Playmakers Theatre – A Capital Idea

Playmakers Theatre, formerly Smith Hall, has rather interesting capitals that top its four columns. Rather than sticking to the leaves seen in traditional Corinthian columns, the building features architect A.J. Davis’ unique design that used ears of corn and stalks of wheat.

You can read more about Smith Hall in DocSouth’s Buildings of the First Century of the First State University digital collection.

1947: A Sahara of the food arts?

Stephen Fletcher’s mention (A View to Hugh, July 2) of Holiday magazine’s October 1947 cover story on North Carolina set me to foraging through my file boxes.

This is a remarkable piece of travel journalism by soon-to-be News & Observer editor Jonathan Daniels—lengthy (10,000 words!), insightful, far-ranging, opinionated and still quite readable if now unavoidably dated. Did I say opinionated?

About the tourism industry’s Variety Vacationland pitch: “Inevitable and slightly nauseous alliteration.”

About Charlotte: “The self-appointed moral center of the state…also the homicide capital of the United States, with a murder rate never equaled even in Chicago.”

But Daniels is at his most acerbic when bemoaning the native cuisine: “The least attractive aspect of a plain people is that…their food may range from plain to poison.”

“No restaurant in the state [is] really worth celebrating…The best food obtainable in the state’s capital is in a chain cafeteria….”

For backup Daniels cites the postbellum lament of Civil War general (and U.S. senator) Thomas Clingman: “Within 10 years, as many people have died prematurely in the state from bad cooking as were slain in war.”

Welcome to Variety Vacationland! (Did you remember to pack the Pepto?)

A Tar Heel Treasure Trove

Currently on display in the “recent acquisitions” exhibit case in the NC Collection Reading Room is The University of North Carolina Basketball Vault by UNC Sports Information Director Emeritus Rick Brewer. The book outlines the history of the Carolina basketball program in a unique way. Readers are immediately drawn in by the vibrant photography of classic games, players, coaches, and tournaments. But the real treat is that the book has removable replica memorabilia that one can pull out and examine more closely. Examples include a Michael Jordan postcard, a felt pennant, tournament tickets, lesser-known photographs, and a telegram from the 1957 championship season. Nostalgic Tar Heel basketball fans will enjoy reminiscing (Brewer particularly focuses on Dean Smith’s legacy), while the afterword by Roy Williams adds to the anticipation of next season and the continuation of tradition.

A Monazite Mine in Shelby, NC

Above is an image of a Monazite mine in Shelby, NC, dating to ca. 1906. Monazite was used in the gas mantles of the late 19th century and early 20th century that provided incandescent light.

According to an article in a 1907 bulletin published by the US Geological Survey, monazite mines in North and South Carolina produced 846,175 pounds of monazite sand in 1906, the year this postcard is postmarked. At that time, the monazite mined in the Carolinas was valued at approximately 18 cents per pound.

Monazite was mined in the US only for a short time before larger deposits were found in India and Brazil. In addition to the other sources pertaining to monazite held by the NCC, you can also check out the Wikipedia article on the mineral here. We’ve added a thumbnail image of the postcard above to the article.

Rowan Resolves Day

The Rowan County Public Library is celebrating “Rowan Resolves Day” at 2 p.m. today. Written on August 8, 1774, the Resolves “criticized both the political and economic policies of the British government that threatened to take away colonial liberties.” Read more about the event and the Resolves here.

To read a digital version of the resolutions, click on the link below:

Resolutions by inhabitants of Rowan County concerning resistance to Parliamentary taxation and the Provincial Congress of North Carolina

This document is one of 9500 colonial and early state documents presented on the UNC Library’s Colonial and State Records of North Carolina digital project.

Governor R. Gregg Cherry and Franklin D. Roosevelt

I just found an interesting item in the stacks: The hymnal, as authorized and approved for use by the General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America in the year of Our Lord MCMXVI. Inside the book, I found the inscription you see above.

The hymnal is a part of our collection because of its “associational value,” not its original content. The item was owned and inscribed by former governor R. Gregg Cherry, who received it when he attended the White House funeral service for Franklin D. Roosevelt on April 14, 1945.

What Is The Oldest House In Sanford?

A few weeks ago, Bridget Madden posted “Oldest House in Sanford, NC?,” which asked readers of NC Miscellany for help. Well, I don’t have an answer (and no one else has stepped up……where are you Lee County historians?!?!), but I did find the trivet pictured above. I recently moved, and as I was unpacking, I found this in a box that had been in my attic for years. I can offer no explanation as to where it came from, or why I have it, but I did remember Bridget’s recent post!

In case you are wondering about the location of the trivet, I didn’t keep it. I donated it to the NC Collection Gallery!