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k e e r C r a e B lakeSilk Jordan o r o b s y t it t C i r P e il S Hope Bynum February/March 2021 vol. 4, no. 5

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y r a s r e v i n n A

e r u c n o M HawRiver Fearrington Bonlee


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FEBRUARY / MARCH

CONTENTS FEATURES 48 Here We Grow Again Developers share updates on local projects and how the pandemic factors in to those plans 65 Summer Camp Guide There are dozens of camps in the Triangle to match every kid’s interest 74 The Enchanted Forrest Forrest Greenslade built a whimsical sculpture trail behind his home in the woods of Fearrington Village

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CHATHAM 250 22 Ways to Celebrate the Semiquincentennial Honor the 250th anniversary of Chatham County by checking some of these cultural events, historical activities and fun excursions off your 2021 to-do list 26 Moments in Time A brief history of Chatham County 30 Putting Her Stamp on Chatham Sally Gregoire’s winning logo design for Chatham’s 250th anniversary commemoration captures the spirit of the county 34 Past and Future Tense Jon Spoon is an artist and also the director of continuing education for Central Carolina Community College. He shares his own local history and hopes for the county.

38 On the Map The roads, rivers and railways that built our county

PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOHN MICHAEL SIMPSON

DEPARTMENTS & COLUMNS 6 Letter from the Publisher 8 Five Events You Won’t Want to Miss

42 Lives Lived Nine tombstones in Fearrington Village near Galloway Ridge tell the story of the Smith and Jones families

16 Noted What we’ve heard around our towns ...

46 The Next 250 Local leaders share what they see in Chatham’s future

95 Weddings Langdon & Richardson Cohen & Herchler

56 Family Trees Longtime Chathamites remember their roots

PEOPLE & PLACES

62 Building Blocks of Education From a one-room schoolhouse to 18 schools and 8,810 students 78 This Old House The stories behind five historic Chatham homes

91 Dining Guide

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10 PORCH-Briar Chapel Donation Drive and Parade 12 Bishop’s Day at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church 13 Chatham Literacy Drive-Thru Appreciation event


FEBRUARY/MARCH 2021 CHATHAMMAGAZINENC.COM P U B LISH E R

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E D IT O R, CHAPEL HILL MAGAZINE

Jessica Stringer

A S S IS T A NT E D I TOR

Hannah Lee hannah@chathammagazinenc.com EDITORIAL, DIGITAL & MARKETING COORDINATOR

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E D IT O RIA L I N TE R N S

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Jean Carlos Rosario-Montalvo A D V E RT I S I N G For information, contact advertising@chathammagazinenc.com

Melissa Crane melissa@chathammagazinenc.com

Feels Like Family

Chris Elkins chris@chathammagazinenc.com

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Chatham Magazine is published by Shannon Media Inc. 1777 Fordham Blvd., Ste. 105, Chapel Hill, NC 27514 tel 919.933.1551 fax 919.933.1557 Subscriptions are $24 for 2 years – subscribe at chathammagazinenc.com


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Full Circle

I

first learned that I had ties to Chatham County as I looked through my great-grandmother’s old Bible. I found an obituary for my great-great-grandfather tucked into it. He was a native of Bear Creek; he later moved to Alamance County, but his brother and his son remained in Chatham – Siler City, to be specific. I moved from Alamance to Chatham, continuing the cycle. Whether you have deep roots or are newly planted here, I think you will be excited to learn more about Chatham’s past in this issue. In these pages, we kick off the celebration of the county’s 250th anniversary. Discover a condensed version of our lengthy history on page 26. Meet the artist behind the official Chatham 250 logo on page 32. Flip to page 40 for a historic look at the rivers, farms, streams and trading routes that established Pittsboro as the seat of the county. After looking back, we look forward to the new developments and changes that are happening in Chatham. Leaders share their hopes for Chatham’s future on page 30, and we meet with several developers on page 48 who have big plans that are adapting quickly from lessons learned in this past year. You’ll find our annual updated camp guide on page 65 and, in keeping with the theme of Chatham’s 250th anniversary, you can also learn about families who have lived here for generations and how Chatham’s school system has changed over the years beginning on page 56. My journey back to Chatham brought me full circle, and I’ve made it my home for 21 years. I look forward to sharing this issue with my aunts, uncles and cousins in Alamance so that they, too, can feel more connected to this land and our community. CM

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A COMMUNITY'S LOSS As many of you are aware, Gene Oldham, who owned S & T’s Soda Shoppe along with his wife, Vicky Oldham, passed away in December. My daughter, Taylor Elkins, went to Northwood High School with Gene’s son T.J. Oldham and his wife, Jenna Oldham. My family celebrated my kids’ soccer and baseball game wins with burgers and ice cream at S & T’s. Gene and Vicky were there to celebrate with us. Like many of you, we will miss seeing Gene at the cash register. THE COVER By Kevin Brown 6

CHATHAM MAGAZINE

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2021


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Bynum Front Porch Live Winter Music Series FEB. 20, 7-8:30 p.m.

This installment of the Bynum Front Porch Music Series features banjo player, singer and songwriter Joe Newberry livestreamed on Facebook from the Bynum General Store. Joe was a frequent guest on “A Prairie Home Companion,” a weekly radio show that ended in 2016, and has toured with musicians including Mike Compton and April Verch. bynumfrontporch.org

Beads & Bling ... It’s a Mardi Gras Thing FEB. 28, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

2019’s Easter Eggstravaganza hosted by Siler City Parks and Recreation.

Carolina Tiger Rescue hosts a Mardi

Gras-themed virtual auction benefiting the animals (including lions, tigers, leopards and more) at its Pittsboro sanctuary. The event captures the spirit of its annual Black Tie & Tails Ball with plenty of surprises and family-friendly entertainment. Proceeds from the auction help the rescue continue to care for its animals and provide educational programming on conservation. Tickets are required. carolinatigerrescue.org

FIVE EVENTS

YOU WON’T WANT TO MISS Compiled by Renee Ambroso

What Grows Together: Wine and Cheese Class MARCH 7, 5 p.m.

The first installment in a series of classes hosted by Fearrington Village at The Garden Terrace, this course will cover classic wine and cheese pairings sourced from the same regions in France. In-person tickets include six wines and a food pairing. Online ticket holders will receive wine only and can participate through Zoom. fearrington.com

Big Night In for the Arts MARCH 11, 7-8 p.m.

partners with Durham Arts Council, Orange County Arts Commission and United Arts Council to raise nearly $1 million during this regional fundraiser broadcasted and livestreamed via WRAL. The event features performances from local and national

Chatham Arts Council

Events are subject to change; check with organizers prior to attending 8

CHATHAM MAGAZINE

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2021

talents such as Pittsboro’s Mike Wiley, addresses the impact of COVID-19 on the arts and highlights the missions of the four organizations. Funds benefit local nonprofit arts and culture organizations to assist in their recovery and reentry post-pandemic. bignightin.org

EASTER EGGSTRAVAGANZA

MARCH 27, 10 a.m. (egg hunt begins at 11 a.m.) Siler City Parks and Recreation hosts its annual Easter egg hunt at the Bray Park Sports Complex in Siler City. The event includes games, music, a visit from the Easter Bunny and of course, a hunt for nearly 6,000 eggs. Tickets are not required. Check online for details and updates, as the specifics are subject to change due to COVID-19. silercity.org CM


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PEOPLE & PLACES

1

2

3

1 CORA Transportation and Warehouse Supervisor Travus Viera, Inventory and Logistics Specialist Reggie Blue and Ira Blue with PORCH-Briar Chapel volunteer Eamon Breen as Santa.

4

2 Larry Tollen. 5

3 CORA Development & Communications Director Rebecca Hankins and her son, Colton Hankins, 12. 4 PORCH-Briar Chapel’s Kathy Tawney and Zita Dauler. 5 Helene Sailer and Paul Sailer.

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6 More than 5,000 pounds of food was donated by PORCHBriar Chapel to CORA. 7 Eamon Breen as Santa with Carolina Beaty, 4, on his lap, while Larissa Ferretti holds Brooke Beaty, 1. 8 Chatham County Sheriff's Deputies John Beach, Devin Smith and Reid Kirkman.

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CHATHAM MAGAZINE

FEBRUARY / MARCH 2021


PEOPLE & PLACES

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8

PORCH Parade PHOTOGRAPHY BY CC KALLAM

hosted a record-setting donation drive and parade in Briar Chapel in December 2020. PORCH volunteer Eamon Breen asked the Chatham County Fire Department and Sheriff's Office to escort some of the drivers on their pickup routes. And so a procession – complete with a fire truck, sheriff’s cars and the CORA Food Pantry truck – made its way out onto Briar Chapel Parkway, driving a route from the neighborhood’s tennis courts to its clubhouse, where volunteers normally unload and load donations. The drivers and sheriff escorts then headed out to pick up donations on assigned routes. A total of 5,058 pounds of food and $5,175 was donated to CORA. CM PORCH-Briar Chapel

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CHATHAM MAGAZINE

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PEOPLE & PLACES

2

1

Bishop’s Day PHOTOGRAPHY BY MICHAEL SHEPHERD 1 Episcopal Bishop of North Carolina the Rt. Rev. Samuel Rodman, Apex Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints President Steve Bodhaine and the Rev. Dr. Wilber Mundia of St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church.

3

serves a community lunch with free hot meals every Thursday to anyone who needs it, as it has for nearly 13 years. But Nov. 5, 2020, marked a special occasion when the Rt. Rev. Samuel Rodman, XII bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, paid the Pittsborobased church a visit. “Our lunch was suspended in March, [but] as time went on, the bishop approved that during COVID-19, a service like ours could proceed following the Diocese protective guidelines,” says church member and organizer Terry Transue. “This allowed us to restart on July 9 with an outdoor drive-thru and delivery with a reduced preparation team. The bishop was very supportive that [our] efforts caring for the community continued. We wanted him to see and be a part of this effort and for our community to see the bishop’s involvement.” Terry’s team served 64 vehicles and nearly 145 Thanksgiving meals, which included breads and desserts from The Phoenix Bakery, Willy’s Cinnamon Rolls Etc. and Panera Bread, among other traditional dishes. CM St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church

2 Molly Roberts and Slim Carver. 3 Jim Vaughn, lead cook. 4 Sixty-four vehicles drove through St. Bartholomew’s for Bishop’s Day.

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CHATHAM MAGAZINE

FEBRUARY / MARCH 2021


PEOPLE & PLACES

A Good Read-Thru Chatham Literacy,

a nonprofit that helps adults develop educational and literacy skills in Chatham County, hosted a “Drive-Thru Appreciation” event on Dec. 4 to honor its volunteers, tutors and adult learners. Chatham Literacy staff passed out gift bags filled with hand sanitizer, masks, instructions for hand washing and mask wearing, and coupons donated by Elizabeth’s Pizza and Al’s Diner. Participants drove up to Chatham Literacy’s new location at 1002 W. Third St., the former location of Chatham Pediatrics, honking their horns and sharing good wishes. Adult learners with children were also offered age-appropriate children’s books. Staff wore pajama bottoms during the event to reflect “new normal” work attire. Chatham Literacy got its start in 1988 as a “friends helping neighbors” group. Today it offers free one-on-one tutoring and small classes for adult learners. “We really wanted to show our appreciation for our volunteers and adult learners, as they have worked really hard and remained committed through our transition from in-person learning over to virtual learning,” says volunteer coordinator Travis Patterson. – by Nella Rouse CM

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WHAT WE’VE HEARD AROUND OUR TOWNS ... ON THE MOVE

ARTS & CULTURE St. Julia Catholic Church in Siler City observed the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a large multi-day celebration honoring the Virgin of Guadalupe, in December 2020 with a caravan of cars and trucks that visited homes and neighborhoods around Siler City, Snow Camp and Ramseur. Families and individuals joined Father Julio Martinez in scripture reading and prayer as he spoke outside their homes.

Franklin Gomez Flores

was sworn in on Dec. 7, 2020, as Chatham County’s first Latino commissioner. Franklin, 26, defeated incumbent Andy Wilkie in the District 5 race. He has served on the Chatham County Planning Board for a year and a half. An immigrant from Guatemala, Franklin ran for county commissioner to help be a voice for Siler City’s Hispanic community. Franklin is the first commissioner from Siler City in nearly 20 years. Reelected commissioners include Mike Dasher and Karen Howard. Mike was also elected as the board’s chairperson, and Commissioner Diana Hales was appointed as the board’s vice chairperson.

The Chatham Arts Council and the North Carolina Arts Council distributed NC CARES for Arts grants in December to 10 local arts councils and nonprofit arts organizations. The recipients include Abundance North Carolina, Chatham Artists Guild, Clapping Hands Farm, EbzB Productions, NC Arts Incubator, Pittsboro Youth Theater, StreetSigns Center for Literature and Performance, The Alliance and WildesArt. Each organization received a portion of some $87,000 to help curb the financial effects that COVID-19 had on their organizations.

as the head swim coach at Jordan-Matthews High School, her alma mater, in December 2020. She replaced her father, Lewis Fadely, and now coaches her younger sister, Jennah Fadely. Jennah is the school’s top swimmer and an All-American who finished half a second short of a gold medal in the 100yard breaststroke in February 2019 at the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 1A & 2A state championships.

LET US KNOW WHAT YOU'VE HEARD! EMAIL NOTED@CHATHAMMAGAZINENC.COM

Superintendent Dr. Derrick Jordan left Chatham County Schools to join North Carolina Superintendent Catherine

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CHATHAM MAGAZINE

Compiled by Nella Rouse

Truitt’s staff at the state’s Department of Public Instruction in December 2020. Derrick served as superintendent for Chatham County Schools for seven years and was named the Regional Superintendent of the Year for the Piedmont Triad Region in 2018. Dr. Randy Bridges, Orange County Schools’ interim superintendent since June 2019, became Chatham County Schools’ interim superintendent on Jan. 11. GIVING BACK

Morgan Fadely took over

FEBRUARY / MARCH 2021

and Moya Hallstein started Robin Hood’s Kitchen in November 2020. The organization creates meals using local farmers’ leftover produce and distributes these meals through organizations like Chatham Outreach Alliance. Danielle and Moya connected with Sarah Sligh and Angelina Koulizakis of Angelina’s Kitchen who offered up the kitchen in the restaurant for use to support the organization’s efforts. Together, the team collects food donations and cooks them to be sent out to Chatham families every Monday evening.  Danielle McComas


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NOTED

learning English. Since then, Jacquelinne has placed cardboard boxes around the school collecting bottles each week.

Galloway Ridge residents

raised $475,740 to give to employees as a part of its Annual Employee Appreciation Fund in December 2020. About 90% of resident households donated to the fund, providing 292 employees with a monetary gift that equated to nearly an extra dollar an hour of pay for time worked. The residents also gave each employee a box of holiday treats from Southern Supreme Fruitcake & More. Crystal Carroll,

Chatham County’s McKinney-Vento liaison for homeless children and youth, created a Facebook page in November 2020 for Chatham County Schools Mutual Aid to bring awareness to the needs of Chatham County Schools’ students. The page publicized donation opportunities during the holidays and served as a network for families and students to their communities. began inviting families with children in grades kindergarten through fifth grade to participate in its Digital Citizenship for Kids Series in January. “It is important for children to learn how to stay safe and responsible online, especially with remote learning and other types of activities moving online during the pandemic,” says Youth Services Librarian Katy Henderson. The four-part series, which you can still sign up for, teaches kids how to be a good digital citizen in the online world by focusing on different aspects each session, such as staying alert and staying private. Chatham County Public Libraries

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CHATHAM MAGAZINE

Pets were blessed, bellies were filled and community celebration was had at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church’s Blessing of the Animals drive-thru lunch event in December 2020. Carolina Brewery sponsored the packaged meals; approximately 86 cars came through and 127 meals were served. WHAT AN HONOR Communities in Schools of Chatham County, a Siler City-based nonprofit

dedicated to surrounding Chatham County youth with a network of support to empower them to stay in school, received $25,000 in funding from Duke Energy in November 2020. The funding, which will help the organization as it continues to navigate the pandemic and provide virtual support to its students, came from Duke Energy’s grant program that supports North Carolina organizations focused on social justice and racial equity. Chapel Hill-based educational nonprofit LatinxEd, which supports Latinx students and immigrant families, named Jacquelinne Marroquin Tobar as one of its “20 Under 20” award recipients in December 2020. This award focuses on elevating the best and brightest Latinx students across the state. Jacquelinne, a Jordan-Matthews High School senior, started the school's Water Bottle Recycling Program, a campaign intended to teach students about the importance of recycling and changing their habits, in the middle of her freshman year while she was still

FEBRUARY / MARCH 2021

Also in December, the Chatham County Board of Commissioners recognized Chatham County’s 2020 Employee of the Year. However, instead of honoring just one employee, all 533 Chatham County government employees were named as Employees of the Year. Chatham County staff served the community through impactful events, activities and programs, and also responded to the COVID-19 pandemic and managed a cyber incident in late October. The cyber incident, which is still under investigation, temporarily shut down the county government’s network, email and office phones. “It has been an unprecedented year navigating two major crises, and every single employee has stepped up to adapt so that Chatham County could continue providing our critical services to the community,” says Chatham County Manager Dan LaMontagne. “I could not be more proud of the teamwork, innovation and resilience of Chatham County staff.” Also in December, the N.C. Democratic Party unanimously elected Rep. Robert Reives II, Chatham County’s house representative, to serve as the democratic party leader. Robert has served as the deputy democratic leader for the past four years. As the new party leader, Robert plans to focus on broadband access, especially for Chatham County, as well as small business relief. He is also looking at policy changes that will help close the educational gap and support rural hospitals. Robert stepped into his new role on Jan. 27. 


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CHATHAM MAGAZINE

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NOTED

In November 2020, the Chatham Chamber of Commerce recognized a select group of businesses and professionals who made outstanding contributions to the community as well as excelled in their respective fields: • Donaldson Funeral Home & Crematory

received the Small Business of the Year award. Seventh-generation business

owner Lyle Donaldson purchased the funeral home in 2015. Since that time, the business has grown 40% and recently added an on-site crematory.

Person of the Year award. Mark is responsible for many of Mountaire’s community outreach programs. He is also president of the Rotary Club of Siler City and a Chatham Chamber of Commerce board member.

