This source is a map of the structures on Franklin Street in 1798, shown in the screenshot above. The lot named as “Nunn’s Tavern & Inn” and Lot #12 with “Henderson’s Store – General Merchandise” are the two lots of particular interest to this class. One may not think that this map provides explicit information at brief glance, but after conducting further research this item indeed proved to be valuable to understanding Chapel Hill’s food history during the ‘Developing a National Cuisine’ time period.
The map is supplemented with text from the author, Bernard Lee Bryant Jr., explaining the major construction that took place on Franklin Street during 1794-1798. One of such was the construction of “Henderson’s Store – General Merchandise,” which is said to be on “the northwest corner of Henderson Street.” For reference in present day, this is where the restaurant, Time-Out, is located. Major Pleasant Henderson, the owner of this store, also replaced John Taylor Sr. as the UNC steward in 1798 after “continuing complaints by the students about the poor qualify of [Taylor’s] food.” It is important to note the location of this store for its close proximity to the only campus residence hall at the time, Old East. Since Henderson was also the steward at the time, one can conclude that his store could have also been a source of purchasing food or snacks for UNC students and residents at the time, so they had more options than just the steward’s food.
The supplemental text also mentions William Nunn and his wife “Betsy” who bought an inn in 1795 and “enlarged the lodging area and added a tavern.” Archibald Campbell also sold Lot #6 to Nunn in 1797. In relation to Henderson’s store, in present day Lot #6 ends up being approximately where the United Methodist Church is. On the map, the street right underneath Nunn’s Tavern & Inn is an “un-named road,” but a blogpost on DowntownChapelHill.com’s website indicates that this road ends up being Columbia Street. This article also mentions Nunn’s Tavern & Inn to be where Carolina Square is presently located.
The location and origin of Nunn’s Tavern & Inn is important to the food history of Chapel Hill because it seems to be the first documented place where food and alcohol is served on Franklin Street, which in the present day has a plethora of restaurant and bar options for students and residents alike. A place like a restaurant or bar fosters a social environment in which one can bond with others through the shared experience of dining together. Although the tavern was more focused on serving alcohol than food, it still created this environment, similar to how the many restaurants and bars on Franklin Street to this day create the same environment. Nunn’s Tavern & Inn is important to the food history of Chapel Hill for being the first place to create such an environment, and Henderson’s store is important to seeing the options that residents had for making food, if they did not grow their own crops.
Bryant, Bernard Lee. Occupants and Structures of Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, North Carolina at 5-Year Intervals, 1793-1998. Chapel Hill, N.C.: Chapel Hill Historical Society, 1999. https://archive.org/details/occupantsstructu00brya/page/n23.
N., S. (2015, October 20). The History & Future of Carolina Square [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.downtownchapelhill.com/downtown-blog/2015/10/20/the-history-future-of-carolina-square
Signed by Ruchitha Jalavancha