The town of Chapel Hill has seen more than 200 years of change in architectural style since its founding 1793. Today, nearly 60,000 residents occupy a diversity of homes ranging from 19th century Queen Anne, Tudor Revival, Colonial Revival and Craftsman Bungalow structures in the West Chapel Hill Historic District, to modern houses, condominiums and apartments that have sprung up as a result of the growth of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, since the 1970s.
Chapel Hill covers approximately 21 square miles, and ranks 16th on the list of the largest municipalities in the state of North Carolina. The town is the home of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, which is a perennial top-10 public university. The school was established in 1789, giving it claim to the title of the oldest public university in the US. The school is the historic heart of the community, which includes approximately 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Education is a common theme among Chapel Hill residents, of whom more than 70 percent have attained at least a bachelor’s degree. The Chapel Hill-Carrboro school district is held in high regard by educators across the country, and in 2008 East Chapel Hill High School was listed among Newsweek’s top 100 American high schools. Along with Durham and Raleigh, Chapel Hill is one of three towns that define the boarders of the North Carolina Research Triangle, a specially zoned district that is home to 190 technology and pharmaceutical companies conducting research and development in the district’s nearly 7,000 acres. Research Triangle Park employs 50,000 workers and 10,000 contractors.
Chapel Hill boasts a strong sports culture and vibrant music, food and arts scenes. Such nationaly recognized and world-famous musicians as Ben Folds and James Taylor got their start in Chapel Hill, and a host of lesser-known but locally loved bands still perform in venues across the town. The Festifall street fair has a 40-year tradition of bringing arts, music and food together on downtown Chapel Hill’s historic West Franklin Street. Another gathering on Franklin Street occurs later in the month, as up to 80,000 people gather for Halloween on Franklin Street. The town has also received national attention for a resurgence of small craft eateries, and was named by Bon Appetite magazine one "America’s Foodiest Small Towns." Support for UNC Chapel Hill’s Tarheels unites the community, as fans turn out to watch the historically excellent men’s basketball and women’s soccer teams play. Much of the enthusiasm for Tarheel sports springs from local pride, as UNC Chapel Hill is one of four Atlantic Coast Conference schools in North Carolina, among them the team’s arch rival, the Duke Blue Devils, whose home is only 11 miles away, in neighboring Durham.