• Mountaire Farms Human Resources

Communications Manager Mark Reif received the Distinguished

received the Young Professional of the Year award. In 2018, Eric opened his own branch of Edward Jones Investments in Pittsboro after completing Edward Jones’ financial adviser career development program in St. Louis.

• Eric Williams

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Dr. David Lee Hill, Jr. Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon

77 VilCom Center Drive, Suite 120 Chapel Hill, NC 27514 919-238-9961

CHAPELHILLORALSURGERY.COM PHOTO BY KARA DUDLEY

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Other award winners include Virginia Cross Elementary Lead Student Support Specialist for Communities in Schools Jazmin Mendoza Sosa, who received the Duke Energy Citizenship and Service award; Summit Design and Engineering Services Senior Project Manager Kevin O’Dell, who received the Chamber Ambassador of the Year award; and Chatham Charter School Executive Director of Secondary Programs & Communications Beth McCullough, who received the Board Leadership award.

Michael Zelek, interim

health director at Chatham County Public Health Department, was officially appointed as Chatham County public health director in November 2020. Mike worked for the health department for eight years, taking over as interim director on June 1, 2020. He has since led the health department’s COVID-19 response and pursued the advancement of other Chatham County health initiatives.


NOTED

NEW ON THE SCENE Construction for a new Westlake Ace Hardware in the Chatham Crossing Shopping Center began in January, and the shop is expected to open in March. The 16,800-square-foot store will sell traditional hardware products and feature several “storein-a-store” concepts and departments. These departments include a garden center, backyard BBQ, outdoor power equipment, tools, a paint studio and pets. “We look forward to becoming an active and helpful part of the Chapel Hill community,” says Joe Jeffries, president and CEO of Westlake Ace Hardware. NEWS BITES Chatham County welcomed two new Hispanic-owned businesses. Jimmy García opened Tienda Hispana El Rayo at 119 Hillsboro St. in Pittsboro in October 2020. His store sells a variety of Hispanic goods, such as Mexican pottery, art, pastries and other foods. In Siler City, Bernardo Gallegos Rodríguez relocated his bakery, Panadería y Pastelería Melanie or better known as Melanie’s, in September. Located at 224 N. Chatham Ave., Bernardo offers cakes, cookies and bread.

daughters, nine grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

bought the building at 85 Hillsboro St. in Pittsboro in 1996. Gene designed the soda shop to reflect what it may have looked like in the early 1900s, creating a historic and cherished place for the community of Pittsboro. Gene named S&T’s after his two sons, Steve and T.J. Gene is survived by his wife, Vicky Thomas Oldham, his sons and two granddaughters. CM

Gene Oldham,

the owner and founder of S&T’s Soda Shoppe, passed away on Dec. 18, 2020, at age 68. Gene was born in Durham County and

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IN MEMORIAM Donald “Don” Joseph Whitt, a former Chatham County Sheriff, passed away on Nov. 30, 2020, at age 80. Don was born in Chatham and began his career with the Chatham County Sheriff’s Department in 1965. He served for 35 years before retiring from sheriff in 2000. Prior to that, Don served in the U.S. Navy for six years. Don was active in public service; he was a 32nd degree Mason and former Master of Columbus Lodge 102 in Pittsboro. He was also a past president of the Pittsboro Kiwanis Club and a member of Pittsboro Baptist Church. He is survived by his wife, Betty Jean Roberson Whitt, his son and three

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FEBRUARY / MARCH 2021

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WAYS TO CELEBRATE THE

SEMIQUINCENTENNIAL HONOR THE 250TH ANNIVERSARY OF CHATHAM COUNTY BY CHECKING SOME OF THESE CULTURAL EVENTS, HISTORICAL ACTIVITIES AND FUN EXCURSIONS OFF YOUR 2021 TO-DO LIST

• Ride back in time on the New Hope Valley • Spend the day at Jordan Lake or on North Carolina Railway Museum. Located in New Hill, the open-air museum features historic railway equipment, memorabilia, gardens and a gift shop.

the Haw River. Hike, kayak, picnic and more along the shores of these beautiful destinations. Keep an eye out for bald eagles and osprey.

• Read a poem (or a whole book of

poetry) by George Moses Horton on June 28, George Moses Horton Day. Horton was an enslaved African American poet from Chatham County and is the namesake of Horton Middle School. 22

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PHOTO BY BRIANA BROUGH

PHOTO COURTES

Y OF THE CHATH

AM COUNTY HIS

TORICAL ASSOC

IATION

Railway – a vintage train excursion at the


• Travel the scenic Devil’s Stompin’

• Walk on the wild side at the Carolina

Ground Road – also known as Devil’s

– a nonprofit wildcat sanctuary in Pittsboro. Tiger Rescue

Tramping Ground Road – from

Work your way through Chatham’s historical timeline from start to finish at the Chatham Historical Museum located in the Historic Chatham County Courthouse.

• Grab a cup of coffee from The Belted

Goat and a book from McIntyre’s Books in Fearrington Village. Later, attend a wine

class on the terrace followed by dinner and drinks at The Fearrington House Restaurant.

Goldston. Visit the mural in Goldston that

commemorates Charlie’s place in the Class of 1955 at Goldston High School and the plaque outside JR Moore & Son general store in Gulf that marks the spot that Charlie names in his autobiography as the site of his first paying musical gig.

• Follow Pittsboro-Siler City Convention

& Visitors Bureau’s Heart of NC Craft

Stop by Bynum General Store, a longtime gathering place built in 1936. After the store’s manager retired in 2006, Bynum Front Porch was created – a nonprofit organization focused on hosting familyfriendly events and programs that celebrate the community’s rich history.

PHOTO BY BETH MANN

Pittsboro to Bear Creek. The Devil’s Tramping Ground is located in a forest near Harpers Crossroads where local legend says that the Devil “tramps” around a barren circle of ground where nothing supposedly grows. While you’re in Bear Creek, stop by Southern Supreme for one of its gourmet fruitcakes.

• Attend Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival

of Music & Dance – a biannual festival

that takes place in May and October in Pittsboro on a 75-acre farm managed by Shakori Hills Community Arts Center.

Beverage Trail for a taste of what local

wineries and breweries have to offer. Or, take the Bed & Breakfast Trail to experience six unique inns in the area.

• Rent your gear from Endor Paddle to tube or kayak down the Deep River.

• The Camelback Truss Bridge near Gulf

is a great spot for a picnic with a view. Built circa 1910, the bridge crosses over the Deep River and is on the National Register of Historic Places. 

• Read Paul Cuadros’ book “A Home

on the Field: How One Championship Soccer Team Inspires Hope for the Revival of Small Town America” based on his experience founding and coaching the Jordan-Matthews High School soccer team.

• Enjoy a drink at the Chatham Beverage

District, home to Starrlight Mead, Copeland PHOTO BY MADELYN MATTHEWS

Springs Kitchen, Fair Game Beverage Co. and Chatham Cider Works.

• Charlie Daniels is best known for a

song about going down to Georgia, but his own trip into musical history traces to the Chatham town of Gulf, just outside FEBRUARY / MARCH 2021

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CHATHAM 250

PHOTO BY BETH MANN

Spend a Saturday morning at your closest farmers market – Fearrington Farmers Market, Pittsboro Farmers Market or the Chatham Mills Farmers Market – where all the vendors’ products are made or grown within 100 miles.

• On Labor Day weekend, visit Silk

for Old Fashioned Farmers Day – a showcase of antique farm machinery, old cars and equipment at Silk Hope Farm Heritage Park. Hope

• Plant a native tree, such as a Southern

Red Oak, from Mellow Marsh Farm in Siler City.

D iscover your Sanc t uar y

PHOTO COURTESY SILK HOPE RURITAN CLUB

• Learn more about native flora and

CONGRATS CHA THAM

fauna by signing up for an educational workshop taught by the Chatham County Cooperative Extension.

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Explore Chatham’s Brand New Community!

CHATHAM MAGAZINE

Visit chatham250.com to learn more about how you can participate in the yearlong semiquincentennial celebration. CM

First community in the area to offer 1 Gig high speed fiber internet Just steps away from an abundance of great dining and shopping experiences

sanctuarypowellplace.com 145 Retreat Drive Pittsboro, NC 919.542.0192

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Chatham 250 plans to host a Founding Day celebration in Pittsboro on April 10 from 2-5 p.m. to honor past and current founders of Chatham County. Visit “stations” along a drive-thru route, which starts near St Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church and moves down West Salisbury Street, finishing off at the parking lot across from Postal Fish Company.

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A very special thank you … To everyone who helped in the research and compilation of this issue commemorating the 250th anniversary of Chatham County. In addition to those quoted in the following stories, our gratitude goes to Lesley Richardson, Beverly Wiggins, Cindy Schmidt and the Chatham County Historical Association, among others in the Chatham 250 committees.


hanging onto our roots. helping you grow your own.

101 S. Small Street, Pittsboro

•

919 542 3353

•

chatha mfarm supp ly.com


July 1781 David Fanning and his Loyalist militia attacked Chatham Court House where other Loyalists were being courtmartialed. In the attack, Fanning captured 53 Patriots, including most of the court officials and militia officers, as well as several members of the General Assembly.

MOMENTS

IN TIME

1787 The town of Pittsborough, originally known as “Chatham Court House,” was named the county seat. Locals shortened Pittsborough from the old English spelling to Pittsboro sometime in 1893.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF CHATHAM COUNTY BY MARIE MUIR PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF CHATHAM COUNTY HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION

1750s European settlers arrived and established an English Quaker settlement in what is now Siler City.

12,000 – 8,000 B.C. Native Americans lived in the area now known as Chatham County. Spear points and scrapers were found along the New Hope Creek during construction of the B. Everett Jordan Lake Dam.

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1787 Pittsborough Academy was the first school established in the county. May 16, 1771 Residents known as Regulators fought and lost in the Battle of Alamance against British militia over corrupt colonial government practices.

April 1, 1771 The Colonial Assembly established Chatham County, named after the first earl of Chatham, England, William Pitt, who served as British Prime Minister from 1766-1768.

March 1781 – At the end of the American Revolutionary War, British army under Lord Cornwallis retreated through the county. They camped at places such as Chatham Court House, now Pittsboro, and Ramsey’s Mill and Tavern on the Deep River. Americans in pursuit, led by General Greene, camped along Tick Creek and used John Brooks’ home (said to be the first framed house and the first house with glass windows in Chatham County) as a headquarters.

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1849 Charles Manly, Pittsborough Academy graduate and local attorney, was elected governor of North Carolina for one term (1849-1851).

1850 The census listed the following occupations and their numbers: 1,434 farmers, 521 laborers, 39 blacksmiths, 38 mechanics, 35 shoemakers, 32 carpenters, 32 merchants and 11 peddlers.

1849 The Cape Fear and Deep River Navigation Company formed to improve water access for steamboats traveling to the coal deposits of Moore and Chatham counties.

1830 Chatham County total population: 16,242; slave population: more than 3,000

1800s The water at Mount Vernon Springs was believed to have healing properties. John Washington, descendant of George Washington, was one of many people who believed in and drank the “magic water.”

1852 The Western Railroad opened and connected Fayetteville to the coal mines of Egypt (now Cumnock).

1861 Following South Carolina’s secession from the Union, wealthy residents led by John H. Haughton met at the Baptist Church at Love’s Creek, near what is now Siler City, for antisecession meetings.

1860 Census: 19,000 total population; 6,000 enslaved people and 300-500 free Black people.


1888 Farmers Alliance Store opens in Siler City. After 130 years in business, the farm and garden store closed in 2018. Today, the historic building has been restored and reopened as a coworking space and event venue.

1871 Moncure was established after the Raleigh and Augusta Air Line Railroad obtained land there.

1877 An example of farm expenses: $196 (wages and board for hired man, $84; horse board, $60; interest, taxes, repairs, $10). Income: $160.50 (35 barrels of corn, $87.50; shucks and fodder, $15; 25 bushels of oats, $10; 40 bushels of wheat, $40; wheat and oat straw, $8).

1881 The Chatham County Courthouse was built in Pittsboro for $10,666. 1880s George Pilkington moved to Chatham County from England and opened the first drugstore in Pittsboro.

1878 The Chatham Record is established, the county’s oldest newspaper in continuous publication.

1882 Mount Vernon Springs post office is established.

1899 Chatham County native Clarence Poe became editor of The Progressive Farmer magazine.

1884 – The Cape Fear and Yadkin Valley Railroad opened; its traffic led to the development of Goldston, Bear Creek, Bonlee and Siler City. 1907 Goldston is incorporated.

PHOTO COURTESY OF JEFF DAVIS

1887 Siler City is incorporated.

1910 Siler City Mills is built.

May 27, 1925 Coal Glen Mine explosion near Farmville on the Deep River was the worst industrial accident in North Carolina history, killing 53 men.

1933-34 Pittsboro Colored School is renamed Horton School after George Moses Horton (1798-1883), an African American poet who was born a slave and lived in Chatham County; the school name was later changed to Horton High School and is now Horton Middle School. 1931 The Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital is built near Elkin, North Carolina. 1913 Bonlee High School was founded as a private institution in a two-story building that included an auditorium seating 500 and a 20-room dormitory. It became a public school in 1917.

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1951 The Coal Glen Mine permanently closed. 1957 The Chatham Community NAACP Branch No. 5377 was chartered. Residents join in the community branch’s fight to eliminate racial discrimination.

1938 Chatham County launched into the hothouse broiler business (eggs, chicks, feed, growing chickens and processing). Chatham was the leading poultry producer in the South by late 1960s.

Early 1950s A wooden bridge crossing the Haw River in Pittsboro collapsed beneath Walter Hugh Campbell and his Studebaker truck full of chickens and is known today as Chicken Bridge.

1950 The Chatham County Colored Agricultural Fair was held. Local founders included Robert Gade Bryant, Charles W. Baldwin and Mildred Bright Payton. Today, it is known as the Chatham County Agricultural and Industrial Fair. 28

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1967 The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers started construction on Jordan Lake Dam. The recreational reservoir was originally called New Hope Lake.

1975 The Silk Hope Ruritan Club hosted its first annual Old Fashioned Farmers Day event – a showcase of antique farm machinery, old cars and equipment. The event is held every Labor Day weekend at Silk Hope Farm Heritage Park.

1977 The county adopted the councilmanager form of government. Chatham has five county commissioners elected to four-year terms. They must reside in specific districts and are elected by voters.

1971 The Carolina Power & Light Company's Cape Fear Steam Electric Plant near Moncure used 63 rail cars' worth, or about 3,780 tons, of coal per day – enough to heat an average home for 400 years – in 1971. The plant was in operation from 1923 to 2011.

1970 Chatham County Schools are fully integrated.

2002 Chatham County hosts the first Fiesta Latina at Bray Park in Siler City to benefit El Vínculo Hispano. UNC journalism professor Paul Cuadros starts the first soccer program at JordanMatthews High School and leads the team to win the state championship in 2004. In 2006, he published “A Home on the Field: How One Championship Soccer Team Inspires Hope for the Revival of Small Town America” based on his experience.

1997 Gene Oldham opened S&T's Soda Shoppe, named after his two sons, Steve and T.J. Gene passed away in December 2020. George Moses Horton was named Historic Poet Laureate of Chatham County.

1995 El Vínculo Hispano or The Hispanic Liaison was founded in Siler City.

1978 June 28 is declared “George Moses Horton Day” by the state. George Moses Horton was the first African American man to publish a book, "The Hope of Liberty" (1829), in the South.

PHOTO BY BETH MANN

1936 Bynum General Store opened and was operated by James Gurney Williams and his wife Ruth Williams. In 2006, the Bynum Front Porch was created – a nonprofit organization that hosts a variety of community events, the most popular being its live concert series.

1960s-1980s The state’s first integrated poultry processing facility was at Carolina Poultry in Siler City. It later became Townsend. The old Townsend processing plant was purchased and updated by Mountaire Farms in 2016.


2004 The Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival of Music & Dance was launched. The biannual arts festival is held the first Thursday through Sunday in May and October in Pittsboro on a 75-acre farm managed by the Shakori Hills Community Arts Center. 2008 Chatham Hospital joins UNC Health Care and moves to a new 25-bed facility in Siler City. 2010 Chatham County ranked No. 1 in beef cattle production and No. 5 in hay production in North Carolina.

March 25, 2010 The Chatham County Courthouse caught fire while undergoing renovations. The interior was damaged by fire and water. Today’s Historic Courthouse retains its 1881 exterior, and the fire and water damaged interior was rebuilt and reopened in 2013.

2006 March in Siler City for immigrants’ rights.

2010 Census: total Chatham population: 63,505; 71% white, 13% Black, 13% Hispanic, 2% Asian, 1% Native American.

PHOTO COURTESY CENTRAL CAROLINA COMMUNITY COLLEGE

CHATHAM 250

2016 After closing in 2015 due to financial constraints, El Vínculo Hispano reopened its doors.

2019 The Chatham County Board of Commissioners voted to remove the statue of a confederate soldier that was placed at the north-facing entrance to the Courthouse circle in 1907 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

2018 Chatham County NAACP launched the Community Remembrance Coalition Chatham – an initiative to recognize the six documented victims who were lynched in the area between 1850 and 1950. The victims include: Harriet Finch, Jerry Finch, Lee Tyson, John Pattishall, Henry Jones and Eugene Daniel.

