Then and Now: A Photographic Look at Chapel Hill

Share This!


By Jessica Stringer


Chapel Hill-Carrboro Holiday Parade

THEN Back when the parade marched down Franklin Street in the 1950s, the Walgreens was a movie theater and the building that houses Top of the Hill was still a gas station.

chapel hill-carrboro holiday paradeNOW The annual parade begins at the old post office and draws school groups, like Chinese School at Chapel Hill, nonprofits, businesses and more. This year’s parade is Dec. 14.


THEN Built in 1958, the shopping center was part of the Ephesus-Fordham District and featured tenants such as an A&P grocery store, an ABC liquor store, a gas station and a bowling alley.Eastgate NOW Part of the renamed Blue Hill District, the shopping center is now known as Eastgate Crossing and is home to a Trader Joe’s, fast-casual restaurants and boutiques.


THEN Maurice and Mary Julian opened their doors on Franklin Street in 1942, bringing Ivy League style to Chapel Hill. Daughter Missy Julian-Fox and husband Michael Fox took over when Maurice died in 1993. In 2007, Missy’s brother, Alexander, and his wife, Meagan, moved the store across the street to a larger location, which had been the site of his own store, Alexander’s Ambition, from 1969 to 1975.

Julian's 1977

Julian's NowNOW The third generation is now involved with the business: Missy’s son, Bart, (right) runs the menswear and made-to-measure departments while Alexander’s son Huston (left) works on exclusive products and operations management.

Chapel Hill Fire Department

THEN A petition to create a fire department circulated around Chapel Hill as early as 1896. In 1901, the first fire house and its equipment were authorized by the town board. The department integrated in 1968. The first Carolina blue fire truck was unveiled in September 1996.

Chapel Hill Fire Department 1928

Fire truck in front of Town HallNOW The department is staffed by about 100 employees and has five stations, plus the Chapel Hill Department Training Center and The Fire Place in Meadowmont, home to the CHFD Puppet Show, an antique fire engine and other historical objects.


Eric White at Time-OutTHEN “In the early 1980s while attending Chapel Hill High School, I worked at the iconic University Square chicken-and-biscuit restaurant Time-Out, which was and still is owned by UNC alumnus Eddie Williams. It was a great and very fun part-time gig. Back then, Time-Out closed at 9 p.m. My buddy Walt Winfrey and I waded into entrepreneurship by approaching Eddie and essentially ended up subleasing Time-Out from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m., probably to our parents’ chagrin. Walter and I were convinced that the college students would love a late-night snack other than a Greek grilled cheese from Hector’s, which was the only other option. How right we were. There was soon a line out the door every night to snag the now-famous chicken-and-cheese biscuit. Almost every night around 3:30 a.m., I would wind my way down Franklin Street back home to Briarcliff on my moped. Thanks to the opportunity given to me by Eddie, who is still a good friend, and the small-town vibe of Chapel Hill back in the day, that unique experience shaped my business future in ways that a degree from the world’s finest business schools may never have. It was also that beginning that launched Time-Out to be open 24/7/365.” – by Eric White

NOW Time-Out is still slinging chicken biscuits, but moved from West to East Franklin Street to the space formerly occupied by Hector’s.

Crook’s Corner

Crook's Corner in the 1940s

THEN In the late 1940s, Rachel Crook ran a fish market and cafe at the West Franklin Street corner. She was murdered there in 1951, and the case was never solved. In the following years, the building served as a taxi stand, bait-and-tackle shop, pool hall and then stood deserted. In 1978, Chapel Hill native and former Town Council Member Cam Hill remodeled the dilapidated building and opened Crook’s Corner Barbecue in Rachel’s honor. Gene Hamer and chef Bill Neal took over and opened a restaurant in 1982, serving up iconic Southern cuisine like shrimp and grits.

NOW Justin Burdett took the reins from chef Bill Smith in January as the third chef in the restaurant’s long history. Recently, Crook’s Corner launched a monthly Wednesday night supper club.

The Crook’s Corner staff with former president Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter circa 1998.
The Crook’s Corner staff with former president Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter circa 1998.

Get the latest news about what’s going on in Chapel Hill with our weekly newsletter – The Weekender

About Us

Chapel Hill Magazine is a 8-times-a-year lifestyle magazine dedicated to bringing you the very best of Chapel Hill. Our magazine places high emphasis on food and dining coverage, the arts, and community.



Contact Us

Please let us know what you think – the best ideas always come from our readers.

p: 919.933.1551   f: 919.933.1557
1777 Fordham Blvd., Suite 105
Chapel Hill, NC 27514

Visit Our Sister Sites



Shannon Media, Inc.

Share This!

Posted in ,

Hannah Lee

Scroll to Top