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Billy Arthur - Chapel Hill's Hall of Fame first inductee

by Charly Mann 

Chapel Hill Memories is establishing the Chapel Hill Hall of Fame to memorialize citizens who have made a significant impact to our community. The first inductee is Billy Arthur who did more than any other person in our town's history to make us laugh, help us play, and appreciate our heritage.


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Ross      10:33 PM Thu 11/10/2011

I was young -- not quite a teenager -- when the store in University Mall was closing. I do remember, however, being lucky enough to grab a copy of S3 - Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, but not wise enough to buy $2 copies of Blackmoor, etc. <br \><br \>What a great time I had in his store. Thank you Billy Arthur for making Chapel Hill a much better place!

NC 2 DC      3:07 PM Fri 10/1/2010

I grew up in Chapel Hill in the 70s and remember hanging out as a child in the Billy Arthur store - one of my favorite places. I think I got some model airplanes and, during my brief D&amp;D phase, got my books, hit dice, etc. from there. I often saw Billy Arthur in the store. I remember not liking his column because (a) I was a kid who (b) thought his stories were on the corny side. But, even I was aware that he was a living legend and made the most of a full life. He was truly an original and an inspiration.

Hal Kushner UNC '61      6:08 PM Tue 9/28/2010

Billy Arthur was in my dad&#39;s class at UNC...&#39;32 I believe. Dad was a lifelong friend and I remember Billy coming to our house in Danville VA when I was about 8 or 9 years old. Daddy prepped us for the visit by describing Billy&#39;s accomplishments: head cheerleader, in the legislature, newspaper publisher, philanthropist, etc...one who though handicapped by height and achondroplasia was bigger than any of us. The doorbell rang, and I ran to the door....and was so shocked when I had to look down at him...I was 8...I never looked down to any adult! I burst out laughing, and infected my older brother (UNC 56). Billy was smoking a Pall Mall cigarette which looked longer than he was. He handled us so well, it made a lifelong impression.<br \>We got to know Mr Arthur very well over the years through frequent visits...and then when I was a student, Billy had a clipping service and employed UNC students at his home. The steps were very short and the toilet and sink was low. He opened the hobby shop later in the sixties....and was a familiar sight around CH riding in his golf cart. A truly remarkable man....

Jill Adams      11:42 AM Tue 9/28/2010

Another remembrance of Billy Arthur--he was reader of the leigslative bills in the state legislature. I think state law required each bill to get three readings before being voted upon. I recall my third grade class from Glenwood making our obligatory field trip to the state capital and going to the legislative session where the bills were being read. Billy, jr. was in our class and his dad was reading the bills with the kind of incomprehensible speed an auctioneer uses.

Jim Baucom      10:41 AM Tue 9/28/2010

The Arthur family was one of the great families of Chapel Hill. I lived down the street, and went to the Little Red School House with Billy Jr. Annis, his older sister, was head cheer leader while I was at UNC. I well remember the golf cart, and the hobby store at Eastgate.

Bob Harris      9:22 AM Tue 9/28/2010

Thanks for the great article on Billy Arthur. I was an avid reader of his column for decades and wished I now had a collection of them. Do you know if any of his writings are avialable in book form?

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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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