2020 Central Carolina Community College Chatham Health Sciences Center opened, CCCC’s newest building in Chatham County.

2020 Franklin Gomez Flores becomes the first Latino county commissioner elected in Chatham County.

We want all our citizens – Black, brown and white – to understand these past events, to remove the barriers to equal justice and to reconcile our community to a future where all citizens are equally and fairly treated. With that said, we are in the process of work to memorialize the victims of the lynchings with historical markers for all to understand and appreciate the significance of the past for today’s realities.” – Mary Nettles, president of the Community Remembrance Coalition – Chatham (pictured at left)

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PUTTING HER STAMP ON

CHATHAM

SALLY GREGOIRE’S WINNING LOGO DESIGN FOR CHATHAM’S 250TH ANNIVERSARY COMMEMORATION CAPTURES THE SPIRIT OF THE COUNTY

T

BY MORGAN CARTIER WESTON

he Chatham 250 planning committee knew it would be a challenge to design a logo that encompassed so much history when they decided to create an image to mark the anniversary. Chatham County Community Partners Analyst and Chatham 250 Project Manager

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FEBRUARY / MARCH 2021

PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOHN MICHAEL SIMPSON

Hilary Pollan says the committee agreed

the logo had to showcase the celebration’s themes: creative arts, diversity and community, growth and change, agriculture and the natural environment. “What better way to ensure we upheld these values than by conducting a countywide contest for the logo design?” Hilary says. A range of both professional and amateur artists submitted a total of


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CHATHAM 250

ABOVE More examples of Sally’s work. BELOW The mill tower and barn reach into Carolina blue skies dotted with clouds and overlook a layered green and ochre hillside interlaced by flowing rivers. A lavender border unites the scheme and provides a nod to the LGBTQ community. Sally says these color choices were not only intentional, but also serve as indicators of Chatham’s bright future.

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eight designs to the committee. “Our youngest contestant was a 12-year-old from Pittsboro,” Hilary says. “The entries all drew inspiration from distinct dynamics of Chatham County, but especially from [its] beautiful natural landscapes.” Sally Gregoire and her husband, Damon Gregoire, were celebrating an anniversary of their own – three years living in Pittsboro – when she first heard about the logo contest in September 2020. The couple met while attending the University of Vermont in the early 1990s and began their married life in Charlotte, North Carolina, before moving to Greenville, South Carolina, where they raised their three children (Emily, 25, Nick, 24, and Anna, 22). The newly minted empty nesters knew they wanted to spend the next phase of their lives near a creative college community, one with access to great health care, outdoor recreation and the arts. “We had always loved the Chapel Hill area, and because we spent the early years of our marriage in North Carolina, it was kind of like coming home,” Sally says. Sally has always been interested in art, taking classes or workshops wherever possible, but she didn’t always have time to fully immerse herself in it. She’s found a creative home here, becoming a member of the Pittsboro Gallery of Arts and WomanCraft Gifts in Carrboro. “After a lifetime of working and being a mom, I’m lucky to be able to pursue my passion for art at this stage of my life,” she says. Sally works predominantly with pen and ink, and she saw the logo contest as an opportunity to challenge herself. “I FEBRUARY / MARCH 2021

don’t normally incorporate color or create things that are symbolic, but I love nature and do consider myself an observer, so I thought I’d give it a shot,” she says. Sally recalls fond memories of hiking Vermont’s lush mountains growing up, an experience that instilled a respect and love of the outdoors that helped inform her design. “I do a lot of hiking through different state parks and land conservancies these days, and our rivers and streams are such an important facet of life in Chatham County,” Sally says. Her winning design features a riverstrewn landscape in the shape of a postage stamp. Sally explains that the shape and subject matter illustrate two methods historically connected with each other: written communication and our waterways. It was important to the committee that the winning design not only be attractive and distinctive, but also reflect the artist’s passion for Chatham County’s land and people. “With the themes of movement and connection between places and people, Sally’s design clearly emerged as the right fit for Chatham 250,” Hilary says. “Sally herself also represented all that we had hoped for in a contributing artist – someone who loves Chatham County and wanted to share their skills and talents with all of us for this special celebration.” “Now we communicate so often through digital means, but I think a stamp is a great framework for the evolution of the past 250 years,” Sally explains. The mill tower and barn depicted in the design are an almost spectral presence, representing their place in the county’s agricultural history. “I wanted it to feel fun, but also respectful,” she says, “a way of acknowledging our past, present and future with hope.” CM


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PAST AND

FUTURE TENSE

M BY JON SPOON

y first known ancestor settled in Chatham County just before the American Revolution and rose to the rank of captain in the Patriot Militia. Captain William Gholson’s exploits

included warning Loyalist leader David Fanning to stay out of Chatham County before killing his right-hand man and getting his house torched in response. The Revolution might have ended before Yorktown, if not for one snitch who foiled General Cornwallis’ capture at Ramsey’s Mill. Some of the first acreage that my family ever owned came in exchange for supplying Patriot forces in the war. By the time the railroads got to Chatham County, the family name had morphed into the more American “Goldston.” Joseph John Goldston donated land for a post office, a train station and a Methodist church around the turn of the century, and the town of Goldston was incorporated 34

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in 1907. The venerable town of Goldston has held a steady population of around 300 people since its inception and never budged from its place as the third and smallest incorporated town in Chatham County. My mother was raised just outside the town limits, across the pond from her grandparents. Her father left school early to work on the farm but was a smart man and built a successful timber and then dairy business. My mother loved art and learned to paint at Meredith College. After attending Chatham Central High School, my mom went back to teach students with learning disabilities. She spent my childhood as a professional artist but earned her master’s in literacy from UNC after going back to teach in Chatham County Schools. My parents met as teachers at JordanMatthews High School in Siler City.

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LEFT The author’s greatgrandparents: Albert A.W. Goldston and Mary (Moses) Goldston. BELOW Earl William Goldston and Blanche Olive Goldston, the author’s maternal grandparents. Earl owned a timber mill in Pittsboro and then a dairy farm in Goldston. “My grandparents got married in 1945 when they were 19 and 20,” around the time this photo was taken, Jon says. “They had three children, and their only daughter is my mom, Beth Goldston.”


I never knew much about my dad because he died when I was young, but many of the anecdotes I gathered came from his former students. It takes a lot to be remembered as a math teacher. I remember Mr. Sheridan at Northwood High, but Mr. Spoon at Jordan-Matthews was somewhat of a legend. Many people told me that he was the first person who could explain math in a way that they understood. Others said that they never understood math, but they respected my dad because he truly tried to help them learn. Nearly everyone I talked to remembered the machine gun fire of him writing equations on a chalkboard; I remember the small knot on his finger from where he held the chalk. Mr. Spoon was the cool calculus teacher who liked Waylon Jennings and never took off his newsboy cap. I was born in Greensboro and lived in Black Mountain for a while but moved back to Chatham at age 10. I went to J.S. Waters Elementary for a year before settling uncomfortably at Horton Middle. Fifth grade is a tough time to transition, but I made most of my greatest friends here. On my first day at Horton, a boy came up to me and said I could sit with him and his friends. Jeff Stewart has been like a brother to me ever since, and my formative years in Chatham were filled with deep and rewarding friendships. By the time I got to Northwood, I was enjoying life and blessed to go to a school with a great marching band, an overachieving theater program and enough sports to prove I was not a star at any of them. I went to undergrad, as millennials were instructed to do, with no sense of direction. I ended up with a history and art history degree with the vague notion that I wanted to be a lawyer for an art museum. I was glad for my eye-

opening legal education at N.C. Central University’s School of Law but soon realized that I did not want to be a lawyer. After law school, I moved to Washington, D.C., to work in a think tank or something. I thought that I had to be in a big place in order to make a big difference. I learned quickly that I needed birds and crickets instead of car horns and yelling. I longed for the restorative powers next to the Rocky River and was miserable in an overwhelming city. I moved back in the midst of a full-on existential crisis. When I really had nothing going, I landed an apprenticeship, of sorts, at Cole Pottery in Sanford. I learned pottery from one of the greatest living masters in the world and was able to see some of the most ancient North Carolina pottery processes. When I felt that I had learned enough to develop my own style, I rented a studio space at the North Carolina Arts Incubator in Siler City. I loved being surrounded by talented craftspeople in all different mediums. Chatham has an amazingly rich history in the arts, and I’m glad to have been involved in the Chatham Arts Council and the Chatham Artists Guild. I enjoyed doing art full time, but quickly realized art is not as freeing when it is your sole means of income. I decided to put my education to use and became the director for NCAI. I loved the people and the potential, but it was a herculean FEBRUARY / MARCH 2021

The author’s great-greatgrandfather Thomas Wellington Moses, greatgrandmother Mary Moses (Goldston) and great-uncle Obed Moses.

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CHATHAM 250

job for one person, and I needed health insurance and to start a retirement plan. I was glad to get a position as a Small Business Center coordinator for Central Carolina Community College

Jon Spoon with his dog, Scarlett. Pottery pieces by Neolia Cole, Mark Hewitt, Al McCanless and Jon Spoon.

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and quickly transitioned to role of the SBC’s director. Now I am excited to start a new position as the director of continuing education for Chatham County. I finally found a good balance with my feet firmly on the soil that I love. Chatham is a special place, and I am glad to be a part of its bright future. We are facing the fastest changing time in our history, but it does not have to be change for the worse. I would say that I was one of the people who liked Chatham how it was. I could drive to amenities when I needed them, and I savored the seclusion. I would not have minded if the county had just stayed the same, but that was never an option. We are surrounded by growing metropolitan areas, we have low taxes, and we have three rivers and a lake. Chatham was bound to grow, and now it is truly upon us. I understand those who wish it could remain as it is, but I hope that people do not let that quixotic longing make them miss the opportunity that is at hand. We have the opportunity to guide the development that happens here and inform developers as to our character. By and large, the developers who I have met in Chatham have a genuine desire to accentuate the character that already exists. The isolation part is out, but FEBRUARY / MARCH 2021

beyond that, developers want to build people-pleasing, desirable places. They chose here because we have beautiful natural landscapes, a vibrant arts and music culture, and an eccentricity that behooves them not to snuff out. Chatham County can grow in a way that amplifies its identity rather than paints over it. It takes real civic involvement and not just last-second pleas for project denials for this to work. To this end, I’ve been a member of the Chatham County Planning Board for the past four years. I encourage others who care about the future of Chatham to find a way to contribute to the vision. I hope that we can build a truly special, albeit larger, community in Chatham. I think we can be the place where Silicon Valley and Napa Valley meet, where we have cutting-edge careers available to the kids who grow up here and also source the produce for our farm-to-fork restaurants from 10 minutes down Highway 64. I think we can develop new tools like a Chatham land trust that would enable us to facilitate development of apartment buildings we need in the northeastern part of the county, while funding permanent conservation of natural areas along our rivers. In 2021, merely seizing up in fear of change will not be a worthwhile way forward. The change is coming, and our opportunities to guide it in a positive direction are more important than ever. I encourage you all to find a way that you can help define the character of Chatham County. There are obviously a lot of differing opinions for what that character is, but it will make for good discussions when the tables fill out. CM Jon Spoon is an artist and also the director of continuing education for Central Carolina Community College


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Ernest Dollar, local historian, Chatham

ON THE

MAP THE ROADS, RIVERS AND RAILWAYS THAT BUILT OUR COUNTY BY MORGAN CARTIER WESTON IMAGES COURTESY OF CHATHAM COUNTY HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION

BY THE NUMBERS Chatham County contains:

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707 square miles.

The geographic center of North Carolina, near the town of Gulf.

The 14th lowest and 52nd highest elevations of our state’s 100 counties.

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o say that a “quick trip to the store” looked a lot different 250 years ago would be an understatement. Three or four miles might not sound like much these days, but traveling any distance by horse, wagon or on foot was an ordeal at the time of Chatham County’s founding. In those days, roads were largely nonexistent, and there were few fencing and property maintenance regulations, meaning early Chathamites would have encountered a range of obstacles (think washed-out paths, difficult terrain and even neighbors’ livestock wandering the roadways). “Chatham County is home to some of the first roadways in America,” explains

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native and executive director of the City of Raleigh Museum. Geography played a huge role in dictating how these roads were formed. Roads were dirt, which turned to mud for a large portion of the year and, if passable, were slow. The few improved roads that did exist were “corduroy roads,” which were as bumpy as they sound. These were built using a series of logs laid perpendicular to the road in muddy areas to make them more wagonfriendly. While corduroy roads made some areas more passable, they were inconsistently maintained and often dangerous, especially for horses. These roads were maintained by the counties, and able-bodied men were obligated to donate their labor to road work as needed unless they could afford to pay a tax to avoid it. Plank roads were constructed in the 1850s. These roads were made from heavy, sawed timber and made for a firm, smooth roadway, but decayed after only a few years and so were mostly toll roads to help with their upkeep. Most bridges at that time were built and maintained by land owners, who also charged a toll for passage through their property. This meant travelers had to keep spare change or goods on hand to pay their way across. Heavy summer rains and occasional hurricane flooding made things even more dangerous for early land travelers – but they also made rivers more navigable. Plus,


rivers and streams were free (if you had a boat) and more pleasant to travel. Most of Chatham County is defined as a “back water,” meaning the land lies beyond navigable waterways, but it also includes the westernmost port in North Carolina. Early European settlers harvested the county’s abundant hardwood trees, such as oak and hickory, for shipbuilding, and used the softwoods like pine for making tar, pitch and turpentine. In the early 1800s, the Cape Fear and Deep River Navigation Company sought to make the upper Cape Fear River and lower Deep River continuously and reliably navigable for steamboats at their connection at the southernmost point of the county near Moncure. It took several days, but steamboats could carry goods and people from cities like Wilmington and Fayetteville to Moncure. As previously mentioned, timber was a popular export from Chatham County to shipbuilders on the coast, as was coal, abundant in both Chatham and Moore counties. Steamboats, however, require at least 5 feet of continuous water to move safely through the rivers, meaning that dams had to be constructed and continuously repaired. The Cape Fear and Deep River Navigation Company funded a project to do just that from 1849 to 1873, but ultimately the profits from carrying produce, coal and timber could not offset the costs associated with maintaining the route, and the project failed. “It’s too bad, because a successful port would have been a game changer for Chatham,” Ernest says. The Pittsboro Railroad was chartered in 1886, creating a 10-mile connector

from Moncure to Pittsboro that took 11 months to complete. An out-of-towner was so moved by the positive attitude of the citizens after its opening celebration that they wrote a letter to Henry A. London, president of the Pittsboro Railroad, saying, “I am persuaded that Pittsboro deserves her reputation for refined hospitality. The state is far richer for having brought such clever, nice people closer to the balance of mankind.” Even with improvements to roadways and rail travel, water continued to be problematic to land travelers. The New Hope River and valley flooded frequently, preventing safe travel on many Chatham roads, which kept workers from earning and children from getting to school. Hard surfacing first came into use in Chatham when the state highway system began in 1921, but Highway 64 was not established until 1932. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers performed the first dam survey for what would become Jordan Lake in 1933. An update to the survey was ordered in 1945 after Hurricane 9 flooded the Cape Fear River basin to its highest point on record, 68.9 feet. The dam was redesigned to control flooding of both the Cape Fear and New Hope rivers; funding for the revised plan came through in 1963 thanks to North Carolina Senator B. Everett Jordan, the lake’s namesake. The lake FEBRUARY / MARCH 2021

A 1983 map by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers shows the Haw and New Hope Rivers, plus surrounding roads, railroads, towns and the Jordan Lake dam site.

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was completed in 1983. Much of the land now beneath Jordan Lake was originally inhabited by North Carolina’s native peoples, and many artifacts were excavated and preserved. “The legacy of Native Americans is always with us, even if we don’t recognize it or realize it,” Ernest says. “Many roads and bridges we have today are simply wider versions of footpaths that native tribes used to migrate and track game.” Because animals always take the easiest path across water or through the forest, European settlers quickly realized these were the ideal paths for horses and wagons, too. In fact, the earliest “bridges” in Chatham were on these ancient hunting paths, which traversed rivers at their shallowest – and safest – point. Today, Chatham’s rolling hills and nourishing rivers are much easier to navigate, and it is nearly impossible to imagine having to stop for a passing donkey or herd of cows to cross the road. Our county still bears many hallmarks of its agricultural roots, but we are now more connected than ever. So, the next time you take a ride down Highway 15-501 or Highway 64, remember that it didn’t happen overnight. CM

ABOVE This map by Nathan Alexander Ramsey (18271906) shows landowners, townships, churches, foundries, schools, retail stores, mills, poor houses, coal veins, creeks, rivers, roads and the Chatham Railroad. RIGHT A 1983 map by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers depicts Jordan Lake and nearby roads and communities.

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FEBRUARY / MARCH 2021


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CHATHAM MAGAZINE

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LIVES

LIVED WORDS AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY MIKE ZBAILEY

N

ine tombstones rise starkly above the barren ground inside an old stone wall near Galloway Ridge. They tell the story of the Smith and Jones families, who lived on this land and whose legacy is an important part of American history. All the complexities and contradictions of the Southern slave-owning society of the 19th

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century influenced the lives of the eight family members and one friend buried in the cemetery. Francis Jones (17601844), the patriarch, was a veteran of the Revolutionary War and a major landowner. This land, called Jones Grove Plantation, was his crown jewel. Francis once offered to donate part of his land for a college to be built at this location. He was turned down in favor of the small hamlet called Chapel Hill. Mary Parke Jones (1761-1811) was his wife, and Ruffin Jones (1794-1836) was their unmarried son. Their daughter, Delia Jones (1787-1852), is buried a few feet away next to her husband, James Strudwick Smith (1787-1852). James was the illegitimate son of William Francis Strudwick. The Strudwicks were a prominent family in Hillsborough and part of the upper class. The Smith family lived nearby but were poor and of a different social class. William was 17 when he fathered his son and did not marry the child’s mother. James later said, “Having been born poor, I have had to be the architect of my own future.” Aggressive and ambitious, James was unpopular among his colleagues because

FEBRUARY / MARCH 2021

of his blatant self-promotion. After studying medicine briefly at the University of Pennsylvania and becoming a doctor in Hillsborough, James’ ambitions took him far from medicine. He owned a general store, a copper shop and land, some of which he inherited from his father-in-law, Francis. He was a member of the U.S. Congress from 1817 to 1821 and became a trustee of UNC in 1821. The Smiths had three children. The oldest, Mary Ruffin Smith (1814-1885), was raised as a refined, educated Southern lady of the time. Mary’s father purchased an enslaved 15-year-old girl named Harriet to be her personal servant. In the census records, Harriet is identified as mulatto, then a designation for mixed race. Later, Harriet married Reuben Day, a freedman, and they had a son, Julius. Since they were not permitted to live together as a family, Harriet lived in a cabin in Hillsborough. Maria Louisa Spear (1804-1881), the only non-family member buried in the cemetery, was hired to tutor Mary, and they formed a long friendship. The sons, Francis Jones “Frank” Smith (1816-1877) and James Sidney Smith (18191867), both attended UNC. Frank also


attended medical school and, although he did not graduate, he became a doctor like his father. James Sidney, known by his middle name, was high-spirited and difficult and developed a serious drinking problem. In spite of his reputation as a drunkard, he became a well-known politician. In her family memoir, “Proud Shoes,” Pauli Murray, Sidney’s descendant, vividly describes Sidney’s stalking and sexual assault of Harriet. The next day, Frank, who had his own designs on Harriet, severely beat his brother and left him bleeding. Harriet became pregnant by Sidney, and their daughter, Cornelia, was born in 1844. Frank then developed his own dominant relationship with Harriet, a liaison that produced three children, Emma, Annette and Laura. In the meantime, James’ aggressive land speculations and other ill-fated business ventures finally caught up with him, and he became mired in debt. He astutely sheltered most of his assets within his family before declaring bankruptcy in 1845. Even in the midst of the bankruptcy, the Smiths, who all lived in Hillsborough, built a large house named Oakland at their property called Price Creek Plantation. The stately house still stands nearby on Smith Level Road. The entire dysfunctional family – James, now mentally and physically incapacitated due to the strain of the bankruptcy; Delia, his wife; Frank, the lecherous and now part-time doctor who maintained bitterness toward his brother; and the drunkard lawyer-politician Sidney

– lived in the house. Mary, appalled by her brothers’ lifestyles, brought her four nieces, her brothers’ children, to live in the house and be raised and educated as family members.

