West Chapel Hill Historic District

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West Chapel Hill Historic District
Mallette-Wilson-Maurice House
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Location Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Coordinates 35°54′23″N79°03′31″W / 35.90639°N 79.05861°W / 35.90639; -79.05861 Coordinates: 35°54′23″N79°03′31″W / 35.90639°N 79.05861°W / 35.90639; -79.05861
ArchitectJones, Jesse, Blackwell, James [1]
Architectural style Colonial Revival, Bungalow/Craftsman, Greek Revival [1]
NRHP reference # 98001528  (original)
100003930  (increase)
Boundary increaseMay 9, 2019

The West Chapel Hill Historic District is a national historic district in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The district comprises several small neighborhoods and is roughly bounded by West Cameron Avenue, Malette Street, Ransom Street, Pittsboro Street, University Drive and the Westwood Subdivision. [2] The district was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1998, and was enlarged in 2019. The district encompasses an upper-middle class residential neighborhood that developed during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The growth of the district is related to the development of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the town of Chapel Hill. [3]

Chapel Hill, North Carolina town in Orange County, North Carolina, United States

Chapel Hill is a town in Orange, Chatham, and Durham counties in the U.S. state of North Carolina. Its population was 57,233 in the 2010 census, making Chapel Hill the 15th-largest city in the state. Chapel Hill, Durham, and the state capital, Raleigh, make up the corners of the Research Triangle, with a total population of 1,998,808.

Neighbourhood geographically localized community within a larger city, town, suburb or rural area

A neighbourhood, or neighborhood, is a geographically localised community within a larger city, town, suburb or rural area. Neighbourhoods are often social communities with considerable face-to-face interaction among members. Researchers have not agreed on an exact definition, but the following may serve as a starting point: "Neighbourhood is generally defined spatially as a specific geographic area and functionally as a set of social networks. Neighbourhoods, then, are the spatial units in which face-to-face social interactions occur—the personal settings and situations where residents seek to realise common values, socialise youth, and maintain effective social control."

National Register of Historic Places federal list of historic sites in the United States

The National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) is the United States federal government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation for their historical significance. A property listed in the National Register, or located within a National Register Historic District, may qualify for tax incentives derived from the total value of expenses incurred preserving the property.


Town development

18th and 19th centuries

The history of the town of Chapel Hill begins with the birth of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill when local settlers donated 1,386 acres of land to the North Carolina General Assembly to encourage the selection of Chapel Hill to be the location of a university. [4] The university was chartered by the General Assembly on December 11, 1789, and opened its doors for instruction in 1795. [5]

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill public research university in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), also known as UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, or simply Carolina is a public research university in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. It is the flagship of the 17 campuses of the University of North Carolina system. After being chartered in 1789, the university first began enrolling students in 1795, which also allows it to be one of three schools to claim the title of the oldest public university in the United States. Among the claimants, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is the only one to have held classes and graduated students as a public university in the eighteenth century.

North Carolina General Assembly legislature of North Carolina

The North Carolina General Assembly is the bicameral legislature of the State government of North Carolina. The legislature consists of two chambers: the Senate and the House of Representatives. The General Assembly meets in the North Carolina Legislative Building in Raleigh, North Carolina, United States.

In the first part of the nineteenth century, the village grew slowly, but experienced more rapid growth in the 1850s as funding and enrollment of the university expanded. Also, in 1851, Chapel Hill as a town was incorporated; the district was included within the town limits. [6] Until the incorporation of the town and consequently the district, the area west of the university was considered an outlying area. Most residential development occurred around Franklin Street and Rosemary Lane, which were Chapel Hill's two main streets at the time. [6]

Incorporation (business) the forming of a new corporation

Incorporation is the formation of a new corporation. The corporation may be a business, a nonprofit organization, sports club, or a government of a new city or town.

Franklin Street (Chapel Hill)

Franklin Street is a prominent thoroughfare in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Historic Franklin Street is considered the center of social life for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as well as the town of Chapel Hill.

Early 20th century

In the 1900s, many new residents came to the town to work and start businesses, and a public school system was established and began operating in 1909. [4] After 1900, the growth of the university resulted in the influx of faculty families, and the residential neighborhoods comprising West Chapel Hill provided dwellings and land to accommodate them. The economic base of Chapel Hill has always been centered on education, and the town's leading citizens have been professors, many of whom bought and sold land as a hobby. These professors bought, developed and sold land at a profit. Other citizens who had prominent positions in politics, banking and mercantile trades became attracted to the area in the early twentieth century, making the town and specifically the neighborhoods within the West Chapel Hill Historic District home to Chapel Hill's wealthiest citizens. [6]

Economics Social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services

Economics is the social science that studies the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services.

Education Learning in which knowledge and skills is transferred through teaching

Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, beliefs, and habits. Educational methods include storytelling, discussion, teaching, training, and directed research. Education frequently takes place under the guidance of educators, however learners may also educate themselves. Education can take place in formal or informal settings and any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts may be considered educational. The methodology of teaching is called pedagogy.

