Old West Hall: A View Changes With Time

It could have been the result of damage from hurricane Florence or tropical storm Michael.  Maybe it was just (extreme) old age.

During the week of October 21, UNC Grounds Crew felled one of the most consistently photographed trees on UNC’s campus.

Don’t worry… the Davie Poplar is fine…

Another tree, not as prominent or easily identified as a landmark on campus as the Davie Poplar, a majestic Post Oak that was a fixture in images of Old West Hall (when photographed from the north side looking to towards South Building), was cut down.

The tree was there when Old West was constructed in 1823 and appears in the first images in the University’s possession of the building, dating from the 1880s-1890s.

In 2005 the (UNC) Chancellors Buildings and Ground Committee approved a report from the Task Force on Landscape Heritage & Plant Diversity.

In that report the committee identified and described it as:

“(Heritage Tree #) 74. Quercus stellata (Post Oak) — an impressive specimen.”

Close up of page from 2005 UNC report on heritage trees and plant diversity.

A rendering of a tree appears to be in the same location on the north side of Old West in this early engraving by W.  Roberts from a drawing by William Momberger of the University campus as it appeared circa 1855 (Old West is right side of illustration).

P0004/0162: Campus view: Engraving by W. Roberts (facsimile), 1855


Circa 1880s-1890s:

P0004/0393: Old West Hall and New West Hall, circa 1880s-1890s; North Carolina Collection Photographic Archive

It was difficult to get a “long-view” of the west face of the building AND include the Old Well…. without capturing “Tree 74” in the image.

Circa 1880s-1890s

P0004/0393: Old West and Gerrard Hall, circa 1880s-1890s; North Carolina Collection Photographic Archive

Circa 1940s

P0004/0393: Old West, circa 1940s; North Carolina Collection Photographic Archive

On October 23, 2018 this is what remained of “(Heritage Tree #) 74. Quercus stellata (Post Oak) — an impressive specimen.”

(Images by Patrick Cullom)

North side of Old West looking east. Stump of Tree 74 is at the far left side of image.
View of stump of Tree 74 (North of Old West).
View of stump of Tree 74 with timeline of approximate age/size of tree indicated. (Timeline is from unverified source)
View of stump of Tree 74 (North side of Old West).

All historical views from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Image Collection Collection #P0004

So you think you know North Carolina…. No. 43

1. In TV commercials in the early 1970s, who sang, “Hurry on down to Hardee’s, where the burgers are charcoal-broiled”?

2. When it opened in 1965, this 29-story skyscraper was the South’s tallest — what was it?

3. Among the failed early ventures of this future fast-food pioneer was a motel and restaurant in Asheville that opened in 1939 and closed a couple of years later. Who was he?

4. What Mary Chapin Carpenter hit grew out of her annual visits to the Outer Banks?

5. In 1930 Currituck County philanthropist Joseph Knapp founded the More Game Birds in America Foundation. By what name is the organization known today?

Answers below





1.  Cass Elliott, formerly of the Mamas and the Papas.

2. The Wachovia building (now Winston Tower) in Winston-Salem. Today that distinction belongs to the 60-story Bank of America headquarters in Charlotte.

3. Colonel Harland Sanders. He thought he could repeat the success of his Sanders Court in Corbin, Ky., but a combination of wartime rationing, stiff local competition and tourist-poor winters proved insurmountable.

4. “I Am a Town.” (“I’m a town in Carolina, I’m a detour on a ride / For a phone call and a soda, I’m a blur from the driver’s side.”)

5. Ducks Unlimited, which now has 700,000 members worldwide.