Victor Lewis

Local Lore: Selma Burke & the Art in Your Pocket

The art on American coinage – and currency in general – isn’t a subject that gets much thought from the general public. But someone composed the portraits you see on dollar bills and sculpted the faces you find on the coins collecting in jars at home, and one of those artists was from North Carolina. Selma Burke was born in Mooresville in December of 1900, the daughter of a minister who worked part-time in railroad construction. As a child she allegedly taught herself to sculpt by playing with the white clay on her parents’ farm. She graduated from Winston...

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Tibetan Monks Returning to The ArtsCenter This Week

This week, The ArtsCenter in Carrboro will welcome Tibetan monks into the Nicholson Gallery as they painstakingly construct and subsequently sweep up an elaborate sand mandala over five days. The monks of Drepung Gomang Monastery have been to Carrboro before, and The ArtsCenter’s role in the event is only to act as a host organization and community sponsor. Viewing of the mandala construction is free and open to the public, though donations are gratefully accepted. All money collected, through donation or purchase of goods at the event, is sent directly back to the monastery and helps to house, care...

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Local Lore: The Pit

Anyone who has walked around the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, whether strolling past famous examples of neoclassical architecture or hurrying to class past institutional buildings, has at least heard of The Pit. The unofficial center of UNC and beloved fixture of campus life, where The Pit now sits was once home to the primary athletic field on campus. Emerson field, completed in 1916, was the original home to football, baseball and track events on campus. Carolina’s football program quickly outgrew the field and moved to Kenan Stadium upon its completion in 1927, but...

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Requiem for The Cave

All things come to an end, and the final days of April this year also close the book on more than 50 years of history for Chapel Hill’s oldest bar and music venue. “That bar is a really special, really unique place,” said Sarah Shook, a former bartender at The Cave and bandleader of Sarah Shook & The Disarmers. “As long as I’ve been going there, the friends I’ve made, the memories I’ve made … there’s so much there.” A familiar haunt for up-and-coming bands, local musicians, bar hoppers and college students across the decades, The Cave’s storied underground...

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Local Lore: A Port 200 Miles Upriver

Moncure, North Carolina: founded in 1881, populated by less than 1,000 people in an area under five square miles – and once the westernmost inland port in North Carolina, connected to the sea via 200 miles of water in the form of the Cape Fear River. Before North Carolina was crisscrossed by well over 200,000 miles of public roads, large-scale transport was tricky business. Bulk transportation using railroads and steamships was the most efficient method to transport mail, goods and people over long distances. The first steamship to travel North Carolina’s inland waterways was the Norfolk, named for the...

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Retired Hillsborough K9 Officer Talon Dies

Talon, a German shepherd who served as a K9 officer for the Hillsborough Police Department, died peacefully at his home this past Saturday. Talon was retired from police duty, and passed surrounded by four-footed and two-footed family alike at his favorite spot in the woods, close by a creek he loved. Talon was 14 years old, and served the town for eight years before retiring from service in 2015. “It was truly a pleasure being Talon’s handler,” said Senior Cpl. Scott Foster. “I know for certain that he truly loved serving and protecting the citizens of Hillsborough.” Foster worked...

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Local Lore: Occoneechee Speedway

NASCAR may have grew up in Daytona, but it was born in North Carolina. From bootleggers in the Appalachian mountains to modern racing legends, North Carolina is home to storied NASCAR history and some of the biggest family dynasties in racing. Junior Johnson tore up back roads delivering illicit liquor, and proud family names like the Jarretts,  Earnhardts and Pettys all saw their start here. While Charlotte is the place to go in North Carolina for big-time races, one of the first two NASCAR tracks to open was right here in Hillsborough. Stock car racing got its start inadvertently,...

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Local Lore: Gimghoul Castle

A French-style castle built at the end of Gimghoul Road on the eastern portion of UNC’s campus has been capturing imaginations and enduring curious trespassers for decades. The ominous structure is host to two legends: one of love and bloody death, and another of a secret society hidden from prying eyes. In 1915, after acquiring 2.12 acres on which to build, the Order of the Gimghoul — listed as a non-profit organization on official records — hired a group of stonemasons descended from castle-builders of old in southern France and Italy to construct their castle from 1,300 tons of...

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Local Lore: The Chapel On The Hill

Names often serve a purpose outside of initial identification of a place or a person. A name can also show history — families with last names like “Smith” or “Baker” likely have an ancestor who held an important position in their own, “Bald Head Island” indicates an easily-spotted lack of vegetation and “Hickory” is the name of a town founded around a log building constructed from hickory wood. Chapel Hill is no different, having been aptly named for a hilltop chapel. In 1752, the Church of England approved a “chapel of ease” at a hilltop crossroads. The location was...

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Not-So-Hidden Valley: Inside America’s Favorite Dressing

Whether you prefer it as a dip or a dressing, Ranch smothers vegetables and chicken wings alike across America every day. Today is no exception, as March 10 is officially designated as “Ranch Dressing Day” by Hidden Valley itself. Recipes for buttermilk-based dressing date back as far as the 1930s, with most examples coming from dairy farms in Texas and the Midwest, but it was an Alaskan plumber who put Ranch as we know it on the map. Steve Henson worked as a plumbing contractor in the Alaskan bush in the late ‘40s and early ‘50s, and he made...

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