BEYOND THE TOMBSTONES

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idney died in 1867 at the age of 48 and Frank in 1877 at the age of 61. Frank was buried in the Jones Grove cemetery. Mary was now one of the wealthiest landowners in the area, thanks to her inheritance. Harriet was freed after the Civil War and lived in a cabin near Oakland. In 1872, while in her cabin, she was struck by lightning and became paralyzed. Mary provided daily care until Harriet’s death in 1873. Mary’s four nieces remained in the house with her, and Maria Spear moved into Oakland after Frank’s death. The four nieces were courted under Mary’s watchful eye and each eventually married. Cornelia, Sidney’s daughter, and the oldest, married Robert Fitzgerald in 1869. He was a Civil War veteran from the African-American 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, had attended college and moved south to help educate the freed slaves. He would become the grandfather of Pauli Murray, the most notable descendant.

In her will, Mary Ruffin Smith gave her nieces – Emma, Annette and Laura – 100 acres each, cut from the Jones Grove Plantation land. The remainder, about 1,400 acres, was willed to UNC. The cemetery is still owned by the university.

FEBRUARY / MARCH 2021

Kemp Battle, the president of the struggling post-Civil War UNC, was one of Mary’s good friends and was named executor in her will. Her closest friend, Maria, died at Oakland in 1881. She was buried in the Jones Grove cemetery. Mary confided to a friend, “I am alone in this world. I miss her too much.” Mary Ruffin Smith died quietly at Oakland in 1885, at the age of 71. She was described in the newspaper as “a lady of uncommon strength of mind, lofty character and large charity.” A large procession of carriages escorted the hearse to the cemetery. Her brother Sidney and her parents were later moved to that cemetery from their earlier burial place at Price Creek. In her will, Mary gave her nieces – Emma, Annette and Laura – 100 acres each, cut from the Jones Grove Plantation land. The remainder, about 1,400 acres, was willed to UNC. The cemetery is still owned by the university. Mary Ruffin Smith is honored with a plaque inside Memorial Hall. Cornelia received 100 acres from the Price Creek Plantation. The rest of that property was willed to the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina. An impressive monument was placed at her grave and a three-foot wall was built around the

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CHATHAM 250

cemetery, which now has nine gravestones.

THE NEXT CHAPTER

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Price Creek Plantation on Smith Level Road.

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ichard Fitzgerald taught school, farmed and had a small brick-making operation. He slowly went blind because of a war injury but still managed to build a small house at 906 Carroll St. in Durham, where it still stands. Agnes, one of Richard’s children, became a nurse and moved to Baltimore where she married William Murray. Their youngest child, named Anna Pauline – Pauli – was born in 1910. Pauli’s parents died at a young age, and when she was 3, she went to live with her grandparents, Cornelia and Robert Fitzgerald, in Durham. Pauli graduated from Hillside High School in Durham and then from Hunter College in New York in 1933. She worked as a teacher and social worker and met Eleanor Roosevelt when she visited a women’s working camp in upstate New York where Pauli was employed. They formed a long friendship. Pauli applied to UNC’s law school in 1938. She was refused admission because of her race. In 1940, Pauli and a friend took a bus from New York to Durham to visit her family. They were arrested for sitting in the front of the bus and refusing to go to the back. She would not pay the fine and spent several days in jail before being released. In 1941, Pauli entered Howard University School of Law, where she was the only woman. She was class president and graduated first in the class. Harvard Law School traditionally offered a fellowship for further study to the top student at Howard. Pauli applied but was FEBRUARY / MARCH 2021

rejected because of her gender. She later earned a doctorate from Yale Law School. Pauli became a civil rights lawyer and activist for women’s rights. Her writings were used as part of the basis for the landmark school desegregation case, Brown v. Board of Education. Pauli was not shy about advocating for important issues and wrote a critical letter to her friend Martin Luther King Jr. asking why there were no women in leadership positions in 1963’s March on Washington. Future Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg named Pauli an honorary co-author in her 1971 Reed v. Reed brief, which successfully overturned a gender discrimination case before the Supreme Court. Pauli was also a co-founder of the National Organization for Women, was on President Kennedy’s Commission on the Status of Women and published the highly acclaimed biography of her grandparents called “Proud Shoes.” Pauli became the first Black woman in the country to become a priest in the Episcopal church, the church of Mary Ruffin Smith. Her first service was in the small Chapel of the Cross in Chapel Hill, where her grandmother Cornelia was baptized. Pauli was sainted by the Episcopal church in 2012. The bishop said of her, “Pauli Murray had an agenda for human good that was constant and unswerving.” Pauli Murray died July 1, 1985. Her girlhood home on Carroll Street is being restored and will house the Pauli Murray Center for History and Social Justice. The Jones Grove land passed through several owners and eventually was owned by R.B. Fitch, who developed Fearrington Village. Pauli’s legacy lives on in the laws of the land as well as the lives she has influenced. The nine tombstones in this small cemetery have a checkered history but an important legacy that endures. CM


C HATHAM AR ARTISTS TISTS GUILD creating … collaborating … contributing

The Chatham Artists Guild was founded on the concept of creating an artists’ collective. Our signature event, an annual tour of artist studios, was the first of its kind in North Carolina and remains instrumental in building community among local artists. This highly respected art venue connects the public with Chatham County artists, providing a rare glimpse into the creative process. This year, the Guild will hold its 29th Annual Studio Tour the first two weekends of December. Now is the time for artists of all kinds to join us and become part of our future!

Join Us!

Accepting applications thru February 14 ChathamArtistsGuild.org

FEBRUARY / MARCH 2021

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THIS ONCE HISTORICAL LANDMARK IS lastly becoming one of the most innovative business areas in the state’s region. The modernity of the county is formed by [a] younger generation. Now seasoned with diversity, this new generation shares hope and is establishing a conglomerate of progress. It is most important that the line of communication is strengthened within the generation of cultures to ensure the genuine continuity of education to our offspring. We are to press the historical lineage into the past and lift the future focus upon success and servitude to promote further growth of our beloved homeland.”

THE NEXT

250 LOCAL LEADERS SHARE WHAT THEY SEE IN CHATHAM’S FUTURE

LENDY A. CERNA CARIAS, teacher assistant, Siler City Elementary School; co-chair of Chatham 250

CREATIVITY. IN CHATHAM, THERE’S SUCH A MAGICAL combination of independent thinking and also honest collaboration. I believe Chatham can create the coolest approaches to everything from how our downtowns look, to how we take care of our farmland, to how we integrate technology, to how we treat one another. Of course, I’d love to see art popping up in fields and on the sides of buildings from Moncure to Bennett, and I’d love to see folks crowding around to hear live music and see live dance and soak in live theater.” CHERYL CHAMBLEE, executive director, Chatham Arts Council 46

CHATHAM MAGAZINE

THERE ARE A FEW THINGS WE know for certain. First, our population will continue to increase. More houses will be built and more businesses will relocate here. Second, because of national and local trends, our population will be older. Finally, our population as a whole will become more diverse. Chatham County leaders have long recognized and planned for these ‘certainties.’ After much public input, county commissioners adopted a comprehensive plan in 2017 that guides decision-making. The Chatham County Council on Aging completed its own strategic plan and is always [making] sure we can address the needs of the county’s older adults. I am hopeful the county will be able to address these trends in ways that

FEBRUARY / MARCH 2021

preserve what we are at our core. ... If I could wish anything for our future, it is that we appreciate what we have and make sure the growth and change ahead of us does not destroy what’s so great about living here – our tolerance of differences, our natural resources, our farms and our small-town, friendly way of being. With Chatham 250, I see a way to remind ourselves anew of the incredible place we live in. There is enough room in our 707 square miles for all of us who call Chatham home, both now and in the future.” RENEE PASCHAL, board member, Chatham County Council on Aging; co-chair of Chatham 250

I EXPECT THE DEVELOPMENT of Chatham Park to lead the way for Chatham County’s [transformation] from a bedroom community to a robust and integral part of the Triangle economy. Chatham Park will attract major employers within the development, which will also serve as a magnet for attracting other development and businesses nearby. This increase in commercial taxpayers will help Chatham’s tax base to be less dependent upon residential taxpayers, which will allow for increased funding for schools, broadband, parks and other desired quality-of-life improvements.” CHRIS EHRENFELD, owner, Bold Construction

THE PANDEMIC WILL BE OVER, and we will be stronger for having learned to adapt. Infrastructure investments will ensure higher quality water, sewer and broadband are available countywide. Our downtown municipalities will be populated with small businesses and see


a resurgence in economic vitality while preserving their historic charm. Education opportunities will offer expanded career path options, new workforce development training and increased access. Health care services will continue to improve, offering residents complete in-county services across all age groups. Recreation and cultural attractions will further develop, providing residents more options for both physical and intellectual development. Careful stewardship of our county’s resources will provide continued quality of life and preserve the natural beauty we value today.” DOUG EMMONS, treasurer, Main Street Pittsboro; past board chair, Chatham Economic Development Corporation

AS WE CELEBRATE 250 YEARS, the work of so many community leaders has positioned the county for significant success in the coming years. The opportunity to build on the current regional momentum in the life science sector is tremendous. The Triangle Innovation Point business park in Moncure will position the county for success in this high growth knowledge industry. The sustained efforts and investment at the Chatham-Siler City Advanced Manufacturing Site puts the western part of the county in an excellent position to be a key part of the regional marketing efforts from the Carolina Core. The site is located on the future Interstate 685, which only adds to the opportunity to bring new jobs and investment to the area.

Chatham Park will bring another level of energy and enthusiasm that will benefit the entire community. As this live/work/play development grows, our part of North Carolina will continue to grow and thrive and be known as a top destination for business and residential development, and, combined with the other business parks, creates a unique array of assets across the county for emerging growth companies. Chatham County’s established base of core, long-standing businesses [is] vital to the continued success of economic vitality for our county. Efforts to support, sustain, grow and expand these businesses will remain an important objective in Chatham County.” MICHAEL SMITH, president, Chatham Economic Development Corporation

IT IS MY HOPE THAT A FUTURE Chatham County will have abundant, clean and potable water, broadband access for all and plentiful, safe and affordable housing. Electric shuttle service throughout Chatham will be available, specifically a loop that connects Chatham Park, the Chatham Beverage District, Central Carolina Community College and the Chatham County Agriculture & Conference

with downtown Pittsboro to encourage easy, quiet and clean transportation for residents and visitors. Safe bicycle and pedestrian trails, paths and walkways will connect residential areas with commercial areas. Downtown Pittsboro and downtown Siler City will grow with a mix of locally owned restaurants, night spots and shops. The primary municipalities will have a greater variety of lodging options, which will

Center

provide rooms for visitors and generate tax revenues. More art galleries and performance venues [will open] for the abundance of talented visual and performing artists who live here and thrive in our downtowns.” LESLEY L. LANDIS, Lesley Landis Designs

I AM VERY OPTIMISTIC that Chatham County has a very bright future. To understand my optimism, one would have to take a quick trip back into our history. Over the 50 years, we have progressed tremendously in welcoming people of diverse cultural backgrounds to participate in the political process and the business and corporate community. I would be the first to admit that this has not always been the case. As a former County Commissioner, I have seen the debates over the years involving ‘newcomers versus old Chatham natives,’ ‘pro- versus anti-development,’ ‘conservationist versus big business,’ and the list goes on. To move forward positively, I think we need to acknowledge that we have not done everything right. No county has. For many years, we have not adequately recognized our minority populations historically or their contributions. The African American and Latino communities, in the past, have not been invited to the table to sit and make decisions directly affecting our county. But, in recent years, minority involvement is changing significantly. We have recently elected the first Latino to the board of commissioners.” CARL E. THOMPSON SR., senior pastor, Word of Life Christian Outreach Center; co-chair of Chatham 250 CM

FEBRUARY / MARCH 2021

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D E V E L O P M E N T

HERE WE

GROW AGAIN DEVELOPERS SHARE UPDATES ON LOCAL PROJECTS AND HOW THE PANDEMIC FACTORS INTO THOSE PLANS BY ANNA-RHESA VERSOLA

ocal developer Greg Stafford tapped the toe of his boot on a cement doorstep where a 1919 Buffalo nickel might be hiding beneath decades of paint layers at the Justice Motor Company building in downtown Pittsboro. “Imagine that,” Greg says, reflecting on how a coin that was minted during the Spanish flu more than

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PHOTO BY JOHN MICHAEL SIMPSON

100 years ago could be uncovered this week during a redevelopment project in the middle of another global pandemic. Greg owns the 1940s building that originally housed a car dealership and, most recently, the Pittsboro Roadhouse restaurant and performance venue; its owners are relocating to Chatham Mills with a new concept. Major renovations to the historic building are part of a larger development project called SoCo, shorthand for South of the Courthouse, and covers property

FEBRUARY / MARCH 2021


Before heading off to N.C. Central School of Law and becoming a developer, Greg Stafford was a saxophonist for a local ’80s rock band called The Pressure Boys. His SoCo project will bring his love of music and people together. “Those who can’t play, build stages,” Greg says. FEBRUARY / MARCH 2021

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DEVELOPMENT

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The building to the left of the Justice Motor Company building is set to be demolished and in its place will be an outdoor patio of about 6,000 square feet.

from 39 West St. to 56 Sanford Rd. By the end of this year, the entire 30,000-squarefoot complex is expected to include two separate performance stages, three outdoor dining spaces, multiple restaurants, businesses and a rooftop bar. Despite the upheavals of 2020, including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, local developers and municipal leaders have reasons to be more optimistic in 2021: • Businesses are adapting. Restaurants are moving away from indoor dining to takeout or delivery service. Essential and non-essential employees are switching from faceto-face meetings to virtual platforms like Zoom or Cisco Webex. • Mass migrations are shifting demographics from urban to suburban. More people are moving to North Carolina than ever before, according to data from moving company United Van Lines and Unacast, a New York-based data mining company. • Relief programs and vaccines are more widely available. By the time you’re reading this, vaccinations will be offered to people younger than 75 and workers beyond the health care industry. Relief programs, such as PPP, EIDL, CARES and HOPE, are likely to continue offering support to those most in need. “There’s a great deal of potential here in this county,” says Susan Keller of Rampart Property Management, a Sanford-based company managing Sanctuary at Powell Place, a $32 million development that offers Chatham County’s first market-rate apartments in many years. The first phase of the apartments became available in May


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This new twostory building next door to The Modern Life Deli and Drinks will also feature an outdoor seating area as well as a rooftop bar.

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2020, and the next phase was expected to wrap up by the end of January. “It’s fueled in many ways. Companies are coming to the area. More people are finding they can work remotely from home, so they can live anywhere. They don’t have to live in a big city. “In my view, people are still planning for things to happen,” Susan adds. She says she grew up moving a lot, but this area offers a quality of life hard to find in other places. “The land is beautiful,” she says. “You’ve got rolling hills. You can drive three hours to the mountains or to the beach. It’s hard to beat.” She adds that the personality of downtown Pittsboro has its charms as well. “It’s wonderfully historic and wonderfully quirky and wonderfully politically aware,” she says. “They are not afraid to engage here.” The county is undergoing a major transformation driven primarily by the expansive Chatham Park project, a 7,068-acre community to be completed by 2045. According to a 2017 fiscal analysis report, total revenue at completion is projected to be $62 million, including property tax revenues of $15.5 million from the North Village, where construction is underway for Mosaic, a 136-acre, $350 million commercial retail FEBRUARY / MARCH 2021

gateway to Chatham Park. The first homes went up for presale back in March 2020, around the same time as the pandemic shutdowns, and the first family moved in to Chatham Park’s Vineyards Cottages in November 2020. COVID-19 brought a “new normal” with numerous restrictions, mandatory masks and physical distancing. Outbreaks of infections disrupted supply chains and workforce continuity. Companies learned to cope with workarounds along with adjusting their business models to regain productivity in essential businesses within industries like construction, health care, groceries and restaurants. Luckily, Mosaic already integrated outdoor spaces into its designs, making it easier to adhere to guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper’s executive orders. “After any other major traumatic event, I think there will be some futureproofing,” says Kirk Bradley, CEO of LeeMoore Capital Company, a Sanford-based developer for Mosaic. “This pandemic will be top of mind for many years. “It’s no question [COVID-19] had an impact, but everybody’s had to make accommodations,” Kirk says, noting the disproportionate impact on small, nonessential businesses. “It’s tricky. The rules


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have been uneven. Our state has been better than other states, like California. The governor’s trying to strike a balance allowing freedom of movement and not overwhelming the hospitals.” Ann Fitts, a communications specialist at Chatham Economic Development Corporation, says there is at least one positive side effect from the pandemic. “Chatham has always had a leakage problem,” Ann says about people who live in Chatham but spend their money at shops and restaurants in surrounding counties. Current and future projects will create hyperlocal opportunities. “The pandemic has people staying home, and they’re spending their money here.” Siler City is preparing for brighter days ahead in terms of economic recovery. “I’m certain that we’re going to see some growth,” says Roy Lynch, Siler City town manager. “We have a number of individuals looking to develop here.” Roy says Siler City’s proximity to Chatham Park, plus the Triangle and Triad regions, makes the western part of Chatham County appealing to major developers. Last quarter, Charter Furniture opened a new and expanded 260,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Siler City. By mid-2023, the town’s wastewater treatment facility will complete its capacity upgrades, going from 4 million gallons per day to 6 million gallons per day. “We see things starting to move in a positive trend in our downtown,” Roy says. Renovations of several historic buildings will revitalize an entire block, bounded by North Chatham Avenue, West Raleigh Street, West Second Street and North Birch Avenue. The project is called Wren Corner Properties, which will have apartments, a brewery/taproom and space for a restaurant. “We’ve been very thankful that we’ve been able to move on with what we have,” Roy says. “Our staff has remained healthy and remains vigilant. Even when our public works department goes out to job sites, everyone has a mask on when they’re riding in a vehicle together. If you see someone not wearing a mask, you need to let me know.” Back in Pittsboro, the North Carolina Department of Transportation began its own $2.5 million project on Jan. 11 to mill and resurface the roundabout in the heart of town. Detours will disrupt traffic patterns until October. The project will also improve safety for drivers and pedestrians and will make upgrades to water and sewer services for downtown businesses, including Greg’s SoCo project. Greg says no one can stop the pandemic, but the pandemic cannot stop the potential for recovery and growth in Chatham County. He might even have a special nickel to prove it. CM


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Williams family members: Ona Geraldine Horton, Carolyn Hatchett, Cloyce Lassister, Faydean Richardson and John P. Horton on their family’s property near the northeast edge of Jordan Lake.

