying to catch the wave of excitement for skiing in the United States spurred by the Olympics.

According to the Asheville Citizen article, Cataloochee laid its first coating of snow on the evening of Thursday, December 22nd.  Three inches of natural snow fell on Friday night.  Then from Saturday night through dawn Sunday the snowmaking machines pumped out three feet of snow.  The ranch debuted its first run—1,000 feet long and 300 feet wide—that morning.  A 300-foot-long beginners slope opened by mid afternoon.  Word caught on quickly and 40 to 50 people skied that first day.  By March more than 200 people from the south and midwest would head to Haywood County to ski for a weekend.  At season’s end, the Alexanders “even showed a little profit.”  Perhaps more importantly to the Alexanders, they were able to extend the working season for their family members and staff, and help boost the local economy.

Cataloochee apparently hired Hugh Morton to photograph its ski activities and facilities two ski seasons later, because two images in the brochure “Ski Mile High Cataloochee in the Great Smokies” (see cover above) match black-and-white negatives in the Morton collection—including the photograph at the opening of this post. Given the time of year, it is likely that Cataloochee designed the brochure for the 1964-65 season.  What makes Morton’s photographs historically relevant is the decision by Cataloochee Ranch in 1968 to expand its entire ski operation “across the ridge” onto Moody Top to the north.  Morton’s 1964 photographs, therefore, portray the state’s first commercial ski operation before its significant upgrade just four years later.

In total there are twenty-three surviving black-and-white negatives from this assignment—fourteen labeled “Cataloochee Ski Slope (Use)” and nine labelled “Cataloochee Ski Slope (Reject)”—and two 4×5 color transparencies dated February 22, 1964.  As of this posting date, three of these images are available in the online collection.  (More may be added.)  Though not in the brochure, Alexander included the following Morton photograph in Mountain Fever.

Cataloochee Ski Slopes, February 22, 1964.

Cataloochee Ski Slopes, February 22, 1964.

There are also 35mm slides from this date in Slide Lot 009292, listed by location under Cataloochee in the finding aid—and this would be a good place to inject a bit of wisdom about conducting research using the Morton collection and finding aid: you need to be thorough and think broadly . . . and here’s why.

There is one slide in Lot 009292 (slide #18) that is labeled in handwriting “Cataloochee / H. Morton” and it is a color variant of the black-and-white photograph used in Alexander’s autobiography seen above.  None of the other slides in the lot are labeled. The lot is described as containing twelve slides, and the frame numbers printed by Kodak on the slides mounts are 2, 8, 11, 17, 18, 20 22, 32, 33, 34, 35, and 36.  Thirty-six exposures was a standard number of frames issued on a roll of film (twenty-four being another).  Knowing this, you might deduce that several sides from this roll of film were weeded out somewhere along the line.  But something else is may have happened . . . .

Slides 2 (a different pose of the model below shot on 4×5 sheet film), 8, and 11 look like Cataloochee scenes; slide 17, however, is a variant scene of an image printed in a brochure for Blowing Rock Ski Lodge!  (Note: The Blowing Rock resort first opened for the 1962-63 season, then became Appalachian Ski Mountain in 1968.  The next skiing post will look at Morton images from this resort.)

Did a Cataloochee image get into the Blowing Rock Ski Lodge brochure by accident, or did Morton move to the second location and continue with the same roll of film?  Well, after frame 18 (labeled Cataloochee) is slide 20, which is a mostly nondescript interior view of skiers in a cafeteria, and slide 22 is another variant view of a different scene in the Blowing Rock Ski Lodge brochure.  Slides 32 through 34 are also likely at Blowing Rock.  The location for slides 35 and 36 could be, too, but would need to be determined by someone who can recognized the mountain in the background.  But because there are so many gaps between frame numbers, the third possibility is that Morton weeded two or more rolls of film and combined the keepers from both into one box.  A dead give away would have been seeing the same frame number of two slides from different locations.

Because the slides in Lot 009292 have subjects and scenes look similar, the finding aid describes the lot as “Cataloochee.”  It wasn’t until further digging for this blog post (digging that given the immensity of the Morton collection could not have been done at the time of processing the collection) revealed that the lot actually contains work made at two resorts.  Plus there are no entries in the Finding aid for Blowing Rock Ski Lodge . . . only Appalachian Ski Mountain.  We’ll have to reckon with the images to see if the dates are the same for both resorts, then go back and update the finding aid with the conclusions.

So once again, here’s the take away: when researching the Morton collection, think broader than your specific topic and be thorough.  You may discover and resolve another “Morton mystery!”

P081_6_6_7_2

Film of John F. Kennedy in the Morton collection

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

John F. Kennedy during a White House visit by a contingent of North Carolina politicians, 27 April 1961.  Left to right are Hargrove Bowles, Jr., John F. Kennedy, and Terry Sanford (front row) and B. Everett Jordan, Luther Hodges, and Sam Ervin, Jr.  Photograph by Hugh Morton.

