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WCHL - The Radio Station that Made Chapel Hill a Village

In 1973 WCHL was twenty years old and celebrated that milestone by producing a lighthearted periodical that highlighted the key events in the station's history. WCHL was integral in making that period the Golden Age of Chapel Hill by transforming a small college town into a sophisticated and well-connected village.


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Grant Peters      10:32 AM Thu 2/16/2012

I have lived in Chapel Hill three times in my life and have always enjoyed listening to WCHL. It seemed to decline in community content in the late 90s, but returned better than ever over the last decade.<br \><br \>Do you know if Ron Stutts is one of the owners of WCHL?

Bob Jurgensen      8:38 AM Wed 2/15/2012

Lots of names I certainly recognize, but only a few I know much about - <br \><br \>Carrington Smith - - I worked for the Carolina for about a year or so until I went into the Coast Guard, as a projectionist and sometimes as a ticket taker. Mr. Tripp and another man named Duke as I recall were the two regular projectionists, older men, theatre was owned by Paramount as I recall - they made good money and so did I when I covered for them, days off, vacations, etc. I was at the Joy in the Morning premiere - I sent you a copy of the itinerary with my name on it a couple of years back, if you need another copy I can resend if I can find it. Working the Carolina projection booth was like the difference between a Jaquar and a Ford Focus - first class all the way, huge screen, very fancy equipment.<br \><br \>Orville Campbell was the publisher of the Chapel Hill Newspaper - my mother worked for him for about 35 some odd years, off and on. I met him many times but he was the big kahuna and everyone seemed in awe of him, then again I was a teenager - my mom thought a lot of him.<br \><br \>Andy Gutierriz , Manager of the Varsity, I used for work for him (but that sure doesn&#39;t look like him in the picture, then again I knew him in the early 60&#39;s) - first as a marquee boy ($1/night), then as a projectionist. Marquee room was next to projection booth so at the age of 14 I used to hang out in the booth with the projectionist (Butch) until the last show started and the marquee was dimmed. Butch allowed me to make changeovers between projectors and eventually I was threading the projectors and splicing film. Then Butch got fired for B&amp;E&#39;ing Jeff&#39;s Confectionary when he and a friend decided to lift up the ladies room steps and enter Jeff&#39;s through their storeroom... they stole a ton of beer and merchandise and stored it under the stage. CHPD investigators figured it out and arrested Butch - guess who became the new projectionist?<br \>Yep, $50/week - good money in those days for a 14 year old. I worked there for about 3 years, after school and weekends. Andy was pretty much plastered by 9PM every night and left the theatre to me after he closed the box office. I remember he has a T-Bird he used to park in the fire zone outside the front door of the theatre - he would get tickets all the time and throw them in the trash. Guess he knew someone who would take care of them later. <br \><br \>Billy Carmichael (not sure if he was the III or not, would have been early 20&#39;s in the mid-60&#39;s) - my sister Robin used to date him - it was, at one point, very serious - not sure what happened but they broke it off. I remember a lot of hubbub about that when I was maybe 14-15 - don&#39;t recall much more about him however.

Karen Clark      4:33 AM Wed 2/15/2012

Thanks for the memories. I had forgotten about most of these people and events. I use to listen to Ty Boyd in the late 50s when my family lived and I lived in Chapel Hill. We left town just as Eastgate was being completed. I remember there was a wonderful drive-in movie theater across from where it is located.<br \>

Patrick Thompson      9:15 PM Tue 2/14/2012

Charly, great article. I knew of most of the people you mention, but I have particular memories of Sandy McClamroch and his wife, Bet. I spent many hours in their home with their daughter, Jenny. I have &quot;A Rose and a Baby Ruth&quot; in my CD&#39;s, and Orville Campbell, of course, published the CH Weekly. His nephew, Larry Campbell, was a friend of mine and another friend, Bruce Clark, worked for him. Bob Simpson&#39;s wife, Ann, taught at the junior high when it was still on Franklin Street. We all listened to Jim Heavner and Ty Boyd, but I was most interested in the picture of Audie Murphy with (I think) the mayor and his wife and Andy Gutierriz, who operated the Varsity Theater. Andy&#39;s son Jamie was a year ahead of me, and was co-captain of the CHHS basketball team when we made it to the State semi-finals in 1965. Keep up the good work. Pat

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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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