This house was called "far Craig's" (or, "Fur Craig's," colloquially), to distinguish it from a Craig house closer to campus on the Durham Road. "Fur Craig's" was located approximately a mile west of campus. Its actual location isn't currently known, but the site's (present-day) location is most likely north of West Rosemary Street, west of Mitchell Lane, and east of Graham Street, on or in the vicinity of the Hargraves Community Center
The building was a favorite place to eat and stay overnight for students and faculty of UNC. William Hooper
mentions the place in a booklet of his addresses Fifty Years Since
: "The junior having safely got through with his mathematical recitation at 11 o'clock, was free till the next day at the same hour. And the first thing he had to determine was, what would be the most agreeable method of spending the rest of the day. Shall he ramble into the country after fruit, or shall he go a fishing, or shall he make up a party and engage a supper in the suburbs, at 'Fur Craigs?' The last measure was often adopted, because of our hard fare at Commons. Accordingly a party of of some half dozen would go out and engage a supper of fried chicken, or chicken pie, biscuit, and coffee. It was waited for with extreme impatience, and many yawnings and other symtoms of an aching void. At length it came upon the table, like the classical coena of the Romans
, about three or four P. M. The guests sat down, at twenty-five cents per head; and if you consider the leanness of our dinners at the Steward's Hall
, you will be apt to suspect that the entertainer did not make much by that bargain."
Kemp P. Battle
also mentions that: "on one sad occasion a squad of unfortunates, among them one destined to be an eminent Confederate general, whose hands bore the signs of the presence of the dreaded sarcoptes scabei
, were quarantined at this remote spot in sulphurous loneliness..."
The future 17th President of the United States Andrew Johnson
stayed a night at this house in 1825 or 1826. In a speech given on the UNC campus for the (June 6th) 1867 commencement exercise
, President Johnson related the story that when he was passing through Chapel Hill, on his way from Raleigh (walking), he was broke and tired, and asked at the UNC President's house
where he could be fed and stay for the night. UNC President Joseph Caldwell
told him to go to James Craig's and inquire there. Once he arrived at Craig's, Johnson "begged for a supper and a night's lodging," and Craig apparently showed him "cordial hospitality" and "how after abundant meals and a good night's rest he was cheered on his lonely journey by kind words and a full supply of food in his pockets" (as related by Kemp P. Battle).
Two of James Craig's children lived into their 80's on the property. James Francis Craig, Craig, Sr.'s grandson, graduated from UNC in 1852, became a Quaker
minister and a farmer, and likely lived in the house most of his life, where he died in 1902.
The Craig property was subdivided and sold in the late 1920s and into the 1930s.
Circa 1910 postcard, with the description "The house in which Pres. Andrew Johnson spent the night while tramping from Raleigh to Tenn, barefooted, with only 25 cents in his pocket, Chapel Hill, N.C." (via UNC)