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F A M I LY

TREES LONGTIME CHATHAMITES REMEMBER THEIR ROOTS BY MORGAN CARTIER WESTON

NORTHWOOD CLASS OF 1972

PHOTO BY JOHN MICHAEL SIMPSON

“L

ike everyone in my family, I was raised at New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, which my grandmother, Josephine Williams, helped found,” says Cloyce Lassiter. Cloyce grew up at the end of New Hope Church Road; her parents were tenant farmers and bought their land in 1946. Her family

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The Taylor family at their homeplace circa mid1930s. These are the descendants of Thomas Jefferson Taylor and Alice Gertrude Horton Taylor (pictured in center). Thomas J. Taylor was the grandson of Thomas and Rachael Taylor, the original buyers of the land.

relocated to Durham for part of her childhood, but Cloyce graduated from Northwood High School in 1972, the second class to do so after Chatham County Schools were desegregated. Today, she lives on part of the same 40 acres her grandmother Josephine, who was enslaved prior to the end of the Civil War, was given, near what is now the northeast edge of Jordan Lake. Cloyce, her cousins and other relatives, many of whom still live nearby, celebrated

their 125th consecutive Williams family reunion last year (though it was their first virtual one due to the pandemic). The tradition began in 1895 with Josephine’s 10 children; now, in a typical year, the gatherings draw up to 300 of her descendants to Chatham County. “The second Sunday in May, Mother’s Day, we keep the tradition alive,” Cloyce says. “It means a lot to have so many people you can count on.” Mary Jo Austin Gilmore’s family has lived near Chatham Forest for more than 130 years, on land purchased in December 1865 and January 1867 by her fourth great-grandfather Thomas Taylor (180758

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1881), likely with funds earned through his skill as a mason. “We believe that he may be one of the first formerly enslaved people to purchase land after slavery ended,” Mary Jo says. The original house built there for the family stood until a fire in the mid 2000s. “A lot of history was lost in the house,” Mary Jo says. Her paternal grandparents and great-grandparents left Chatham County for Mississippi in the early 1900s to pursue better opportunities. “They were limited to sharecropping in the Mississippi Delta and returned to Pittsboro around 1941.” Mary Jo, like Cloyce, graduated from Northwood in 1972 and stayed in Pittsboro because of her family’s history, raising her children, Victoria and Felicia, here. “I like country living, plus this is the home of my parents and grandparents and ancestors,” she says. “Both of my parents left school without completing their high school education, but they worked hard and bought land off Fire Tower Road and made a home for us. It is important to me to see their hard work and efforts preserved for generations to come, and I think Pittsboro is a good place to live, to raise your children with a feeling of belonging to a community.” Cloyce and Mary Jo’s Northwood classmate Mary Nettles grew up with strong female role models, and many of her earliest memories are of hours spent in a pew next to her mother at Mitchell Chapel AME Zion Church. “My mother


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loved to sing at church and always told me to stay in my lane and follow my heart,” she says. Mary, who spent much of her career working at UNC Hospitals, says being raised in Chatham County surrounded by generations of family helped shape her into the person she is today. “I’ve had many eye-opening experiences, but they do not compare to what my mother and grandmother and greatgrandmother faced,” she says. “They did not talk much about what things were like, which is why I only found

A Taylor family dinner at the homeplace, circa 1919. The home mysteriously burned in the 2000s, so few images remain.

out about the lynchings that occurred in Chatham County in 2018.” Mary now serves as Chatham Community NAACP Branch No. 5377’s president, and last year worked with its Equal Justice Initiative to memorialize the six who were killed

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between 1885 and 1921. “They deserve to have their stories told, and in that way, we can all continue moving forward together,” Mary says.

COMMUNITY BUILDERS

“‘M

y people,’ as they call it, can trace our lineage in Chatham to my third great-grandfather, Isaac Brooks, who lived here from 1727-1825,” says Cecilia Budd Grimes. Her family was always invested in the people, land and community in Chatham. “My father was the founder of Cecil Budd Tire Company, which he opened in Siler City in 1936 after returning home from Guilford College.” Cecilia’s late husband, John Grimes, who served as mayor of Siler City for four terms, later ran the business for 49 years. “My maternal grandfather, Dr. William Clyde Thomas, came to Chatham County after completing medical school at the University of Virginia in 1917,” Cecilia says. “He began Chatham Hospital after setting up his practice in Siler City. My paternal great-grandfather owned a cattle farm in Mount Vernon Springs, right across from the actual springs,” Cecilia says. Today, her son Stephen Grimes is now the farm’s fifth-generation owner. Jerry Stone’s great-grandparents Edgar Milton Stone and Nora Williams Stone brought their large family of three sons and four daughters to Siler City from northwestern Chatham County around 1900. Edgar wanted his children educated at the famed Thompson School, and so he bought a 100-acre farm about a mile west of town and provided generously for his family and neighbors. Highway 64 was built across his farmland, connecting Siler City to Asheboro and all points west, and then through town on the east side to Pittsboro and Raleigh. 60

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Joyce Jones Cotten can trace her family’s Chatham history back to 1790. She was born in 1942, the fourth child of Pansy Jones and Sam Jones, and grew up on a 232-acre farm located near what is now North Pea Ridge Road. Though the majority of her family’s land is now beneath Jordan Lake, she grew to love nature and the land itself on that farm. “I learned what it was like to grow your own food and to persevere through the good times and the difficult times,” Joyce says. Joyce attended Pittsboro Elementary School and graduated from Pittsboro High School in 1961. She attended Campbell College and returned to Pittsboro High School (later Northwood High School), where she taught until 1981. Joyce then taught at Lee County High School until her retirement in 2000. Joyce says she elected to stay in Chatham because of its laid-back rural atmosphere and to be near her family and lifelong friends.

INSPIRED ENTREPRENEURS

J

erry Stone’s lifelong friend Robert Wrenn’s family founded Wrenn Lumber Company in the 1930s. First led by Charlie Wrenn and his brother, it was later managed by Charlie’s son, Willis Wrenn, and his nephew, June Wrenn. The company sawmill changed the name to Wrenn Brothers Lumber Inc., which was run and operated by Willis’ three sons until the 1980s economic recession. The

FEBRUARY / MARCH 2021


KICKER

Pansy Jones and Sam Jones, parents of Joyce Jones Cotten, in 1928

brothers then reinvented the company to include a flooring business called WrennWood; Wrenn Brothers Lumber is still in operation today under Robert’s leadership. Robert’s wife, Jane Wrenn, serves as director of Salvation Army Chatham. Ed Spence’s grandparents James Spence and Frances Spence lived in Siler City and Moncure in the late 1800s before settling in Randolph County. Their son, Ed’s father, James Jr., moved to Siler City in the 1920s and married his mother, Anne Holler, in 1930; Ed was born in 1938, the youngest of three. Ed recalls shopping in locally owned stores that were closed on Sundays, doctors who made house calls, annual Christmas parades with horses and vintage cars, and a barrel placed in the middle of the city square each time the Siler City Millers baseball team played at home. “Holland Radio Store became the first TV store,” Ed says. “Mr. Holland would put a TV in the front window, and people would gather outside to watch the 15-minute newscast five days a week and ‘The Lone Ranger’ on Thursdays. “Once, my wife, Becky, was ordering takeout at Johnson’s Drive In and the owner’s wife asked if the order was for me,” he says. When Becky said it was, she responded that was not the way Ed liked his cheeseburger. “Everyone looked after everyone else,” he says. Ed spent 42 years working at Spence Building Supply, and Becky taught for 28 years at local schools, including Henry Siler School and Siler City Elementary. The couple, now retired to Galloway Ridge, remain involved with their community. “I have found Siler City and Chatham County a great place to work, raise a family and spend time sharing experiences and growth,” Ed says. “Why would anyone want to live anywhere else?” CM

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BUILDING BLOCKS OF

EDUCATION

T

BY ELIZABETH KANE

he development of the education system in Chatham County has a unique history all its own, from the humble beginnings of oneroom schoolhouses to 18 schools that serve the needs of 8,810 students each day. This is the story of an evolving community that continues to exhibit strength, grit and innovation with each passing decade.

EARLY START

I

n “A Brief History of the Schools of Chatham County” written by Jane Pyle in 2009, she states: “Chatham’s first and best-known academy was the Pittsborough Academy, established by state charter in 1787, with the name persisting into the 20th century.” Records show that public education began in 1839, Jane writes, “with a local vote approving the recently enacted common school law and setting up 35 districts.” These very early schools, public or common schools, in Chatham County “typically had one teacher, met for only five months and taught only the ‘three Rs.’” (Historically speaking, the “three Rs” were referred to as reading, writing and arithmetic.) “Oral tradition says that the first African American school may have started as early as 1853; the first deed recording for a non-white school was in 1869, for Haywood,” another academy.

erect new buildings and to truck older students to larger schools. (Buses were not introduced until later.)” Schools worked to offer secondary education (high school) from then on, but didn’t offer the 12th grade. (That wasn’t added until 1941.) Surprisingly, Jane writes, “only a few references to World War II appear in the county school board minutes: Wood stoves were being replaced by coal stoves because of a labor shortage and cost of wood; the War Production Board requested one-fourth of the inventory of typewriters from business departments; and schools were put on short schedules in 1943-44 to free pupils for farm work.”

MOVING ON TO BIGGER AND BETTER THINGS

DESPITE RACIAL CHALLENGES, A COMMUNITY UNITES

A

t some point during the 1920s, Jane states, “Chatham’s Board of Education began to eliminate its many one-room schoolhouses to

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L

esley Richardson, a volunteer with the Chatham County Historical Association,

explains, “Pittsboro High and Horton High came together to form Northwood


PHOTO COURTESY OF THE CHATHAM

COUNTY HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION

CONTINUING TO GROW AND CHANGE

High School, which was first located in the

old Pittsboro High School building.” All Chatham County Schools were fully integrated in 1970. Gene Brooks, a former teacher and then-assistant principal of Pittsboro High, says, “they decided to build a new building. … The idea was that people would be more accepting of it if they had a new school with a new name, new sports logo, new everything.” He also says that many wanted the experience of integrating black and white students in the new school, Northwood, to be a positive experience for all. “I think a lot of people in the community, parents and students worked hard to make it a good experience, to do it all in good faith, go into it in the right spirit and try to make it work,” Gene says. “Of course, there are always those who don’t go along with that, but I think a lot of people did.”

Pittsboro High School geometry class in the 1940s.

“O

ur approach is every student deserves a solid education,” says John McCann, public relations coordinator at Chatham County Schools. “And we are here to meet those students where they are. Whether it’s academically or intellectually gifted students; or exceptional children (those students whose learning may be impacted cognitively, physically or medically). We have the educators in place for them. “Chatham County Schools continue to become more and more diverse,” John says. “The increase in the Latinx population is very notable in the greater community, and that is reflected in the school system. Also in our school system are a good number of Black people in decision-making positions, leading as principals, for example. In fact, the district’s last two superintendents have been Black.” Independent and charter schools are also a part of Chatham’s past, present and future. In “A Brief History of the Schools of Chatham County” Jane writes, “Bonlee High School, founded as a private institution in 1913, was taken into the public system in 1917.” Now, Haw River Christian Academy, founded in 2007, serves around 113 students from kindergarten to 10th grade; Woods Charter School, founded in 1998, serves 512 students from kindergarten to 12th grade; and Willow Oak Montessori Charter School serves students from kindergarten to eighth grade.

A BRIGHT FUTURE

W

hen it comes to higher education, institutions like Central Carolina Community College serve Chatham County students in the Pittsboro area. CCCC began as the Lee County FEBRUARY / MARCH 2021

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college’s selective health care programs (like nursing),” Mark says. CCCC plans to expand further in Chatham with additional facilities at the Siler City Center and Chatham Main Campus sites to accommodate the growing health care, construction, advance manufacturing and information technology industries in the region, Mark says. More schools plan on opening in the upcoming year. Chatham Grove Elementary opened in August 2020, and Seaforth High School is slated to open in the fall this year.

help students learn how to think. We definitely teach skills … especially in our applied science programs. We’re still teaching demonstrative skills that employers want to know that the students can do. On top of that, we’re teaching students to learn how to learn, so as their particular fields change and evolve, they can evolve with it.” To that end, the college opened the Chatham Health Science Center to students in January 2020. “Curriculum program[s] include medical assisting, health information technology, health and fitness science, general education and pre-health sciences courses to prepare students for admission into the

Thales Academy, an independent college

PHOTO COURTESY OF CHATHAM COUNTY SCHOOLS

Industrial Education Center in 1961 and offered programming in Chatham County starting in 1964. In 1976, the Chatham County Board of Education provided the Paul Braxton School in Siler City for the college’s use. In 1992, the first collegeowned CCCC campus site was built and opened in Pittsboro, and the college has expanded its physical presence to Siler City and to north Chatham since that time. “We want to improve people’s abilities to be mobile in the economy,” says Dr. Mark Hall, the CCCC provost for Chatham County. “We’re trying to

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prep school, plans to open in the Vineyards neighborhood of Chatham Park in July 2021. It’s being built to accommodate all 12 grades and kindergarten on a yearround curriculum, but the school will offer kindergarten through third grade in its first year, adding subsequent grades in future years. It’s evident that Chatham County residents appreciate where they’ve been and are ready for the challenges ahead, whatever the next chapter brings. “I meet a lot of former students who think they had a lot of opportunities back then,” Gene says, “and that means a lot to me. I treasure that. I’m glad of it.” CM

FEBRUARY / MARCH 2021

Representatives from the Chatham County Board of Education and the Chatham County Board of Commissioners celebrate the opening of Chatham Grove Elementary School with a ribbon cutting. Chatham Grove shares spaces, such as a gymnasium, with Chatham County Parks and Recreation. “We are very fortunate here in Chatham to have such a positive relationship between the county and school system,” says Chatham County Board of Commissioners Chair Mike Dasher. “We look forward to collaborating on future projects as our community continues to grow.”


SUMMER

CAMP GUIDE 1870 FARM 1224 Old Lystra Rd., Chapel Hill 919-590-4120; 1870farm.com Award-winning program set on 17 acres that incorporates animal care, outdoor games and play, fishing, crafts and farm entrepreneurship in addition to chicken races, gem mining, gardening, hayrides, cooking, fort making, outdoor survival and more. Overnight camps now available. Ages Half-day: 3.5–5; Full-day: 5–13; CIT Program: 14–15 Dates Weekly, June 14-Aug. 13 Price $435/week THE ARC OF THE TRIANGLE 1709 Legion Rd., Ste. 100, Chapel Hill 919-942-5119; arctriangle.org Year-round community programs and Arc Triangle University classes for teens and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In-person and online (dependent on COVID-19) classes include “Petals with a Purpose,” cooking and nutrition, gentle yoga, basic workout, self-advocacy group, basic drawing, voice class, and music and art appreciation. Ages 16 and older Dates Year-round; schedule/calendar varies. Price Varies for each program/class; sliding fee scale ACKLAND ART ADVENTURES 101 S. Columbia St., Chapel Hill 919-966-5736; ackland.org Art Adventures sessions provide kids with a guided view of art in the Ackland’s collection followed by the opportunity to create takehome treasures using newly learned artmaking techniques. Ages 6-9 Dates May 8, June 12, July 10, Aug. 4; morning and afternoon sessions Price Pay-what-you-wish. Registration required at ackland.org.

DOES YOUR KID LOVE SPORTS? WHAT ABOUT SCIENCE OR ENGINEERING? MAYBE ART? THERE ARE DOZENS OF CAMPS IN THE TRIANGLE TO MATCH EVERY KID’S INTEREST.

