November 18, 2018

The Restoration of the McCauley Cemetery- and all things McCauley

Presentation by William Burlingame and Katie Herring

This historic cemetery is strategically located on a promontory above University Lake on land acquired by the University of North Carolina for the purpose of damming Morgan Creek and creating a reservoir to provide water for UNC and the communities. Buried in the cemetery is Matthew McCauley, an immigrant seeking refuge from the English king, who later was a Revolutionary War hero, and who subsequently donated 150 acres for UNC. During his lifetime he was a prominent citizen-a merchant, operator of a grist mill and blacksmith shop or foundry on Morgan Creek, a Mason, and, with his similarly prominent brother William, a participant in the laying of the cornerstone of Old East, the first building of the first public university in this country. In collaboration with UNC and the Daughters of the American Revolution, this project is much more than the Cemetery's restoration and includes original historical research regarding this family which contributed so greatly to the early history of UNC and Orange County. You can read more about the McCauleys and the cemetery restoration in Bill Burlingame's blog .

July 22, 2018

From Seed to Sapling and Beyond: The History and Future of the North Carolina Botanical Garden

Presentation by Garden Director Dr. Damon Waitt and Guest Panelists

Garden Director Dr. Damon Waitt and special guests participated in a presentation and panel discussion celebrating the past, present and future of the North Carolina Botanical Garden. This joint program by the Chapel Hill Historical Society and the North Carolina Botanical Garden recreated Garden history through the lens of the plants and people that make the Garden what it is today and what it aspires to be in the future; the most significant botanical resource in the southeastern U.S. and the model for what it means to be a conservation-focused botanical garden in the 21st century.

May 12, 2018

Bringing the News to Chapel Hill: Women Operators and the Telegraph in North Carolina

Thomas C. Jepsen

When and how did Chapel Hill become part of the Global Village? What role did the telegraph play in re-opening the University in 1875? And what role did women telegraph operators play in bringing the news to Chapel Hill and reporting on sporting events in the mid-20th century? Thomas Jepsen, Chapel Hill author and historian, discussed the history of the telegraph in North Carolina, the little-known story of women telegraph operators in the 19th and 20th centuries, and the important role they played in the Chapel Hill community. You can view this presentation here.

April 22, 2018

The Cloudbuster Nine: The Untold Story of Ted Williams And the Baseball Team That Helped Win World War II

Presentation by Anne R. Keene

Major league baseball in Chapel Hill? It happened back in 1943, when Ted Williams, formerly of the Boston Red Sox, came to Chapel Hill during World War II to participate in the U.S. Navy Pre-Flight School training. The Flight School formed a baseball team called the "Cloudbusters." Anne Keene's remarkable book, The Cloudbuster Nine, is an outstanding example of research into a forgotten corner of American history.

March 18, 2018

Dromgoole, Twice-Murdered: Unraveling a Southern Legend

Presentation by E. T. Malone, Jr.

Peter Pelham Dromgoole's mysterious disappearance in 1833 from the UNC campus in Chapel Hill created a legend that he had been killed in a midnight duel on Piney Prospect. Inspired by this tale, a secret society, the Order of Gimghoul, constructed massive Gimghoul Castle on the spot in 1925. The legend, repeated to every generation of Carolina students, has inspired poems, short stories, and novels, plus reams of newspaper, radio, television, and internet features. E.T. Malone's recently published book, Dromgoole, Twice-Murdered, revealed the true fate of Peter Pelham Dromgoole.

February 18, 2018

B-1: How NC A&T and UNC Integrated the Modern US Navy

Presentation by Alex Albright, Eastern Carolina University

When the Navy established a Pre-Flight Training School at UNC during World War II, a 45-piece band of music students from NC A&T played for the raising of colors, drill practice in the TinCan, and marching the white cadets to their classes. It was the first meaningful integration of the modern Navy. But because of strict segregation laws and customs, the bandsmen had to find quarters in Northside with the local black community. Every day they marched to campus, then returned for lunch in full uniform, playing. The local black community embraced these talented musicians and what they represented. Alex Albright explained the complicated racial dynamics of North Carolina and the integration of the military. His presentation included period documents and recordings from the band. Albright is Associate Professor of English at Eastern Carolina University.

January 21, 2018

"The Carolina Playmakers" and the Federal Theatre Project

Presentation by Cecelia Moore, UNC Historian

During the Depression, how did the federal government help keep the arts alive and playwrights employed? UNC's own Frederick Koch and Paul Green had already begun a successful folk drama program. Their program became the model for the Federal Theatre Project, making live theatre relevant to local audiences. Cecelia Moore is the University Historian and the Project Manager for the Chancellor's Task Force on University History. She discussed her new book, The Federal Theatre Project in the American South: The Carolina Playmakers and the Quest for American Drama.