My Additional Travels After the 2019 Mayberry Meet-Up, Part IX: Chapel Hill

When I found Andy Griffith’s first letter home after moving to Chapel Hill for college, it included his dorm address. UNC-Chapel Hill’s campus is large, but I decided to try to locate the dorm if it still existed.

My view every morning of the diagonal walkway as I entered the campus.

When approaching campus from the parking garage I used, there is an enormous green space lined with buildings. The Louis Wilson Round Library is at the far end of this tree-filled area. A sidewalk that runs parallel to the street bordering campus cuts the green space in half. From where I entered the campus, I followed a sidewalk that cut across the first half of the green space at a diagonal to reach that halfway point. From there, I walked along the edge of the farther, second half of the green space to reach the library.

When I looked at a campus map, I discovered that Andy’s old dorm was not only still standing, but it was at the juncture of the diagonal sidewalk and sidewalk along the edge of the parklike open area. I had literally walked right by it the day before.

Andy’s college dorm. It was Steele dorm at the time but is now called the Steele Building.

The building is no longer a dormitory, however. It is now an administration building. I knew Andy had stayed his freshman year at least in room 17. I went into the building, presuming the room configurations would no longer exist but wanting to be sure. Unfortunately, I was right. The building was gutted when it was converted from a dorm to an administration building. The young woman at the front desk did not know where room 17 would have been, but her smile also told me that my comment that Andy used to live there was not news to her.

I do not know if Andy stayed in the same dorm his entire time he attended Chapel Hill, but there was other correspondence in the files that showed near the end of the school year in 1946, he still lived in the same dorm though he was now in room 33.

While I think it is unlikely I will have any luck, in advance of my next visit I plan to see if there are any old floor plans which would show the original location of rooms 17 and 33. After all, the exterior of the building has not changed so his dorm windows could at least be located.

The brick walkway never had a chance.

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