In January 1792 a committee was appointed to select a site for the planned university
. The site chosen was called New Hope Chapel Hill and/or Hill of New Hope Chapel, after a Church of England
chapel that stood on an "eminence
" on the northeast corner of the crossroads of the roads from Petersburg to Pittsboro and from New Bern to Salisbury (via Raleigh).
The site was chosen due to its centralized location in the state, it being accessible by several important roads, and the numerous springs in the vicinity, including the one later called the Chapel Spring.
The University's first building (Old East) was built in 1793-1794, with the first students arriving in 1795. They soon utilized a new building for church services, now named Person Hall
, that was built in 1796-1797.
The site of the chapel is said to have been in the (old) parking lot of the Carolina Inn, although archaeological testing several decades ago did not uncover any building remains. Another source (Judith Vermeule Phillips via Kemp P. Battle
) stated that in 1826, the "bricks of the underpinning were seen in the south end of the garden" of a house
that was later built near the site. Another location might be where Peabody Hall
(built in 1913) is currently located. It wasn't until circa 1915 that Columbia Street was extended south of Cameron Avenue, and the site of the chapel may have been destroyed by its construction.
Excerpt of 1792 map by John Daniel, showing "Chappel place" at the roads intersection (image via UNC)