Players could’ve parked free at link dump

— Remembering “the blackest white man in Greensboro.” Hat tip to YES! Weekly for having mined the memory of the remarkable Hal Sieber even as he fell further and further from the public eye.

Sharyn McCrumb visits Wilkes County, finds “Wuthering Heights.”

— Update: The eBayer selling that Confederate veterans badge voided auction results after learning it was a fake.

Louis Orr’s North Carolina Etchings, 1939-1951

North Carolina University, at Chapel Hill / “Old East and Old Well[“] [Etchings of North Carolina Scenes] Album 9, Plate XXXXII
© Louis Orr 1949
North Carolina Collection

While working as a corporate lawyer in Paris in 1929, Tar Heel native Robert Lee Humber met a 50-year-old, Connecticut-born artist living there. The artist, Louis Orr, had already gained renown for his romanticized etchings of French landmarks and scenes. With Orr’s previous work in mind, Humber, a 30-year-old Greenville native, proposed a North Carolina-related project for his new friend. Orr, he said, should document important buildings in North Carolina through etchings.

Ten years after that conversation, Orr, who, by then, had produced highly-regarded etchings of the United States Capitol and American ports, arrived in North Carolina to begin the project. Over the ensuing 12 years, he produced fifty-one etchings of buildings across the state, extending from Avery and Buncombe counties in the west to Chowan and Craven counties in the east.

The North Carolina Collection Gallery is currently exhibiting Orr’s etchings, as well as original drawings, letters, photographs, and other material documenting the project. The items will remain on display through Oct. 10.

The man who knew what Bill France needed

“[Bill France] plunged back into the racing business almost as soon as the fireworks of V-J day had sputtered out. In October [1945] he traveled to Charlotte, N.C., to promote a stock-car race on the old half-mile clay oval at the local fairgrounds. ‘I went to see Wilton Garrison, who was the sports editor of The Charlotte Observer, trying to get some publicity for my race,’ says France. ‘I told Wilton I was going to stage a national championship race out at the fairgrounds.

” ‘ “Who’s going to be in this race of yours?” Wilton asked me.

” ‘ “Why, I’ve got Buddy Shuman, Skimp Hershey and Roy Hall,” I answered, figuring he’d be impressed.

” ‘ “How can you call it a national championship race with local boys like that running?”  Wilton said. “Maybe you could call it a Southern championship, but there’s no way it’s a national championship race.” ‘

“Garrison counseled France that he needed to create a series of races, with rules continuity and a point-standing setup, to determine an overall champion….  France [created] what he called the National Championship circuit in 1946, then… NASCAR a year later….”

— From Sports Illustrated, June 26, 1978

Now that stock car racing has been chosen the official sport of North Carolina — where were you, Putt-Putt lobby? — let’s give Wilton Garrison credit for lending  fender-bending  a crucial organizational concept.

Personal note: Dannye and I live in the house Wilton and his wife Eudora, best known as the Observer’s food editor, bought in 1940. The builder was C.D. Spangler Sr., father of the future UNC president, who had just gone out on his own after working as secretary for Dilworth developer E. D. Latta.

Yearbook Photos of Notable North Carolinians

Can you identify these notable graduates of North Carolina colleges from their student yearbook photos? Last time I tried this, I gave a few hints and made it too easy on you. So this time I’ll only say that none of these yearbook photos are from UNC-Chapel Hill, but all three can be found somewhere on the North Carolina College and University Yearbooks digital collection.

Josephus Daniels, managing editor at large

“At 79, famed Tarheel Editor Josephus Daniels last week staged a spry comeback on his lively, incomplete, partisan, aggressive, successful Raleigh News & Observer. After a nine-year absence (as Ambassador to Mexico) shrewd old ‘Uncle Joe’ Daniels had ‘enlisted for the war’ to replace his son Jonathan, who went to OCD [Office of Civil Defense] in Washington.

“By contrast to his smart, facile son Jonathan, wrinkled old Editor Daniels, in his black planter’s hat and elder-statesman tie, was a figure who easily evoked oldtime reminiscences. A full-fledged editor at 18, he had tangled in many a garrulous crusade against North Carolina railroads, tobacco and power companies. Great pal of William Jennings Bryan (of whom he wrote an 8,000-word obituary in six hours) and a hard-shelled Dry, he banned liquor on Navy ships.

