So you think you know North Carolina…. No. 35

1. Before they settled into new facilities in Charlotte and Raleigh, the Carolina Panthers and the Carolina Hurricanes played in what cities?

2. Seven states can be seen from Rock City Gardens, the widely advertised attraction atop Lookout Mountain in Tennessee. Is North Carolina one of them?

3. What N.C. product is cited in Jimmy Buffett’s 1999 song, “I Will Play for Gumbo”?

4. The villain in which of these movies is described as “former art consultant to Jesse Helms”: “Wag the Dog,” “Air Force One” or “Naked Gun 21/2”?

5. True or false: North Carolina’s state tree is the dogwood.

Answers below






1. Clemson and Greensboro, respectively.

2. Yes — along with Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

3. Krispy Kreme doughnuts: “I’m not talking quesadillas or a dozen Krispy Kremes/Or a pound of caviar, that’s a rich man’s dream/No banana split or fillet of pompano/No, I will play for gumbo.” (Buffett has owned a number of Krispy Kreme franchises.)

4. “Naked Gun 21/2.”

5. False. The state tree is the pine (the dogwood is the state flower).


New in the collection: Hamilton municipal license plate

Municipal license plate for Hamilton, N.C.

A town probably named after Alexander Hamilton — renamed after Hamilton, actually — ought to attract some attention these days, don’t you think?

Unfortunately, interest in such noteworthy history as the Fort Branch Civil War site and a restored Rosenwald School has yet to show up in Hamilton’s population, which has dwindled to about half its 1890 peak of 781.


So you think you know North Carolina…. No. 34

1. The symbol of the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg displays back-to-back A’s — why?

2. In an alphabetical listing of the states, North Carolina precedes North Dakota. What state does it follow?

3. What famous golfer won his first professional tournament at Pinehurst in 1940? Which one won his last at Pinehurst in 1999?

4. True or false: More than 20 times as many North Carolinians died in the Civil War as in the Vietnam War.

5. A former U.S. senator from North Carolina and a writer known as the “poet laureate of Appalachia” share what name?

Answers below






1. It tagged itself the “All American” unit — the first to draw members from all 48 states. Formed in 1917 at Camp Gordon, Ga., the 82nd has been based at Fort Bragg since 1946.

2. New York.

3. Ben Hogan won the North and South Open, Payne Stewart the U.S. Open. Barely four months later Stewart died in a private plane crash near Aberdeen, S.D.

4. True. The Civil War claimed at least 33,000 soldiers from North Carolina; the Vietnam War, 1,609.

5. Robert Morgan. One served as state attorney general and as U.S. senator, the other is author of the best-selling “Gap Creek.”


1784 statute showed disdain for inherited wealth

“With Thomas Jefferson taking the lead in the Virginia legislature in 1777, every Revolutionary state government abolished the laws of primogeniture and entail that had served to perpetuate the concentration of inherited property….
“The states left no doubt that in taking this step they were giving expression to a basic and widely shared philosophical belief that equality of citizenship was impossible in a nation where inequality of wealth remained the rule.
“North Carolina’s 1784 statute explained that by keeping large estates together for succeeding generations, the old system had served ‘only to raise the wealth and importance of particular families and individuals, giving them an unequal and undue influence in a republic’ and promoting ‘contention and injustice.’ Abolishing aristocratic forms of inheritance would by contrast ‘tend to promote that equality of property which is of the spirit and principle of a genuine republic.’ “

— From “Adam Smith, Thomas Jefferson, and other fellow travelers” by at Sophrosyne (Oct. 14, 2010)


New in the collection: Cherokee eclipse-watching kit

Cherokee drum marking eclipse

Cherokee eclipse glasses


The cardboard shades were pretty much standard issue for watching the 2017 total solar eclipse, but the noisemaker is specific to Cherokee legend.

Tribal storyteller Mike Crowe of the Museum of the Cherokee Indian told Blue Ridge Public Radio, “A long time ago, whenever there was an eclipse, they had an explanation for this. The frog would come up, and he would swallow the sun. They would come out and bang the drum and make loud noise and this would frighten the frog away. After a time, things would return to normal. Everything would be okay.”