ARTSCAMP AT THE ARTSCENTER 300-G E. Main St., Carrboro 919-929-2787; artscenterlive.org Small classes taught by professional artists with a focus on skill-building and creative expression. Offers both visual and performing arts camps, including hip-hop dance, painting techniques, cartooning and comics, ceramics, improv acting and more. On-site, online and hybrid camps will be offered this summer. Grades Rising grades K-12 Dates June 14-Aug. 20, 9 a.m.-noon, 1-4 p.m. or 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Price $175/week, half-day camps; $350/week, full-day camps. Member discounts available. BALLET SCHOOL OF CHAPEL HILL 1603 E. Franklin St., Chapel Hill 919-942-1339; balletschoolofchapelhill.com Offers a variety of classes, dance camps and workshops in creative arts, ballet, modern, contemporary jazz, rhythm tap, hip-hop, musical theater and dance workshops for children with special needs. Ages 3-17 Dates June 14-Aug. 21; frequency and times vary Price Varies. Call or visit website. BARRISKILL DANCE THEATRE SCHOOL 3642 Shannon Rd., Durham 919-489-5100; barriskilldance.com; contact@barriskilldance.com Classes and dance camps/intensives in creative movement, ballet, jazz, hip-hop, contemporary, conditioning, musical theater and more. Visit website for COVID-19 protocols. Ages 3-18 Dates June 7-Aug. 13; half-day, three-quarterday and full-day camps available, as well as weekly classes. Price Call or visit website. BOUNCING BULLDOGS JUMP ROPE CAMP 101 S. White Oak Dr., Durham 919-493-7992; bouncingbulldogs.org Jump rope skills designed for beginners to advanced participants, some of whom are seven-time National Champions and 12-time World Champions. Ages 5-18 Dates Visit website. Price $45/day; $225/week

CAMP RIVERLEA 8302 S. Lowell Rd., Bahama 210-908-7629; campriverlea.com Traditional day camp on 100 acres of beautiful land 20 minutes outside of Durham. Camp has been open for 50 years and offers activities such as swimming, archery, canoeing, arts and crafts, nature, athletics, tennis and golf. Transportation is provided. Camp Riverlea provides a structured program where children can continue to develop as fully self-actualizing people while learning and perfecting new skills, broadening their range of personal experiences and learning how to live more effectively in their world. Ages 5-12 Dates Session 1: June 14-July 2; Session 2: July 5-16; Session 3: July 19-Aug. 6 Price Varies per session CAMP SHELANU AT JEWISH FOR GOOD 1937 W. Cornwallis Rd., Durham 919-354-4936; jewishforgood.org Programs allow campers to experiment with visual and performing arts, sports teamwork and leadership, wildlife and nature conservation, STEM and so much more. All campers get to swim every day, with swim lessons for those who need them included in the tuition. Camp Shelanu is centered on Jewish values like giving, kindness, welcoming newcomers and repairing the world. While there are opportunities to learn about Jewish culture and traditions, there is no religious instruction at camp. All faiths and backgrounds are welcomed with joy. Ages 5-12, with a LIT program for rising eighth through tenth graders and CIT program for ninth through tenth graders Dates June 7-Aug. 27 Price $238+, need-based scholarships available CAROLINA FRIENDS SCHOOL 4809 Friends School Rd., Durham 919-383-6602 ext. *263; cfsnc.org/summer Weekly courses in subject areas such as leadership, stop-motion animation, theater, outdoor adventures, cooking, forensic science, sports, Lego, comic design, Minecraft, fashion design, “Harry Potter,” “Star Wars” and more. Ages 4-18 Dates Beginning June 21; 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Price TBA 

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SUMMER CAMP GUIDE

CAROLINA TIGER RESCUE 1940 Hanks Chapel Rd., Pittsboro 919-542-4684; carolinatigerrescue.org/learn/camps Campers will experience the incredible world of the sanctuary. They will visit the animals daily, learn about the essential role carnivores play in their natural habitats, find out what it takes to be a wild cat veterinarian, practice wildlife biology skills and help some of the tigers express their creativity through painting. Each week of camp is limited to 12 campers. Grades 3-12 Dates Visit website for dates. Price Varies CARRBORO RECREATION, PARKS & CULTURAL RESOURCES DEPARTMENT 100 N. Greensboro St., Carrboro 919-918-7364; carrbororec.org Individual sports, arts, outdoor adventure and themed camps such as water fun, science, fishing, baseball, mountain biking, Lego engineering and much more. Ages 3-17, depending on the camp Dates June 14-Aug. 20 Price Varies CHAPEL HILL-CARRBORO YMCA (980 MLK Jr. Blvd., Chapel Hill) CAMP CLEARWATER (1720 Clearwater Lake Rd., Chapel Hill) YMCA AT MEADOWMONT (301 Old Barn Ln., Chapel Hill) 919-442-9622; ymcatriangle.org Activities include swimming, arts and crafts, sports, outdoor activities and teen leadership. Ages 3-17 Dates June 14-Aug. 13 Price Call or visit website. CHAPEL HILL PARKS AND RECREATION 200 Plant Rd., Chapel Hill 919-968-2784; chapelhillparks.org; parksrec@townofchapelhill.org Indoor and outdoor leisure activities for participants in youth and teen camps. Due to circumstances surrounding COVID-19, CHPR is working closely with its stakeholders and the health department to ensure that camps run in a safe environment for the duration of the summer. Ages 5-14 Dates Visit website. Price Varies for each camp. CHAPEL HILL TENNIS CLUB 403 Westbrook Dr., Carrboro 919-929-5248; chapelhilltennisclub.com Tennis instruction ranging from beginners to advanced along with swimming and other sports in a fun and positive environment; advanced tennis camp available for tournament players. Ages 5-15 Dates Call or visit website. Price Call or visit website.

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CHATHAM MAGAZINE

CHATHAM YMCA 287 East St., Ste. 412, Pittsboro 919-545-9622; ymcatriangle.org Community-based camps at school sites and Camp Royall with activities including swimming, sports, outdoor activities, teen leadership and arts and crafts. Grades Rising grades K-8 Dates TBD Price Call or visit website.

DURHAM ARTS COUNCIL 120 Morris St., Durham 919-560-2726; durhamarts.org One- and two-week cultural camps, oneweek mini camps, dance intensives and teen intensives. Themes vary based on age and type of camp. Ages Rising K-age 17 Dates June-August; day camp Price Call for inquiry. Scholarships available.

CRESSET CHRISTIAN ACADEMY 3707 Garrett Road, Durham 919-354-8000; cressetchristian.org summercamp@cressetchristian.org Diverse recreational experiences for all day and partial day camps: adventure camps; youth tech 3D and video gaming design; ceramic arts; sports-themed camps such as Ultimate Frisbee, soccer, volleyball and much more. Spring break camps. Summer drama camps. Ages 5–16 Dates June 7–Aug. 13 Price Varies for each camp.

DURHAM BALLET THEATRE 608 N. Duke St., Durham 919-680-4363; durhamballettheatre.org Dance and aerial camps, classes for all ages. Registration starts March 16. Ages 5-14 for camps, 4 and older for classes. Dates TBA Price Call or visit website.

DUKE GARDENS CAMPS 420 Anderson St., Durham 919-668-1707; gardens.duke.edu/learn/camp Explore the garden with different weekly themes. Details announced on the website in March 2021. Ages Rising K-fifth grade Dates TBA in March 2021 Price $200 (9 a.m.-1 p.m.), $300 (9 a.m.-4 p.m.) DUKE SCHOOL 3716 Erwin Rd., Durham 919-493-2642; dukeschool.org More than 50 camps available, including virtual and on-campus adventures. Ages 4-15 Dates June 14-July 30, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.; aftercare available until 6 p.m. Price $175-$420/week DURHAM ACADEMY SUMMER 3501 Ridge Rd., Durham 919-489-3400 ext. 6114; da.org/summer Durham Academy’s summer camps make use of the school’s 84 acres of campus and stateof-the-art facilities to create an experience that grows minds and fosters character. New for summer 2021 are transformative all-day experiences: Camp Evergreen (ages 3-11) is an all-day camp with the classic feel of a sleepaway camp, and the Summer Institute (ages 12 and older) is an all-day deep-dive option for campers who are interested in intellectual adventures. Also new this year is Night Camp (ages 10-14), an evening intensive that combines social fun, dinner and instruction in a variety of activities/subjects. Ages 3-18 Dates June 14-Aug. 6 Price Starting at $345 per week

FEBRUARY / MARCH 2021

DURHAM BULLS YOUTH BASEBALL CAMPS 409 Blackwell St., Durham 919-687-6555; durhambulls.com Provides children an opportunity to interact and learn fundamental baseball skills and techniques from professional players and coaches in a relaxed environment over a threeday camp at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Ages 7-14 Dates Camp dates TBA, check website for more information. All camps are 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. (includes registration and pickup time). 75 athletes maximum for each camp. Price $150 until Feb. 29; $175 starting March 1 DURHAM PUBLIC SCHOOLS – CAMP FUNTASTIC Eno Valley Elementary, 117 Milton Rd., Durham Spring Valley Elementary, 2051 Northern Durham Pkwy., Durham WG Pearson Elementary, 3501 Fayetteville St., Durham 919-560-9488; dpsnc.net Four- or five-star licensed summer camps by the NC Division of Child Development and Early Education that offer a well-rounded summer experience, including academic enrichment, science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM). Campers are placed in age-appropriate groups as they participate in weekly academic and STEAMrelated activities and play sports, games, swim and explore their learning through weekly educational and recreational field trips at no extra cost. Free breakfast and lunch will be provided. Accepts DSS vouchers. Students receive a free T-shirt. Grades 1-5 Dates Check website for more information. Price Check website for more information. 


SUMMER CAMP GUIDE

DURHAM PUBLIC SCHOOLS – CAMP 4 RISING K The Whitted School, 1210 Sawyer St., Durham 919-560-9488; dpsnc.net This rising kindergartener camp offers a well-rounded summer experience for every child. Campers explore science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM). Students participate in weekly STEAM-related activities, including sports, games, swimming and explore their learning through weekly field trips at no extra cost. Free breakfast and lunch will be provided. Students receive a free T-shirt. Ages Rising K students (must be 5 years old by Aug. 31, 2020) Dates Check website for more information. Price Check website for more information. EMERSON WALDORF SCHOOL 6211 New Jericho Rd., Chapel Hill, 919-967-1858; emersonwaldorf.org Early childhood camps offer outdoor play, stories and crafts. Grade camp themes include drawing, painting, fiber arts, outdoor exploration, farming, practical living skills, woodworking, world languages and cultures, skateboarding and more. CIT program available. Ages 4 through high school age Dates Mid-June and July; 8:30 a.m.–3 p.m. Price $190-$275/week THE EMILY KRZYZEWSKI CENTER 904 W. Chapel Hill St., Durham 919-680-0308; emilykcamps.org One-week Emily K & CJ Wilson Hoops Academy Basketball Camp and two-week, single-session Emily K & Justice Theater Project Drama Camp.

Grades Rising second through ninth graders Dates TBA Price Basketball, $220; drama, $440 EMPOWER DANCE STUDIO – PINK DIAMOND CAMP & TEEN DANCE INTENSIVE 109 W. Parrish St., Durham 919-943-1099; empowerdancestudio.com/summercamps An empowering dance experience. The Pink Diamond Camp is a cultural experience including art and etiquette classes. Teen Dance focuses on self-awareness and positive self-image using dance and writing as a form of expression. Ages 6-17 Dates Weeklong, July 6-17 Price $350-$400 ENO RIVER ASSOCIATION – IWALK THE ENO 4404 Guess Rd., Durham 919-620-9099; iwalktheeno.org Science and nature day camps. iWalk the Eno at Eno River State Park has hands-on, feet-wet fun and learning. Ages 8-12 Dates June 14-18, 21-25 Price $245 per week, financial need scholarships available ENO RIVER ASSOCIATION – ENO FIELD STATION 4404 Guess Rd., Durham 919-620-9099; enofieldstation.org Science and nature day camps. Eno River Field Station at the Confluence Natural Area puts students in the field doing biological, earth and environmental research with scientists. Ages 12-15 Dates July 19-23 Price $245 per week, financial need scholarships available THE FARM CAMP AT PIPER HILL 2340 Jessie Bridges Rd., Silk Hope 919-590-4120; camppiperhill.com Overnight weekend camps and weekly camps brought to you by 1870 Farm. Ages 8-13 Dates Visit website for more information. Price $255-$1,375/week

CAMP KANATA • CAMP SEAFARER • CAMP SEA GULL

Day and Overnight Camps Spring/Fall Weekend Camps Family Camps

CampKanata.org • SeaGull-Seafarer.org 68

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HILL LEARNING CENTER SUMMER PROGRAM 3200 Pickett Rd., Durham 919-489-7464; hillcenter.org/summer Offers individualized instruction with a 4:1 student-to-teacher ratio in reading, writing, math and executive function for children with learning differences. Grades Rising grades 1-8 Dates June 28-July 30 (closed July 5); Two session options (8:30-11:30 a.m. or 1-4 p.m. daily) Price $3,075 IMMACULATA CATHOLIC SCHOOL 721 Burch Ave., Durham 919-682-5847; immaculataschool.org Offering a variety of camps in academics, arts and crafts, language and culture, music, religion, sports, STEM and more. Visit website for details. Grades Pre-K through eighth grade Dates Weekly, June-August Price Varies by camp. 


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All Experience Levels • Individual Lessons, Band Programs and Songwriting Summer Camps for rising 3rd-12th Grade • Live Shows and Live-Streams from Real Rock Venues In-Person & Online Instruction with health safety protocols in place!

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FEBRUARY / MARCH 2021



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SUMMER CAMP GUIDE

INTERNATIONAL MONTESSORI SCHOOL 3001 Academy Rd., Bldg. 300, Durham 919-401-4343; imsnc.org Summer camps for young children in a safe, nurturing environment, tucked away in Durham amongst the trees. Enthusiastic summer camp counselors delight in engaging your young child’s creativity and imagination through music, movement, stories and exciting, hands-on activities with others in a multi-age setting. Half-day and regular camps with early drop-off and late pickup available. Comprehensive health and safety protocols will continue to be followed as they have been during the school year. Ages Children who will be between 3 and 5 as of Aug. 31, 2021 Dates Check website after Feb. 1. Price Check website after Feb. 1.

KIDZU CHILDREN’S MUSEUM 201 S. Estes Dr., Chapel Hill 919-933-1455; kidzuchildrensmuseum.org Camp Kidzu is unique for its learning through play and is packed with enriching activities, process over product, games and songs that are age appropriate. Free play time in the museum before it’s open to the general public. Camp favorites include weekly themes of Pirates & Princesses, Lights! Camera! Action!, Tiny Tinkerers and more. New camps for this summer include Mini Magicians and Kidzu 2021: Summer Olympics. See website for weekly themes, descriptions and deadlines. Enrollment is on a first-come, first-served basis. Ages 3–5; 3 weeks for ages 6-11 Dates Weekly camps, June 1-Aug. 27; 9 a.m.– noon, optional aftercare until 1 p.m. Price See website for details.

JUNIOR VET ACADEMY AT 1870 FARM 1224 Old Lystra Rd., Chapel Hill 919-590-4120; kidsvetclub.com Weekly camps for animal lovers and aspiring vets. Ages 8-13 Dates Visit website. Price $545-$1895

THE KID’S GYM 26 Knox Way, Chapel Hill 919-240-7093; kidsgymchapelhill.com Children participate in organized activities within the gym, unleash their creativity by completing various crafts and/or projects and build character by working as a team to accomplish new challenges.

Jump in on the Fun

BOUNCING BULLDOGS FUN + FOCUS + FRIENDS

Jump rope classes & camps for all ages For more information, go to:

bouncingbulldogs.org | 919.493.7992 70

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Ages 5-12 Dates TBA, from 9 a.m.–noon Price $35/day LAKEWOOD YMCA & HOPE VALLEY FARMS YMCA 2119 Chapel Hill Rd., Durham, 919-401-9622; 4818 S. Roxboro St., Durham, 919-401-9621; ymcatriangle.org Camps with activities including swimming, sports (basketball/soccer/tennis), outdoor, teen leadership and arts and crafts. Ages 3-17 Dates June 14–Aug. 20 Price Call or visit website. MONTESSORI DAY SCHOOL OF CHAPEL HILL 1702 Legion Rd., Chapel Hill 919-923-3339; mdsch.org; admin@mdsch.org Join Montessori Day School this summer for eight fun-filled weeks of camp. Each week will explore different themes filled with engaging activities. Ages 2.5-6, 7-12 Dates June 14 -Aug. 13 (camp not in session July 5-9); 9 a.m.- 1 p.m. Price $195/week MONTESSORI SCHOOL OF DURHAM 2800 Pickett Rd., Durham 919-489-9045; msdurham.org Weekly themed camps include athletics, music, visual and performing arts, nature exploration, gardening and science. Ages 3-14 Dates June 14-Aug. 13 (closed week of July 5-9); half- and full-day camps Price Visit website. Registration begins Jan. 27. MOREHEAD PLANETARIUM SUMMER SCIENCE CAMPS 250 E. Franklin St., Chapel Hill 919-962-1236; moreheadplanetarium.org/camp Encourage your child’s natural curiosity and intellectual growth by signing up for a camp at the newly renovated Morehead Planetarium & Science Center. Grades K–8 Dates Check website. Price Check website. OUR PLAYHOUSE PRESCHOOL 2400 University Dr., Durham 919-967-2700; ourplayhousepreschool.com Encourages hands-on learning as children explore their interests in indoor and outdoor classrooms. As children talk, hypothesize and problem solve with their peers, they gain a richer understanding of each topic. Topics include a curriculum based on daily sensory, art, building and movement activities along with plenty of outdoor play. Ages 2-6 Dates June 21-Aug. 13 Price Visit website for details. 


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YMCA CAMP CHEERIO Residential camping for boys and girls rising 2nd to 10th grade Sessions from June 6th to August 20th Located on 150 acres in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains near Stone Mountain State Park Campers can enjoy over 35 activities including Archery, Canoeing, Climbing, Horseback Riding, Guitar, and more! Call (336)869-0195 or visit campcheerio.org for more information! FEBRUARY / MARCH 2021

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SUMMER CAMP GUIDE

PIEDMONT WILDLIFE CENTER Leigh Farm Park, 364 Leigh Farm Rd., Durham Blackwood Farm Park, 4215 N.C. Hwy. 86, Chapel Hill 919-489-0900; piedmontwildlifecenter.org/summer-camp-2021 camp@piedmontwildlifecenter.org Offers a wide variety of outdoor day camps that connect kids to nature and community through exploration, games and wilderness skills. Exclusive teen programs include advanced skills camps, backpacking trips and a leadership (counselor-in-training) program. Ages 5-17 Dates June 7-Aug. 20; flexible drop-off starting at 7:45 a.m.; 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., aftercare available until 5:30 p.m. Price Varies, early bird and multi-camp specials available. PRIMROSE SCHOOL OF CHAPEL HILL AT BRIAR CHAPEL 81 Falling Springs Dr., Chapel Hill 919-441-0441; primrosechapelhill.com Imaginations take flight this summer through different weekly themes that engage schoolaged children in creative critical thinking while doing fun, STEAM-based projects and weekly field trips for experiential learning. Grades K–5 Dates Weekly, June 14–Aug. 13, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Price Call for inquiry. SCHOOL OF ROCK CHAPEL HILL 1500 N. Fordham Blvd., Chapel Hill 919-338-1011; chapelhill.schoolofrock.com One-week day camps with a variety of musical themes. Grades Rising third graders through rising 12th graders (see camp descriptions on website for specifics). Dates Weeks of June 21, June 28, July 5, July 12, July 19, July 26, Aug. 2 and Aug. 9; Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Price Varies. Call or visit website. THE STUDIO SCHOOL OF DURHAM 1201 W. Woodcroft Pkwy., Durham 919-967-2700; studioschooldurham.org The Studio School of Durham gives the opportunity to discover, explore and engage in hands-on learning all summer long, offering a variety of themes for children that are guaranteed to spark their creativity in a safe and naturally inspiring environment. Ages 6-10 Dates June 21-July 30 Price Visit website for details.

