Chapel Hill, North Carolina
|Chapel Hill, North Carolina|
Franklin Street, Chapel Hill
|Motto: "The Southern Part of Heaven"|
|Elevation||486 ft (148 m)|
|Area||21.3 sq mi (55 km2)|
|Density||2,687 / sq mi (1,037 / km2)|
|- summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|FIPS code||37-11800 |
|GNIS feature ID||1019602 |
Chapel Hill is a town in Orange County, North Carolina (with some eastern portions in Durham County), and the home of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and UNC Health Care. The population was 57,233 at the 2010 census; Chapel Hill is the 16th-largest municipality in North Carolina.
Chapel Hill, Durham, and Raleigh make up the three corners of the Research Triangle, so named in 1959 with the creation of Research Triangle Park, a research park between Durham and Raleigh. Chapel Hill is one of the central cities of the Durham-Chapel Hill MSA, which in turn is part of the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill Combined Statistical Area, with a population of 1,998,808.
The area was the home place of early settler William Barbee of Middlesex County, Virginia, whose 1753 grant of 585 acres from the Earl of Granville was the first of two land grants in what is now the Chapel Hill-Durham area. Though William Barbee died shortly after establishing himself and his family in North Carolina, one of his eight children, Christopher Barbee, became an important contributor to his father’s adopted community and to the fledgling University of North Carolina.
Chapel Hill sits atop a hill which was originally occupied by a small Anglican "chapel of ease", built in 1752, known as New Hope Chapel. The Carolina Inn now occupies the site of the original chapel. In 1819, the town was founded to serve the University of North Carolina and grew up around it. The town was chartered in 1851, and its main street, Franklin Street, was named in memory of Benjamin Franklin.
In 1968, only a year after its schools became fully integrated, Chapel Hill became the first predominantly white municipality in the South to elect an African American mayor, Howard Lee. Lee served from 1969 until 1975 and, among other things, helped establish Chapel Hill Transit, the town's bus system. Some 30 years later, in 2002, legislation was passed to make the local buses free of fares to all riders, leading to a large increase in ridership; the buses are financed through Chapel Hill and Carrboro city taxes, federal grants, and UNC student fees. Several hybrid and articulated buses have been added recently. All buses carry GPS transmitters to report their location in real time to a tracking web site. Buses can transport bicycles and have wheelchair lifts.
In 1993, the town celebrated its bicentennial, which resulted in the establishment of the Chapel Hill Museum. This cultural community resource "exhibiting the character and characters of Chapel Hill, North Carolina" includes among its permanent exhibits Alexander Julian, History of the Chapel Hill Fire Department, Chapel Hill's 1914 Fire Truck, The James Taylor Story, Farmer/James Pottery, and The Paul Green Legacy.
Geography and climate
Chapel Hill is located in the southeast corner of Orange County. It is bounded on the west by the town of Carrboro and on the northeast by the city of Durham. However, most of Chapel Hill's borders are adjacent to unincorporated portions of Orange and Durham Counties rather than shared with another municipality. According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 21.3 square miles (55.1 km2), of which 21.1 square miles (54.7 km2) is land and 0.15 square miles (0.4 km2) is covered by water.
|Climate data for Chapel Hill, NC (1981-2010 normals)|
|Record high °F (°C)||80
|Average high °F (°C)||49.6
|Daily mean °F (°C)||39.1
|Average low °F (°C)||28.6
|Record low °F (°C)||−8
|Precipitation inches (mm)||3.92
|Snowfall inches (cm)||1.7
|Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)||11.7||10.1||12.0||9.9||11.4||9.9||10.5||10.0||8.8||7.9||9.8||10.5||122.5|
|Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 in)||1.0||1.3||0.3||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.1||0.5||3.2|
|Source: NOAA, The Weather Channel (extremes)|
Because of all the wonderful weather, many walking/biking trails are in Chapel Hill NC. Some of these include Battle Branch Trail and Bolin Creek Trail.
Chapel Hill uses a council-manager form of government. The community elects a mayor and eight council members. Mayors serve two-year terms, and council members serve staggered four-year terms. Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt, a former town council member, was re-elected to a second term in November 2011. Two years prior, in 2009, he had made history by being elected the first openly gay mayor of Chapel Hill, succeeding Kevin Foy.
The town adopted its flag in 1990. According to flag-designer Spring Davis, the blue represents the town and the University of North Carolina (whose colors are Carolina blue and white); the green represents "environmental awareness"; and the "townscape" in the inverted chevron represents "a sense of home, friends, and community."
The current version of the town's seal, adopted in 1989, is in the process of being replaced with a similar but simpler version. All versions of the seal, dating back to the 1930s, depict Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom and protector of cities.
