MLK Reopened — Downed Power Lines Close MLK

Story originally posted 6:08 a.m., August 8, 2014

The North Carolina Department of Transportation reported Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd between Critz Drive and Piney Mountain Road reopened at 9:45 a.m. Friday.

Chapel Hill Police responded to Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd at around 10:00 p.m. Thursday when a tree fell taking down power lines across one of Chapel Hill’s major thoroughfares.

Officers promptly closed all lanes in both directions to vehicular traffic between Critz Drive and Piney Mountain Road. As of 5:45 a.m. Friday, the CHPD Watch Commander told WCHL utility crews estimate the reopening of the roadway to be between 8:00 and 9:00 a.m.

Power was knocked out in the immediate area at the time the lines fell, according to Chapel Hill Police. As of 6:00 a.m. Friday, Duke Energy was not reporting any outages in the area.

“The Sisters'” Garden Damaged, But Not Destroyed

CHAPEL HILL – A tree fell on the porch of “The Sisters” on Gimghoul road, just missing the house and the porch roof around 9:30 Monday morning.  It was a spectacular site, but the twins are unhurt and the house is remarkably undamaged.


“The Sisters,” as they are known, are Chapel Hill’s iconic identical twins, Bernice Stiles and Barbara Wade, now 98 years old.  They are known far and wide for their lovely garden, filled with spring and summer blooms that are chosen and cultivated so diligently that they are a destination attraction for locals and tourists alike.

When the garden is ready to be seen in the spring, they post a sign by the front walk, “The Garden Is Open.”  Everyone is invited to stroll through and enjoy.  The sign became the title of the first popup book by Chapel Hill author and artist Pamela Pease.  A picture of The Sisters cottage was a dominant feature in that book.  The home has been the subject of artists’ paintings for many years.

The sisters are so revered in the community that on the Battle Park corner of Gimghoul and Glandon roads, there is an open area that has been decorated with benches and markers designating it as, “The Sisters Corner.”

Thus, when the tree fell in such spectacular fashion blocking the view of the house from the road, there was widespread concern among many in the community.  The large red oak was on the side of the house and fell on the part of the front porch that is uncovered.

Barbara and Bernice have asked us to tell everyone that they are just fine, that the sun will return, the tree will be gone and the garden will be “more beautiful than ever.”