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SUMMER @ SAINT MARY’S 900 Hillsborough St., Raleigh 919-424-4028; sms.edu Participants have the opportunity to explore new interests, build fundamental skills, pursue artistic dreams and expand academic horizons. Grades Rising grades K-9 Dates June 21-July 30, one-week sessions. Early morning drop-off and after-camp care. Fulland half-day, all-girl and co-ed offerings for day camps and residential programming available. Price $275+ per full week day session, $1,095 for one-week residential camps. SUMMERSCAPE AT THE MONTESSORI SCHOOL OF RALEIGH 7005 Lead Mine Rd., Raleigh 919-848-1545, msr.org Eight weeklong camp sessions covering topics such as robotics, athletics, art, music, literature and much more. MSR students and non-students are encouraged to participate. Morning and full-day sessions and before-care options available. Ages 18 months–12th grade Dates Weekly, June 7-July 31 Price Varies by camp. Please visit website. TEMPLE THEATRE 120 Carthage St., Sanford 919-774-4512; templeshows.com An array of summer educational opportunities designed to promote creativity, discipline, self-confidence and teamwork. The summer conservatories include Musical Theatre Conservatory (2 sessions, 2 weeks, ages 8-18), Advanced Junior Musical Theatre Conservatory (1 week, ages 8-12), Advanced Teen Musical Theatre Conservatory (2 weeks, ages 13-18), Shakespeare Intensive (3 weeks, ages 13-18), Rising Stars (7 sessions, 1 week, ages 4-7). Visit website for more information, dates, times and pricing or contact Director of Education Alease Timbers at educationattemple@gmail.com or 919-774-4512, ext. 228. Ages 4–18 Dates June–August Price Varies for each conservatory. TRINITY SCHOOL OF DURHAM AND CHAPEL HILL 4011 Pickett Rd., Durham 919-402-8262; trinityschoolnc.org Camp topics include math, Latin, SAT prep, college essay writing, robotics, basketball, baseball, soccer, volleyball, cross-country, strength and conditioning, art, crafts and much more. Registration/catalog available online in January. Ages 5-18 (Rising K-12) Dates Weekly, June 7-Aug. 6; morning and afternoon sessions available Price Varies for each camp.

FEBRUARY / MARCH 2021

YMCA CAMP CHEERIO 1430 Camp Cheerio Rd., Glade Valley 336–869-0195 (fall, winter, spring); 336-363-2604 (summer); campcheerio.org YMCA residential camp in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Activities offered include horseback riding, climbing, ropes course, aquatics, sports, field games, creative arts and nature study. Ages 7-15 Dates June 6–Aug. 20 Price $1,300-$2,600 YMCA CAMP KANATA 13524 Camp Kanata Rd., Wake Forest 919-556-2661; campkanata.org Located on 150 acres just north of Raleigh, this camp nurtures the potential of every child to develop into confident, competent leaders and their best selves. It is traditional, coed and overnight with activities such as archery, hiking, swimming and creative arts, and water activities like canoeing, kayaking and a 75-foot double waterslide on the camp’s 15-acre lake. Offers an overnight camp in one-week sessions, a traditional summer day camp in one-week sessions, and several overnight weekend camps throughout the fall and spring. We believe in nurturing the potential of every child to develop into confident, competent leaders and their best selves. Ages 6-16; and family camp Dates May-September (this includes an overnight camp, day camp and family camp) Price Ranges by length of session. Check website for details. YMCA CAMP SEA GULL 218 Sea Gull Landing, Arapahoe 252-249-1111 YMCA CAMP SEAFARER 2744 Seafarer Rd., Arapahoe 252-249-1212 seagull-seafarer.org These overnight camps – Sea Gull for boys and Seafarer for girls – are located on the coast of North Carolina. Its signature four-week program gives campers time to experience all that the camp has to offer and to develop their character, build strong relationships, independence and confidence in a safe, resilient and supportive environment. It also offers a Starter Camp (oneweek), a Mariners camp (two-week), a Family Camp and specialty weekend camping programs throughout the year. Ages 6-16; and family camp Dates May-September (this includes overnight and family camp) Price Ranges by length of session. Check website for details. CM


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At Summer Adventure Club, children discover the joys of Design Thinking: a fun and innovative way to learn. Engineering design challenges, hands-on experiments, and themed activities await as children unlock new ways of thinking—all while having a blast! It’s our way of teaching them to think more ways always. Contact us for weekly themes, program dates and registration information. Learn more at PrimroseSummer.com Primrose School of Chapel Hill at Briar Chapel 919.441.0441 PrimroseChapelHill.com Each Primrose school is a privately owned and operated franchise. Primrose Schools is a registered trademark of Primrose School Franchising SPE, LLC. ©2020 Primrose School Franchising SPE, LLC. All rights reserved. Ages for Summer Adventure Club programs vary by location.

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We offer comprehensive preventive and restorative dental treatment for most ages. From simple cleanings to periodontal concerns, our hygienists are very qualified to render the best and most appropriate service for each patient. Our range of treatment offered covers everything from sealants to complex implant-related options. At Pittsboro Family Dentistry, there is no one-size-fits-all attitude here, and we are happy to work with patients to make sure clinical assessments and proposed treatment makes sense to each individual. PLEASE CALL OR EMAIL US TODAY TO SCHEDULE YOUR NEXT APPOINTMENT.

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smilepittsboro.com FEBRUARY / MARCH 2021

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H O M E

&

G A R D E N

THE ENCHANTED

FORREST MOLECULAR BIOLOGIST DR. FORREST GREENSLADE RETIRED BEFORE HE REALLY WENT TO WORK, MARRYING HIS PASSIONS FOR ART AND SCIENCE. ‘THEY ARE INEXTRICABLE,’ HE SAYS, INTERLOCKING HIS FINGERS TO MAKE HIS POINT. ‘ARE THERE SEPARATE BOXES IN OURSELVES FOR SCIENCE AND ART? IN MY MIND, NO.’

T

BY DAN SHANNON

PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOHN MICHAEL SIMPSON

he paths that wind through the darkly wooded, uneven terrain of Dr. Forrest Greenslade’s 1-plusacre sculpture garden in Fearrington Village prove as captivating as the artwork in his Forrest Dweller Sculpture Garden. Whimsically named pieces like “Athena’s Wisdom,” “Facing

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Humanity,” “Generations of Genetically Grumpy Gnomes Gathering at the Gate,” “How to Keep Your Pet Giraffe From Running Away,” and “Fifty Ways to Leaf Your Lover” fill the garden. The carefully curated spaces give guests the impression of a much larger area, in part because the woods sprawl into neighbors’ yards and adjoining public areas. But it’s also the cleverly laid out trails that surprise visitors at nearly every turn or dip with well

FEBRUARY / MARCH 2021

Forrest Greenslade with his wife, Carol-Ann, and their pup, Stanley, in the backyard of their Fearrington Village home.


career working in a lab for a pharmaceutical company and later as the president of an international women’s health initiative, he felt inspired to launch a fulfilling passion project: Art for art’s sake. “The whole time that I was a scientist or an executive, there was a hole,” he says, “but I didn’t know what that hole was. I knew that there’s something essential about using your hands and your brain together. The brain-hand connection is important. “I honestly don’t know how people can stand just being in front of a screen all day. But truthfully, I came to be an artist by serendipity.” In fact, Forrest had his post-career carefully laid out with a special plan to write management and leadership books and speak on topics related to women’s health – nothing at all to do with creating art. However, his design for living was derailed almost immediately. “I had a bad heart attack,” he recalls, “and was kind of despondent. Travel was out of the question, and I was kind of unsure of everything. While I was convalescing, my wife, Carol-Ann, dragged me out to the Chatham Artists Guild Studio Tour, and I was so impressed with how satisfying making art must be. I’ve always loved art, but beyond carving some birds and some projects I worked on with my daughter,

over 200 nature-inspired, impressionistic sculptures of owls, assorted birds, frogs and some unidentifiable creatures wholly the result of Forrest’s imagination. You just can’t tour his outdoor gallery without smiling. That observation pleases the active 81-year-old former molecular biologist and corporate executive. Forrest didn’t begin creating art till several years after his retirement in 1999. Despite a successful FEBRUARY / MARCH 2021

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HOME & GARDEN

ABOVE President Barack Obama in Forrest’s “Facing Humanity, Individuals Around the World,” as well as part of a recent work, “Herpetotany,” a mythical chimera of reptiles, amphibians and plants. ABOVE RIGHT “Centered” was made with a welded steel armature, concrete and bronze patina.

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I had never actually entertained the notion of creating art of my own.” That is, until one day when he and Carol-Ann were having lunch and half-watching a design show on TV when Martha Stewart started making a pot out of cement and peat moss. “I went out into the potting shed where I had some cement [and peat moss],” Forrest says. “I created a face. It was just looking back at me, and it was just kind of an amazing thing. Just staring right at me.” Forrest connected with a Carrboro art gallery owner and asked for her opinion of his first attempt. “And she said, ‘I like it,’” Forrest says. “And she was willing to sell my work. So, just like that, I was a professional sculptor. Serendipity.” He has published art books and still works primarily in cement, peat moss, acrylic, metal (thanks to metal and ceramics sculpture programs at Central Carolina Community College) and his oeuvre has expanded from his initial bas-relief works to painting to full three-dimensional sculptural renderings. This is, he believes, the nexus of his scientific training and his artistic bent. “I may be a tiny bit strange in that regard,” he says. “I can flip back and forth between deductive and inductive thinking. My scientific background totally dominates my art. I have to think my way through the engineering of a threedimensional structure so that it’s not going FEBRUARY / MARCH 2021

to fall down. This is a blend of thinking of an art piece like an engineer – for example, how can I use a new material in a totally different way?” The Greenslades’ home and gardens serve as an entrancing gallery for his work and, to be honest, for much of their world. They have an attached apartment above his studio – the Artist’s Garret – they rent via Airbnb, and it is almost exclusively rented by visiting artists. “These three things are synergistic: the garden, the art and the garret,” Forrest says. “They all work together. And we’ve made good friends from all around the world that we’ve met through the Artist’s Garret.” CM

CHECK IT OUT The Greenslades welcome visitors to the studio, galleries and sculpture gardens. As a result, the Forrest Dweller Sculpture Garden has become a popular destination. To visit: Send an email to forrest@organicforrestry.com or call 919-545-9743. Learn more at organicforrestry.com.


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THIS OLD

HOUSE THE STORIES BEHIND FIVE HISTORIC CHATHAM HOMES BY ANNE TATE

K

PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOHN MICHAEL SIMPSON

imberly Steiner, who lives

in Fearrington Village, began a project in conjunction with the Chatham County Historical Association in October 2019 to survey historic homes in Chatham County and preserve the memories of the places that have played significant roles in the community’s history. After moving here in 2014 with her family, she “wanted to become acquainted with not only my new neighborhood, but [also] my larger community,” she says. The long-term goal of her project is “to survey all homes within Williams, Baldwin, New Hope and Center townships (including Pittsboro) that predate 1930, with some exceptions.” So far she has surveyed all of 78

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Williams and New Hope townships and, though the pandemic temporarily paused the project, she hopes to complete the Baldwin and Center townships by the end of 2021. “The historic homes of Chatham are a part of our county’s collective memory,” Kimberly says. “I believe it’s important to keep this memory alive because it tells the story of who we are as a community. It’s our identity, our common bond. Our history can bring us together and inspire us as we move forward.” To celebrate Chatham’s 250th anniversary, we talked to the current homeowners of a handful of some of the county’s oldest homes. All have worked to maintain the historical integrity of each property while also leaving their own mark.

FEBRUARY / MARCH 2021

Janet and Ray Carney purchased the Patrick St. Lawrence House in 2012 and have worked to carefully restore the home with historical accuracy.


THE YELLOW HOUSE (LATE 1700 s )

T

he Patrick St. Lawrence also known as the Yellow House for its original color, is Pittsboro’s oldest surviving home, according to “The Architectural Heritage of Chatham County, North Carolina’’ by Rachel Osborn and Ruth Selden-Sturgill. House,

Y OF PHOTO COURTES

RAY CARNEY

The structure was built between 1786 and 1792 by one of the town’s first commissioners, Patrick St. Lawrence, and was used as an inn and tavern for Chatham’s elite residents and visitors. The house’s initial location faced the public square, next to a new courthouse. It has been relocated three times since

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CHATHAM 250

The Yellow House lot was purchased in 1786, though it’s unclear when construction began. The Carneys discovered a date in old script that reads “Sept. 22, 1790,” on one of the corner channel posts. An ad placed by Patrick in the September 1792 Fayetteville Gazette (right) confirms that the structure was finished by that date. 80

then, finally ending up at the end of South Small Street among other historical houses. Ray and Janet Carney were searching for a historical property to restore during their retirement when they purchased the former tavern in 2012. They put extensive work into its restoration, replacing decay and rot with detailed replications of the original PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY RAY CARNEY structure – Ray even made reproductions of the moldings by hand. The couple worked to camouflage modern amenities like electrical, plumbing and heating components among historical elements to maintain the look of the 1800s to the highest degree possible, Ray says. During the restoration, the Carneys discovered old script, woodworking tools and even silver shoe and sock buckles. The interior is 99% complete, Ray says, but there’s still a lot of work to be done on the exterior of the home. A unique feature is the hinged panel wall (pictured left) that can be raised to transform a wide hallway and an adjacent room into one large room ideal for activities like dances, meetings and dining. Another highlight is the second-floor balcony above the front porch. “Imagine being back in the 1780s on the Fourth of July on the courthouse square,” Ray says.

CHATHAM MAGAZINE

FEBRUARY / MARCH 2021

But when it comes to Ray’s favorite part of the home, he can’t pinpoint any one thing. “All of it,” he says. “It’s like walking back into 1790.”

JOSEPH B. STONE HOUSE (1797)

T

he Joseph B. Stone House off Farrington

Road remains where it was built in

1797. The two-story home is on the National Register of Historic Places

PHOTO COURTESY OF CHATHAM COUNTY HIST ORICAL

ASSOCIATION

and is thought to have first been owned by either Francis Stone (Joseph B. Stone’s grandfather) or Thomas Revelry, Kimberly writes in her survey of the house. From her research, Kimberly found that the home passed to Joseph from his father, John Stone, in 1847. Joseph was a wealthy planter and slave owner who owned more than 1,000 acres in 1860. He lost much of his land after the Civil War and died in 1878. His daughter, Martha Fearrington, sold the home to her son in 1907. The home was a rental in the 1950s, and most of the original tract of land was claimed by the impoundment of Jordan Lake. The house is a “superb example of a transitional Georgian/Federalstyle Piedmont plantation residence,” according to “Architectural Heritage.” Archaeological remains of slave quarters and an outbuilding can also be found on the property, Kimberly writes.


CHATHAM 250

ON COUNTY HISTORICAL ASSOCIATI PHOTO COURTESY OF CHATHAM

ALSTON-DEGRAFFENREIDT HOUSE (1810)

T

he Alston-DeGraffenreidt House off U.S. 64 was constructed in two stages between 1810 and 1825. The Georgian/Federal plantation house was built for UNC graduate John Jones Alston, according to “Architectural Heritage.” As one of the largest landowners and slaveholders in the area, John served in the state House of Commons and was a prominent planter in Chatham County. Unique features of the two-story house include a detached kitchen, raised brick basement and large stone chimney. The property is now used for Harland’s Creek Farm, a certified-organic business operated by Judy Lessler, Erasmo Flores and Yoli Nill Rios.

county land. According to CCHA research, Freeman owned an entire city block of Pittsboro. The house, “Architectural Heritage” states, was originally a one-room, one-story, two-bay frame dwelling, but additions were made over the years. Hobbs Architects purchased the house from the previous owner, the late historian Jane Pyle, in 2016 and renovated it into an office. Co-founders Grimsley Hobbs and Taylor Hobbs preserved the one-room structure, now used as a workspace, where the original fireplace remains. On the interior of the home, they uncovered some of the old siding and left it exposed as an accent wall. They expanded the outdoor space

The entryway into the office for Hobbs Architects combines modern and rustic elements, providing both a nod to the past and a look to the future.

LEWIS FREEMAN HOUSE (~1811)

PHOTO BY DAVID STREVEL

T

he Lewis Freeman House, built sometime between 1811 and 1837, is one of four buildings remaining from Pittsboro’s earliest period of settlement, according to “Architectural Heritage.” The house stands on West Salisbury Street. “Architectural Heritage” further explains that Lewis Freeman, a Black man who purchased his freedom in the early 1800s, owned the house and acquired 16 town lots and 20 acres of

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CHATHAM 250

PHOTO BY LISA KRUPPA

A log cabin from the late 19th century was moved to the Lewis Freeman House property where it was renovated for use as a conference room.