On this fiftieth anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination, A View to Hugh would be remiss without a post about Kennedy.  But what to write?  JFK has been mentioned or featured several times here, including “A Spark of Greatness,” a four-part series (the link is for part one) related to the presidential and North Carolina gubernatorial race for 1960, and “Memorial for JFK, May 1964” that tells of the ceremony at Kenan Memorial Stadium on 17 May 1964 and Hugh Morton’s chairing the statewide effort to raise funds for North Carolina’s contribution to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library.

An underutilized portion of the Morton collection is the moving image holdings, which are quite extensive.  A View to Hugh, however, has yet to include a post that draws on any of the footage . . . until today.  The link below leads to about a minute of film (without sound) shot by Hugh Morton:

P081_MI_010001 Kennedy Sanford DC Med Res

On 27 April 1961 Morton, as chairman of the Battleship USS North Carolina Commission, made this motion picture footage while visiting President John F. Kennedy at the White House Rose Garden.  Morton was part of a delegation that included several North Carolinians: Hargrove “Skipper” Bowles, Jr., director of the state’s Conservation and Development Board; Governor Terry Sanford; United States Secretary of Commerce Luther H. Hodges (the state’s governor prior to Sanford) and United States senators B. Everett Jordan and Sam Ervin, Jr.  The footage shows Sanford presenting Kennedy with the first “admiral” certificate in the “North Carolina Navy” as part the fundraising effort to bring the mothballed WWII-era battleship USS North Carolina from New Jersey to Wilmington, N. C.  Admirals would be those who donated $100 or more to the effort.

In reality, it was a different framed item altogether.  The certificate wasn’t back from the printer in time, so a framed item from the office of White House Press Secretary Pierre Salinger served as a surrogate.  Oddly enough, the stand-in certificate was for Salinger’s admiralty in a Flagship Fleet.  Kennedy burst into laughter when he caught the substitution.

"Kennedy, Sanford, Give Boost to Trade Event," News and Observer, 28 April 1961, page 1.

“Kennedy, Sanford, Give Boost to Trade Event,” News and Observer, 28 April 1961, page 1.

The larger mission at hand was planning for North Carolina’s Autumn International Trade Fair, then thought likely to be held in Charlotte in October later that year.  According to Roy Parker, Jr.’s article the following day in Raleigh’s News and Observer, Kennedy “took time from a fast-paced schedule to promote the fair.” After leaving a top-level National Security Council meeting, Kennedy met briefly with the group inside his office before they stepped outside to the Rose Garden.  Kennedy said a few non-committal words of endorsement for the exposition (you can listen to a brief recording from the Kennedy Library website) after Sanford invited Kennedy to attend, because Kennedy would be speaking at UNC Chapel Hill during its University Day celebration on October 12th.

It would seem the battleship commission presentation took place moments after the trade fair promotion.  The News and Observer also published a photograph of that presentation, which appeared on page 38.

Kennedy Named N. C. Admiral

“Kennedy Named N. C. Admiral,” (Associated Press article), News and Observer, 28 April 1961, page 38.

The Kennedy Library website also has two photographs of the noontime occasion: Presentation of a certificate to President Kennedy from Governor Terry Sanford and Senators Sam Ervin, Jr. and B. Everett Jordan of North Carolina, 12:12PM.  In the photograph with Morton on the right, he is turned inward to the group so you cannot see his face.  Another photograph of the group, without Morton, can be seen at East Carolina University’s Joyner Library, part of its Daily Reflector negative collection.

 

The State of OUR STATE at 80

There’s going to be a special birthday party at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh on June 8, 2013: Our State magazine will be 80 years old.  The celebration will begin at 11 AM and will include musical entertainment, exhibits, games and demonstrations.  A View to Hugh would like to congratulate Our State on this milestone.  Our volunteer contributor Jack Hilliard takes a personal look—through the filter of Hugh Morton’s lens—at some of the magazine’s fascinating history, which began as The State.
TheState_1948-12-04_coverMy first recollection of The State magazine was around Christmas time 1948 when I was visiting my grandmother.  She knew that Charlie Justice was my hero, so she had saved for me her copy of the December 4th issue, which featured a Hugh Morton cover picture of Justice following the ‘48 UNC vs. Duke game. I have been a fan of the magazine ever since that day.

At that time, the magazine was already 15 years old, but it was new to me and I didn’t know that there had been a previous cover with a photograph of Justice by Morton about a year before.  (I was able to get that earlier issue about 5 years later when I was working on a fund-raising scrap paper drive.)

Firts issue of THE STATE magazine

Cover of the first issue of THE STATE, June 3 1933. The North Carolina Collection has Carl Goerch’s personal copies of the publication for its first seventeen years.

WPTF (Raleigh) radio broadcaster Carl Goerch had started the magazine back in the late spring of 1933.  In the midst of the Great Depression he proposed a magazine that would be “a weekly survey of North Carolina, dedicated to cause people to be more appreciative of their state by becoming better acquainted with it.”  In order to publish his dream, Goerch needed advertisers, but times were tough so he told his prospective clients, “let me run an ad for you in the first four issues . . . if at the end of the month, you find that the publication isn’t worth anything, you can discontinue.  On the other hand, if you think it really is worthwhile, I hope you’ll continue using space.”  His first prospect was S. Clay Williams, president of R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.  Others who were willing to invest were Julian Price of Jefferson Standard Life, Robert M. Hanes of Wachovia Bank, Louis Sutton of Carolina Power & Light, Norman Cocke of Duke Power, W. D. (Billy) Carmichael of Liggett & Myers Tobacco Co., and Durham banker John Sprunt Hill.

