University of North Carolina Walking Tour

This walking tour includes a dozen campus landmarks and historic buildings, including the former statue known as Silent Sam that made national headlines when students protested and eventually toppled the monument.

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Morehead-Patterson Bell Tower
Funded by John Motley Morehead (class of 1891) and Rufus Lenoir Patterson II, this 172-foot bell tower was dedicated on Thanksgiving, 1931, and is now one of the best-known symbols of the university (arguably second only to the Old Well). Botany professor William Coker designed the landscaping around the tower (he also designed the nearby Coker Arboretum). Though the tower used to feature mannually-operated bells, it now has 14 mechanized bells, which chime every hour. UNC seniors are permitted to climb the Bell Tower before graduating.
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Wilson Library
Constructed in 1929, Wilson Library is home to the North Carolina Collection, Rare Book Collection, Southern Folklife Collection, University Archives and Records Management Services, and Southern Historical Collection. The library has been expanded several times and its mission has changed over the years from serving as a general academic library to its present use as the home of librarians, archivists, historians, and curators who preserve collections and interpret the history of the university, the state, and the American South. Wilson Library also houses a conservation lab and a sound preservation lab.
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Dey Hall
Dey Hall was built in 1962 and is named in honor of William Morton Dey, a professor of romance languages and literature. Dey later became the chair of that department and served the university for forty years.
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Carolina Hall (Formerly Saunders Hall)
Dedicated in 1922 and known as Saunders Hall until 2015, this University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill building was named in honor of William L. Saunders. Owing to Saunders' support of violence against African Americans as the leader of the Ku Klux Klan in North Carolina following the Civil War, students, faculty, and some alumni petitioned to change the name of this building. Other alumni reacted in opposition to this movement, partly owing to their perception that the building was only being renamed as a result of Saunders' service in the Confederate Army. On May 28, 2015, Saunders Hall was renamed Carolina Hall.
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Manning Hall
While this academic building of UNC Chapel Hill now houses the School of Information and Library Science, it was also once the site of a makeshift dining hall during the UNC Foodworkers' Strike of 1969. After 17 Pine Room dining hall workers demanded fair labor practices from the UNC administration and saw no results, they went on strike, refusing to serve food in the Pine Room and gaining support from workers in Lenoir Dining Hall as well. However, a fund was organized through donated funds from students in support of the strike, sustained by the foodworkers’ partnership with the Black Student Movement, to pay foodworkers to serve food that they cooked themselves to students in Manning Hall. They affectionately named this alternative dining area the Soul Food cafeteria.
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"The Student Body" Sculpture
Tucked away behind Hamilton Hall, the "Student Body" sculpture by Julia Balk depicts diligent students toting books and backpacks, a familiar sight on campus. The sculpture originally appeared in a more prominent position in front of Davis Library in 1990, a gift from the class of 1985, but came under scrutiny for its stereotyped representations of race and gender. The piece was vandalized multiple times. In response to the public controversy, university officials relocated the piece to its new, less visible location. They later removed two of the figures: an African-American man with a basketball and an Asian-American woman with a violin. You can read Julia Balk's full 4-page letter explaining her intentions and defending her work at the links below, as well as watch Professor Tim McMillan's discussion of the controversy in the broader context of North Carolina's history.
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Murphey Hall
Built in 1924, Murphey Hall is named in honor of Archibald De Bow Murphey, a lawyer, University of North Carolina graduate and professor, and politician who was a North Carolina Senator from 1812 to 1818. Murphey Hall now houses the Classics and Religious Studies departments.
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Hamilton Hall at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Hamilton Hall was built in 1972 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the brutalist style of architecture which became popular for a short time on college campuses. The building became the home of the social science departments and was named after Joseph Gregoire de Roulhac Hamilton, a professor at the university who created UNC's famed Southern Historical Collection.
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Davie Hall at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Constructed in 1908, Davie Hall was originally home to for botany and zoology studies. The building was reconstructed in 1967 with a modern design and now houses the Psychology and Neuroscience Departments. Davie Hall is named after William Richardson Davie, a General in the American Revolution who later became the Governor of North Carolina. Davie is remembered as the father of the University of North Carolina because of his support of the university as governor, general assembly member, and member of the University of North Carolina Board of Trustees.
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Historic Playmakers Theater
Originally named Smith Hall, the Historic Playmakers Theater was built by architect Alexander Davis. Work began in the summer of 1850, and the structure was completed in 1852. The Playmakers Theater is on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s campus in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The structure was originally used as a ballroom and library and was named after Benjamin Smith. The theater now serves as the main stage for the University of North Carolina’s indoor performances.
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Old East
Built by slaves in 1793, Old East is the oldest public university building in the United States. Today it serves as a student residence hall. The original cornerstone, along with its bronze commemorative plaque went missing at some point in the 19th century. Decades later, the plaque turned up--at the Clarksville Foundry and Machine Works in Tennessee. Since 1916, it has been back at UNC and is currently kept in Wilson Library.
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Old Well
The Old Well is one of the oldest and most famous symbols of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The Board of Trustees approved its construction in 1795. At the time, the primary purpose of the wooden structure was functional: to provide water to students living on campus. The Old Well's current appearance, designed in 1897, is inspired by the Temple of Love in the Garden of Versailles.
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Campus Y
The Campus Y, founded in 1860, on UNC Chapel Hill’s campus is proudly the center for social justice on campus and affectionately identifies as the university’s “moral conscience.” It has played a vital organizational role in many social activist campaigns on campus throughout its history. As it is mainly student-run, it highlights students passions for social justice and serves as the space where that passion is cultivated into action.
