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The Tar HeelMonday. August 24, 198729
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Tar He) Steve Matteson
For stargazing, UNC offers the
Morehead Planetarium, the first
planetarium to be owned by an
Regular planetarium programs
are presented for tens of thousands
of school children and general
audiences each year, with the most
popular offering occurring at
Between 1960 and 1975, 43
American astronauts were trained
here in celestial navigation.
The planetarium was presented
to the University in 1969 by the
John Motley Morehead
To the north of the building
rests a hybrid rose garden and
sundial, one of the largest of its
type, with a diameter of 35 feet.
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The Davie Poplar is a landmark
older than UNC itself.
Many legends surround this ivy
clad tree, which is over 200 years N
old. Many stories suggest that
William Richardson Davie,
author and introducer of the bill
that established the University,
personally located the University
lands around the tree. Although
this is doubtful, the name Davie
was assigned to the tree almost a
century later by Cornelia Phillips
Spencer to commemorate one of
Another legend about the
poplar is that while on a picnic
in the spring of 1792, Davie and
the site-selection committee for the
University met, and after drinking
and making merry, Davie thrust
a poplar branch into the ground
to mark the new site, announcing,
"This is it." The switch supposedly
grew into the Davie Poplar. (This
was proven untrue, as Davie was
not on the committee).
Standing beside the Davie
Poplar is the Davie Poplar Jr., a
shoot grafted from the big tulip
poplar when it was thought that
the older tree would not survive
after being struck by lightning.
The second tree was planted by
the class of 1918.
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The oldest state university
building is also located on the
Old East's cornerstone was laid
October 12, 1793, and nearly a
century later its date was honored
as University Day, a celebration
in which professors don the tra
ditional caps and long gowns of
In the late 1700s, both the
residential and instructional life of
the University was centered in Old
East. Students would erect huts in
the "forest" beside it and in the
unfinished shell of South Building
to escape their fellowmen. When
Tar HeelSteve Matteson
the weather was too bad for
students to study in their huts, it
was considered a valid excuse for
Old East was honored by the
National Historic Society as a
national landmark for possessing
"exceptional value in commemo
rating the history of the United
Today, the structure operates as
a male dormitory. Recently, Uni
versity administrators decided to
turn Old East into offices but
reversed their decision after stu
dents and alumni protested the
break in tradition.