The first issue hit the streets on June 3, 1933 for ten cents a copy, or three dollars for a year’s subscription.  Pictured on that first cover was North Carolina Governor J. C. B. Ehringhaus and inside were the first of Goerch’s long-running departments such as “Funny Experiences” and “Just One Thing after Another.”

The magazine “met a very favorable impression and kept right on growing,” according to Goerch, selling 2,500 copies.  Goerch and his magazine started out in an office in the Lawyers Building in Raleigh with a staff of two, including himself.  Inez Gehring took care of the office and Goerch did just about everything else, with help from some trusted freelance writers who sent in articles for which they were paid $2.50 per article.  Among those freelancers were W. O. Saunders, Tom Bost, Paul Green, Billy Arthur, H. G. Jones, Bill Sharpe, and others.

Moss-draped oaks on Walter Parsley's place on Masonboro Sound, near Wilmington

Captioned “Moss-draped oaks on Walter Parsley’s place on Masonboro Sound, near Wilmington,” this is Hugh Morton’s first credited photograph in THE STATE. Notice, however, how the credit line reads: “Photo by Pvt. Hugh Morton, Camp Davis.”

In addition to the impressive freelance writers were equally talented photographers like Aycock Brown, John Hemmer, and Hugh Morton.  Morton would go on to become a most prolific contributor with dozens of photographs and more than sixty photo covers between March 8, 1941 (uncredited) and December 3, 1949.  Three of the four issues published in January 1950 featured Morton photographs on their covers.  In the January 28th issue, The State named Charlie Justice “North Carolina’s Man of the Year for 1949,” with a Morton portrait of the Justice family on the cover.

When the magazine celebrated its tenth anniversary with the issue of June 5, 1943, the front cover consisted of a letter to Goerch from Governor J. Melville Broughton.
“This unique magazine under your able leadership has lived up to its name in the highest degree.”  Inside, in an editorial, Goerch said, “the last ten years have been the happiest of my entire life.”  Carl Goerch published the magazine for eighteen years before turning it over to Bill Sharpe on September 1, 1951.  A party was held in Sharpe’s honor when he took over the magazine and Hugh Morton was there and took pictures.

Party in honor of publicist Bill Sharpe

Party in honor of publicist Bill Sharpe (being held up on men’s shoulders) on the occasion of his retirement from the public relations staff of Carolina Power & Light Company to become editor of THE STATE magazine. Also shown are (L to R): Carl Goerch, R. Bruce Etheridge, Joe Lowes, Lynn Nisbet, John G. Hemmer, Norwood “Red” Pope, Carl Sink, Josh Horne, John Harden, and Bob Thompson. (Photograph cropped by editor.)

Sharpe’s stated philosophy for the magazine was:

North Carolina is settled by a whimsical race, forever busy at something interesting.  Somehow they continue to live in the most fascinating places, do the most ingenious things, have the most incredible experiences, catch the most outlandish fish and invent the most fantastic instruments.

Goerch continued to write columns and handle advertising.  Sharpe added his well-written columns—“Travel Topics,” “From Manteo to Murphy,” and “Remember.”  The magazine published its first full-color cover with the September 13, 1952 issue, featuring a photograph by Sebastian Sommer of a family picnicking along the Blue Ridge Parkway in the fall with Grandfather Mountain in distance.  In December the new “Down Home in North Carolina” slogan replaced the old “A Weekly Survey.”

In 1954 the magazine switched from a weekly to a bi-monthly.  W. B. Wright joined the team as advertising manager.  A Raleigh native, a navy veteran, and a Duke graduate, Wright fit right in.  Under Sharpe’s leadership, the magazine became somewhat of a lightning rod for conservative thought.  Sharpe was noted for his editorials against “centralization of power in the federal government.”  Wright became co-publisher with Sharpe in 1965.

TheState_1962-01-06_cover

In the January 6, 1962 issue, the magazine announced Hugh Morton as its “North Carolinian of 1961.”  Morton had continued to make a huge photographic contribution to the magazine, but was likely selected because of his efforts to bring the battleship USS North Carolina home to Wilmington.  In the October 1, 1968 issue, Hugh Morton listed his favorite ten photographs.  His 1968 top-ten list turned out to be a good cross-section of what would become his almost-seventy-year portfolio.

On January 6, 1970, Bill Sharpe died suddenly and the logical choice to take over was W. B. (Bill) Wright, who had earlier worked for Sharpe during his efforts to establish a weekly newspaper in Winston-Salem in 1940.  Wright followed in the footsteps of Goerch and Sharpe with little change to the magazine.

The sad news on Monday, September 16, 1974 was that Carl Goerch had died at his home in Raleigh.  He was praised for “accurately informing North Carolinians of their history and progress” during his 55 years of work for newspapers, magazines, radio, and television, and as a public speaker.  Carl Goerch was 83 years old.

