Championship Win #1 for Dean Smith

Dean Smith (left) with then-freshman Michael Jordan (far right) and two other members of the 1982 UNC basketball team. Image from the Associated Press.

On March 29, 1982, UNC basketball Coach Dean Smith and his Tar Heels won the school’s first national title since 1957. The Tar Heel took on the Georgetown University Bulldogs in New Orleans in final game in the National Collegiate Athletic Association basketball tournament that year.

Expectations for the Tar Heels were high since the team lost in the NCAA championship game the previous year. The star power of the 1982 UNC team also raised the hopes of fans with key players Sam Perkins and James Worthy returning from the previous season and being joined by freshman guard Michael Jordan.

The game was close the entire time. The team in the lead was never ahead by more than a few points, with both teams going back and forth the whole night. With 32 seconds left in the game, the Tar Heels were behind. Smith called for a time out, and whatever was said in huddle seemed to work, because when the Tar Heels took the court again Jordan took a jump shot giving them the lead and the win at 63 to 52.

Smith coached the UNC Tar Heels for a total of 36 seasons and took the team to the NCAA tournament 25 times; he earned one more national championship title in 1993 and 17 ACC titles.

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Körner’s Folly, Architectural Wonder in Kernersville

A historical image of Körner’s Folly. Image from the Library of Congress.

On March 28, 1880, Körner’s Folly opened to the public.

Furniture designer, decorator and painter Jule Gilmer Körner began construction on the building in 1878 as a showcase for his work. He continually added new designs to the house, and when he died in 1924 renovation plans were found on his drawing table.

The elegant structure on Main Street in Kernersville has 22 rooms spread over three floors and seven levels. No two part of the house are exactly alike. Ceiling heights range from 5 ½ to 25 feet; there are 15 fireplaces, numerous cubbyholes and trap doors, and a unique air distribution system with pivoting windows.  Körner also built a house on the property for Clara, the servant who raised him. Born a slave, she was purchased by his Quaker father to give her freedom.

In addition to being used a residence and being open for tours, the building has long legacy as a performing arts venue for the Triad community. Körner’s wife Polly Alice established the Juvenile Lyceum in the building in 1896 so that children in the community had a space to stage performances. In 1897, Jule renovated the third floor billiard room into a theater space adorned with cupid-themed murals painted by Caesar Milch. Called Cupid’s Park Theater is said to be the first private little theater in America, and is still used for community productions.

Körner’s Folly continues to be open to the public to this day.

Check out the property’s National Register of Historic Places nomination form for more about its

Visit: Körner’s Folly is open four days of the week in Kernersville.

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit Cultural Resources online. To receive these updates automatically each day subscribe by email using the box on the right and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

Pisgah National Forest Established, 1911

Fishing in the Pisgah National Forest on an unknown date.
Image from the State Archives.

On March 27, 1911, the first land purchased under the newly enacted Weeks Act created Pisgah National Forest.

The Weeks Act, named for Massachusetts Congressman John Weeks, allocated $9 million in federal funds for the purchase of 6 million acres of land in the eastern U.S. that was specifically to be used for conservation.

Named for Buncombe County’s Mount Pisgah, which in turn was named for the peak from which the Bible says Moses viewed the promised land, the forest’s history is deeply connected with that of the neighboring Biltmore Estate. German experts hired by George Vanderbilt to manage Biltmore’s lands founded the nation’s first school of forestry in the area in 1898, and the bulk of the forest’s land came to the federal government in 1915 when Edith Vanderbilt offered to sell 500,000 acres of Biltmore property for a relatively small sum to ensure that land was preserved.

Today the forest includes more than 510,000 acres that stretch across 15 counties in the western part of the state.

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William Blount, a Founding Father of Tennessee

blount

Image from the N.C. Museum of History.

On March 26, 1749, signer of the Constitution and early political leader William Blount was born in Bertie County.

Blount served in the Continental Army as paymaster before being elected to six terms as a state representative and senator. He went on to accept a position with the Continental Congress, and later served both state conventions called to consider adopting the U.S. Constitution.

