To change that, the Carrboro Board of Aldermen is creating the position of Carrboro town historian. It is a volunteer position with a term of at least four years.
“The historian will advise the board on areas that they believe are historical landmarks and need preservation in Carrboro,” said Alderman Bethany Chaney. “They will also tell us why it’s important to engage with the history of the area.”
Chaney said although the formal responsibilities of the position have not been assigned, the job would not entail interacting with the board as much as getting involved in the community and connecting with town residents.
Chaney said both amateur and professional historians will be considered.
“We are looking for someone who is genuinely willing to put in some time and come up with a reasonable plan to do some community-oriented activities,” she said. “We want someone who is willing to interact with the public around history and be creative about it.”
Alderman Damon Seils said whoever steps into the role will play an important part in collecting and sharing the history of Carrboro with residents.
“We think that there is value in recognizing that Carrboro has many histories, and we all have a part in telling those histories,” Seils said.
Alderman Randee Haven-O’Donnell said the position would help document the stories, photos and memories that detail how Carrboro has changed over the years.
“I think we all see not only the importance of its history, but we also recognize that Carrboro is so distinctive and that it has always been,” Haven-O’Donnell said. “And it is really important for the town to preserve its distinction.”
The application is available on the town website, and some residents have already shown interest.
Richard Ellington, a Carrboro native and co-author of the book “ Carrboro (Images of America),” said he is not sure whether he wants to apply, but he is excited to see the creation of the position.
“I hope that whoever is the historian focuses on the community,” Ellington said. “It is noted as being a progressive town, and I think it’s important that whoever does this job looks into all of the communities that make up Carrboro.”
Frances Shetley, a resident of Carrboro since 1957, said creating the job is a good idea because of Carrboro’s bountiful history and the transition it has made from the small place it used to be.
“It is a cool little town today,” she said. “Chapel Hill was a lot like it 25 years ago. Now, Carrboro is the place to be.”
Chaney said she is passionate about the future and what this job means for the town.
“Everyone values history in Carrboro, and the town has changed a lot in the last 20 years, and it is going to keep changing,” Chaney said. “This position will add perspective to what we do.”