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1950's Easter Sunday in Chapel Hill

by Charly Mann

Ann Long inside her house on McCauley Street in Chapel Hill on Easter Sunday, April 18, 1954

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My Favorite Chapel Hill Christmas Morning

by Charly Mann

There is nothing like the excitement and anticipation of Christmas morning when you are kid. On Christmas morning in 1957 I was 8 years old and living with my family on Old Mill Road in Chapel Hill. The night before I had hardly slept anticipating what presents Santa might have left for me under our tree. I have always been an early riser, and that morning I got up at 5:00 AM and began creeping down the long hallway from my bedroom past the rooms of my siblings and my parents before I reached our large living room where our tree was located. Bleary-eyed, I entered the darkened room from the opposite side of where the tree and presents were located, and was amazed that there was something covering the floor directly in front of me. As I looked down my eyes began to focus on a large miniature castle filled with an assortment of knights. It was one of the most indelible and incredible sights I have ever beheld. I could never have imagined such a marvelous thing, and somehow Santa had not only brought me the best present ever, but he had set it up with great care. I stood motionless for several minutes absorbing every detail of the large castle and the dozens of knights, some even on horseback, converging near the drawbridge.

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Fall - The Best Time of Year In Chapel Hill

by Charly Mann

Chapel Hill has four distinctive seasons and Fall is always the best time of the year to live there. The temperatures begin to cool and an array of brilliant colors decorates the abundant hardwood trees in town.

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1977 Chapel Hill Hippie Thanksgiving

Down a long, winding, rugged, and sometimes impassable road off Old 86 about half-way between Chapel Hill and Hillsborough sat the homestead of the family of Kenny Mann Sr. who was the cook at the famed Rathskellar for fifty years. Between 1972 and 1978 Mann allowed local artisan Rick Hermanson and Ed Funk to live out there rent free with often with several other friends who would be described as hippies. In return for this privilege they did a few odd jobs at Kenny's house in Chapel Hill, but spent much of their spare time renovating the cabin they lived in that Mann called "The Ponderosa".

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Chapel Hill's 1964 Tribute to John Fitzgerald Kennedy

by Charly Mann

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Chapel Hill on the day President Kennedy Died

by Charly Mann

Chapel Hill in the early 1960s was an intellectually stimulating and exciting place for me to spend my last two years of adolescence and my first year as a teenager. I felt I was part of the new generation that President Kennedy had talked about in his 1961 inaugural address when he said, "The torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans.... [who are] unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this Nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world."

President Kenndey at UNC
President Kennedy at Kenan Stadium October 12, 1961

On November 22nd ,1963 I was 13 and in the eighth grade. I had returned home early for Thanksgiving break from a private school I was attending in Asheville because my views on civil rights led to me being bullied by a large group of upper classmen at the school. On that Friday at about 12:30 I walked up to Kemps Record Store from my house, which was about four miles away. Sometime around 1:30 someone came into the store and said the President was dead. In many ways the world has not been the same since those words were spoken. Not only was one man's life cut short, but the optimism and hope of an entire generation was extinguished. For the next ten minutes the few customers in Kemp's were silent until someone turned on a radio, and it was confirmed that the President had been assassinated. I walked out of the store a little numb and not knowing what to do next.

Downtown gathers for news on Kennedy's Death
A crowd gathers in hushed silence to listen to news about the Kennedy assassination in front of Harry's in Chapel Hill about 2 PM on November 22, 1963

I was first in dismay, then shock, and it took me many hours to come to terms with this terrible news. I remember the first thing I thought when I got out onto the downtown sidewalk was that his successor would be the vice-president. I tried to remember his full name, and recalled it was Lyndon Baines Johnson. I immediately thought that from now on everyone would use the letters LBJ when talking about him like they had used the initials JFK for John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

Saddness on hearing about Kennedy's Death
Shock and sorrow as news about Kennedy's death reaches Chapel Hill

A few minutes later a bell at South Building began ringing. Soon after that the bells at the Bell Tower began tolling a mournful sound that sent chills down my spine. I walked solemnly through the campus to the Scuttlebutt to buy a large 5 cent root beer. I then walked back to Franklin Street. Everything in town was quiet except for the bell tower tolling in the distance, and there was little activity on campus or the sidewalks of downtown. In front of the Post Office I noticed that the flag had already been lowered to half mast. As I walked down the block I saw small crowds of people standing at the entry to many stores watching black-and-white televisions that had been placed near the front.

Contemplating the Death of President Kennedy
A UNC Chapel Hill student contemplates the death of President Kennedy on the afternoon of November 22, 1963

I remember that as I walked by Huggins Hardware they had a radio on, and an announcement was made by the broadcaster that the UNC-Duke football game kickoff would be on Saturday at 1 PM. I could not believe someone was even talking about football. (The next day the Presidents of UNC and Duke agreed to postpone the game until the following week.) I recognized one of my Dad's students in front of Sloan's Drug Store, and he said that most of the people who were downtown had come to see the annual BEAT DUKE Parade, but that it had just been canceled.

As I returned home through campus at about 4:30 PM, I could hear a bugler blowing taps somewhere in the distance. One queer thing I will always remember is that I did not see a single car driving on Raleigh Street, Cameron Avenue, Country Club Road, or Gimghoul on my walk home, and this was late on a Friday afternoon when most people would usually be coming home from work.

Flag Lowered after Kennedy's death
Flag lowering in Polk Place soon after death of President Kennedy is announced

In the somber quiet of the afternoon, I thought back to President Kennedy's visit to Chapel Hill almost two years earlier on October 12, 1961 and how I had thought then how easy it would have been for someone to kill the President.

Sorrow expressed at death of President Kennedy
A man leans in sorrow beside a tree on the UNC campus after hearing the news of President Kennedy's death

When I got home and told my father how quiet the campus and town had been he told me that all afternoon and evening classes at the University had been canceled, as well as classes scheduled for Saturday morning.

Flag Lowering after Kennedy's assassination
UNC cadets prepare to lower the flag on UNC campus to half mast shortly after death of President Kennedy is announced

One more thing I remember about that time was that a performance by the New Christy Minstrels, then one of the most popular singing groups in America, scheduled for Saturday night at Memorial Hall was canceled.

President John F Kennedy Comes To Chapel Hill in 1961

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Apple Chill Festival 1972-2006

by Charly Mann

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First Cold-Blooded Murder in Chapel Hill

by Charly Mann

Starting in 1964, when I was 14, I used to produce my own semi-weekly newspaper called The News Of Chapel Hill. I sent it out to family members who lived in California and South Carolina. It was usually two or three large newspaper sized pages. I usually put it together late Sunday and Wedeneday night, and mailed it out Monday and Thursday mornings. I have a number of the "mock-ups" that I would copy from, with improvements, for the final version. My spelling and grammar were certainly lacking in those days, but the final versions would have been better than these rough drafts of the paper. 

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Bite Sized Facts Link for Useful facts, financial success, universal truths, and great health info



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
oklahomabirdsandbutterflies.com
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.

 

 



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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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