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Betty Smith's House and Life in Chapel Hill

by Charly Mann

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Comments:

Virginia Jones Gregg      9:54 AM Thu 1/19/2012

Why is there no comment on her brief but happy marriage to Joe P. Jones who regularly wrote a nature column for the Chapel Hill Weekly?

Born in Durham, I attended Duke 1949-53 and regularly rode the bus to Chapel Hill to walk the golf course with Uncle Joe and eat at the Carolina Inn and enjoy Viennese coffee at Danziger's.
 

Charly Mann      10:22 AM Sat 8/13/2011

Hey Lori - Chapel Hill Memories is a cooperative effort. Anyone - including you - can write about Chapel Hill people, events. and history. Why don't you do the research and send us an article on the Tenney family.
 

Lori      10:13 PM Thu 8/11/2011

you have nothing on this site about Jane Tenney Gilbert or the Tenney family at all....pretty imortant to CHapel hill and unc...
 

Pat Hogan      5:06 PM Thu 10/14/2010

Very nice pictures and article. One correction: Joy in the Morning starred Richard Chamberlain and Yvette Mimieux, not Julie Harris.
 

cdashow      10:57 PM Thu 7/29/2010

any one know the address where Betty Smith lived in Brooklyn?
 

Allie      5:59 PM Tue 6/15/2010

Just finished the book, and it was great. Planning to visit the house on one of our frequent visits to NC as soon as possible. Thanks for the great story!
 

suew      8:15 PM Mon 4/19/2010

I remember walking by Betty Smith's house many times as a child. It wasn't until I was much older that I read all of her books. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is still a favorite of mine & I have a copy in my bookcase. Nice post Charlie, I haven't thought of Betty Smith in a long time. My mother worked in retail & helped her shop for dresses. She said she was offish & not very talkative.
 

D. Kelly      2:19 PM Thu 4/15/2010

The three most interesting houses for me in downtown Chapel Hill are this one, the one that use to belong to band leader Kay Kyser, and the President's house. You have done a wonderful job on the Smith house, and I hope you will soon do the same on the other two.
 

Judy Naylor      7:55 PM Wed 4/14/2010

I am very impressed with your website. My family just moved to Raleigh from Richmond, and I was researching information about Chapel Hill. I now have at least seven things I want to see in your town next weekend including this house, the Ackland Art Museum, Silent Sam, The Circus Room carvings, The Old Well, and the Arbortetum.
 

Kathy Burke      1:42 PM Wed 4/14/2010

My aunt use to live on Tenney Circle and as children we would often walk with her by Betty Smith's house. I remember well how beautiful and large her backyard garden was. Several times I remember seeing Mrs. Smith working in her yard.
 

Ed Cook      2:27 PM Tue 4/13/2010

UNC should do a revival of the great musical version of A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN. It is one of the forgotten masterpieces of Broadway and has many great songs including one called "He Had Refinement" that was sung originally by the actress Shirley Booth. The lyrics to the songs were by the great Dorothy Fields.
 

Barbara James      10:04 AM Tue 4/13/2010

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn was my favorite book in college. I had no idea the author lived in Chapel Hill. Can the public tour the house?
 

Pam Hampton      8:47 PM Mon 4/12/2010

I first read A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN when I was eleven, and it is still one of my favorite books. I wish someone would do another movie based on the book.
 

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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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