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Book re-launch honors Town of Chapel Hill's 200th anniversary

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"The Campus at Chapel Hill" by John V. Allcott was recently updated with an addendum by UNC Visual Resources Curator and Teaching Assistant Professor JJ Bauer. 

The Town of Chapel Hill is celebrating its 200th anniversary and is holding events as a part of an initiative to honor its history.

One of the many community events in the Chapel Hill 1819/2019 series honoring the Town's history and its relationship to UNC was the book launch of “The Campus at Chapel Hill: 225 Years of Architecture,” which the Town Arts and Culture Department and the Town's Historical Society organized. The book launch took place in the John and June Allcott Gallery in the Hanes Art Center on Friday and celebrated the release of a new edition of the historical book, originally published in 1986.

The book was originally written by UNC professor of art and modern architecture John V. Allcott and focused on the University's architectural history. Allcott founded and originally chaired the UNC Art & Art History Department. Allcott’s daughter, Elinor Allcott Griffith, who is also an UNC alumna, said the book allows readers to learn about the history of the campus and how it has changed since its founding.

“It’s a very anecdotal book about the history of the architecture of the campus," Griffith said. "You start to see these buildings in a whole different light because you get to know the students and the events around the town and in the time. It’s filled with some wonderful stories.”

The book's new edition includes a foreword by former UNC Chancellor Carol Folt and an addendum by J.J. Bauer, who is the visual resources curator for the Department of Art & Art History at UNC. Bauer also teaches courses on modern architecture.

Thomas Jepsen, treasurer of the Chapel Hill Historical Society, said the society came to the University with the idea to re-issue an updated version of the book to coincide with the 200th anniversary celebrations.

Bauer said the historical society and the art and art history department wanted to re-issue the book to honor Allcott’s legacy and his work in the departments. The historical society wanted someone who specializes in modern architecture to write the addendum because Allcott was the former department chair and was integral to the development of the department, she said.

"(Allcott) had such a tradition of giving tours of the campus architecture, and the generous contribution he and June made to the gallery, and they had maintained a connection to the art department even after retirement, and so, Carl wanted it to be someone from the department if possible,” she said.

Bauer also led a tour about campus architecture the day after the book launch. Bauer, Griffith and Missy Julian-Fox, former director of the UNC Visitors Center, hosted a discussion about the book at the Chapel Hill Public Library on Sunday.

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