“Last week Editor Daniels added a commentary on his Navy days: ‘Even when I was “absent without leave” from the sanctum during the eight years as Secretary of the Navy in the Woodrow Wilson administration,’ chuckled old Josephus, ‘I thought of myself as managing editor of the Navy rather than as a Cabinet official.’ ”

— From Time magazine, February 16, 1942

Time certainly went into adjectival high gear for the Danielses and their newspaper, but where’s the imagination in referring to Josephus as “old” three times in three paragraphs?

Pictured: Josephus and Addie Daniels on one of their annual photo Christmas cards.

Legislators like gold and fast cars

Charlotte Motor Speedway postcard

With the battle over the state budget now behind them, legislators in Raleigh moved on to pondering other weighty matters-like selecting the official state sport and state mineral. In a nod to Junior Johnson, Richard Petty and the Charlotte Motor Speedway (pictured in the postcard above), lawmakers voted to make stock car racing the state sport. Apparently some fans of another sport, the one that claims the attention of many from November to early April, raised some objections. But, alas, they gave up their cause when it was noted that basketball’s birth occurred in western Massachusetts.

Proponents of gold (and who isn’t?) weren’t so eloquent in their argument for making the precious metal the state’s official mineral. But, perhaps, few need convincing that gold holds a special place in Tar Heel history. Conrad Reed’s discovery of gold on his family’s Cabarrus County farm in 1799 set in motion the nation’s first gold rush. Other discoveries followed nearby (the inset below, from an 1850s map of the state, shows the “gold region”) . During the peak years of gold production in North Carolina, between the late 1820s and 1830s, the state’s mining industry employed over 30,000 people and ranked second only agriculture in its importance to the economy.

We’re thinking these two pieces of legislation are veto-proof. Do you think otherwise?

Detail from 1850s map of North Carolina

Artifact of the Month: Made exclusively for the Carolina Inn

This entry is the first in a monthly series highlighting the artifacts held by the North Carolina Collection Gallery. The Artifact of the Month for June is a place setting of the Carolina Inn’s pine-motif china. The Gallery possesses a dinner plate, salad plate, bread plate, soup cup, and tea cup and saucer. The salad plate is shown above.

With its official opening on December 30, 1924, the Carolina Inn was meant “to provide for the special wants and comforts of the University alumni, friends of the University and their families, friends of students of the University and University visitors.” In his history of the Carolina Inn, Kenneth Zogry notes that “within ten years of its opening, the Carolina Inn transformed public accommodations in Chapel Hill and became a fixture in both University and town life.” Also, a September 1946 article in the Raleigh News & Observer claimed that the Inn “has become a Chapel Hill institution in the two short decades it has been serving the public.”

A private dining room had been added to the Inn in 1930, and the nationally-known interior decorator Otto Zenke remodeled the room in the late 1940s and called it the Pine Room. Zenke also commissioned custom-made china from the Shenango China Company of New Castle, Pennsylvania for the newly decorated room. Shenango China had been used for the state dining services for Presidents Eisenhower and Johnson, and in 1951, the company created two services for the Carolina Inn. One of these features a pine motif of a pine branch with cones and needles illuminated by the Carolina moon, which fit especially well in the Pine Room. UNC alumna Alma Holland Beers, the first woman hired by the Botany Department as a research assistant, provided the design work. The china service was used by the Carolina Inn for over thirty years. In 1979, the Pine Room was converted into a cocktail lounge, renovated again in 1995, and renamed the Piedmont Room. The Shenango China Company closed in 1991.

N.C. coffee was grown in the shade (of a house)

“Java Coffee has been successfully grown near Milton, N.C. It was produced by a shrub only two years old, which sprouted from a grain of coffee planted on the north side of a house.”

— From The New York Times, Nov. 1, 1851

(The Times didn’t limit itself to “All the News That’s Fit to Print” until 1896.)

Tom Wolfe’s first try at dressing for NASCAR

“I thought I’d better try to fit in, so I very carefully picked out the clothes I’d wear. I had a knit tie, some brown suede shoes and a brown Borsalino hat with a half-inch of beaver fur on it. Somehow I thought this was very casual and suitable for the races. I guess I’d been reading too many P. G. Wodehouse novels.”

— Tom Wolfe, recalling (for interviewer Chet Flippo) his sartorial naivete when undertaking “The Last American Hero is Junior Johnson. Yes!” for Esquire magazine (1965)