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Chapel Hill to Celebrate 200 Years of Getting Better, Together

Post Date:08/23/2019 10:57 AM
CHAPEL HILL 1819/2019 

The Town of Chapel Hill will celebrate “200 Hundred Years of Getting Better, Together” with a series of programs, projects, commemorations, and celebrations this fall. Multiple Town and community partners will host events from late August through the end of the year to celebrate the 200th birthday of our Town government.

“On November 20, 1819, the North Carolina General Assembly appointed the Town’s first Commissioners, establishing local government in Chapel Hill,” explained Mayor Pam Hemminger. “Now, 200 years later, it is exciting to look back through our history to recognize the people, places, and events that have shaped the community we are today.”   

The theme of the series is “200 Years of Getting Better, Together,” and highlights Town departments, community organizations, and individuals that have made – and continue to make – our community vibrant. Events will happen at different venues and are designed for diverse audiences and interests, from lectures and panel discussions to arts installations and trivia contests. A few examples include:

45 Years of Chapel Hill Transit – A panel discussion and community conversation about the past, present, and future of public transit in our community.

Re/Collecting Chapel Hill – A listening event to launch a new local history podcast, focused on uncovering untold stories and telling them from “the bottom up and the inside out.”

Chapel Hill Trivia Nights – Four pub trivia nights at downtown venues with celebrity trivia bosses and themes from “Literary Chapel Hill” to “Chapel Hill Sportsball.”

A Celebration of Howard and Lillian Lee – An evening of tributes to a true power couple who continue to make a lasting impact on our community. 

From Commission to Council – A mock Town Council meeting that will go back in time to re-visit the issues that earlier commissions and boards grappled with.

Other planned events include unearthing and opening a time capsule buried 25 years ago during the Town’s Bicentennial celebration, the dedication of a new public art bench in Merritt’s Pasture to honor the Merritt family, and the launch of a new book about town/gown architecture. 

The series aims to engage audiences with local in a variety of ways and using multiple methods, says Susan Brown, Executive Director for Chapel Hill Community Arts & Culture. “We know that there is both a longstanding love of local history as well as an emerging interest in engaging with community history in new and different ways and with multiple lenses. This program series aims to address both of those audiences and interests.” Brown also notes that community ideas for programs are welcome and that new events are being added every week. 

To see what the current program offerings are, or to submit an idea for an event, visit the series website at or the Town’s website at

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