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Richard Ellington

Buying Groceries in Carrboro

Cliff’s Meat Market in Carrboro is the last in a series of local grocery merchants that have served the people of the area for several generations. Most of these merchants were locals who saw the opportunity to provide a service to their friends and neighbors and hopefully make a buck to support themselves and their families. Cliff Collins bought the Hardee family grocery business in the mid-1970s. He had been working as a butcher in Andrews-Riggsbee Grocery, another locally-owned grocery across the street. Bill Hardee and his wife Helen had operated the small grocery that Talley Hardee and his...

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Prisoners Of War In Carrboro

Many people in our area are not aware that the town of Butner in Granville County was originally named Camp Butner. It was created in 1942 from over 40,000 acres of farmland and forest that the War Department “purchased” (read as stole) from the families in that area. There were families, farms, churches and even cemeteries that were literally uprooted and relocated. Camp Butner was originally an Army training facility for new recruits in the WWII effort. It was a fully-equipped boot camp and training/retraining facility. It even had a prisoner of war compound where prisoners of war (POWs)...

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The Colonial Inn Deserves Better

I have many fond memories of the Colonial Inn in Hillsborough. Most of these memories date to the 1950s, when my family would drive to Hillsborough (or “Hillsboro,” as they spelled it back then) to have lunch at the Inn. We would go there after attending Sunday School and church services at Carrboro Baptist. That church was located where the Century Center is now. By the time we got there, the Hillsboro folks were already ahead of us. They didn’t need to drive as far. We would check in with the hostess and have our name put on a...

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The Other Julian Carr

Everybody knows that Julian Shakespeare Carr was the namesake of the town of Carrboro, although we are not exactly sure why. Everybody also knows that Julian Carr was the man who bought the old mill in downtown Carrboro. What most people don’t know is what Julian Carr did outside of Carrboro. Julian was born about 1845 in Orange County. His father, John Wesley Carr, was a well-to-do merchant in downtown Chapel Hill. Julian was a student at UNC when the Civil War broke out. Like many UNC students, he left school to join the Confederate Army. After the War...

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All Aboard The Carrboro Whooper!

I have always loved the mystique of trains, particularly trains pulled by steam engines. My Dad and I used to take “railfan” trips whenever they were run anywhere nearby. Southern Railroad maintained steam engines and special train cars until the late 1980s so they could offer these special rides to fans like us. Steam engines are so complex that they almost seem to be alive. They seem to have a heartbeat and breath. For many years, from the 1880s to 1936, Carrboro knew the mystique of riding the train every day. The Carrboro “Whooper,” as it was called, provided...

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Did The Revolutionary War Start In Orange County?

I am a Southern boy, and proud of it. My unscientific survey tells me that Southerners know more about their area’s history than folks from other areas of our country. This is why I am mad at the folks that write history textbooks. Apparently all US history books are written by Yankees, because most of those books don’t even acknowledge that there was a Southern Campaign in the Revolutionary War. Where did the war end? At Yorktown, with the defeat of Lord Cornwallis, who had just escaped from his North Carolina campaign. I contend that the fight for independence...

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Locavores Are Nothing New

We hear a lot these days about farmers’ markets (particularly in Carrboro), and how we all should buy local and eat local. This is a great idea, but it is not a new one. Folks in Carrboro have been doing this since the first community, so this idea was not a foreign one to many early Carrboro folks. Most of these folks left the farm to move into town to work in the mills or as a tradesman at the University. Mill work was hard, but it paid much better than farming and was not dependent on the weather....

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Where Is Jones Ferry?

I love to ride ferries. The longer the ride, the better. I will drive out of my way just to take a ride on a ferry, even if I have ridden that one before. I have ridden all but one of the North Carolina state ferries, as well as a couple of privately-owned ferries located in our state. I have even taken a road trip to ride a couple of ferries in Maryland that were close to some of my family. They think we were there to visit them; I was REALLY there to ride the ferries. Like I...

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How Orange County Came To Be

My name is Richard Ellington, and I am a local history nut! I was born and raised in Orange County, and all my family lines have lived in this area for over 200 years. I am currently President of the Chapel Hill Historical Society, so you can see that I am serious about my passion. For my first Chapelboro column on Orange County and local history, I want to talk about the county itself and how it came to be what it is now, geographically speaking. Just like any good political division, it was not left alone after it...

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