by Charly Mann
Outskirts of Chapel Hill in 1954 near current location of Eastgate Shopping Center. The highway to Durham was then an uncrowded two lane road.
What makes Chapel Hill great? For me it is three things, the people, the location, and the enduring charm of the campus and downtown.
From its inception the town has been the home of one of most diverse, creative, and often eccentric group of individuals in the nation. As a result Chapel Hill is a thriving community that has a history of innovative one-of-a-kind restaurants, bookstores, bars, and clothing stores. There is also an array of natural and architectural beauty on the campus and downtown that creates an atmosphere that emotionally binds one to the place.
South Building and The Old Well in May of 1963
Unlike most towns that arise because of commercial consideration, Chapel Hill's location was primarily chosen because of its magnificent forest and scenic terrain. The town is an oasis of ancient trees, historic buildings, and great traditions. It is also home to some of the friendliest people on the planet. The clear blue sky, that is most often overhead, adds another charm to the place.
Chapel Hill has long had a special music in its air that could be heard nowhere else. It goes back to the guitar and mandolin ensembles that were popular on campus in the late 19th century and continued through the enormously successful UNC bands of Hal Kemp and Kay Kyser in the 1920s, 30s, and 40s. Since the 1960s Chapel Hill's music scene has been an incubator for great musical talents that have included James Taylor, Arrogance, Mike Cross, Jim Wann, Bland Simpson, and the Squirrel Nut Zippers.
This is an illustration from 1902 when Chapel Hill was the music capital of the world. Guitar players came from all over the country to live here and join a band. This is a part of Chapel Hill history that very few people have ever heard of today .
More than anything else Chapel Hill is the home to a university where the brightest youth in North Carolina come to improve their minds and body, and often leave with the ability to achieve their dreams.
Chapel Hill Memories was created so that all former and current Chapel Hill residents can have an opportunity to share their recollections about this wonderful community. We also encourage our readers to do research and conduct interviews with older Chapel Hill residents. Please help preserve the memories of this town. Send your collections to: email@example.com.Comment
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.