HORROR, DEATH, AND DESTRUCTION

HORROR, DEATH, AND DESTRUCTION


Places where people died, were killed, murdered, executed, buried, etc. Also, fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, etc. And sites of other horrors, real or imagined.

GALLOWS HILL

street: ,
Hillsborough
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1850
/ Modified in
1865

 

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Last updated

  • Sun, 11/07/2021 - 4:31pm by SteveR

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street: ,
Hillsborough
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1850
/ Modified in
1865
Object Type: 
Object Subtype: 

 

“Gallows Hill” was bounded by Nash Street on the north, King Street on the South, Occoneechee Street on the east, and Union Street on the north. It encompassed town lots 207 through 218 plus a section of the town commons. The gallows itself may have been located somewhere on lots 207 through 210 or, most likely, it was located on the town commons, just south of Union Street. 
 
These gallows were used from circa 1850 to circa 1865 for hangings, when the sheriff apparently reverted back to hanging people at the downtown jail. Some executed prisoners were also buried on gallows hill, including those executed at the downtown jail, until at least 1879.
 
Local resident/carpenter John R. Christmas built the gallows sometime between 1846 and 1850. The gallows were repaired by a Dave Clark in 1870.
 
The town commons were sold by the town commissioners between 1880 and 1922. The “gallows hill” area was developed by Joe Cheshire and H. Winder Webb in the early 1900’s.
 
Excerpt of the 1863 S. T. Alderman map, with "Gallows Hill" outlined in red
 
Excerpt of aerial photo, with the likely site of the gallows outlined in red
 
Excerpt from the August 1850 term of the Orange County court
 
July 1962 News of Orange clip
 
 
Individuals believed to buried at/on "Gallows Hill":
 

Henry Andrews - 1879

Robert Boswell - 1879

Lewis Carlton - 1879

Alphonso Davis - 1879

Bob Gunn - 1870

Tom Young - 1870

According to current research, there are between five and 17 individuals believed to be buried at the site.

 

 

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BANK OF EFLAND

,
Efland
NC

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Last updated

  • Fri, 01/08/2021 - 11:01am by SteveR

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,
Efland
NC

 

The Bank of Efland was chartered in 1920, and organized on September 8, 1920. It opened for business on December 1, 1920.
 
Its president was John L. Efland, and its cashier was Roberts Riley.
 
 
1930
 
It "became insolvent" in 1932 (during the Depression) and its assets were liquidated.
 
On November 1, 1930, there was an attempted bank robbery:
 
"In an unsuccessful attempt to rob the Bank of Efland at 10:30 this morning, one robber was killed in a fight with Mr. Carl Forrest, a merchant, and another escaped in a Buick roadster in which he sat in front of the bank. The dead man has been identified as Bruce Carpenter about 26, of Durham. Papers found on him bore this name and address. Efforts were being made this afternoon to make the identification positive. Frustration of the robbery was directly due to an alarm given by Mrs. George Shambley, who started to the bank while the job was in progress. Just as she started to enter the door in the car said to her: 'Lady, you can't go In there now. We're attending to some business in there.' Sensing trouble Mrs. Shambley, instead of standing by the yellow coupe of the ????, went Into the store of Mr. Forrest and said to him: 'Something is wrong over at the bank.' Mr. Forrest remembered that he had loaded a new double-barreled shotgun to shoot a hawk. It was lying nearby. He picked It up and went out toward the bank, about 50 yards away. Mr. Forrest was commanded to halt by the man in the car. He saw in his hands what appeared to be a rifle..."
(From The Elkin Tribune. Elkin, N.C. November 06, 1930)
 
 
 
Bruce Carpenter's 1930 death certificate
 

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OLD HILLSBOROUGH JAIL (FIFTH)

103
,
Hillsborough
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1836-1837
/ Demolished in
c. 1935
Builders: 
Construction type: 
,
Type: 
Use: 

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Last updated

  • Sun, 11/07/2021 - 1:01pm by gary

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103
,
Hillsborough
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1836-1837
/ Demolished in
c. 1935
Builders: 
Construction type: 
,
Type: 
Use: 

 

Circa 1900, view south east (jail indicated by red arrow)

Circa 1930, view south east (photo from History of the Town of Hillsborough 1754-1966)

 

Per History of the Town of Hillsborough:

"In a hundred years Orange County had at last five jails. In 1752, a contract was given to build a jail near Piney Ford. The contract was evidently not carried out. In 1755, Alexander Mebane, Josiah Dixon, and William Churton laid out the first prison in Hillsborough on Lot No. 1. Lot No. 1 was reseved for a market house, courthouse, prison, pillory and stocks.

A second jail was erected about 1765. After the second jail burned, a district jail was built in Hillsborough in 1771. Another district jail was authorized by the legislature in 1798. Building commissioners were appointed for a new prison in 1836, which was to be 45 ft. long, 24 ft. wide, and two stories high. John Berry was awarded the contract for the stone building which was completed in 1837."

