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Happy Days in Chapel Hill

Life in Chapel Hill in the late 1940's and early 1950's was simple. In most ways it was the best time to live in Chapel Hill. In the photo below from the middle of August 1952 Chapel Hill High School freshmen Richard Gunter, Gene Smith and Clyde Campbell drink fountain Cokes between two-a-days training for the Chapel Hill High School football team. The Cokes were then 5 cents. They are sitting on the grass in front of the "new" auditorium at Chapel Hill High School on West Franklin Street and now the site of University Square Plaza.

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Comments:

Jeff Ivey      11:08 PM Mon 12/5/2011

George /Catbaby,was a life long family freind.Many years ago when I got maried.He was a honored guest.As we were walking up the isle of the church,we walked passed Catbaby.Stuck his hand out and said way to go Cats to me and my bride of the time.I moved away for many years and was saddened by his passing.There is a picture of him hanging in Time Out resturant.When I go in I always stop at his picture,and hey to Cat.
 

Kayla Gunter      12:28 PM Mon 2/28/2011

My grandfather, Richard Gunter was telling me a little bit of what it was like back then and boy did it sound great! Nowadays, life is so different,
it's hard to believe what it was like back in the 1940's.
 

London Ivey      11:26 AM Thu 9/24/2009

I don't knpw what started the fight but I know My dad(Leon Ivey) and Cat baby would eventually become friends and I remeber when I first met the CAT. He would always have a bag of candy or bubble gum for anybody that wanted a piece. He was a great guy and a Chapel Hill Legend.
 

Trish Neubert      3:46 PM Fri 9/11/2009

What street address for the REC? I can't place it?
 

Henry Martin      7:20 PM Thu 8/27/2009

I love reading about life in the 1950's. I stumbled upon this article after looking for information on 1950's high school football. These guys prove that back then making football captain was a good predictor for having a successful career and long marriage.
 

karic      8:30 PM Wed 8/26/2009

Pamela: Our class in 1956 had 85 in it...Meg: George "Cat Baby" Canada graduated from CHHS at age 21 without opening a book. If the school had taught to his level then, like they do now, we would all still be there. He was a great guy, a great sports fan and if he really did get in a fight he had to really be goaded into it. "Cat" was an expression used back then like "Bro" is used by some now. He called Bob Rosenbacher, who owned the Hub clothing store "Cat" one day and the next time Bob saw him he hollered out "Cat Baby" to George. From then on Bob was "Cat Baby" and the name spread til everyone called George Canada "Cat Baby", to which George would reply "Wa-say Caaat?" Paula: I'm not absolutely sure who took the Picture but I think maybe it was Connie Ridout Embry. She frequently had a camera and would give the pictures to her subjects after they were developed by Foisters Camera shop on Franklin St, across from the "Rec". Stella: You missed one heck of a ride. Chapel Hill was a grand total of about 6,000 counting the university. I could walk from one end of town to the other and call nearly everyone by name, and they knew me. Compared to then, Chapel has not progressed to the better. Too many people have moved in and tried to make it like the town they left to get away from. Richard Gunter
 

Pamela Brown      4:56 PM Wed 8/26/2009

Does anyone have an idea how large the senior class at Chapel Hill High School was in 1956?
 

Meg Overman      8:12 PM Tue 8/25/2009

I love Chapel Hill Memories, but have a question. I keep reading about this man called Cat Baby, and know he seemed to be an endearing character but I do not know why. I would appreciate someone leaving a comment here that would explain more about why he was so popular.
 

Paula Watts      3:28 PM Tue 8/25/2009

Who had the good sense to take a picture of these boys in 1952 just after they became friends? I can't believe how cute they were.
 

Stella Eastman      1:54 PM Tue 8/25/2009

I think I was born about 40 years too late. I would have loved to have lived in Chapel Hill in these days. I wonder what they think of Chapel Hill now compared to the way it was when they were in high school.
 

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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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