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Ten Fun Facts about the Research Triangle

  1. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill prides itself on being the oldest public university in the United States. However, the University of Georgia and the College of William and Mary also claim this title. Each university makes a valid claim: UNC was the first to graduate a class, Georgia was the first created by a charter, and William & Mary has the oldest founding date, though it was private for about 250 years.

  2. Old Well, one of UNC's few sources of water for more than a century and the official symbol of the university, was modeled after the Temple of Love in the Gardens of Versailles.

  3. Historic Stagville (5828 Old Oxford Highway, Durham) is the largest antebellum plantation in North Carolina. It had about 900 slaves and 30,000 acres in 1860.

  4. Duke University has had several names, including Brown’s Schoolhouse (1838), Normal College (1851), Trinity College (1859), and Duke University (1924). As Trinity College, the institution was closed from April 1, 1865, to Jan. 1, 1866, because of the Civil War.

  5. The old North Carolina State Capitol (One East Edenton Street, Raleigh) cost about $532,682 to complete – more than three times the yearly gross income of the state the year it was completed (1840).

  6. Also at the State Capitol, the Secession Ordinance of 1861 was signed by the House of Representatives.

  7. In April 1865, Union Army General William Sherman occupied Raleigh and rummaged the State Geological Office, which is housed in the State Capitol. Remains of the collection were donated to UNC in 1866.

  8. When John A. Park purchased The Raleigh Times in 1911, he was required to pay in gold coins. He requested $25,000, severely depleting Raleigh’s gold coin supply.

  9. Despite its large area, the family graveyard at Historic Stagville contains three people: Original owner Richard Bennehan, his wife, Mary, and their son, Thomas. Apparently Richard Bennehan anticipated many generations of his descendants being buried there. His son and heir, however, neither married nor had children.

  10. Carolina Coffee Shop (138 E. Franklin Street, Chapel Hill) is the oldest restaurant in North Carolina, opening its doors in 1922.

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