Video of the eclipse watch  in Cherokee, including a brief but apparently successful demonstration of frog-frightening.


So you think you know North Carolina…. No. 33

1. What Piedmont North Carolinians call livermush, Pennsylvanians know as what?

2. Which city is wetter, Seattle or Charlotte?

3. In 1991 Florida State basketball player Sam Cassell, finding fans in the Smith Center considerably less rowdy than those at Duke, stuck them with what memorable label?

4. True or false: North Carolina is the nation’s leading producer of yams.

5. What historian remarked in 1920 that he had found in the black Durham neighborhood of Hayti “social and economic development perhaps more striking than that of any similar group in the nation”?

Answers below






1. Scrapple. The basic ingredients — hog’s head, liver and cornmeal — are the same.

2. Charlotte (with about 41.6 inches of annual precipitation to Seattle’s 37.7).

3. “A cheese-and-wine crowd.”

4. False. It is, however, No. 1 in sweet potatoes. Yams are grown mostly in South America, the Caribbean and western Africa and have white, barklike flesh.

5. W.E.B. DuBois.


New in the collection: Dixie Chicks vs. HB2

No hate in our state hat.

“The Dixie Chicks, performing at Walnut Creek [Amphitheatre in Raleigh], said they considered boycotting the show [to protest HB2]. Instead, they handed out baseball caps that said ‘No Hate in our State.’

“ ‘We have a favor to ask,’ lead singer Natalie Maines told the crowd after a few songs. ‘Since we didn’t cancel our show – you’re also the only state we bought gifts for – could you pull out the hats that we gave you? ’Cause we love to support positivity. Peace and love, peace and love.’ ”

— From “With HB2 gone, Maroon 5 and some other acts are coming back to NC” by David Menconi in the News & Observer (Nov. 1, 2017)

This “No Hate” hat was distributed at the Dixie Chicks’ show in Charlotte on Aug. 13, 2016.


Spruce Pine makes the world go round….

“Spruce Pine, it turns out, is the source of the purest natural quartz—a species of pristine sand—ever found on Earth. This ultra‑elite deposit of silicon dioxide particles plays a key role in manufacturing the silicon used to make computer chips. In fact, there’s an excellent chance the chip that makes your laptop or cell phone work was made using sand from this obscure Appalachian backwater….”

— From “The Ultra-Pure, Super-Secret Sand That Makes Your Phone Possible” by Vince Beiser in Wired

Fascinating story! And it even mentions the bunkers at Augusta National.


So you think you know North Carolina…. No. 32

1. Of North Carolina’s 100 counties how many are named for women?

2. What well-known food processor is located at the corner of Cucumber and Vine streets?

3. True or false: Though now often associated with North Carolina, the term “Tobacco Road” was first used in reference to Georgia.

4. On the Monopoly game board, what color is North Carolina?

5. Nearly one-third of North Carolina’s Lumbee Indians have one of what two surnames?

Answers below





1. Three: Dare County, named for Virginia Dare, first child of English parents born in the New World; Wake County, named for Margaret Wake, wife of colonial Gov. William Tryon; Mecklenburg County, named for Princess Charlotte Sophia of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, wife of George III.

2. Mt. Olive Pickle Co., in Mount Olive. Mt. Olive ranks third, behind Vlasic and Claussen, as the best-selling brand in the country.

3. True. It was the Augusta-area address of Jeeter Lester in Erskine Caldwell’s scandalous 1932 novel by that name.

4. Green.

5. Oxendine and Locklear.


New in the collection: Commemorative Elvis rack cards

Charlotte News rack card for Elvis series beginning August 12

Charlotte Observer rack card for Elvis series beginning August 13


When Elvis died — Aug. 16, 1977 — the Charlotte Observer wasn’t prepared for the enormous demand for single copies. (We weren’t the only ones.)

A year later, however, the Observer and the afternoon Charlotte News had days of commemorative coverage lined up, as these two rack cards illustrate.