The “Hargett Tulip”???

A researcher recently shared this tidbit with us. He found it in the “Scenes” column of the Chapel Hill Weekly, 5 May 1963, page 1:

“HUGH LEFLER (the happy debunker) informing his UNC history class that Fred Hargett, not William R. Davie, headed the committee that located the site of the University, and that Davie Poplar is really a tulip tree. So, technically, according to Dr. Lefler, ‘The Davie Poplar is really the Hargett Tulip.’”

UNC’s Dialectic and Philanthropic Society Presents The Annual Kemp Plummer Battle Lecture

If you’re interested in finding out more about Carolina this University Day, consider attending the Dialectic and Philanthropic Societies’ annual Kemp Plummer Battle lecture.

Governor James E. Holshouser, Jr., will deliver the lecture at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, October 12, in the Hanes Art Center auditorium. The lecture will focus on University history and traditions. A reception will follow the lecture.

Holshouser’s victory in November 1972 marked the first election of a Republican governor in North Carolina in the 20th century. The Watauga County native served in office from 1973 to 1977. He currently serves as member emeritus of UNC’s Board of Governors.

Isaac Warshauer, the Dialectic and Philanthropic Societies’ Joint Senate Historian, will also lead a guided tour of the University at 11:30 a.m. on Oct. 12. The tour will begin in front of South Building on the Polk Place side and will last roughly an hour.

For more information and to RSVP to the lecture, visit the Dialectic and Philanthropic Societies’ website.

UNC’s James K. Polk Tower?

“Plans were announced today for a 21-story residence for men students to be constructed on the University campus here.”

“It will be one of the tallest buildings in the state…And probably the tallest college residential structure in the Southeast.”

“Already dubbed ‘The Tower,’ construction on the new 1,000-man unit is expected to begin next March…’The Tower’ will be named for James K. Polk, 11th president of the United States, a native of North Carolina and an alumnus of the university. Polk received the A.B. degree here in 1818, the M.A. in 1822 and the LL.D. in 1845.”

“The new building will house James K. Polk Residence College.”

These are some quotations, all dating from April 1966, from several articles I recently found in our university clippings files. I knew the building had not been built, but I did wonder where they had thought about constructing “The Tower.” Well, according to the articles, the location was near Kenan Stadium, directly across the street from Scott Residence College (Avery, Parker, and Teague dormitories). My map and directional skills point to the current location of the George Watts Hill Alumni Center as the proposed location of this gigantic residence hall.

What happened? Why wasn’t it built? That is an even more interesting story of miscommunication and apparently one department not knowing what the other department was doing, saying, or releasing to the media. Within two weeks of the original story being published in several newspapers, there was another story (Chapel Hill Weekly, 27 April 1966) stating that the university had considered the idea, but that no action on building “The Tower” had ever been approved. The story also mentioned concerns about “stripping the campus bare of trees and wooded areas and destroying all the places of natural beauty.”

The Six Most Influential Books in Telling North Carolina’s History…Discuss!

At the “New Voyages to Carolina: The First North Carolina” conference held at East Carolina University in February of this year, Dr. Larry Tise shared a list of what he, Dr. William S. Price, and Dr. Jeffrey Crow “considered ‘the most influential books’ in shaping the way we have told the North Carolina story in the past and which will still inspire us as we formulate a new narrative. [These books] are the ‘perennial’ and ‘permanent’ formulations of North Carolina’s character and history. We also fondly aspire to tell the North Carolina story in the future as ‘elegantly’ as has been narrated in these important works.” [quote from email correspondence the author had with Dr. Tise]

The books are:

Thomas Hariot’s A briefe and true report of the new found land of Virginia…
John Lawson’s A New Voyage to Carolina
Harriet Jacobs’ Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. Written by Herself
Thomas Wolfe’s Look Homeward, Angel
Guion Griffis Johnson’s Ante-Bellum North Carolina: A Social History
John Hope Franklin’s The Free Negro in North Carolina

Seems like a pretty good list…but what do you think? Agree? Disagree? Additions? Deletions? (Let’s keep it at six…so if you add one, you have to delete one—so make your case well)

The Ivory-billed Woodpecker in North Carolina

“The first place I observed this bird [the ivory-billed woodpecker] at, when on my way to the south, was about twelve miles north of Wilmington in North Carolina. There I found the bird from which the drawing of the figure in the plate was taken. This bird was only wounded slightly in the wing, and, on being caught, uttered a loudly reiterated, and most piteous note, exactly resembling the violent crying of a young child; which terrified my horse so, as nearly to have cost me my life. It was distressing to hear it. I carried it with me in the chair, under cover, to Wilmington. In passing through the streets, its affecting cries surprised every one within hearing, particularly the females, who hurried to the doors and windows with looks of alarm and anxiety. I drove on, and on arriving at the piazza of the hotel, where I intended to put up, the landlord came forward, and a number of other person who happened to be there, all equally alarmed at what they heard; this was greatly increased by my asking, whether he could furnish me with accommodations for myself and my baby. The man looked blank and foolish, while the others stared with still greater astonishment. After diverting myself for a minute or two at their expense, I drew my woodpecker from under the cover, and a general laugh took place.”

–Alexander Wilson (1766-1813), author of American Ornithology; or, The Natural History of the Birds of the United States (1808-1829), as quoted in Reading the Roots: American Nature Writing before Walden, edited by Michael P. Branch.

A Loyalist Describes North Carolina

“On the south you can see the Dan, the Catawba, the Yadkin, and the Haw, breaking through the mighty mountains that appear in confused heaps, and piled on each other in almost every direction.

“Throughout the whole of this amazing and most extensive perspective, there is not the least feature or trace of art or improvement to be discovered.

“All are genuine effects of nature alone, and laid down on her most extended and grandest scale.

“Contemplating thereon fills the eye, engrosses the mind, and enlarges the soul.

“It totally absorbs the senses, overwhelms all the faculties, expands even the grandest ideas beyond all conception, and occasions you almost to forget that you are a human creature.”

–Author, Loyalist, and British soldier John Ferdinand Dalziel Smyth describing the view after he and others climbed Wart Mountain in the Allegheny Mountains. This description is found in Smyth’s A Tour in the United States of America… (1784), an excerpt of which appears in Reading the Roots: American Nature Writing before Walden, edited by Michael P. Branch.

A Visual History of North Carolina License Plates

A colleague recently pointed out the following site:

North Carolina License Plates, 1969-Present

Which caused another colleague to point out this:

Rick Kretschmer’s License Plate Archives: North Carolina License Plate Index

For a person (me) who used to kill time during family car trips by cataloging the various license plates, these pages are a time sink!