In 1835 the 1798 jail was burned down by a prisoner, Henry Harris, who had been captured without papers (i.e. he likely was a free person of color) some time after possibly taking part in the "Nat Turner Rebellion." He escaped, was recaptured, and was taken to Yanceyville, in nearby Caswell County, and hanged.

An 1870 report to the North Carolina Board of Public Charities described the Orange County jail as: "...built of wood and stone, and is forty-five by twenty-four feet. It is two stories high and has two cells above and two rooms below, size of cells ten by ten of rooms nineteen by sixteen. Two windows in each room two feet four inches by four feet. The building is heated by stoves and fire-places. Two blankets and a straw bed are furnished each prisoner. Males and females are confined separate. Fresh water is furnished three times per day, and the prisoners have as much to eat as they wish. The jail is swept daily. Excrement is removed in buckets." At the time of the report there were 16 prisoners in confinement, ranging in age from 17 to 49; three of the prisoners were women, and 14 of the prisoners were African-American.

This jail was used until at least 1889, when the mayor’s office was built, and may have been used to house prisoners until the new town/county jail was built in 1928.

According to Federal and State Emergency Relief Administration (FERA/NCERA) records, the "old" two-story jail and "town building" (i.e. mayor's office), which was located on the courthouse square (the jail was at the southeast corner of Margaret Lane and Court Street), was "torn down so that a proper setting could be provided for the courthouse. The demolition of the old jail was followed with much interest as it was rumored that the ancient hanging pit would be brought to light--but no trace of it was found. The walls of the old jail, which were thirty-two inches thick, made of flagstone laid in clay, provided the material for all the flagstone sidewalks built on the square." The demolition was conducted in December 1933 and January 1934.

1888 Sanborn map excerpt

1911 Sanborn map excerpt

Location of the old jail, view west, 07.31.2016 (G. Kueber)

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ORANGE COUNTY POOR HOUSE / COUNTY HOME

,
Cedar Grove
NC
Cross street: 
Construction type: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 

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  • Sun, 11/07/2021 - 12:32pm by gary

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,
Cedar Grove
NC
Cross street: 
Construction type: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 

 

 

1891 Tate Map. (LOC)

 

An 1870 report to the North Carolina Board of Public Charities described the Orange County poor house and property: "The poor house which has been in operation for the past forty-five years, is five miles from the county seat and consists of two brick buildings one story high and one hundred feet long. Six rooms in each. A supply of water is gotten from well and pump in yard. Fire-places are used for warming the buildings; one quart of meal or flour, one-fourth pound of bacon or pork, one gill of molasses, one pint of coffee and one pint of milk, is the allowance of food; one dollar and twenty-five cents the average weekly cost of the maintenance of each. The buildings are well arranged, neat and in good condition. Four hundred acres of poor qualiity land belong to the poor house tract of which seventy-five are in cultivation. Corn, wheat, oats, hay and cotton, and the different vegetables are raised and used for the support of inmates. Ashes and manures used in improving land. Jas. M. Bain, Overseer. Salary one hundred and seventy-five dollars per annum. Dr. Edmund Strudwick, Physician. Salary seventy-five dollars per annum. Fifty or sixty inmates could be accommodated with the present arrangement. There were eighteen inmates in the poor house on July 1st, 1868--thirty-three admissions since. There have been ten deaths since that time. No. in poor house at present, forty-one, of which ten are able to do light work."

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REGULATOR MARKER

street: ,
Hillsborough
NC
Built in
1963

 

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In tours

Last updated

  • Sat, 06/26/2021 - 10:43am by gary

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street: ,
Hillsborough
NC
Built in
1963
Object Type: 

 

Original marker, circa 1920s

Second marker (postcard excerpt), 1920s

Circa 1930 postcard

Second marker, view south east, circa 1960 (image via UNC)

Third Marker, 07.23.2016 (G. Kueber)

Reads:

"On this spot were hanged by order of a Tory Court, June 19, 1771, Merrill, Messer, Matter, Pugh and two other Regulators. Placed by the Durham-Orange Committee, North Carolina Society Colonial Dames in America, April 1963,"

 

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WEST END GRADED SCHOOL (SECOND)

111
,
Hillsborough
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1938
/ Modified in
1970
,
1988
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
,
Type: 
Use: 
,

The primary graded school for West Hillsborough from the 1930s to the 1960s

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  • Tue, 12/22/2020 - 8:55am by gary

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111
,
Hillsborough
NC
Cross street: 
Built in
1938
/ Modified in
1970
,
1988
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
,
Type: 
Use: 
,

 

Composite image from screen captures of panning shot from H. Lee Waters film, 17 Oct 1939. (State Archives of North Carolina.)