The Chapel Hill-Carrboro school district covers most of the towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro, along with portions of unincorporated Orange County, and is recognized for its academic strengths. East Chapel Hill High School, Carrboro High School, and Chapel Hill High School have all received national recognition for excellence, with Newsweek in 2008 ranking East Chapel Hill High as the 88th-best high school in the nation, and the highest-ranked standard public high school in North Carolina. The state's main youth orchestra, Piedmont Youth Orchestra, is based in Chapel Hill.
Though Chapel Hill has a fairly large population, it still has a very small-town feel; many large murals can be seen painted on the buildings. Most of these murals were painted by UNC alumnus Michael Brown. Also, for more than 30 years Chapel Hill has sponsored the annual street fair, Festifall, in October. The fair offer booths to artists, craftsmakers, nonprofits, and food vendors. Performance space is also available for musicians, martial artists, and other groups. The fair is attended by tens of thousands each year.
A variety of corporations are headquartered in Chapel Hill. Health insurance provider Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina was one of the town's 10 largest employers in Chapel Hill. Technology companies USAT Corp and Realtime Ops have made Chapel Hill their headquarters location. Journalistic, Inc., the publisher of the nationally acclaimed magazines Fine Books & Collections, QSR, and FSR recently relocated from Durham to Chapel Hill. New companies are selecting the town as their base of operations such as the service company Alpha Install.
The Morehead Planetarium was the first planetarium built on a U.S. college campus. When it opened in 1949, it was one of six planetariums in the nation and has remained an important town landmark. During the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs, astronauts were trained there. One of the town’s hallmark features is the giant sundial, located in the rose gardens in front of the planetarium on Franklin Street.
Influences of the university are seen throughout the town, even in the fire departments. Each fire station in Chapel Hill has a fire engine (numbers 31, 32, 33, 34, and 35) that is Carolina blue. These engines are also decorated with different UNC decals, including a firefighter Rameses.
Chapel Hill also has some new urbanist village communities, such as Meadowmont Village and Southern Village. Meadowmont and Southern Village both have shopping centers, green space where concerts and movies take place, community pools, and schools. Also, a traditional-style mall with a mix of national and local retailers is located at University Mall.
In 2009, Chapel Hill ranked no. 3 on Newsmax magazine's list of the "Top 25 Most Uniquely American Cities and Towns", a piece written by current CBS News travel editor Peter Greenberg. According to the magazine, Greenberg based the rankings on a variety of features, such as quality of schools and proximity to medical care, as well as culture, hospitality, and scenic beauty.
Hailed as one of America's Foodiest Small Towns by Bon Appétit, Chapel Hill is rapidly becoming a hot spot for pop American cuisine. Among the restaurants noted nationally are A Southern Season, Foster’s Market (Martha Stewart’s Living), Mama Dip's (Food Network’s “$40 A Day With Rachael Ray”), Crook's Corner, Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen (The Splendid Table), caffè Driade (Food Network’s “$40 A Day With Rachael Ray”), and Lantern Restaurant (Food & Wine magazine, Southern Living magazine, etc.). Many unique lunch spots in Chapel Hill have received rave reviews, including Sandwhich on Franklin Street, Sage on Weaver Dairy Road, and Fiesta Grill on Hwy 54.
Chapel Hill also has a vibrant music scene. Archers of Loaf, Squirrel Nut Zippers, James Taylor, George Hamilton IV, Southern Culture on the Skids, Superchunk, Polvo, Ben Folds Five, and more recently Porter Robinson, are among the most notable musical artists and acts whose careers began in Chapel Hill. The town has also been a center for the modern revival of old-time music with such bands as the Ayr Mountaineers, Hollow Rock String band, the Tug Creek Ramblers, Two Dollar Pistols, the Fuzzy Mountain String band, Big Fat Gap and the Red Clay Ramblers. Chapel Hill was also the founding home of now Durham-based Merge Records. Bruce Springsteen has made a point to visit the town on four occasions. His most recent appearance was on September 15, 2003, at Kenan Memorial Stadium with the E Street Band. U2 also performed at Kenan on the first American date of their 1983 War Tour, where Bono famously climbed up to the top of the stage, during pouring rain and lightning, holding up a white flag for peace. The 2011 John Craigie song, "Chapel Hill", is about the singer's first visit there. 
The University of North Carolina has been very successful at college basketball and women’s soccer, and a passion for these sports has been a distinctive feature of the town's culture, fueled by the rivalry among North Carolina's four ACC teams: the North Carolina Tar Heels, the Duke Blue Devils, the NC State Wolfpack, and the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. One can see the North Carolina Tar heels play basketball in the Dean Dome named after their historical coach Dean Smith. More recently, the town has received regional notice as the site of a large annual Halloween street party, with an attendance regularly exceeding 70,000.
- WCHL: local AM radio station (1360AM) providing talk radio, news, and local sports coverage as the flagship station of the Tar Heel Sports Network.
- WUNC: local public radio station (91.5FM) located on the UNC campus.