Cover of The State, August 1978

By the time the August, 1978 issued arrived on the scene, the magazine was published monthly and that August issue featured a Morton cover image of Grandfather Mountain’s most famous citizen, Mildred the Bear, feeding a cub. The issue turned out to be one of the most popular and Bill Wright staged a contest for readers to title the Morton photograph.

The State cover, November 1980

With the November, 1980 issue, there was yet another Hugh Morton cover photo of UNC’s Charlie Justice.  Morton was having a photo exhibit in the Morehead Planetarium and the magazine was promoting the event. The Justice image selected for the cover was a familiar one and was described as Justice running onto the field at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, his last varsity game at UNC.  The enlarged image on the cover gave one the ability to see the Justice uniform and it was clearly a 1948 style—not the one worn at the Cotton Bowl on January 2, 1950.

In a 1984 interview, I asked Justice about the uniform discrepancy, but he couldn’t explain it.  When Justice passed away in October of 2003, the same image was used in several North Carolina newspapers with the same caption. Then in 2008, Elizabeth Hull sent me a series of Justice images for additional identification and this image was part of the group; however she had scanned the entire negative image and the background was clearly Kenan Stadium.  It seems that somewhere along the way, two similar negatives had gotten switched and for more than thirty years this image was incorrectly identified.  It is now correct in the Morton online collection.

Cover of The State, January 1982

The January, 1982 issue cover featured a Morton bird’s-eye-view photograph of the Cape Hatteras Light.  At the time, Morton was heading up a committee to save the historic structure from being swept into the sea.

In its fiftieth anniversary edition, actually published in January, 1984, Bill Wright said:
“The magazine hasn’t changed a great deal over the years, and therein might lie an explanation to its success.”  The front cover of that fiftieth issue contained a montage of magazine covers from years past, including the Morton image of Mildred from 1978.

Bill Wright continued to publish The State until 1987 when he sold it to Shaw Publishing Company of Charlotte. New publisher Sam Rogers brought a new design with fresh typefaces and eye-catching color.  These changes brought letters, pro and con, but Rogers insisted “the flavor is still present.”

The November 1992 issue featured a Hugh Morton profile, complete with a picture of Morton on the cover.

Cover of The State, November 1992Rogers continued publishing the magazine for the next nine years.  Then, in the spring of 1996—enter Bernard (Bernie) Mann.   A native New Yorker, like Carl Goerch, Bernie Mann, president of Mann Media, Inc, bought the operation, moved the editorial offices from Charlotte to Greensboro, and expanded the staff from four to fourteen. Soon after Mann took over the publishing duties, he was presented some amazing information.  A well-known research firm presented him a report that said at most magazines, 35 to 37 percent of the readers renewed their subscriptions when they came due.  A rate of 50 percent was considered phenomenal.  The State’s rate was 87 percent. One of the researchers told Mann, “you didn’t buy a magazine, you bought a public trust.”

Mann made several changes to the magazine, and when the August 1996 issue arrived, readers first noticed a name change.  Gone was The State, and replacing it was Our State.  “I thought it was more inclusive,” Mann said of the change.  “I thought it gave a more personal feel.”

I remember in early May 1998 Lee Kinard, “Good Morning Show” executive producer and my boss at WFMY-TV, called me in one morning and said, “We need to do a feature on Our State magazine.”  I called marketing director Amy Jo (Wood) Pasquini, and she graciously set up a time when we could come over for an interview.  On the morning of May 26, 1998 Kinard, photographer George Vaughn, and I went over to the magazine office and met with Pasquini, Mann, and editor Mary Ellis.  I remember how impressed we were with these folks who went out their way to provide us with a fantastic segment for our show.

The June 2003 issue celebrated the magazine’s 70th birthday with a 188-page collector’s edition.  Now in June, 2013, issue number 2047 is out with a keepsake edition celebrating another milestone: an 80th birthday.  I was not surprised that the photo essay featuring many of the magazine’s covers, which is on pages 78 through 103, includes numerous Hugh Morton cover photographs.

Wait, wait . . . is that Carl Kasell?

Carl Kasell and Stephen Fletcher

NPR’s Carl Kasell and North Carolina Collection Photographic Archivist Stephen Fletcher examine photographs in the Wilson Library Grand Reading Room, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Photograph by Mark Perry.

Last Tuesday was a fun day at the office.  In the morning, library staff gave Carl Kasell a tour of Wilson Library.  Kassel, a UNC alumnus, returned to Chapel Hill for an evening event sponsored by the library moderated by WUNC radio host Eric Hodge.  Kasell was a member of UNC’s class of 1956 (although he did not graduate, having been drafted into the United States Army after four years as a student).

Kasell’s tenure at National Public Radio began in 1975 as a part-time news announcer for Weekend Edition.  Starting in 1979 he was the voice of the network’s morning news for the next thirty years.  Since retiring from that role at NPR in 2009, Kasell became a “roving ambassador,” and continued as the judge and scorekeeper for the “Oddly Informative News Quiz” Wait Wait . . . Don’t Tell Me!, which debuted in January 1998.

