A newspaper article in the February 1, 1899 issue of the Daily Tar Heel. The author is unknown. Accessed courtesy of Newspapers.com and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on October 9, 2018.

This primary source addresses the problems that came along with Commons Hall, a University owned boarding facility that housed the young men of Chapel Hill in the late 1800’s. Consisting of a restaurant with student waiters, Commons Hall received much criticism from the Daily Tar Heel and many patrons throughout its short lifespan. The people of Chapel Hill expected the Commons to be a place to get good, nutritious food at an affordable price, but unfortunately it quickly fell short of people’s expectations. They preached a motto of, “good food, well cooked, and plenty of it,” yet people still complained about cold meals, food not properly prepared, and poor service. Patrons claimed that the food was “barely recognizable” from its raw state, which posed a problem for many of the people who paid to live off of this food [1]. It was not cheap to board in Commons Hall, and many were unhappy with what they were given for the price they paid. Students were even charged large fees to bring guests, only to be disappointed in the service and mediocre food that was being served.

The Daily Tar Heel wrote many articles about the Commons, ranging from those glorifying their opening, to those criticizing their lack of service and quality of food for the young men of Chapel Hill. In the beginning, we see many articles praising the $3,000 donation to get the Commons running, as well as people speculating all of the positive benefits this new University sanctioned place would provide for the students[2]. I chose this primary source as it tells a story about what the students ate here during this time period, and how limited their options were. What was perceived to be great for the people, turned out to be a disaster for some. They mention examples of certain foods that the young men could eat there, including biscuits, sausage, and hashes, each with their own flaws in presentation and taste. The Commons preached that they had good food, but left little to be desired for the people living there once they opened. It leaves us wondering where they went wrong and when the dining halls we know and love today took over the dining scene and actually began providing good, nutritious, meals to the students and the public.

[1] 1899. “Down With Monopolies.” The Daily Tar Heel, February 1, 1899. https://universityofnorthcarolinaatchapelhill-newspapers-com.libproxy.lib.unc.edu/image/70265422/?terms=down%2Bwith%2Bmonopolies#

[2] 1899. “What Commons Needs.” The Daily Tar Heel, April 20, 1899. https://universityofnorthcarolinaatchapelhill-newspapers-com.libproxy.lib.unc.edu/image/70265635/?terms=commons