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Chapel Hill in 1927

by Charly Mann with additional material supplied by Charles Church

While there may not be any future in living in the past, we should not take it for granted either. It is from Chapel Hill's history that we develop our community identity and the heritage we cherish when we walk along the sidewalks of downtown or root for a Tarheel team. In the past few months two of my Chapel Hill friends passed away, one who was 85 and the other 84. This made me wonder what Chapel Hill was like 85 years ago when they came into the world. After doing a few weeks of research and talking to a couple of people who had friends or relatives living in town at that time, I will now describe what Chapel Hill was like in those days.


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maxebbe      10:58 AM Sun 9/30/2012

In the first picture (the Carolina Theater) there is a building with a lower roof just to the right. I can&#39;t read the sign but if anyone can, please e-mail me at flparadisewriter@me.com. <br \>My grandfather, Eugene P. Cate, owned it at that time.

Amy Lacock Smith      5:53 PM Sun 9/25/2011

I remember Uncle Wilson Lacock,Aunt Helen...oh,my!!! The memories of visiting them in the &#39;Lacock&#39; house on Franklin St.: Aunt Helen ALWAYS had snacks and either lemonade or tea ready. Homemade!<br \>Everytime my dad(James Glosson Lacock) would take my mother and I to the shop,I would always go into the back;watch the &#39;cobbler&#39; work his magic. I was fascinated!!!<br \>I was told by my cousin,Peggy Caswell,daughter of the late Winston Lacock,she would always stop at my dad&#39;s little stall and get daddy to help her with her math homework,lol! Oh,how I wish I could find articles and pictures of daddy&#39;s stall. It was where Village Tree? is/was right behind where the Spotted Dog is now.

sleehrat1      7:41 PM Thu 8/11/2011

My uncle, Jeff, was the owner of Jeff&#39;s Campus Confectionary. My cousin, Jimmy Mousmoules, ran it until it closed a few years back. The did have the best cherry and vanilla cokes. I remember going in and sitting on the cooler right beside where he was making those drinks. I always had one when I went in there. Never missed a chance to get one of those. I miss those days. That would have been in the 50s, 60s and 70s.

Bob Jurgensen      9:12 AM Sat 8/6/2011

I fondly remember Lacock&#39;s shoe store on Franklin - and you left out one very famous brand: Bass Weejuns (penny loafers) - but perhaps they were only famous in the 50&#39;s?; when I was 13 I wore a size 13 EEE, at 14, a 14 EEE and finally at 15, a 15EEE (and it ended there, thank goodness) - my poor mom couldn&#39;t find me shoes anywhere and we always had to special order them at Lacock&#39;s - paying nearly double for the special order and waiting weeks for them to come in. Mr. Lacock used to love to see us come in the store... and to extend their life my mom would add taps so they wouldn&#39;t wear out so fast on the edges. <br \><br \>Jeff&#39;s Confectionary had the best soda fountain soda&#39;s when it came to cherry and vanilla cokes in those squatty fat &quot;milk shake&quot; cups with crushed ice... and I agree, Scuttlebutt had the best root beer around, no doubt about it, and Suttons was famous for their chocolate cokes (and cheeseburgers!)<br \><br \>What a time it was living in Chapel Hill back then...

Bill A      12:15 PM Mon 7/11/2011

Good stuff, Charly. Who would have thought that one year could be so significant in the life of a town? <br \>I&#39;m all over Nunn-Bush; have to plead ignorance re Friendly Five and Crossett. My early taste in footwear tended more towards Kinneys Shoe Stores and the Joe Lapchick brand of basketball sneakers!

F. Cates      4:47 PM Fri 7/8/2011

I have been told that prostitution was common in Chapel Hill in the 1970s. Can you verify this?

Paul Sheridan      1:32 PM Thu 7/7/2011

I am a graduate student in history at the University of Virginia writing a dissertation on small time Southern life in America during the 1920s and 30s. Your website has become one of my primary sources for research, and I would like to know if I could arrange an interview with you.

Donna Mills      6:31 AM Thu 7/7/2011

Do you know where that magnificent pipe organ is today? I would love to see and hear it.

David Morgan      8:05 PM Wed 7/6/2011

Great article. I was wondering how many people reading your piece have ever had a soda made from scratch at a soda fountain. I remember them as being fabulous, and each place I use to get them at made them a little different. Sloan &#39;s had the sweetest cokes. The Scuttlebutt the best root beer, and Sutton&#39;s the best vanilla and chocolate cokes.

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Bite Sized Facts Link for Useful facts, financial success, universal truths, and great health info

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


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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