A supporter of handing the state’s western lands over to the federal government, Blount became territorial governor of what’s now Tennessee. After leaving North Carolina, Blount worked as the federal Superintendent of Indian Affairs and helped found the state of Tennessee, chairing the convention that drafted the Volunteer State’s first constitution in 1796.

When Tennessee was admitted to the Union in 1796, Blount was elected to the U.S. Senate, but the following year he was expelled from that body for having been involved in a scheme to incite the Creek and Cherokees to aid the British in conquering Spanish-held West Florida.

After leaving Congress, Blount was elected to the Tennessee state senate and chosen as president at its first session in December 1797. He died in Knoxville in 1800.

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Verrazzanno Anchors Off the Carolina Coast

On March 25, 1524, an expedition under Giovanni da Verrazzano anchored off the Outer Banks.

The voyage marked the first European exploration of the North Carolina coast. Verrazzano sought a northward sea route to Asia’s lucrative markets on behalf of Francis I of France.

Usually identified as a native of Florence, Verrazzano was a navigator before being commissioned by King Francis to look for a new route to Asia in 1523. He reached the North American coast with one of his four original vessels sometime in March 1524, and probably first explored the Bogue Banks area. After a brief excursion southward he returned and explored the Outer Banks, anchoring twice and encountering some of the native peoples when going on land. The geography convinced him that the Outer Banks were an isthmus beyond which lay the Pacific.

After leaving what’s now North Carolina, Verrazzano explored the coasts of New York, Rhode Island and Maine. He returned to France convinced that these more northward shores were part of one continent distinct from Asia.

Although he was the first European to explore much of the North American coast, his findings were not immediately followed up on by other explorers. On a later voyage to the Caribbean, he was killed and eaten by Carib Indians.

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Tar Heel Turned Alabaman Briefly Vice President

Image from UNC-Chapel Hill.

On March 24, 1853, William R. D. King was elected vice president of the United States.

Born in Sampson County, King distinguished himself early on as an excellent student, graduating from UNC in 1804 at age 18. He moved to Fayetteville to study law and established his own practice in nearby Clinton a year later. He entered politics in 1808 as a member of the North Carolina House of Commons at age 22, and was elected to United States Congress in 1810. There he allied himself with prominent politicians of the time including Henry Clay and John C. Calhoun.

In 1818, King left North Carolina for Alabama, where an abundance of inexpensive, yet fertile, land offered significant profits. In 1819, King helped draft Alabama’s state constitution and was elected to the United States Senate, where he served for 20 years.

Shortly after being elected in 1853, King traveled to Cuba to ease his tuberculosis. His health forced him to become the first and only vice president to be sworn into office while on foreign soil. Soon after his return to America, King succumbed to his illness before ever reaching the District of Columbia.

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Culminating Battle of the Tuscarora War, 1713

A painting depicting English settlers and Native Americans locked in battle.
Image from the Native American Encyclopedia.

On March 23, 1713, the Tuscarora Indian stronghold known as Neoheroka fell to colonial militiamen. As a result of the action, 950 Indians were killed or captured.

The conflict was years in the making. As European settlers encroached on Indian land to meet the needs of the growing colony of North Carolina, tensions escalated between the two groups. In 1711, the Tuscaroras, who controlled most of the land between the Neuse and Roanoke Rivers, began a war with the colonists.

In 1713, the government of North Carolina appealed to South Carolina for assistance. That colony sent Colonel James Moore, who marched his combined force of North and South Carolina militia and allied Indians to Neoheroka. He had been informed that the Tuscarora tribe had placed its largest concentration of warriors at a fort there, on a branch of Contentnea Creek in what is now Greene County.

Archaeological investigations of the fort have revealed a series of interconnected bunkers and tunnels supplied by large quantities of provisions. The fort covered an acre and a half and had high palisades.

The fall of Neoheroka signaled the end of concerted Indian resistance to colonists. By the end of the Tuscarora War, about 200 whites and 1,000 Indians had been killed. An additional 1,000 Tuscaroras were sold into slavery and more than 3,000 others forced from their homes.

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For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit Cultural Resources online. To receive these updates automatically each day, make sure you subscribe by email using the box on the right, and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

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