UNIVERSITY PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
1920, 1959, 1962, 1999
With street frontage on East Franklin, Henderson, and East Rosemary streets and Robertson Lane, this complex of interconnected religious buildings was constructed in phases with the sanctuary dating to 1962, but rear wings having been constructed earlier. Set back from Franklin Street, the front-gabled, Colonial Revival-style brick sanctuary has paired six-panel doors centered on the façade with a classical surround featuring an elaborate broken pediment supported by pilasters. Above the entrance is a fixed multi-light window with molded surround integrated into the pediment below. The façade is dominated by a two-story, pedimented portico with dentil cornice supported by columns and pilasters. Two-story, side-gabled wings project slightly from the right (east) and left (west) elevations, resulting in a T-shaped plan with the steeple rising from the intersection of the gabled roofs. The right gable features paired six-panel doors with a one-light transom in a classical surround with broken pediment with an oculus vent above and a wide cornice with brackets and dentils at the roofline. The steeple features a square brick base with dentil cornice. Above the base, the four-sided, frame steeple has arched louvered vents on each elevation and above that, the four-sided frame level has canted corners and fixed fifteen-light windows on the elevations. An octagonal level with decorative oval windows supports the spire. The gabled rear of the church is five bays deep with narrow, flat-roofed sections extending to the east and west along the depth of the wing. There are fixed oval windows and a wide cornice with brackets and dentils at the gabled roof and two-story, arched multi-light wood-sash windows with stone sills, keystones, and stringers. The wings have a wide dentil cornice at the flat roof and double-hung windows at the basement level.
At the rear (north) of the sanctuary, fronting on East Rosemary Street, is a two-story brick education wing that was constructed about 1920. The two-story, parapeted side-gabled wing is seven bays wide and is connected to the sanctuary by a tall, two-story, gabled wing. The education wing has a Flemish-bond brick veneer, eight-over-twelve wood-sash windows at the first floor, eight-over-eight windows at the second floor, a decorative cornice, and a slate roof. Paired three-panel doors centered on the north elevation are recessed in a paneled surround and have a broken pediment with urn supported by fluted pilasters. Projecting, front-gabled wings flank the building, each three bays wide and four bays deep with pedimented front gables, dentil cornices, and matching brickwork and windows. On the east elevation, where the education wing meets the sanctuary, a three-bay-wide, gabled wing projects slightly to the east with a pedimented gable, dentil molding, and brickwork and windows matching the education wing.
At the west side of the education wing, facing Henderson Street (which is at a slightly higher grade than Franklin and Rosemary streets), a 1959 Student Center and Fellowship Hall addition features a one-story, pedimented front-gabled wing at the right (south) that is seven bays deep with double-hung windows on the south elevation and a one-story-with-basement, flat-roofed classroom wing at the left (north). A pedimented front-gabled entrance wing projects west from the south end of the addition and has paired one-light doors in a modern, multi-paned glass surround that fills nearly one-third of the façade and extends all the way to the wide cornice. The entrance is accessed by an uncovered slate terrace with integral brick planters. The classroom wing to the left is four bays wide with stacked awning windows at the first-floor level that extend all the way to the wide cornice. Paired three-light doors on the right end of the wing have a wide entablature and are accessed by a brick stair with brick knee wall and concrete coping. There is a recessed diamond pattern in the brick below the windows on the façade, a brick knee wall with concrete coping that forms a retaining wall adjacent to a basement stair on the left side of the wing. Basement-level windows on this elevation are eight-over-eight wood-sash windows.
To the left (west) of the sanctuary, facing Franklin Street and very near the sidewalk, is a one-story, front-gabled classroom and meeting wing that is seven bays deep. It has a brick veneer, fixed arched brick windows in the gable, and a projecting bay on the façade with a curved façade, grouped double-hung windows, and a metal roof. Like the sanctuary, the gabled roof is flanked by narrow sections of flat roof that extend the full depth of the building. The flat roof on the right (east) elevation is wider and shelters a colonnade supported by brick arches.
A Presbyterian church appears on this site as early as 1911 with the education wing at the rear constructed in 1920, however that sanctuary burned in February 1958. According to the church’s website, the education wing remained and in 1959, the Student Center and Fellowship Hall were completed. Services were held in the Fellowship Hall until the new sanctuary was completed in November 1962. The church was enlarged again in 1999 with the construction of classroom and event space at the southwest corner of the sanctuary, facing Franklin Street.
In the 2015 survey, this was deemed a Contributing 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.