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Cat Baby - The Heart and Soul Of Chapel Hill

by Charly Mann

In the 1950s and 1960s Chapel Hill High School was located on West Franklin Street, but played its home football games in Carrboro in Lion’s Park located on Fidelity Street. I cannot recall that the team was ever known for its offensive dominance or overpowering defense, but it had something no other team in the country had that made all the difference, George Cannada, better known as Cat Baby, who always enthusiasticly led the Wildcats onto the field.


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RONNIE PERRY      9:23 AM Wed 6/22/2011

cat baby will always be a part of my life,playing little league ball behind jacks store and watching him chug that 16 oz pepsi was always a treat,not to mention watching him pitch for carrboro baptist church and always throw a pitch over the backstop!the chapel hill wildcats would not have been the same without"CAT BABY"

Ron Smith      11:47 AM Sun 5/15/2011

Agree Michael...<br \>It&#39;s the Cat Babys of the world that bring character to a community.

Michael Bawden      9:19 PM Tue 4/19/2011

Used to play little league baseball at the Carrboro park next to the old fire station. After the little league games we would talk our parents into hanging around for the adult softball game that followed. ESPECIALLY if Carrboro Baptist Church was going to let Cat Baby pitch an inning. Cat Baby smiled with every pitch! <br \> <br \>Cat Baby was NEVER a joke. He was Chapel Hill. <br \> <br \>I want to thank those that looked after him when he became somewhat incapacitated. They paid his cable bill and made sure he was looked after. Most of the folks looking after him were Chapel Hill High graduates. <br \> <br \>Nobody lightened a day any better then when Cat Baby would simply say &quot;Whatya say Cat!&quot; He never dissappointed. <br \> <br \>

Kent      3:28 AM Mon 6/7/2010

I remember Cat Baby from when I was a little boy. When I would ride in the car and see him coming in the opposite direction or in the same direction, it was obligitory to hang myself as far as I could out the window of the car and yell Waaaaasay Cat! And, of course, he would respond likewise in his iconic way. <br \><br \>Cat Baby was know for being able to swill down a 16oz Coca Cola in seconds flat. <br \><br \>He was also a pitcher on the Brinkley&#39;s softball team in the Carrboro League. There was nothing like a night at the softball games in Carrboro, and hanging out at Jack&#39;s!<br \><br \><br \><br \>

Ancient Mariner      8:57 PM Sun 8/23/2009

Cat Baby was not a full-career paperboy. In his later years he held a job on one of the university&#39;s loading docks.

HeyThere      8:49 AM Tue 3/17/2009

Wasn&#39;t CatBaby more tolerated as a joke than revered as a legend? I delivered the paper for a couple of years with him, and he was usually pretty gross at the little shack (near &quot;The Shack&quot;) where we picked them up. And based on his conversations there, I&#39;d say that when he was nice to the girls, it was out of lechery (of course, that may be true of a lot of us).

Darden      9:38 AM Fri 3/13/2009

I enjoy this blog, and am especially glad to see this great man get his due. There will never be another Cat Baby.

Pam Freidman      4:43 PM Thu 3/12/2009

I often wondered what happened to Cat-Baby. I&#39;ve been away from Chapel Hill for decades, but I often think of this sweet man.

Maureen N      3:02 PM Thu 3/12/2009

Thanks for reminding me of this nice man. I often saw him on Franklin Street near the post office, or outside of Jeff&#39;s. He was always very friendly, and usually asked how I was.

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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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