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The History of Chapel Hill, North Carolina

by Charly Mann

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Comments:

Charly Mann      8:45 AM Fri 12/10/2010

Hey Walker I am sorry you did not leave your e-mail. You can contact me at chmemories@gmail.com. I think you might be surprised how similar our views are, as well as our background.
 

Walker Elliott      8:28 PM Thu 12/9/2010

Ma'am,

You might want to tone down your praise of Cornelia Spencer. The article--which gives a thoroughly sanitized account of Chapel Hill's history--fails to mention that Spencer was equally responsible for having the university closed in the first place. During Reconstruction, blacks gained the franchise and helped bring the Republican Party to power in Raleigh. Spencer was an ardent white supremacist, and she suggested that the university be closed to save it from "Negro rule." It was only after the Democrats recaptured the state government in a violent, racist campaign that she advocated for its reopening.

Look, I'm a history student at UNC, and I love Chapel Hill as much as anyone else. But we aren't doing anybody any favors by repeating this idealized fantasy version of the town's past. If we really want to promote social justice, then we would do well to take off our Carolina blue glasses before we evaluate what's happened here in the last 217 years. While we certainly have a lot to be proud of, Chapel Hill has often been a violent, unjust place. It has always been (and still is) a battleground for all the conflicts and upheavals in the state's history, and the forces of equality have not always won. But what makes this place so special, I think, is our unique set of ideals. We just need to remember that one of those ideals is critical thought.

By the way, a statue of Cornelia Spencer would also be superfluous. The women's dormitory is named for her. (The religion building, it should be mentioned, is named after William Saunders, the Reconstruction-era head of the Ku Klux Klan in North Carolina. He was nothing short of a domestic terrorist).
 

Sammy      9:39 AM Thu 11/4/2010

I love Carolina!
 

robin helweg-larsen      7:50 PM Mon 7/12/2010

Small detail about Gerald Ford, he actually lived on Meadowbrook Drive, which is in the Hidden Hills neighborhood.
 

Fast Eddie      8:49 PM Sat 7/18/2009

These pictures are great. I bet they must have been done a long time ago.
 

Kelly Conner      5:14 PM Sat 7/18/2009

Wonderful piece. Thanks for sharing
 

Linda Armstrong      10:13 AM Fri 7/17/2009

I hope you do a piece in the future on Howard Lee.
 

Jay Allen      7:05 PM Thu 7/16/2009

I like the ring of Point Prospect as much or more as Chapel Hill. Too bad they didn't stick with that name.
 

Brad Cooke      10:00 AM Thu 7/16/2009

As a new resident of Chapel Hill I found your concise history very useful for getting an understanding of the community. Thanks
 

Candace S      4:12 PM Wed 7/15/2009

Your description of Chapel Hill during the Depression really puts today's economic problems in better perspective.
 

Betty Hunter      11:58 AM Wed 7/15/2009

I had never heard of Cornelia Spencer before, and I have lived in Chapel Hill for 36 years. There should be a statue erected of her for saving Chapel Hill and the University.
 

Jamie Blaine      9:40 AM Wed 7/15/2009

These illustrations are fantastic. Did you have them done?
 

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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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