 

Sanborn Map, 1943

The West End Graded School was built in 1938,  as a replacement for the West Hillsborough School that had stood on Bellvue Avenue. It was built on the site of Cadwallader Jones's "Old Homeplace" noted on the subdivision map for West Hill - an older house that predated the neighborhood, and contributed the land for the formation of the neighborhood. The site is the peak of the 'West Hill' with an elevation of 605 feet.

Aerial view, 1955

The school consisted of a front hipped-roof block, apparently with dormer windows. Gabled wings extended north from the east and west sides of the buildings.

The school was decomissioned in the late 1960s, perhaps as part of changes to schools with integration. In 1970, the school lot and building were purchased by Everett Kennedy for 5,000 and converted into 17 apartments, which he called the "Kenwood Apartments."

On February 20, 1988. The apartments/former school burned - two young boys (brothers aged 3 and 4)  and a man were killed in the fire. The fire "burned through the building in 20 minutes" per the fire chief. Only the very tips of the U-shaped structure were salvageable, as they had been built later and were separated from the rest of the structure by fire walls. 

School after the fire, Durham Morning Herald 02.21.1988

The remnants of the school were demolished, leaving only the three apartments in the 'tips' on a large parcel of land. Along with the remaining stone perimeter wall and stairs, the impression is of a somewhat bizarre set of structural elements if one is unaware of the origin story.

02.13.16 (G. Kueber)

As of August 2016, the land was owned by Jim Mathewson. A notice was sent to people within 500 feet of the property for a neighborhood meeting in advance of a proposed rezoning for "single and multifamily project" in early August, termed "Bellevue Place." Although I support redevelopment of this land, this prominent location in the neighborhood deserves a high-quality project - and I don't know if Jim Mathewson will deliver that.

The rezoning of this property failed, and as of 2020, Mathewson is still trying to sell the land to a developer to redevelop the property.

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3600 MINCEY RD.

3600
,
Schley
NC
Built in
circa 1880
/ Demolished in
circa 2000
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 

The house that once stood at this address was the site of two gruesome murders in early 1992.

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  • Mon, 11/02/2020 - 4:44pm by SteveR

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3600
,
Schley
NC
Built in
circa 1880
/ Demolished in
circa 2000
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 

 

The property was/is owned by Robert Strayhorn. The house no longer exists, as it was bulldozed in the late 1990s.

March 1992 (photo by Jon Atkeson, via the Daily Tar Heel)

 

David Allen Sokolowski (aka David Ellwood), who rented the house from Strayhorn, was convicted of first-degree murder for killing his friend, Rubel “Little Man” Gray Hill, and his live-in girlfriend, Pamela Owens Ellwood, in 1992. There are more gruesome details regarding the event but I shan't post them here; if you care to read the details of the crime(s), see murderpedia.org/male.S/s/sokolowski-david.htm
 
For years after the crimes, locals would visit the house and property, as it sat unoccupied for years afterwards. Eventually, the house was torn down. It is now just a lot with a shed.
 
There was an episode of the 2018 television show Shattered (season 2, episode 9) titled "Butcher on Mincey Road" on this event.

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MYERS HOUSE / HALLOWEEN HOUSE

1520
,
Orange County
NC
Built in
2008
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
Type: 

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Last updated

  • Mon, 09/19/2016 - 10:56am by gary

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1520
,
Orange County
NC
Built in
2008
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
Type: 

 

From Atlas Obscura (http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/myers-house)

From Atlas Obscura:

Located in Hillsborough, North Carolina, the real life replica was built by Kenny Caperton, maybe the biggest Halloween fan of all time (after this move). The original Myers house used in the film is actually located in California, but when Caperton built his house, he could not locate the blueprints of the original, which was built in 1888. Nonetheless, he went to the film and faithfully recreated the interior as best he could, only updating it to be more livable, but keeping the corridors as tight and claustrophobic as in the film.

The decorations have also been updated since the Caperton and his wife actually live in the house, but an entire bookshelf alcove has been devoted to Caperton's awesome collection of Halloween memorabilia, even including the masks from the much maligned, Michael-Myers-free third installment, Halloween III: Season of the Witch.

Visitors are encouraged to come by around in October when the home is appropriately kitted out for the season. Keep in mind that this house is a private residence and unlike in Halloween, it is not totally rad when unexpected visitors show up.

From Atlas Obscura (http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/myers-house)

 

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https://openorangenc.org/sites/default/files/images/105NstCHgsv.JPG

105 NORTH ST.

105
,
Chapel Hill
NC
Construction type: 
Type: 
Use: 
,

The site of the murder of Lucille Rinaldi on December 24, 1963.

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  • Fri, 01/08/2021 - 10:59am by SteveR

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105
,
Chapel Hill
NC
Construction type: 
Type: 
Use: 
,

 

View north, Sugust 2019 (via Google Streetview)

 

One of the apartments in this duplex was the site of the murder of Lucille Rinaldi, age 34 and pregnant, on December 24, 1963.

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