523 East Franklin Street

Designed by architect Don Stewart of Community Planning & Architecture Associates, the building illustrates the prominence of Modern architecture in Chapel Hill during the 1960s. The building is composed of two, offset square forms connected by a glassed entrance bay. It has flared, batten walls covered with wood shingles and a standing-seam copper roof covering a mansard form on top of a hipped roof with deep eaves. Fixed windows are trapezoidal shaped and high continuous clerestory windows extend around the façade and side elevations of the building. The entrance, centered on the façade, features paired wood doors with carved center panels flanked by glass. A massive tapered exterior stone chimney to the right (east) of the entrance bay connects to a stone terrace with stone steps and integral stone planters and benches. An inset entrance at the basement level of the right elevation has paired doors under a heavy wood lintel. The doors have fluted panels flanked by full-height lights and are set in a trapezoidal surround. A raised platform on the rear (north) elevation accesses the building from the rear parking lot with an accessible ramp. There is an entrance on the west elevation with a single door sheltered by the oberhanging roof. A stone wall extends along North Boundary Street east of the building.

The Town of Chapel Hill acquired the property in 1965 and, according to the library website, the library opened in December of 1967. It remained in use as a library until 1994 when the current library was completed. It is currently in use as the Chapel Hill Historical Society and Chapel Hill Museum.

In the 2015 survey, this was deemed a Noncontributing Building.

SOURCE: Heather Wagner Slane, National Register of Historic Places Nomination: Chapel Hill Historic District Boundary Increase and Additional Documentation, Orange County, OR1750 (Raleigh, NC: North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office, 2015), courtesy of the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office.



523 E. Franklin Street