Chapel Hill Memories logo
Chapel Hill Memories is for anyone who wants to relive and help preserve memories of Chapel Hill. We welcome your recollections of any subject related to Chapel Hill and The University Of North Carolina in written, photo, audio, and video form. We have the ability to scan and transfer photos, audio, and video if you do not. We do not charge for this, and will return your materials within a week.

Send your memories, ideas, photos, and questions to CHMemories@gmail.com.
If you need to mail us something let us know, and we will send you our mailing address.
Login

 
 
The Rathskeller Today and Yesterday
Many Chapel Hill Memories readers have contacted me about the status of the planned reopening of The Ratskeller by Diane Fountain, originally scheduled for more than three years ago. We recently received the following sad news from a former longtime Rat employee.
 
In late February of 2012, Mary Stockwell, the general manager of Munch Family Properties (who owns the Rat's building), terminated Diane Fountain's lease, changed the locks and forbade her from again entering to the premises. Apparently, Diane had failed to pay the architects and the other construction workers who were due money, and this was a violation of her lease.
 

An ad for the Rathskeller in 1951

Months thereafter, Morris Commercial, the real estate company representing Munch Family Properties, began renovation work on the Rathskeller's old building. Presently, it intends to lease its space to as many as three tenants, though no lessees have, heretofore, expressed any interest in the property.


Ratskeller Menu Prices in 1954


Inside the Rathskeller in 1989

One thing is for sure: The Rathskeller will never again occupy its previous location. Not long after the termination of Diane Fountain's lease, she attempted to procure a location in NCNB plaza in the old "Ram Triple Theatre" location. That fell through as well. The reason apparently was lack of funding. Diane had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on consultants fees, copyright procurements, demolition work and the like, and virtually all of this activity has availed nothing substantive.

The final nail in the coffin came on May 23 of this year when the NC Secretary of State's Corporations Division administratively dissolved Rathskeller Partners, LLC (Diane Fountain's company). Apparently, she had failed to file an annual report for 2012. Assuming no other entity assumes that corporate name, Diane can file for reinstatement in accordance with NC law.


Free Beer or Wine was a great incentive for many Chapel Hillians to dine at The Rathskeller

Finally, in a matter unrelated to the foregoing, Ed "Squeaky" Morgan, waiter from 1960 to 1993 and then again from 2002 to 2007, died at UNC Hospitals on October 13, aged 72. A cause of death was not revealed.

On a happier note, Ed Carr shared a beautiful story about downtown Chapel Hill that includes a happy ending at The Rathskeller:

It was the fall of 1967. My date and I enjoyed a meal of lasagna, bread and salad at the Rat, and we had some extra time, so we walked down to the Record Bar. Frankly, I loved that place, and took any excuse to hang out there. My date watched, on the brink of impatience, while I dug through the 45's for the hundredth time, and I noticed a young couple coming through the door.

 
Bobbie Gentry and Glen Campbell played at UNC in the Fall of 1968. 

She was attractive and wearing a pretty black and soft red dress. He was handsome and wearing jeans, a blue oxford shirt and a camel corduroy jacket. I recognized his face and hurried toward the door with my hand extended, grabbed his hand, and said to my date, "Let me introduce you to Glen Campbell." He replied, "Let me introduce you to Bobbie Gentry."


Glen Campbell arriving at the airport in 1968. A few years before he had played in Greensboro with The Beach Boys as a replacement for Brian Wilson.

Nobody else in the store seemed to notice, so we had them all to ourselves. Bobbie explained they were in town for a concert that evening, and we proudly showed off our tickets. She said they stopped by the Record Bar to see if their records were on the shelves. I ushered them to the proper shelf and pointed out their records. They seemed pleased.


Bobbie Gentry performing at UNC in 1968

When the evening was over I had enjoyed dining at the Rat, engaged in a memorable conversation with two up-and-coming music stars, got autographs on two 45 records - Ode to Billy Joe, and Gentle on My Mind, attended a fine concert, and impressed my date. ...A typical evening in Chapel Hill.


Charly Mann enjoying a pizza at The Rathskeller in 2003

All photos and ads in this article provided by Charly Mann


Post to del.icio.us Stumble It! Reddit Digg it! Furl it!

 
 


Comments:

Amanda Lee      11:53 AM Wed 9/24/2014

So the Rat is gone. So sad! Is there a single sole out there who knows the recipie for the lasagne? While it will not be as good as delighting in the cheesiness in the original location it is worth a try to recreate the bowl of cheese.
 

Amanda Lee      11:52 AM Wed 9/24/2014

So the Rat is gone. So sad! Is there a single sole out there who knows the recipie for the lasagne? While it will not be as good as delighting in the cheesiness in the original location it is worth a try to recreate the bowl of cheese.
 

Doug Kimrey      12:31 PM Mon 3/17/2014

I was first taken to the Rat as a youngster, probably about 1969. We went there as a family outing from Burlington. I've always gotten the lasagna. Best in the world. My biggest memory of the dish was how steamy hot it was when it got to the table. I remember how if it wasn't eaten pretty quick, I'd end up with a bowl of lasagna flavored chewing gum. And the decor. The coolest place I think I've ever been. The wait staff was always the greatest. I was so excited to here it was coming back. So sad to read the latest. I hope this isn't the end.,
 

Doug Kimrey      12:27 PM Mon 3/17/2014

I was first taken to the Rat as a youngster, probably about 1969. We went there as a family outing from Burlington. I've always got the lasagna. Best in the world. My biggest memory of the dish was how steamy hot it was when it got to the table. I remember how if it wasn't eaten pretty quick, I'd end up with a bowl of lasagna flavored chewing gum. And the decor. The coolest place I think I've ever been. The wait staff was always the greatest. I was so excited to here it was coming back. So sad to read the latest. I hope this isn't the end.,
 

Chip Moore      4:43 PM Sat 3/15/2014

No question The Rat was the place to go. Went to Chapel Hill on many occasions just to eat at The Rat. Rare roast beef sandwich and ice tea.
 

Archie Biggs      3:49 PM Sat 3/15/2014

Many, many great times at The Rat back in 1959 - 60! What a great place! What wonderful memories!
 

Julie Morrison      1:32 PM Fri 1/17/2014

I remember you had The Rat's recipes for their pizza, apple pie,tea, and bread. Any chance of sharing those now?
 

Christine Kelly      3:58 PM Thu 1/16/2014

Making me read this made me wish today was yesterday. Some things really were better in the past.
 

Phil Green      9:24 AM Thu 1/16/2014

Hey Charly - I am so sorry to hear about The Rat. I was really keeping my fingers crossed that it would reopen.
 

To comment using your account, simply login or sign up above

Write a comment about this article:





simple_captcha.jpg
(type the code from the image)


InformZoo
A Year of Charly Mann’s Thoughts
(August 2009 to August 2010):

http://www.informzoo.com

 



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.

 

 

All rights reserved on Chapel Hill Memories photography and content

Contact us



Use Coupon Code chapelhillmemories to receive a $9.94 discount!