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Caldwell Hall
Caldwell Hall is named after Joseph Caldwell, who was the University of North Carolina’s first official president once he was elected in 1804. Caldwell went on to work with the school during the majority of its first forty years as an official university. Caldwell Hall was built in 1911 by I.G. Lawrence and designed by Milburn, Heister, and Company of Washington, D.C. Caldwell Hall now houses the PARR Center for Ethics and the Department of Philosophy.
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Davie Bench
Dedicated in 1914, this marble memorial bench honors William Davie, a General in the American Revolution. Davie is known as the father of the University of North Carolina as he was Governor of North Carolina, served on the North Carolina general assembly and the University of North Carolina Board of Trustees. The bench is located at the base of the “Davie Poplar” tree and is known as the “Davie Poplar Bench.”
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Joseph Caldwell Monument at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Created by Struthers & Co. from Philadephia, Pennsylvania, the Joseph Caldwell Monument at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill serves as the resting place of the former University of North Carolina President Joseph Caldwell, his wife Helen Caldwell, and her son William Hopper. The monument was dedicated to Caldwell on June 2, 1858, 23 years after his death.
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The Unsung Founders Monument, University of North Carolina
A gift from the University of North Carolina's graduating class of 2002, this black granite and bronze monument commemorates the free people of color and enslaved laborers who built many of the university's first structures. The monument was created by sculptor Do-Ho Suh and dedicated on November 5, 2005, at McCorkle Place on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus. The monument depicts a table held up by 300 bronze figures who depict the free and enslaved persons who built buildings and worked to operate the university in its early decades.
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Silent Sam (1913-2018)
This University of North Carolina statue was dedicated in 1913 to honor students who served in the Confederate States Army during the Civil War. According to campus mythology, Sam was "silent" because he lacked ammunition and could not fire his gun. Similar to many other Confederate statues dedicated in the early 1900s, this monument was funded by the United Daughters of the Confederacy and included a dedication speech that defended white supremacy. The speech by former Confederate General Julian Carr went even further, with a digression that celebrated violence against African Americans. After several years of petitions and protests by UNC students that were met by inaction and sanctions against students by university officials, a student-led protest on August 20, 2018, culminated in the toppling of this monument. Administrators at the university proposed on December 3, 2018, to build a new structure on campus to house the statue to provide historical context for the statue and university's history.
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Historical Marker-University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was established in 1789 and officially opened to students in 1795 as the first public university in the United States. The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and is a member of the Association of American Universities. Chapel Hill offers 78 baccalaureate, 112 master’s, 68 doctoral, and seven professional degree programs and is widely known as one of the leading public research universities in the nation. The university has a student population of approximately twenty-nine thousand, a faculty base of nearly thirty-seven hundred, and boasts over 292,000 alumni that live in more than 150 countries.
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Morehead Planetarium and Science Center
Located on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's campus, The Morehead Planetarium and Science Center was the first planetarium to be built in the South and cost approximately three million dollars to construct. Morehead Planetarium opened on May 10, 1949 after nearly eighteen months of construction. It remains one of the oldest and largest planetariums in the nation. The facility receives approximately 1/3 of its funding from ticket/gift sales, 1/3 from state sources, and 1/3 from donations and contributions.
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Spencer Residence Hall
Built in 1924, Spencer Residence Hall at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is named after Cornelia Phillips Spencer, who was the daughter of a professor at the university and a sister to two other professors. The Spencer Residence Hall served as a place for the few women who were able to attend the university at the time. Spencer Residence Hall is now a co-educational dormitory.
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Phillips Law Office
This building held the law offices of Samuel Field Phillips starting in 1843-just two years after receiving his bachelor's degree from the University of North Carolina. Like a number of progressive white residents, Phillips opposed secession and supported the Republican Party during Reconstruction. In 1872, Phillips became Solicitor General of the United States and worked to uphold the constitutionality of the Enforcement Act--a law passed by his fellow Republicans in Congress to confront the growing threat of terrorist organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan. He also supported black petitioners who sought to secure convictions under the Civil Rights Act of 1875 and helped represent Homer Plessy in the landmark Plessy v. Ferguson case. Although Phillips and Plessy lost this case, his legal arguments helped attorneys in the next century.
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Center for the Study of the American South
This Center for the Study of the American South (CSAS), part of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, focuses on providing the University and surrounding community with research, lectures, scholarships, conferences, and numerous cultural events focusing on the American South. A noted program under the direction of CSAS is the Southern Oral History Program, one of the leaders in oral history innovation, with an impressive archival collection containing myriad interviews touching on diverse topics relating to the history of the South. The Center also boasts numerous lecture series and is known for "Southern Cultures," an award-winning, peer-reviewed quarterly journal. The Center is headquartered in the historic Love House, dating to 1887.
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Hooper-Kyser House
William Hooper represented North Carolina in the Continental Congress and was one of the singers of the Declaration of Independence. This home was built in 1814 for his son, professor William Hooper, and is notable today as the oldest home standing in Chapel Hill. A little over a century later, the home was purchased by Kay and Georgia Kyser, who moved to Chapel Hill in 1951. Georgia Carroll Keyser was a movie star who often performed with her husband Kay, a band leader and the star of a popular radio program. Georgia Carroll Keyser was also one of the founders of the Chapel Hill Preservation Society.

This tour was created by Kyle White on 09/04/18 .

This tour has been taken 222 times within the past year.

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