We spent a few days in Chapel hill,NC on our way to the coast. Chapel Hill is home to the University of North Carolina. Walking around, the town reminded us of Ann Arbor-home of the University of Michigan. There are lots of young people, restaurants, coffee shops, book stores and bars. The campus looks a bit like colonial Williamsburg. It also have has one of our favorite stores, Trader Joe’s, where we managed to stock up on our favorite items.
Not too far away is the historic site-Stagville-that has a number of original buildings from the colonial plantation of the same name. This plantation was founded before the Revolutionary War and continued until the 1950’s. Before the Civil War, it was the largest plantation in North Carolina with over 30, 000 acres and 900 slaves. The plantation survived the war and continued on using share croppers, including many former slaves that returned to the plantation as free workers/share croppers.
The slaves built all the buildings with local materials including making the bricks. In the slave quarters, where the buildings were put up quickly, the bricks did not have time to dry properly. You can see where thumb prints and even the toe prints of a small child are visible still in the bricks.
Today, there remains 71 acres and a number of original buildings, including the largest barn in North Carolina when it was build just before the Civil War- slave designed and built. Also some slave quarters and the original plantation home, and the family grave plots.