Hobby regular activity that is done for enjoyment

A hobby is a regular activity done for enjoyment, typically during one's leisure time. Hobbies include collecting themed items and objects, engaging in creative and artistic pursuits, playing sports, or pursuing other amusements. Participation in hobbies encourages acquiring substantial skills and knowledge in that area. A list of hobbies changes with renewed interests and developing fashions, making it diverse and lengthy. Hobbies tend to follow trends in society, for example stamp collecting was popular during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as postal systems were the main means of communication, while video games are more popular nowadays following technological advances. The advancing production and technology of the nineteenth century provided workers with more availability in leisure time to engage in hobbies. Because of this, the efforts of people investing in hobbies has increased with time.

Emergence of urban planning philosophies

Communities throughout the United States began to focus on improving currently developing residential suburbs as a result of the City Beautiful Movement, which followed the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. The movement itself emphasized the positive effect of beautiful city spaces on human behavior. During the 1920s, the neighborhood's growth was influenced by the movement and is exhibited by the large lawns and other park-like amenities and walkways featured around many of the houses built during this era. [7]

Suburb Human settlement that is part of or near to a larger city

A suburb is a mixed-use or residential area, existing either as part of a city or urban area or as a separate residential community within commuting distance of a city. In most English-speaking countries, suburban areas are defined in contrast to central or inner-city areas, but in Australian English and South African English, suburb has become largely synonymous with what is called a "neighborhood" in other countries and the term extends to inner-city areas. In some areas, such as Australia, India, China, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and a few U.S. states, new suburbs are routinely annexed by adjacent cities. In others, such as Saudi Arabia, Canada, France, and much of the United States, many suburbs remain separate municipalities or are governed as part of a larger local government area such as a county.

Worlds Columbian Exposition Worlds Fair held in Chicago in 1893

The World's Columbian Exposition was a world's fair held in Chicago in 1893 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus's arrival in the New World in 1492. The centerpiece of the Fair, the large water pool, represented the long voyage Columbus took to the New World. Chicago bested New York City, Washington, D.C., and St. Louis for the honor of hosting the fair. The Exposition was an influential social and cultural event and had a profound effect on architecture, sanitation, the arts, Chicago's self-image, and American industrial optimism.

Human behavior is the response of individuals or groups of humans to internal and external stimuli. It refers to the array of every physical action and observable emotion associated with individuals, as well as the human race. While specific traits of one's personality and temperament may be more consistent, other behaviors will change as one moves from birth through adulthood. In addition to being dictated by age and genetics, behavior, driven in part by thoughts and feelings, is an insight into individual psyche, revealing among other things attitudes and values. Social behavior, a subset of human behavior, study the considerable influence of social interaction and culture. Additional influences include ethics, social environment, authority, persuasion and coercion.

The Neighborhood Movement also emerged in the 1920s and was based on the idea that attractive and stimulating neighborhood environments positively affected and shaped human behavior. This philosophy spurned neighborhood planning and resulted in the land along McCauley and Vance Streets being subdivided into smaller and more regularly sized lots than those along West Cameron Avenue. [6]

In 1915, Robert E. Park and E. W. Burgess introduced the idea of "neighborhood" as an ecological concept with urban planning implications. Since then, many concepts and ideas of a neighborhood have emerged. Milton Kolter defines a neighborhood as, “…a political settlement of small territory and familiar association, whose absolute property is its capacity for deliberative democracy.” While most neighborhoods are difficult to define geographically, anyone who lives in an urban setting relates to an area that they call their neighborhood. As such, it is a useful level to engage in planning practice.

Great Depression

The Great Depression negatively influenced Chapel Hill's economy in the form of a reduced university appropriation (25% of its 1928 budget in 1929, 20% of that in 1930, and 22% in 1932). [3] As a result, professors' salaries were reduced and supplemented their lower income by renting rooms to students. In 1935, the university appropriation was reinstated to 1929 levels, and residential construction improved. The town continued to grow as the university expanded in order to accommodate new businesses, which resulted in increased demand for housing.

Between 1933 and 1937, professor and developer W.F. Prouty subdivided lots in the Westwood area. Westwood Drive, which forms a loop beginning and ending at South Columbia Street, was the first street to be developed. In 1950, the town limits expanded for the first time since 1851. The following year, the Westwood area was annexed into the town of Chapel Hill on December 25. [6]

Late 20th century and today

The population of Chapel Hill grew from 9,177 people in 1950 to 25,573 people in 1970 (Footnote 13 - Amy's source eval 1 book). According to the 2010 U.S. Census, there were 57,233 people in 20,564 households. [8] This population boom was largely due to continued growth of the university, as well as the establishment of Research Triangle Park. Today, the continuous flow of students, faculty and staff into Chapel Hill and their demand for housing near the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus maintains the link between the West Chapel Hill Historic District and the university.