As you might imagine, Kasell has received several awards during his sonorous career.  In 2004 the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication inducted Kasell into the North Carolina Journalism Hall of Fame.  In 2010 the National Radio Hall of Fame inducted Kasell into its ranks.  In March 2013 the North Carolina Press Association named Kasell “North Carolinian of the Year” for 2013, and the association made a wonderful biographical video available on their YouTube site.  Despite his stature in journalism, A View to Hugh has not been able to feature Kasell because Hugh Morton hadn’t photographed him, even though he been a co-founder of WUNC radio with Morton’s long-time friend Charles Kuralt.

Or so we thought.

Andy Griffith as Sir Walter Raleigh in The Lost Colony.  Carl Kasell, as Wanchese, is in the lower right corner of the photograph.

Andy Griffith as Sir Walter Raleigh in “The Lost Colony.”  Carl Kasell, as Wanchese, is in the lower right corner of the photograph.

We featured the above photograph a few years ago in a post about the comeback of The Lost Colony after a fire destroyed the production’s costumes and props.  Playing the role of Sir Walter Raleigh (right) is Andy Griffith.  But wait . . . wait!  Who is the fellow in the lower right corner wearing too much face paint?  None other than Carl Kasell!

As seen in the opening photograph, I showed Hugh Morton’s photograph to Mr. Kasell and he confirmed that that indeed was he in the corner.  The reference to too much face paint came from a story Kasell told during Tuesday evening’s event, when Andy Griffith told Kasell he had been a bit heavy handed in the makeup room before dress rehearsal.  Kasell confided that Griffith later helped him with a more appropriate application of face paint, and that Griffith was “a big, big help” during that season. (Kasell’s high school drama teacher was Clifton Britton, not Griffith as is often incorrectly stated on numerous web pages.)

We don’t know if Morton made the above photograph before or after that cosmetic lesson, but we now know the year Morton made the photograph: Kasell said it was 1952 after he had graduated from high school, and 1952 is the only year Kasell’s name appears in the official program.  And because we know what Kasell’s costume looked like, we can now identify other Morton photographs of Kasell.

Lillian Prince and Carl Kasell in The Lost Colony

Lillian Prince as Queen Elizabeth and Carl Kasell as Wanchese in “The Lost Colony,” 1952.

Kasell played the role of “Wanchese, an Indian chief.”  I believe as he looked at Morton’s photograph he dredged up from his memory a couple of his lines: “Mish-wi aga, Wingina” and “Wanchese no more chief.  Wanchese now king.”

Carl Kasell as Wanchese confronts Old Tom

Wanchese confronted by the character “Old Tom” holding his arquebus. “Get out of here, ye knavish rogues! Scat!”  Is this also Carl Kasell?  If so, Frederick Young played the part of Old Tom Harris in 1952.

If you couldn’t make the evening with Carl Kasell, you can watch a video recording of the event, which includes Kasell’s recollections from his performance in The Lost Colony while Morton’s photograph is projected on the screen.  Below is an image from a color transparency from the Morton collection not previously scanned.

Scene from The Lost Colony with Andy Griffith as Sir Walter Raleigh

This photograph is remarkably similar to the one that appears on the cover of the 1953 “The Lost Colony” souvenir program (see below).

1953 "The Lost Colony" Souvenir Program.

Cover of the 1953 edition of “The Lost Colony” Souvenir Program.

But least we think that the similarity between the two photographs means that Hugh Morton made the eventual 1953 cover photograph, too, here is a photograph published on page 35 of the 1952 souvenir program:

Lillian Prince and Carl Kasell pose for photographers

Lillian Prince and Carl Kasell pose during the 1952 annual press photographers day.

The cover photograph could have been made by any of the photographers above. . . . But wait . . . wait, don’t tell me!  Is that Hugh Morton (center right) among the press photographers?!

The Original Tar Heel Tie

E. L. White wearing Tar Heel necktie

A slightly different pose than this Morton photograph appeared in the December 6, 1952 issue of the magazine The State with the caption, "The First Citizen of Wilmington, His Honor Mayor E. L. White, tidies up his identification badge before venturing out for an official appearance.—The tie also is being used at outside-of-state conventions by North Carolina delegates.—(Photo by Morton.)"

It’s that time of year again . .  tie buying season!  (I bought one myself this weekend, a holiday gift for myself.)  Maybe Father’s Day is the only other time of year when men’s ties sell more?  Perhaps a knowledgeable reader can fill in the statistics.

In 1952 a certain style necktie made its way into the wardrobes of North Carolina males: “The Original Tar Heel Tie.”  Is the necktie now celebrating its 60th anniversary? (A celebration, that is, if anyone even remembers this tie!)  Time prevents me from jumping too deeply into the topic, so perhaps our fellow readers can fill in some details and we can collectively revive this knot-worthy event.

Article in The State, 1952-12-06, page 9.

