Hot towns, summer in the cities….Can you name ’em?

1. What is the largest city in North Carolina not named for a person?

2. Which has the greater population – Fayetteville, Ark., or Fayetteville, N.C.?

3. Which Wilmington has the greater population, North Carolina’s or Delaware’s?

4. What is the largest “City” in North Carolina?

5. Name the three largest “-boros” in North Carolina.

6. What are North Carolina’s two hyphenated municipalities?

7. What are the four “-villes” among North Carolina’s 15 largest cities?

8. In 1967, Spray, Leaksville and Draper merged to form what town?

Answers appended here tomorrow….

As promised:

1. High Point, ninth largest at 104,608.

2. Fayetteville, N.C., by 200,564 to 73,969.

3. North Carolina’s, by 106,476 to 70,851.

4. Elizabeth City (at 18,692 beating out Morehead City at 8,712, Siler City at 7,903 and Forest City at 7,475).

5. Greensboro (269,628), Goldsboro (35,616) and Asheboro (25,264).

6. Winston-Salem and Fuquay-Varina. Winston merged with Salem in 1913, Fuquay Springs with Varina in 1963.

7. Fayetteville (200,564), Greenville (84,990), Asheville (83,393) and Jacksonville (70,883).

8. Eden (pop. 15,527)


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

Several new titles just added to “New in the North Carolina Collection.” To see the full list simply click on the link in the entry or click on the “New in the North Carolina Collection” tab at the top of the page. 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.

Hungry ex-champ, ‘touring country,’ dines in Charlotte

On this day in 1934: Primo Carnera, the only Italian ever to hold the world heavyweight boxing title, stops for supper at the Charlotte Tourist Camp. Carnera, who weighs 260 pounds, finishes off 6 ham sandwiches, 6 fried eggs, 6 raw eggs and 4 bottles of beer.

He tells fans he is “touring the country” and blames a bad ankle for his knockout by challenger Max Baer six weeks earlier.


Hog drives through mountains were large and loud

“On a trip through the North Carolina mountains in 1878, Virginia newspaper editor James Cowardin found himself surrounded by thousands of pigs. ‘Hogs were before us and behind us, and both to the right and to the left of us,’ Cowardin wrote. ‘There was whipping and shouting and twisting and turning’ as the swineherds yelled, ”Suey!” “Suey!” “Get out!” “Suey hogs!” “D—d devil take the swine!” ‘

“Cowardin too cursed the pigs at first, but once he settled into the rhythm of the road, he began to daydream about following his ‘grunting friends’ to their destination and enjoying a pig slaughter feast: ‘What luxury in spare ribs, backbone, and sausage we would have,’ he fantasized, ‘not to mention pigs’ tails broiled on hot rocks!’

“The flesh of Cowardin’s traveling companions, though, was destined for other stomachs. He had stumbled upon a seasonal movement of livestock that had been happening each winter for more than half a century. He was in the middle of a pig drive….

“The best estimates suggest that in the antebellum South, five times as many hogs were driven as all other animals combined. In 1847 one tollgate in North Carolina recorded 692 sheep, 898 cattle, 1,317 horses, and 51,753 hogs….”

— From “The Great Appalachian Hog Drives” bMay 4, 2015)

When they’re not being stolen, these pig statues in downtown Asheville commemorate the 19th-century hog drives.


Celebrating Blueberries…recipes from the collection

It’s a great year for blueberry crops and North Carolina is a top 10 producer.  Go to your favorite grocery store, farmers market, or road side stand, grab some blueberries, and get cookin’!

Blueberry Basil Cornmeal Waffles - North Carolina Bed & Breakfast Cookbook

Blueberry Basil Cornmeal Waffles from North Carolina bed & breakfast cookbook.

Blueberry betty - Historic Moores Creek Cook Book

Blueberry Betty from Historic Moores Creek cook book : a collection of old and new recipes.

Blueberry Puffs - Given to Hospitality

Blueberry Puffs from Given to hospitality : a cook book.

Blueberry Nut Ice Cream - Cooking with Berries

Blueberry Nut Ice Cream from Cooking with berries.

Blueberry Pie - Koerner's Folly Cookbook (2)

Blueberry Pie from Körner’s Folly cookbook.

Blueberry Buckle - Count Our Blessings

Blueberry Buckle from Count our blessings : 75 years of recipes and memories / Myers Park Presbyterian Church.

Untapped Source of Lifetime Happiness Blueberry Muffins- Auntie bee's

Untapped Source of Lifetime Happiness Blueberry Muffins from Auntie’s cook book : favorite recipes.

At State Fairgrounds, a rival to Pantheon and Penn Station

“I had first encountered [Dorton Arena] in an architecture class, where my professor waxed poetic about this dramatic modern building, noting that had its designer, Matthew Nowicki, not been killed in a plane crash, he would have become one of the outstanding avant-garde architects of the 20th century….

“Nowicki’s Raleigh pavilion bears positive comparison with some of the magnificent grand spaces of history — the Pantheon in Rome, France’s Amiens Cathedral, and the original Pennsylvania Station in New York….

“Although pretty much taken for granted in a capital city that has choked itself with unbridled and hideous suburban development…this architectural wonder also stands as a testament to North Carolina’s golden age, when it was emerging from depression and world war to become the symbol of a progressive New South — a leader in education and modern architecture.”