Main Streets

Within the West Chapel Hill Historic District, there are two main streets: Cameron Avenue and McCauley Street. Both streets were named for prominent citizens of Chapel Hill. [4]

Cameron Avenue

Cameron Avenue is a road that runs through the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus and divides McCorkle Place and Polk Place. The street was named Cameron Avenue in 1885 in recognition of Paul Carrington Cameron. Previously, the street was referred to as "College Avenue" and was the southern boundary of the university's campus. [4] After the university closed during Reconstruction on December 1, 1870, Cameron worked to reopen the university in 1875. Cameron lived in Chapel Hill during the mid-nineteenth century and became the richest man in the state due to investments in real estate. Cameron also made a loan to the university to complete the construction of Memorial Hall. In the 1880s, Cameron Avenue was extended west, beyond the campus, and subsequently became a main artery of what is now the West Chapel Hill Historic District.

McCauley Street

McCauley Street is a road that runs through a residential neighborhood west of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus. The street is named after David McCauley, who was a prominent merchant and the largest landowner in Chapel Hill by 1875. [6] McCauley was the great-grandson of William and Matthew McCauley, who were original donors of land given to help found the university. McCauley named the street after himself. He also named Vance Street and Ransom Street, both of which are located within the West Chapel Hill Historic District. McCauley named the streets after two of his favorite Democratic politicians, Governor Zebulon Vance and Dr. Edward Ransom, a prominent legislator. [4]


The district consists mainly of residential buildings constructed between 1845 and 1948. The dwellings built within the district exhibit some of the following architectural styles: Colonial Revival, Craftsman Bungalow, Tudor Revival, Queen Anne and Ranch. [6]


There are 13 historic houses in the West Chapel Hill Historic District as recognized by the NRHP: [6]

  1. John O'Daniel
    Address: 237 McCauley Street
    Date Built: 1900
    Architectural Style: Queen Anne cottage, exhibits transition to Colonial Revival with classical porch
  2. Webb House (Caldwell-Mitchell House)
    Address: 211 McCauley Street
    Date Built: 1913
    Architectural Style: Colonial Revival
  3. Dewitt Neville House
    Address: 311 Patterson Place
    Date Built: 1927
    Architectural Style: Craftsman Bungalow
  4. Chi Psi Fraternity House
    Address: 321 West Cameron Avenue
    Date Built: 1930
    Architectural Style: Jacobethan Revival
  5. United Church of Christ
    Address: 211 W. Cameron Avenue
    Date Built: 1914
    Architectural Style: Gothic Revival
  6. Pool-Harris House
    Address: 206 W. Cameron Avenue
    Date Built: 1870
    Architectural Style: Late-Nineteenth Century
  7. Mallette-Wilson-Maurice House
    Address: 215 W. Cameron AvenueDate Built: 1845
    Architectural Style: Late-Nineteenth Century
  8. Scott-Smith-Gattis House
    Address: 400 W. Cameron Avenue
    Date Built: 1860
    Architectural Style: Late-Nineteenth Century
  9. Mason-Lloyd Wiley House
    Address: 412 W. Cameron Avenue
    Date Built: 1860
    Architectural Style: Late-Nineteenth Century
  10. Pool-Harris Patterson House
    Address: 403 W. Cameron Avenue
    Date Built: 1870
    Architectural Style: Late-Nineteenth Century
  11. Warriole-Tilley House
    Address: 113 Mallette Street
    Date Built: 1890-1900
    Architectural Style: Late-Nineteenth Century
  12. Morris-Gore-Hocutt House
    Address: 117 Mallette Street
    Date Built: 1850
    Architectural Style: Late-Nineteenth Century
  13. Sallie Davis-Clyde Eubanks House
    Address: 129 Mallette Street
    Date Built: 1880
    Architectural Style: Late-Nineteenth Century

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  1. 1 2 "NORTH CAROLINA - Orange County". National Register of Historic Places. American Dreams Inc. Retrieved 19 November 2012.
  2. "Registration Form" (PDF). National Register of Historic Places. United States Department of the Interior National Park Service. Retrieved 29 October 2012.
  3. 1 2 Vickers, James (1985). Chapel Hill: An Illustrated History. Chapel Hill, NC: Barclay Publishers. ISBN   9780961442903.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 Morrow, Mary (1994). A Backward Glance: Facts of Life in Chapel Hill. Chapel Hill, NC: The Commission. pp. 2–37.
  5. "C. Dixon Spangler Jr. named Overseers president for 2003–04". Harvard University Gazette. May 29, 2003.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "West Chapel Hill Historic District". Living Places. The Gombach Group. Retrieved 3 November 2012.
  7. Szcodronski, Cheri. "Community History: The Cameron-McCauley Historic District". Tarheel Times. Town of Chapel Hill. Retrieved 3 November 2012.
  8. "Chapel Hill (town), North Carolina". State & County QuickFacts. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 19 November 2012.