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History of the Chapel Hill Post Office and Home Delivery

Today Chapel Hillians take for granted six days a week of home mail delivery and several convenient post offices where wait time to buy stamps or mail a package rarely exceeds a few minutes. When I was a young boy in the 1950s I became friends with two old time Chapel Hill postmen who often recounted stories of how different mail service was when they were young men. In this article I will describe the absolute bedlam one use to have to go through to receive mail in Chapel Hill as well as the history of the construction of the downtown post office.

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The Cruel Hazing Death of a UNC student

When I was about ten in 1960 I overheard a grey-haired UNC professor at the Scuttlebutt snack bar on the corner of Columbia and Cameron briefly describe to a colleague what he considered the most tragic event during his years in Chapel Hill. He said he had been in a crowd of fellow students that encouraged several masked students to torture, humiliate, and tragically cause the death of a young freshman. For years I thought I might have misheard this story, but in 1967 I met an alumnus of UNC during that time period at a dinner party my father took me to, and learned the full details of this event which I will describe in this article.

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WCHL - The Radio Station that Made Chapel Hill a Village

In 1973 WCHL was twenty years old and celebrated that milestone by producing a lighthearted periodical that highlighted the key events in the station's history. WCHL was integral in making that period the Golden Age of Chapel Hill by transforming a small college town into a sophisticated and well-connected village.

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The Decline of Community in Chapel Hill

by Charly Mann

Over the last two decades I have heard from dozens of current and former Chapel Hillians about their declining connection to the people and places in town. This may partly be a consequence of our internet age. We e-mail, text, twitter, talk on our cell phones, play computer games, but are more socially isolated from one another. From the 1920s through the 1970s Chapel Hill neighborhoods were filled with children, every church in town was overflowing on Sunday, neighbors regularly had other neighbors over for dinner, and downtown was the prime destination for dinning, entertainment, and shopping. Most of us had a strong sense of belonging to a community then. Where ever we went we ran into people we knew and almost always took the time to converse with them for a few minutes. More remarkably many of us also delighted in talking to strangers we would meet around town.

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University of North Carolina Student Life 1921-1925

by Charly Mann

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How Life Changed in Chapel Hill in the Last 60 Years

by Charly Mann

Recently I got an e-mail from a 16-year-old Chapel Hill girl who asked me if things had changed much in town since my childhood years in the 1950s and 60s. The simple answer is that almost everything about Chapel Hill has radically changed, and I will try to detail many of those changes in this piece.

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Bite Sized Facts Link



Chapel Hill is located on a hill whose only distinguishing feature in the 18th century was a small chapel on top called New Hope Chapel. This church was built in 1752 and is currently the location of The Carolina Inn. The town was founded in 1819, and chartered in 1851.

 

 

What is it that binds us to this place as to no other? It is not the well or the bell or the stone walls. or the crisp October nights. No, our love for this place is based upon the fact that it is as it was meant to be, The University of the People.

-- Charles Kuralt

 

 

Dark Side of the Hill -- Pink Floyd, the creators of the most popular album in history, Dark Side of the Moon, took the second half of their name from Floyd Council, a Chapel Hill native, and great blues singer and guitarist. He once belonged to a group called "The Chapel Hillbillies".

 

 

Check out Charly Mann's other website:
Oklahoma Birds and Butterflies

http://oklahomabirdsandbutterflies.com

 



We need your help. Send your submissions, ideas, photos, and questions to CHMemories@gmail.com.

 

 

 

 

There would probably be no Chapel Hill if the University of North Carolina Board of Trustees in 1793 had not chosen land across from New Hope Chapel for the location of the university. By 1800 there were about 100 people living in thirty houses surrounding the campus.

 

 

The University North Carolina's first student was Hinton James, who enrolled in February, 1795. There is now a dormitory on the campus named in his honor.

 

 

 

 

The University of North Carolina was closed from 1870 to 1875 because of lack of state funding.

 

 

 

 

William Ackland left his art collection and $1.25 million to Duke University in 1940 on the condition that he would be buried in the art museum that the University was to build with his bequest. Duke rejected this condition even though members of the Duke Family are buried in Duke Chapel. What followed was a long and acrimonious legal battle between Ackland relatives who now wanted the inheritance, Rollins College, and the University of North Carolina, each attempting to receive the funds. The case went all the way to the United States Supreme Court, and in 1949 UNC was awarded the money for the museum. Ackland is buried near the museum's entrance. When the museum first opened, in the early sixties, there were rumors that his remains were leaking out of the mausoleum.

 

 

The official name of the Arboretum on the University of North Carolina campus is the Coker Arboretum. It is named after Dr. William Cocker, the University's first botany professor. It occupies a little more than five acres. It was founded in 1903.

 

 

Chapel Hill's main street has always been called Franklin Street. It was named after Benjamin Franklin in the early 1790s.

 

 



We need your help. Send your submissions, ideas, photos, and questions to CHMemories@gmail.com.

 

 

Chapel Hill High School and Chapel Hill Junior High were on Franklin Street in the same location as University Square until the mid 1960s.

 

 

The Colonial Drug Store at 450 West Franklin Street was owned and operated by John Carswell. It was famous for a fresh-squeezed carbonated orange beverage called a "Big O". In the early 1970s, I managed the Record and Tape Center next door, and must have had over 100 of those drinks. The Colonial Drug Store closed in 1996.

 

 

Sutton's Drugstore, which opened in 1923, has one of the last soda fountains in the South. It is one of the few businesses remaining on Franklin Street that was in operation when I was growing up in the 1950s.

 

 

Future President Gerald Ford lived in Chapel Hill twice. First when he was 24, in 1938, he took a law couse in summer school at UNC. He lived in the Carr Building, which was a law school dormitory. At the same time, Richard Nixon, the man he served under as Vice President, was attending law school at Duke. In 1942, Ford returned to Chapel Hill to attend the U.S. Navy's Pre-Flight School training program. He lived in a rental house on Hidden Hills Drive.

 

 

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