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UNC's Perfect Season & 1957 National Championship

by Charly Mann

In December of 1956 when UNC started their run for the National Championship, and the most incredible season in college basketball history, I was nearing my seventh birthday. The population of Chapel Hill was less than 8,000, and it seemed that every face in town was a familiar one. Woollen Gym, where the Tarheels played their games, held about 5,000 people, and I recall that almost anyone in town who wanted tickets to the games got them. Woollen Gym was twenty years old in 1957, and most of the bleachers were on rollers and could be collapsed and pushed away from the court when there wasn't a game. What made the season that year memorable to me at first, was that the first and last home games of the season were going to be against South Carolina teams. My Dad, then a math professor at UNC, was from South Carolina, and we visited relatives there often, so this was special to me. The first home game was against Furman in early December, and the last was against South Carolina – then in the ACC – in late February. During games I would spend much of time with a group of my friends walking up and down the bleacher stairs, and sitting from time to time in various empty seats. I cannot recall spending much time watching the games. UNC played eight home games that season, and won them all.

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Comments:

Joe Herbert      4:30 PM Fri 11/11/2011

Dear Charly Mann... very nice article! I'm working on a project regarding the 1957 team. Would you (and anyone else with vivid memories of it) please contact me! My email is joe@herbertbrothers.com. Thank you.
 

J. Philpott      12:03 PM Mon 2/22/2010

After Brennan made "the shot," Michigan State's Jack Quiggle got the in bounds pass, turned and threw the ball the length of the court. It went in but was ruled too late even though the ball had left Quiggle's hand before the buzzer. In 1957 the ball had to reach the apex of its arc prior to the final buzzer.
 

Nora Gaskin Esthimer      8:17 PM Wed 9/2/2009

Fred Croft--I remembet you. We were in school together.<br \><br \>I was 6 in &#39;57 and the biggest treat for my younger siblings and me was to get to stay up late to listen to the basketball games. I remember how my mom screamed and jumped up and down--not her everyday behavior--when we won it all. I remember that better than any of the games, of course. And I know most of the words to Number One. Man that guy is gone, gone, gone.
 

sue w      6:47 PM Sun 8/9/2009

After the game everyone went downtown &amp; there was a bonfire in the middle of Franklin. Frank McGuire was from NY &amp; most of the first string players were New Yorkers.
 

Dick Green      9:59 AM Tue 4/7/2009

This is a great piece. After the wonderful victory in Detroit last night, I am reminding all my friends about Carolina baketball history, and have sent a link to this article to all of them.
 

Fred Croft      8:09 PM Sun 3/29/2009

I actually have one of those license plates in mint condition. It&#39;s certainly my most prized possession.
 

Karen Thomas      1:01 PM Tue 3/17/2009

In 1957 the NCAA Final weren&#39;t available on any network except the &quot;educational&quot; network -- WUNC -- if you can imagine that! But they only had picture, no sound. Our family watched on Channel 4, and listened to the play-by-play on the radio. A simulcast!
 

George Little      5:11 PM Mon 3/16/2009

Where in the world did you get that song. I&#39;ve got to get a copy of it!
 

Bunny Spearman      7:11 PM Sun 3/8/2009

I was not around to witness this great team, but I think today&#39;s Tarheels are going to wind up as national champs.
 

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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.

 

 



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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