Hugh Morton’s portrait of a smiling E. L. White appears with other photographs by different photographers in a short two-column spread in the December 6th, 1952 issue of The State.  The most important clues on this page can be found in the group portrait by Frank Jones depicting Ira Julian of Winston-Salem (owner of Kent Bakeries?) showcasing his Tar Heel necktie.

Working backwards in time, I skimmed through previous issues of the magazine looking for other mentions of the necktie. The earliest I could find was a small listing (third from bottom) in the classified advertisements in the October 11th, issue:

Classified advertisements, The State, 1952-10-18, page 11.

Small classifieds for the necktie continued for an undetermined time.  Illustrated advertisements in The State for the necktie soon appear, the first being on November 10th:

Illustrated advertiement for The Original Tar Heel Tie, The State, 1952-11-01_p19.

A few things pop out at me here.  If it’s new and original, why did it need to say so?  Were there impostors?  If so, how far back does the “original” go?  The caption for Frank Jones’ group portrait said that Ira Julian’s necktie had “recently” been a conversation piece.  When was Hans Hiedemann’s recital at Salem College?  And who or what is the “Downhomers?”  Designer?  Manufacturer?  Distributor?  There is no listing in the Raleigh 1952 city directory for that company.  My last observation is that the necktie came in six different versions, three of which sport collegiate colors—presumably for wider appeal on campuses where wearing neckties was commonplace, and alumni, too.

The November 8th issue of The State contains a portrait by Bill Leinbach of Bart Leiper, then newly appointed executive director of Western North Carolina Highlanders, Inc. wearing the necktie with a dark shirt.  The caption says Leiper now “sells his native State to tourists” by wearing the “Tar-Heel-splattered” necktie, “Just so no one could be in doubt as to his new mission.”  The most prominent depiction, however, of the Tar Heel necktie in The State made its splash on the November 22nd cover:

Cover of The State, 1952-11-22, featuring the Tar Heel Tie.

This November 22nd cover of The State featured The Original Tar Heel Tie. The cover's caption reads, "Little Bobby Kennerly of Statesville has come into his very first necktie, and Max Tharpe caught him in the interesting process of learning the old four-in-hand business. We think Bob will make it. The neck-piece, incidentally, is the new Tar Heel tie, which you see so many larger North Carolinians wearing these days."

Well that’s as far as I can take this for now.Keen readers of A Hugh to View may recall seeing this tie in a previous post, as Bill Sharpe and Orville Campbell both don the tie in 1956 for the Honorary Tar Heels gathering in New York City.  Below is another scene from that event, Orville Campbell and Andy Griffith arm-in-arm.

Orville Campbell and Andy Griffith and the Honorary Tar Heels gathering in New York City, January 21, 1956.

I did check in the North Carolina Collection Gallery and none of the six flavors of The Original Tar Heel Necktie are among the other neckties in its holdings.  Would anyone possibly still have one or more in their closet who would be willing to donate this seemingly one-time popular fashion statement to the gallery to add to its sartorial holdings?

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.

New River Celebration Day

Horseshoe bend in the New River, looking south. Alleghany and Ashe Counties, North Carolina.

This coming Saturday, July 23rd 2011, will be New River Celebration Day at the New River State Park located near Laurel Springs in Ashe and Allegheny counties of North Carolina.  What’s to celebrate? The river itself—the second oldest in the world—whose very nature survived a decade-long threat in the 1960s and 1970s.

The north and south forks of the New River wend their northerly way through northwestern North Carolina, meeting at their confluence to form the river’s main stem near the Virginia border.  The region had been traditionally rural farmlands, but on March 11, 1963 the Appalachian Power Company (APCO), a subsidiary the American Electric Power Company (the largest electric utility in the country) received permission from the Federal Power Commission to conduct a two-year feasibility study for the potential generation of hydroelectric power on the upper New River.

As a result, on February 27, 1965 APCO filed an application for its “Blue Ridge Project”—a proposal for a non-federal hydroelectric power project to construct two dams on the New River in Grayson County, Virginia with the upper dam’s reservoir extending into North Carolina. The reservoirs would have a combined surface area of more than 19,000 acres. In 1966, however, the Department of interior proposed a larger project that would help flush pollution from the Kanawha River farther downstream, which eventually became known as the Modified Blue Ridge Project. That plan called for more than 38,000 to 42,000 surface acres, requiring the displacement of least 2,700 inhabitants in nearly 900 dwellings, plus numerous industries, churches, cemeteries, and other structures.  And the power generated by the project was not for local resources but for distant customers.

In protest, citizens mounted a preservation effort that was soon joined by both the state and federal governments. The New River was not alone, however, in its plight.  The nation was undergoing a revitalized environmentalism movement in the 1960s, and the condition of America’s rivers emerged as a major concern. On October 2, 1968, the United States Congress enacted the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, which specified three river segments within the country that qualified for protection, including a 26.5-mile stretch of the New River from its confluence with Dog Creek to the Virginia border.  With passage of this law, protected rivers could become part of a National Wild and Scenic Rivers System and the law offered two paths to achieve that protection.