— From “One of the Best Examples of Modern Architecture Is a Former Livestock Pavilion in North Carolina” by William Morgan at Slate (July 14)


Wisc. farmland attracted free blacks unwelcome in NC

“Although racial prejudice existed in the upper Midwest before the Civil War, it was compensated for to a degree by the availability of new land or recently partitioned and inexpensive land. Interestingly, many of western Wisconsin’s earliest black settlers came as extended free family units that had been encouraged to leave North Carolina, and these groups came with moderate capital and purchased farmland near the towns of Pleasant Hill and Hillsboro. These were free-born farmers, and they came with some education, agriculture-based objectives and close-knit family values….

“Rosser Howard Taylor [in “The Free Negro in North Carolina,” 1920] wrote that many free blacks had never been slaves and that some had free ancestors who had fought in the Revolutionary War. The terms ‘Waldens’ and ‘old issue’ were applied to this group. Many owned farms that could be converted into cash. In North Carolina a clear distinction was drawn between old issue and manumitted blacks. Waldron was a common surname among black settlers in Hillsboro, Wisconsin….”

— From “For Labor, Race, and Liberty: George Edwin Taylor, His Historic Run for the White House, and the Making of Independent Black Politics by Bruce L. Mouser (2011)


Fitzgerald appalled by ‘worst roads in the world’

“After Durham the sun came out and shone heavily down upon the worst roads in the world….If you can imagine an endless rocky gully, rising frequently in the form of unnavigable mounds to a slope of sixty degrees,  a gully covered with from an inch to a foot of grey water mixed with solemn soggy clay of about the consistency of cold cream and the adhesiveness of triple glue; if you drove an ambulance over shelled roads in France and can conceive of all the imperfections of all those roads placed with forty miles — then you have a faint conception of the roads of upper North Carolina….”

— From “The Cruise of the Rolling Junk” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, a somewhat fictionalized account of a road trip the Fitzgeralds took from Westport, Conn., to Montgomery, Ala., in 1920.  Serialized in Motor magazine (March-May 1924)

Although the Good Roads Association began pushing for improvements early in the century, it was the 1920s before the state wrested control of highway construction from the counties and began authorizing unprecedentedly large bond issues and gasoline tax increases to finance its ambitions.

By the end of the decade Scott Fitzgerald would have encountered considerably fewer challenges motoring through the “Good Roads State.”


Artifact of the month: Caroline Lee Hentz’s lap desk, 19th century

Ideas about what constitutes portability have changed dramatically over the past 150 years. One piece of evidence for this (extremely non-controversial) claim is our July Artifact of the Month, a 19th-century lap desk.


Lap desks, popular in the 19th-century, enabled their owners to do their writing on the go. A lap desk provided an expansive flat writing surface that folded up neatly into a (relatively) compact box, as well as storage for ink wells, sand wells, pens, and quills.

Lap desk, open
Lap desk, open

This particular example belonged to Caroline Lee Hentz, an author and anti-abolitionist from Massachusetts. A prolific writer, Hentz produced a long list of poems, plays, romantic novels, and short stories — some of them, perhaps, written on this desk.

Image from the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives' Portrait Collection.
Caroline Lee Hentz. Image from the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives’ Portrait Collection.

Hentz moved to North Carolina with her husband when he began a position as a language professor at UNC. In Chapel Hill, Hentz met the enslaved poet George Moses Horton and became a great supporter of his work. Hentz’s 1833 novel Lovell’s Folly included an enslaved poet named George, who was openly based on Horton. She served as a benefactress to Horton, helping to edit, promote, and support the publication of his work.

Historical marker commemorating the life of George Moses Horton.
Historical marker commemorating the life of George Moses Horton.

Oddly, Hentz was also one of the era’s most influential defenders of slavery. Her widely-read novel The Planter’s Northern Bride is a direct reply to Harriet Beecher Stowe’s abolitionist work Uncle Tom’s Cabin. In Lovell’s Folly, George, admired for his poetry, is granted his freedom. However, as a plot device that reinforced Hentz’s belief that benevolent masters offer slaves a good life, the character George chooses to stay on the plantation.

The real Horton worked tirelessly in an effort to buy his own freedom.

Works by Hentz and Horton, including one of Horton’s poem manuscripts, can be seen in the North Carolina Collection Gallery’s current exhibition. Set in the Southern Part of Heaven: Chapel Hill Through Authors’ Eyes features 35 books by both professional and amateur writers. Included are historical accounts, short stories, mysteries, and even a fantasy-tinged romance with scenes that take place in Gimghoul Castle. Full details can be found on the Library’s blog.

There was only so much the Green Book could do

“Through the ’50s and well into the ’60s, African-Americans bought the Green Book [The Negro Motorist Green Book: An International Travel Guide] and other guides. But just being on the highway could be a frightening experience.

“In the summer of 1960, Irene Staple’s parents drove her to Anniston, Ala., to give her a look at their roots and to teach her a lesson in present-day life in the Deep South.

” ‘By the time we got to Raleigh-Durham there was a tension in the air,’ Staples remembered. ‘By the time we got to Alabama I was hysterical.’

“Shell Oil had provided the family with detailed road maps and a list of all the Shell stations along the route. When the family returned to New York, Staple’s father returned his credit card to the company. Shell stations in the South had refused to serve him because he was black.”

— From Divided Highways: Building the Interstate Highways, Transforming American Life” by Tom Lewis (2013)