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CHATHAM MAGAZINE

FEBRUARY / MARCH 2021

by adding a deck and renovated a historical 1870 cabin for more meeting room. “Our job was to adapt it to our use without changing the historical character,” Grim says. “There’s a real spirit about this place. I think you come in here and feel it. Both Lewis Freeman and Jane Pyle.” “It’s fun to know that we’re temporary caretakers of a long chain of history that we dipped into in 2016,” Taylor says. A public park is being developed on the land


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he Terry-Taylor House was built around the 1830s, according to Jane’s research, but is not named after its builder or first owner. A.P. Terry bought the house in 1897 and sold it to Siewers P. Taylor in 1901. The Taylor family moved from Virginia to Chatham County at the time of the American Revolution. They had a lot of influence in the county and many connections to other notable Chatham families. Originally located on East Chatham Street, the

PHOTO COURTES COUNTY HISTORICY OF CHATHAM AL ASSOCIATION

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CHATHAM 250

A sheathed stair hall separates the main parlor from a more narrow parlor with a mantel that’s said to have originated in the neighboring McClenahan house.

house was used as one of Pittsboro’s earliest schools and was likely rented out, according to “Architectural Heritage.” In 2011, the town moved the house two blocks from its location to South Small Street in order to build a new Chatham County Justice Center in its place. It’s now located next to the Patrick St. Lawrence House and is occupied by the Hopper Cummings law firm. The firm acquired the house in August 2015 and took on the challenge of restoring and preserving

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CHATHAM 250

PHOTO COURTESY OF CHA COUNTY HISTORICAL ASSOTHAM CIATION

accurate as possible. The project wrapped up in August 2017 with guidance from the Historic Preservation Foundation of North Carolina.

The firm’s goal is to make “the home into something that is usable and part of the community now and presently relevant,” Marie says. Not all of Chatham County’s historical houses remain standing, but community members like Kimberly work to keep the memories of these places alive. New sites, like the Lewis Freeman Historic Park, add to this effort by continuing to preserve the legacies of those who came before us so that generations to come may know their stories. CM

Robert Cummings, Marie Hopper and their law firm ensured that the TerryTaylor House maintained much of its original design.

it, keeping much of its true design. Attorney Marie Hopper was drawn to the house for its history, uniqueness and proximity to the courthouse, she says. When the firm bought the house, its back wall was exposed due to the removal of its brick addition at its original location. Today, the wood paneling of the original back wall is left exposed, helping to distinguish the older parts of the house from the firm’s more recent add-ons. Visitors are often impressed by the wideplanked wood paneling and exposed beams in the house, Marie says. During renovations, the firm added a conference room, kitchenette and bathroom while keeping the original rooms of the house as historically

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TASTE NORTH CHATHAM

BRIAR CHAPEL 501 Pharmacy Scoops of Maple View Farm ice cream, plus malts and shakes. 98 Chapelton Ct., Ste. 300; 984-999-0501; 501rx.com

Breakaway Cafe

A casual “cyclinginspired” cafe serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and small plates, along with Counter Culture coffee, beer, wine and Maple View Farm ice cream. The patio is now open; the inside dining area remains closed. Orders can be placed at the counter, online or over the phone. 58 Chapelton Ct., Ste. 100; 984-234-3010; breakawaync.co Capp’s Pizzeria & Trattoria Traditional Italian cuisine including homemade fresh pastas, salads, sandwiches and a trattoria menu. 79 Falling Springs Dr., Ste. 140; 919-240-4104; cappspizzeria.com O’YA Cantina Latin cuisine from all over the world. 72 Chapelton Ct.; 984-999-4129; oyacantina.com

Town Hall Burger and Beer Gourmet burgers plus shared plates, tacos, wings and salads. Open for dine in and curbside pickup. 58 Chapelton Ct., Ste. 140; 984-234-3504; townhallburgerandbeer.com

RESTAURANTS, DELIS AND BISTROS advertisers boxed in color

GOVERNORS VILLAGE Flair Restaurant & Wine Bar High-quality French-influenced American food, coffee, wine, beer and brunch. 50100 Governors Dr.; 919-967-9990; flairfusionrestaurant.com

PITTSBORO

Gov’s Burger & Tap Salads, sandwiches, burgers and hot dogs. 50050 Governors Dr.; 919-240-5050; govsburgerandtap.com

The Belted Goat Casual dining for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Coffee and wine shop. Open for outdoor dining and takeout. Orders can be placed online or at the pickup window. Fearrington Village Center; 919-545-5717; fearrington.com/the-belted-goat

Papa John’s Pizza Pizza crafted with quality. 50010 Governors Dr.; 919-968-7272; papajohns.com Tarantini Italian cuisine. 50160 Governors Dr.; 919-942-4240; tarantinirestaurant.com NORTH CHATHAM VILLAGE/ COLE PARK PLAZA Captain John’s Dockside Fish & Crab House American seafood dishes. 11550 U.S. Hwy. 15501 N.; 919-968-7955; docksidechapelhill.com Guanajuato Mexican Restaurant Mexican dishes with vegetarian options. 11552 U.S. Hwy. 15-501 N., Ste. 205; 919-929-8012; guanajuatomexicanrestaurant.net Marco’s Pizza Traditional Italian dishes and pizzas. 141 Chatham Downs Dr., Ste. 201; 919-391-4090; marcos.com Moon Asian Bistro Asian fusion restaurant offering sushi, Chinese dishes like sweet-andsour chicken, Thai curry dishes, rice and noodles. 111 Knox Way, Ste. 100; 919-869-7894; moonasianbistroch.com

U.S. 15-501/FEARRINGTON VILLAGE Allen & Son BBQ Eastern N.C. barbecue. 5650 U.S. 15-501; 919-542-2294; stubbsandsonbbq.com

Carolina Brewery Pub fare from local sources like Boxcarr Handmade Cheese and Lilly Den Farm. Outdoor seating available. 120 Lowes Dr.; 919-545-2330; carolinabrewery.com/pittsboro-brewery Compadres Tequila Lounge Mexican restaurant with a variety of classic dishes. 193 Lowes Dr., Ste. 107; 919-704-8374; compadresnc.com The Fearrington House Restaurant Fine dining French cuisine offering a chef’s tasting menu. Reservations required. Fearrington Village Center; 919-542-2121; fearrington.com/house House of Hops Relaxed bar and bottle shop with a large craft beer selection on tap. Outdoor seating available. 112 Russet Run, Ste. 110; 919-542-3435; houseofhopsnc.com New Japan Hibachi-style Japanese cooking. 90 Lowes Dr.; 919-542-4380 Papa John’s Pizza Pizza crafted with quality. 120 Lowes Dr.; 919-545-7272; papajohns.com Roost Beer Garden Wood-fired pizza, local brews and live music. Open April through October. Fearrington Village Center; 919-542-2121; fearrington.com/roost

Panda Garden Chinese dishes like chow mein and egg foo young. Takeout is available. 11312 U.S. Hwy. 15-501 S., Ste. 303; 919-960-8000; chapelhillpandagarden.com Village Pizza and Pasta A neighborhood pizza place serving up subs, calzones, pastas and salads. 11312 U.S. Hwy. 15-501 S., Ste. 300; 919-960-3232; villagepizzapasta.com

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DINING GUIDE

The Root Cellar Sandwiches, prepared salads, desserts and more. Beer and wine only. Offering online ordering and pickup, weekly prepared meals, groceries to-go box and Friday night specials. 35 Suttles Rd.; 919-542-1062; 750 MLK Jr. Blvd., Chapel Hill; 919-967-3663; rootcellarchapelhill.com

EAST STREET China Inn Chinese dishes, dine in or carry out. 630 East St.; 919-545-0259 Copeland Springs Farm & Kitchen Farm-totable restaurant serving grains and greens bowls in addition to small plates/bar snacks. Orders can be placed online. 193B Lorax Ln.; 919-261-7211; copelandspringsfarm.com Greek Kouzina Made-from-scratch hummus, gyros, kebabs and more available for dine in, curbside pickup and delivery. 964 East St.; 919-542-9950; greekkouzina.com Hwy 55 Burgers, Shakes & Fries Burgers, cheesesteaks and frozen custard. 987 East St.; 919-542-1312; hwy55.com/locations/pittsboro Michoacán Mexican Grill Traditional Mexican dishes including arroz con pollo and burrito texano. 440 East St.; 919-704-8751

Goodness Gracious Juice Co. Burritos, sandwiches, soups, salads and wraps as well as smoothies and juices. 517 West St.; 919-726-2033; goodnessgraciousnc.com

Postal Fish Company Fresh seafood from North Carolina’s coast prepared thoughtfully by chef Bill Hartley. Serving dinner only. 75 W. Salisbury St.; 919-704-8612; postalfishcompany.com

ODDCO Art and design store and music venue featuring regional craft beers. 684 West St.; 919-704-8832; realoddstuff.com

S&T’s Soda Shoppe Soda fountain, American fare. 85 Hillsboro St.; 919-545-0007; sandtsodashoppe.com

The Phoenix Bakery Small-batch, seasonal baked goods like apple pie doughnuts, caramel-pecan rolls, scones, cookies and specialty cakes. Dine-in area closed. 664 West St.; 919-542-4452; thephoenixbakerync.com

Sweet Bee Caffé Temporarily closed.

HILLSBORO STREET/DOWNTOWN Aromatic Roasters Small-batch coffee shop specializing in espresso shots, Aztec mochas, raspberry lemonade, chai lattes and Thai teas. Orders can be placed online for in-store pickup. 697 Hillsboro St., Ste. 101; 919-228-8345; aromaticroasters.com Blue Dot Coffee Joe Van Gogh coffee, lattes, smoothies and pastries. To-go orders can be placed at the window or by phone. 53 Hillsboro St.; 919-704-8064 Buzz Cafe at Chatham Marketplace Sandwiches, daily changing hot bar, sushi, salads and baked goods. 480 Hillsboro St.; 919-542-2643; chathammarketplace.coop The City Tap Hoagie and grilled sandwiches, plus classic bar snacks. 89 Hillsboro St.; 919-545-0562; thecitytap.com Davenport’s Café Diem Coffee and espresso offerings, plus tea and alternative milk/sugarfree options. 439 Hillsboro St.; 919-704-4239; davenports-cafediem.com

San Felipe Mexican dishes including fajitas, burritos and combo plates. 630 East St., Ste. 4; 919-542-1008; sanfelipenc.com

Elizabeth’s Pizza Pizzas, calzones, sandwiches, salads and pasta. Offering curbside service. 160 Hillsboro St.; 919-545-9292; elizabethspizza pittsboro.com

Small B&B Cafe Farm-to-table breakfast and lunch. Offering outdoor dining with online ordering. 219 East St.; 919-537-1909; smallbandbcafe.com Starrlight Mead Tastings of honey wines and honey. 130 Lorax Ln.; 919-533-6314; starrlightmead.com WEST STREET Al’s Diner Traditional American classics for breakfast, lunch and supper. 535 West St.; 919-542-5800; alsdiner.net

John’s Pizza Restaurant Pizzas, pastas, wraps, calzones and strombolis. 122 Sanford Rd.; 919-542-5027; johnspizzarestaurant.com

Angelina’s Kitchen Seasonal dishes of the Greek and Southwestern variety including gyros, rice bowls and family dinners for pickup. 23 Rectory St.; 919-545-5505; angelinaskitchenonline.com

The Mod Wood-fired pizza, salads, small plates and a full bar. Outdoor seating available. 46 Sanford Rd.; 919-533-6883; themodernlifedeli.com

Tienda Hispana El Rayo Hispanic goods including Mexican pastries and packaged foods and drinks. 119 Hillsboro St. Virlie’s Grill Breakfast, lunch and supper options like biscuits, salads, subs and barbecue. 58 Hillsboro St.; 919-542-0376; virliesgrill.com Willy’s Cinnamon Rolls Etc. Bakery selling cinnamon rolls, scones, muffins, cookies and bread with ’40s and ’50s flair. 35 W. Chatham St.; 252-305-9227; willysrolls.com

SANFORD

La Dolce Vita Pizzeria Salads, specialty pizza, focaccia sandwiches and dessert, with an outdoor patio. 226 Carthage St.; 919-777-5277; ldvpizzeria.com

SILER CITY

Bestfood Cafeteria Southern comfort food. 220 E. 11th St.; 919-742-2475 (cafeteria), 919-742-6033 (steakhouse); bestfoodsilercity.com Brownie Lu’s Restaurant Southern comfort food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 919 N. Second Ave.; 919-799-7250 Chris’ Drive-in Burgers, hot dogs and fries. 1329 N. Second Ave.; 919-663-2333 Compadres Mexican Restaurant A variety of classic dishes. 115 Siler Crossing; 919-663-5600; compadresnc.com Courtyard Coffee & Soda Cafe Coffee, Italian sodas, smoothies and bakery items. Outdoor seating available. 138 N. Chatham Ave.; 919-663-2152 Dry Dock Seafood A variety of seafood dishes and daily specials. Providing curbside pickup services. 408 N. Second Ave.; 919-742-2177; drydockseafood.com Elizabeth’s Pizza Pizzas, calzones, sandwiches, salads and pasta. Offering curbside service. 119 Siler Crossing; 919-6635555; elizabethspizzasilercity.com Hayley Bales Steakhouse American-style salads, steaks, chicken and seafood. 220 E. 11th St.; 919-742-6033; hayleybalessteakhouse.letseat.at Johnson’s Drive In Burgers, hot dogs and fries on Highway 64 since 1946. 1520 E. 11th St. Nericcio’s Family Restaurant Temporarily closed. New China Inn Chinese dishes. Dine in or carry out. 203 Chatham Sq.; 919-663-0889

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DINING GUIDE

ASIAN BISTRO

Panadería y Pastelería Melanie Mexican pastries, tres leches and breads. 224 N. Chatham Ave.; 910-428-2320 San Felipe Mexican dishes including fajitas, burritos and combo plates. 102 Walmart Supercenter; 919-663-7333; sanfelipenc.com

CHAPEL HILL

SOUTHERN VILLAGE Al’s Burger Shack Gourmet burgers and fries made with local ingredients. 708 Market St.; 919-914-6694; 516 W. Franklin St.; 919-904-7659; alsburgershack.com La Vita Dolce Espresso & Gelato Café Pastries, sorbet, gelato. Patio seating available. 610 Market St., Ste. 101-C; 919-968-1635; lavitadolcecafe.com Market and Moss New American cuisine made with fresh, local ingredients. 700 Market St.; 919-929-8226; marketandmoss.com Rasa Malaysia Authentic Malaysian dishes. 410 Market St.; 984-234-0256; rasamalaysiach.com

Asian Fusion Restaurant

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Weaver Street Market Hot bar and salad bar for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 716 Market St.; 919-929-2009; weaverstreetmarket.coop

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WEDDING

Langdon & Richardson BY GRACE BEASLEY PHOTOS BY LINDSEY GETTIG

E

met Jasen Richardson while ordering an ice cream from the Vintage Scoops trailer after a 5K for cystic fibrosis that she ran with friends. Jasen was working the cash register, and he instantly caught Emily’s eye. After some detective-like work, Emily got Jasen’s number, and they started talking daily. “Jasen brought me Maple View ice cream after one of his events the first time we met,” Emily says. “It was love at first bite.” Emily grew up in Knightdale, North Carolina, graduated from East Carolina University and has taught locally now for 15 years. She previously taught first grade at Perry Harrison Elementary and currently teaches fourth grade at Chatham Grove Elementary. Jasen grew up in Wilkes County, but moved to Chatham in 1999. He attended Northwood High School and Central Carolina Community College. He currently works as a field manager for Ruppert Landscape, and, in a sweet turn of events, the couple also now owns Vintage Scoops, where they first met. The two married on Oct. 3, 2020, in Ramseur, North Carolina, at The Harvest mily Langdon

House. The Harvest House also catered the reception along with Nothing Bundt Cakes and Vintage Scoops. One of Emily’s former kindergarten students, Grace McCormack, who is now in fifth grade, played cello during the ceremony. She was accompanied by her mother, Sarah McCormack, who sang and played violin. “The music was beautiful, and Sarah sang Ryann Darling’s song 'I Choose You' during our sand ceremony,” Emily says. “Sarah and I could not look at each other during this or the tears would have been flowing.” Family and friends also helped pitch in with decorations for the wedding and ensured that all guests had masks. The couple’s close friend, Mike Vysocka, officiated the ceremony. The Richardsons live in the Bobcat Point community. CM FEBRUARY / MARCH 2021

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WEDDINGS

Cohen & Herchler

BY AASHNA SHAH PHOTOGRAPHY BY ASHLEY REEP PHOTOGRAPHY & CLT MEDIA GROUP, CLTMEDIAGROUP.COM

M

arissa Herchler and Daniel Cohen

first met in 2011 at the N.C. State Fair through mutual friends. The pair grew up in Salisbury, North Carolina, but didn’t meet until college at N.C. State University. They “share a love for all things Wolfpack,” Marissa says. After college, the couple moved to Pittsboro and quickly fell in love with small-town life. They started a tradition during the holidays of watching the town’s Christmas tree lighting at the Historic Chatham County Courthouse. On Nov. 24, 2019, Daniel insisted that they take a photo in front of the tree after the event. Marissa was confused and recalls thinking this is “not a very Daniel thing” to do. While trying to flag down Daniel’s family for the photo, she noticed he pulled out a ring, quickly followed by the question, “Will you marry me?” The couple initially planned on getting married at the courthouse where Daniel proposed, but the pandemic changed those plans, and they ended up hosting their ceremony and wedding festivities in their yard. Marissa walked down the aisle, Blossom Floral Artistry bouquet in hand, with her two younger brothers, Jake Lucas and Jace Hastings, on Oct. 10, 2020, thanks to the help of wedding coordinator Christy Agner (Daniel’s sister). Her friend and neighbor Tamsey

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Hill officiated the ceremony in front of restored doors from a school that Daniel’s grandfather attended, and where Marissa’s mother taught. Maid of honor Sydney Swing, best man Thomas Cohen and the “Goodest Boy,” Cooper Cohen, the couple’s dog, made the big day all the more special. The Forks Cafeteria & Catering in Wake Forest catered the food for the reception, the Chatham Rabbits provided sound equipment, and The Country Bakeress topped off the night with delicious desserts. “We are so thankful to the local vendors and artists who made our day so perfect!” Marissa says. CM


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Profile for Shannon Media

Chatham Magazine February/March 2021 – Chatham's 250th Anniversary  

Chatham Magazine February/March 2021 – Chatham's 250th Anniversary