The battle for the New River that followed was long and complex.  What is interesting from the Hugh Morton perspective is that the early stages of the preservation effort were in play when Morton briefly campaigned as a candidate for governor the Democratic Party in late 1971 and early 1972.  The headwaters of South Fork of the New River start from a spring at Blowing Rock in Watauga County, which as the crow flies is not far from Grandfather Mountain in Avery County.  Research into Morton’s campaign might reveal if he ever spoke publicly about the subject.

The following few years saw the first statewide effort to fight for the New River, including the Committee for the New River in January 1975. The National Committee for the New River organized in 1974. (A NCNR map of the project illustrates the area that would have been effected by the project.)  On May 26th, 1975 the North Carolina General Assembly designated that same 26.5 mile stretch of the New River included in the federal Wild and Scenic Rivers Act as a State Scenic River.  Morton’s photograph above dates from May 1975, one of several he took that month.  In 1976 the New River obtained its status as a National Scenic River, and the New River State Park opened in 1977.

You can read more about the efforts to protect the New River in

Morton and camera returned to the New River once again on July 30th, 1998 to photograph the ceremony designating the New River as an American Heritage River, an event attended by both President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore. Clinton created the American Heritage Rivers Initiative by executive order on September 11, 1997.

President Bill Clinton speaking at event celebrating the designation of the New River as an American Heritage River, Ashe County, N. C., Juy 30, 1998.

Linville and the MacRaes meet Introduction to Public History

Sam Leonard, a 2009–2010 graduate student research assistant who worked on the Hugh Morton collection and has previously contributed to A View to Hugh, is the author of today’s post. Her post highlights some of the historical MacRae family photographs of early Linville, North Carolina from copy negatives made by Morton.  Thanks, Sam, for sharing your academic experience utilizing the Morton collection!

Linville pamphlet

Last year I had the pleasure of working on the Hugh Morton Collection of Photographs and Films as Elizabeth Hull’s research assistant, scanning negatives and adding descriptions to the images for the online collection of Morton “highlights.” It has been months since I worked on the collection, but I still see evidence of Hugh Morton’s work in my daily life. I saw Hugh Morton images working for the local television station UNC-TV, where I created a photographic archive. I see Hugh Morton’s photography in hallways and on the news. I have also had the pleasure of learning about Hugh Morton’s legacy in my classes.

This past Fall semester, I completed the class “Introduction to Public History” at UNC-Chapel Hill taught by adjunct associate professor Anne Mitchell Whisnant—author of the book Super Scenic Motorway: A Blue Ridge Parkway History, and contributor of the essay “Roads Taken and Not Taken: Images and the Story of the Blue Ridge Parkway ‘Missing Link’” to the View to Hugh “Worth 1000 Words” project. Students in Whisnant’s class had the opportunity to write essays for the website Driving Through Time: The Digital Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina, a new Website under development in the University Libraries’ Web publishing endeavor Documenting the American South. Whisnant serves as the scholarly advisor for “Driving through Time,” which presents and interprets archival material—including photographs—related to the history of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

"Grandfather Mountain, 1890s, Copy of photos by Donald MacRae"

Growing up in Greensboro, N. C., I always enjoyed our family trips to the area surrounding Boone, N. C. On our way to visit Grandfather Mountain, we would stop by the quaint town of Linville for lunch. I was excited by the prospect of learning more about Linville, so for the public history class my group wrote an essay entitled, “Logging, Tourism, and the Blue Ridge Parkway in Linville, North Carolina.” By exploring this topic, my group (consisting of Ben Beidler, Morgan Jones, and myself) learned a lot about the MacRae family’s influence on Linville.

Copy of historic photograph of men and women sitting on fallen tree in or near Linville, NC, from 1890-1920 era.

While writing this essay, I learned how the MacRae family participated in the town’s development through the Linville Improvement Company.  The history of Linville starts in 1887, when Donald MacRae purchased a large amount of land in western North Carolina. MacRae started the Linville Land, Manufacturing and Mining Company, which eventually became the Linville Improvement Company.  Donald MacRae’s son Hugh MacRae took over the Linville Improvement Company soon after its founding, and Linville was created alongside the Linville Improvement Company in the late 1800s (Covington, p. 9). The MacRaes also developed resorts to bring upper class tourists to Linville to become known as “a playground for wealthy Northeasterners” (Swanson, p. 3).

Copy of photograph by Donald MacRae of people, carriage, and horses going over stone bridge in Linville, NC.

In the 1800s, the Linville Improvement Company had a goal to make Linville appealing for tourists, landowners, and investors.  Sometime between 1888 and 1910, the Linville Improvement Company published an advertising pamphlet entitled Linville (cover shown above) to attract people to the area. By describing what amenities the Linville Improvement Company wanted to provide in the town, this pamphlet provides a perfect example of how intertwined the Company and community were.  For example, the pamphlet states “the Improvement Company will aid liberally in the establishment of first-class institutions of learning, libraries, museums, and whatever else is practicable and desirable for the welfare of the community.” This quotation shows how the Linville Improvement Company not only how it hoped to bring Linville profit, but it created resources for the local people. Therefore, the community became dependent on the Linville Improvement Company to take care of their town.

Copy photo of farm, house, and dirt road from the 1890s-1900s, Linville, NC.