- WXYC: noncommercial student-run radio station (89.3FM) on the UNC campus. In 1994, it became the first radio station in the world to broadcast over the internet.
- The Daily Tar Heel is the nationally ranked, independent student newspaper that serves the university and the town. The free daily newspaper is printed Monday through Friday during the academic year and weekly during summer sessions.
- The Chapel Hill News is a newspaper owned by The News & Observer with a focus on the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area that is published twice a week.
- Carrboro Citizen was a locally-owned community newspaper covering local news, politics and town government of Chapel Hill and Carrboro. The last issue was published in October 2012.
- The metro area has TV broadcasting stations that serve the Raleigh-Durham Designated Market Area (DMA) as defined by Nielsen Media Research.
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (October 2011)|
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- Ash Bowie, musician
- Sean Bridgers, actor, screenwriter, director, producer
- Fred Brooks, computer scientist
- Christopher Browning, historian
- Michael Burrows, author, teacher, venture capitalist
- Harry Wayne Casey, singer, songwriter, music producer
- Hubert Davis, ESPN analyst, former NBA basketball player
- Anoop Desai, finalist on American Idol, singer
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- Alexander Julian, fashion designer
- Howard Lee, first black mayor of a predominantly white city
- Mac McCaughan, musician
- Nick Perumov, author
- Dexter Romweber, rockabilly roots-rocker
- Dean Smith, retired basketball coach
- Chance Barton, high school phenom long distance runner
- Elizabeth Spencer, author of The Light in the Piazza, currently resides in Chapel Hill
- Chris Stamey, musician
- Blair Tindall, author and musician
- Daniel Wallace, writer, author of Big Fish: A Novel of Mythic Proportions
- Kent Williams, painter, illustrator and comics artist
- Roy Williams, men's basketball coach
- Porter Robinson, electronic dance music producer
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- Walter Royal Davis, North Carolina philanthropist and oil tycoon
- David Drake, science fiction and fantasy novelist and small-press publisher
- Elizabeth Edwards, late wife of former U.S. Senator of North Carolina John Edwards
- Ben Folds, musician
- Paul Green, playwright
- Dave Haywood, musician, member of the country music group Lady Antebellum
- Meredith Hagner, actress, portrays Liberty Ciccone on As the World Turns
- Bunn Hearn, Major League Baseball pitcher
- Jefferson Holt, manager of R.E.M.
- Laurel Holloman, actress
- Charles Kuralt, journalist
- Kay Kyser, big band leader, entertainer
- William Carter Love – U.S. Representative from North Carolina during the 1800s
- Richard McKenna – novelist, The Sand Pebbles
- David Rees, political satirist, cartoonist of Get Your War On
- Betty Smith – novelist, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
- Silda Wall Spitzer, wife of former New York governor Eliot Spitzer
- Leo Sternbach, chemist and discoverer of benzodiazepines
- James Taylor, musician
- Karl Edward Wagner, horror writer, editor, and small-press publisher
- Manly Wade Wellman, novelist
- Butch Davis, former UNC football coach
Durham, North Carolina, is the core of the four-county Durham-Chapel Hill MSA, which has a population of 504,357 as of Census 2010. The US Office of Management and Budget also includes Chapel Hill as a part of the Raleigh-Durham-Cary Combined Statistical Area, which has a population of 1,749,525 as of Census 2010. Effective June 6, 2003, the Office of Management and Budget redefined the Federal Statistical Areas and dismantled what had been for decades the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill MSA, and split them into two separate MSAs, though the region still functions as a single metropolitan area.
According to the 2010 U.S. Census, 57,233 people in 20,564 households resided in Chapel Hill. The population density was 2,687 people per square mile (1037/km²). The racial composition of the town was 72.8% White, 9.7% African American, 0.3% Native American, 11.9% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 2.7% some other race, and 2.7% of two or more races. About 6.4% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Of the 20,564 households, 51.1% were families, 26.2% of all households had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.2% were headed by married couples living together, 8.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 48.9% were not families. About 30.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 2.98.
In the town, the population was distributed as 17.4% under the age of 18, 31.5% from 18 to 24, 23.6% from 25 to 44, 18.4% from 45 to 64, and 9.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 25.6 years. For every 100 females, there were 87.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.6 males.
According to estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau, over the three-year period of 2005 through 2007, the median income for a household in the town was $51,690, and for a family was $91,049. Males had a median income of $50,258 versus $32,917 for females. The per capita income for the town was $35,796. About 8.6% of families and 19.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.6% of those under age 18 and 5.6% of those age 65 or over.
Chapel Hill is North Carolina's best-educated city, proportionately, with 77% of adult residents (25 and older) holding an associate degree or higher, and 73% of adults possessing a baccalaureate degree or higher.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Chapel Hill, North Carolina.|
- Official website
- Chapel Hill travel guide from Wikivoyage
- Chapel Hill Memories (preserving the history of Chapel Hill)