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The Chapel Hill Museum Tragedy

by Stanely Peele (7-2-2010)

Since 1996 the stone-and-shingle building at 523 E Franklin St. Has been used by the Chapel Hill Museum. It has become an integral part Chapel Hill history. The upstairs has two galleries, a retail shop, a directors, office, a volunteer room and a workroom. On the lower level is a meeting room, the museum archives storage space and the offices of the Historical Society.


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rkellington      11:29 AM Tue 9/9/2014

The Chapel Hill Historical Society will also be leaving the old Library building. The building is going to be sold to the Arts &amp; Science Foundation, pending rezoning requirements. The CH town officials are working with the society to secure a new place for it to land. Future plans will be posted on the CHHS website, www.chapelhillhistoricalsociety.org. Please join our society and support the preservation and presentation of our town&#39;s history. <br \> <br \>This will, of course, mean that one more piece of CH history will be gone in the interests of funding. The town had no use for the space and it is too expensive to maintain.

Mike Tapp      10:10 PM Sun 8/8/2010

A sad time for the residents of Chapel Hill. I proudly served as a member of the Chapel Hill Fire Dept. for many years (1970-1990) and was proud of the dislayed history of the fire and police departments. What is to become of all of the history of the Town and what message does the closing send to everyone. Surely, the Town decision makers will find the funding to reopen the doors of and support thre hard work and efforts of the ones who worked so hard to preserve the history for generations to come.

Lorraine      3:30 PM Mon 7/5/2010

This is very sad. I left Chapel Hill in 1977, so never knew the building as a museum, but I loved the building when it was a library. I caught the school bus by the library and would check out huge piles of books that I would then struggle to carry home to my home on Lone Pine Road off of Tenny Circle.

Tom Dodd      12:46 PM Fri 7/2/2010

If we do not care about our history we will repeat the mistakes of our past. There is so much to learn from Chapel Hill&#39;s past, and now we have no museum preserve it.

Bob Jurgensen      10:18 AM Fri 7/2/2010

Very sad... some things go beyond money and budgets, but this is our reality in the world we live in today.

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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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