Hugh Morton influenced many people throughout North Carolina and America, and by writing this essay for my class, I realized that Hugh Morton’s family history is a great source of learning for students and anyone who is passionate about North Carolina’s history. For anyone that is interested in the history of North Carolina, it is important to remember the history of the MacRae family, whose influence with the Linville Improvement Company was and is evident in Linville, NC. So next time you are driving through scenic western North Carolina, remember to stop by and walk around the attractive town of Linville and appreciate the area that Hugh Morton’s family helped establish.

Works Cited:

Covington, Howard E. Linville: a mountain home for 100 years. Linville, NC: Linville Resorts, Inc., 1992.

Linville Improvement Company.  Linville.  [pamphlet] 1888-1910. North Carolina Collection, Louis Wilson Round Special Collections Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Swanson, Drew A. “Marketing a Mountain: Changing Views of Environment and Landscape on Grandfather Mountain, North Carolina.” Appalachian Journal 36, 1/2 (2008-2009): 30-53.

NC is clog wild

I just happened to catch a news item that current Miss North Carolina Adrienne Core won the talent portion of the 2011 Miss America Pageant with “a fast-paced, contemporary clogging routine.” Many may already know that clogging is NC’s official state folk dance. I remember doing a bit of clogging (terribly) in my youth in Boone, and seeing some pretty amazing performances by clogging troupes, but I know nothing of the dance’s origins. According to Wikipedia,

Clogging is a type of folk dance with roots in traditional European dancing, early African-American dance, and traditional Cherokee dance in which the dancer’s footwear is used musically by striking the heel, the toe, or both in unison against a floor or each other to create audible percussive rhythms. Clogging was social dance in the Appalachian Mountains as early as the 18th century.

Fascinating to consider how those European, Cherokee and African American influences might have come together! From Wikipedia I also learn the interesting tidbit that “in the U.S. team clogging originated from square dance teams in Asheville, North Carolina’s Mountain Dance and Folk Festival (1928), organized by Bascom Lamar Lunsford in the Appalachian region.” (Mr. Lunsford has been discussed on this blog a few times in the past, including in detail in one of our “Worth 1,000 Words” essays).

Hugh Morton took many photos of the world-renowned Grandfather Mountain Cloggers troupe, including the one above, which shows the Cloggers performing during halftime of a 1974 UNC-Maryland basketball game, and those below taken at the 1977 White House Easter Egg Roll and during the taping of a segment of Charles Kuralt’s “On the Road.”

I’m curious to learn more about the origins of the Grandfather Mountain Cloggers. Who founded the troupe? What became of it? Internet searches turn up little except for a very small Facebook group, whose description intriguingly invites “all those who were members back when clogging was a precision dance.” Is it no longer considered as such? Are there raging stylistic debates in the world of clogging? I’m dying to know.

A Man and his Mountain; Worth 1,000 Words concludes

It is with both sadness and relief that I announce the final installation of our Worth 1,000 Words essay project . . . sadness because I’ve so enjoyed each new essay and the varying perspectives our authors have brought to the Morton collection, and relief because, wow, this has been a lot of work! (I have a whole new respect for editors/publishers).

But perhaps the sun hasn’t gone down for the last time on this project. All along, our intention with these essays has been to demonstrate the usefulness of Hugh Morton’s images beyond their obvious value as “pretty pictures.” As we stated in our original grant proposal to the North Carolina Humanities Council:

“Photographs are rich primary sources in themselves, full of historical detail, and as visual records, offer immediacy not available through text — a direct visual link to the past. Photography is also, of course, an art, one of which Hugh Morton was a master. The beautiful and communicative documents he created hold almost endless possibility for study, research, and exhibition. They also contain great potential for educational use at all levels, from grade school to graduate school.”

We heartily encourage researchers, journalists, students, teachers, history buffs, etc. to take up the mantle of our Worth 1,000 Words authors and continue to put Morton’s photos to work in the creation of new knowledge. We hope to find ways to encourage that in the future, e.g., through collaborations with media outlets and educators (here on UNC campus and/or in the public schools). We’d love to hear your ideas on ways to accomplish this.

And now to the final essay, entitled The Grandfather Backcountry: A Bridge Between the Past and Preservation, written by RANDY JOHNSON, the originator of Grandfather Mountain’s trail system. In this essay, Johnson provides his first-hand, behind-the-scenes perspective on the changing attitudes towards managing and providing public access to Grandfather’s backcountry. Combining Johnson’s piece with four of our other essays, by Drew Swanson, Anne Whisnant, Richard Starnes, and Alan Weakley, provides a fascinating, nuanced analysis (from multiple, sometimes conflicting perspectives) of the complex balancing act between profit and conservation at “Carolina’s Top Scenic Attraction.”

I’ll conclude with a final plug for our second (and last) Worth 1,000 Words event in Boone on Tuesday, August 10, which will feature both Johnson and Starnes. Come on out!

Tuesday, Aug. 10, 5:30 p.m.
Watauga County Library, Boone
Information: Evelyn Johnson, ejohnson@arlibrary.org, (828) 264-8784