When view from sidelines becomes too painful….

“In Chapel Hill, N.C., after grimly watching his school’s football team drop three games in a row, University of North Carolina Cheer Leader Harry Benton Thorp turned in his megaphone, reported to the coach as a team candidate.”

— From Time magazine, Nov. 17, 1952

Listen To Professor Robert Allen Talk About North Carolina Downtowns

UNC’s Dr. Robert Allen was recently featured on WUNC’s The State of Things. In the interview Dr. Allen talks about “Main Street, Carolina,” a digital project that “uses sophisticated maps and statistics to create a database of towns and cities throughout North Carolina during the 20th century. It’s designed so that schools, libraries, businesses and individuals can have more detailed access to community history.”

The project used many different resources from Wilson Library, including many of the North Carolina Collection’s Sanborn fire insurance maps, city directories, and other local history resources.

Listen to the interview at: http://wunc.org/tsot/archive/Meet_Robert_Allen.mp3/view

Check out what’s new to the North Carolina Collection.

Several new titles just added to “What’s New in the North Carolina Collection?” To see the full list simply click on the link in this entry or click on the “What’s New in the North Carolina Collection?” link under the heading “Pages” in the right column. As always, full citations for all the new titles can be found in the University Library Catalog and they are all available for use in the Wilson Special Collections Library Reading Room.

Hats were on their heads, not in their heads

“The Federation of Women’s Clubs of North Carolina began holding an annual state convention in the early 1900s, often meeting in county courthouses. In 1909 the convention met in the legislative chamber of the North Carolina House, and delegates heard a presentation on hookworm, voted to contribute to a scholarship for a young woman to attend Oxford University in England and transferred ownership of their ‘traveling libraries’ to the North Carolina Library Commission.

“The ladies posed for a picture in front of the [State Capitol], all of them with enormous hats (the current fashion) perched on their heads. … At the next convention they resolved to stop wearing hats at their meetings because apparently they felt the hats took away from the seriousness of what they were doing.”

— From “Southern Culture: An Introduction” by John Beck, Wendy Jean Frandsen and Aaron Randall (2009) 

Hey, no guacamole dip in the link dump!

— “Too many viewings of Gone with the Wind”?

— Recognition for Morehead City fishing boat sunk off Massachusetts.

— Has North Carolina ever produced a smarter real-life procedural?

— A newsroom wrestles with the Greensboro sit-ins.

— Who is stealing Raleigh’s . “Southern vowel shift” ?

— Passion for records of defunct colleges leads to “one of the geekiest ways to spend a Friday night ever.”

Bodie impolitic?

Black Mountain: birthplace of the ‘flopahedron’

“By 1948, [Buckminster] Fuller’s geometric investigations had led him to the idea of the geodesic dome — essentially, a series of struts that could support a covering skin. That summer, he was invited to teach at Black Mountain College….  Toward the end of his stay, Fuller and a team of students assembled a trial dome out of Venetian-blind slats. Immediately upon being completed, the dome sagged and fell in on itself. (Some of the observers referred to it as a “flopahedron.”) Fuller insisted that this outcome had been intentional — he was, he said, trying to determine the critical point at which the dome would collapse — but no one seems to have believed this….

“The first commercial use of Fuller’s design came in 1953, when the Ford Motor Co. decided to cover the central courtyard of its Rotunda building, in Dearborn….  The structure spanned 93 feet [and]  received a tremendous amount of press, almost all of it positive, with the result that geodesic domes soon became popular for all sorts of purposes. …

“Few of Fuller’s ideas were ever realized…. Even his most successful creation, the geodesic dome, proved to be a dud. In 1994, Stewart Brand, editor of the ‘Whole Earth Catalog’ and an early, self-described dome ‘propagandist,’ called geodesics a ‘massive, total failure’:

” ‘Domes leaked, always. The angles between the facets could never be sealed successfully. If you gave up and tried to shingle the whole damn thing — dangerous process, ugly result — the nearly horizontal shingles on top still took in water….’

“Among the domes that leaked were Fuller’s own home, in Carbondale, [Ill.] and the structure atop the Ford Rotunda. (When workmen were sent to try to reseal the Rotunda’s dome, they ended up burning down the entire building.)”

— From “Dymaxion Man” by Elizabeth Kolbert in the New Yorker, June 9, 2008

Historic hardball on the hardwood

50 years ago today: Brawl between Art Heyman and Larry Brown intensifies Duke-UNC hostilities, ensures future decades of must-see TV. Best fight ever between two Jewish basketball players?

Will Blythe, recounting in “To Hate Like This….” a memorable interview in Heyman’s Manhattan bar, writes that “In his recollection, the brawl was triggered by a dollop of spittle….”  (spit apparently being the era’s favored medium of disrespect).

Fog in N.C. led to famous flier’s crash in N.J.

“Emilio Carranza was…the choice of the Mexican government to make a good-will flight, in 1928, from Mexico City non-stop to Washington. This was a formal response to a good-will flight made in the reverse direction by Charles Lindbergh. Carranza… flew a Ryan monoplane, as Lindbergh did, and newspapers called him ‘Mexico’s Lone Eagle.’

“Fog overcame Carranza in Mooresville, North Carolina, and his non-stop flight to Washington included a stop there until the fog lifted. This detail was politely  deemphasized… in the speeches and parades that welcomed him to Washington and, later, to New York….

“Nonetheless, he had failed to carry out his mission as planned, and he intended to redress the failure by flying home nonstop from New York to Mexico City…. He waited for a thunderstorm to let up, then took off [from Roosevelt Field on Long Island]  and headed south before another one closed in. There was, however, a thunderstorm over the Pine Barrens [of New Jersey], and it apparently killed him.”

— From “The Pine Barrens” (1967) by John McPhee

Hat tip to the Mooresville Historical Society for these vivid details (Carranza kissed the ground upon landing) and photos.

Link dump dreaming of Charlotte-style BBQ

— Egyptian billionaire once washed dishes at Raleigh pizzeria.

— Still relying on MSM for your latest UFO sightings?

— Jim Schlosser returns to action with tour of Greensboro’s “ghost signs.”

Dairi-O, R.I.P.

Ike invites Congressman under his umbrella

“Last week [President Eisenhower] flew to Charlotte, N.C. for ceremonies commemorating the signing of the Mecklenburg Declaration…. The trip’s real purpose was to assist Charles R. Jonas, 49, who is up for re-election as North Carolina’s sole Republican Congressman.

“Without any open endorsements or overt politicking, Ike managed to give Jonas his beaming blessing. The President, said a G.O.P. strategist, ‘is like a man with an umbrella—everyone wants to stand under it with him.’ ”

— From Time magazine, May 31, 1954

Jonas won a second term and served 10 terms in all before retiring.