#CelebratingUNC: Iconic Places

In honor of UNC’s 225th anniversary (happy birthday, dear!), we’re going through the top seven UNC landmarks around campus. So get ready for some ~iconic~ places.


The Old Well

The first and foremost of UNC’s landmarks, this little Instagrammable locale hails back to 1897 when it used to serve as the campus’ main drinking source. These days, you probably take a sip from it on the first day of class for all the 4.0 juju you can muster (though I’m still waiting for that to kick in), or possibly as the finish line point for a weekend color run.

The Morehead-Patterson Bell Tower

At almost 90 years old, the bell tower of mid-campus is host to two major events during the school year: it's annual relighting in the early fall, and at the end of the year when seniors get to climb the steps and leave their names behind on the top floor. Personally, I really appreciate the bell tower. Whenever I’m walking around campus with my earbuds in, or thinking about whatever is stressing me out, I really like to hear the quarter hour start to ring and take a moment to disconnect from all that and re-center myself. I think it’s a nice little trick to gain some perspective.

The Pit

Your favorite campus hotspot that is home to dueling a capella groups, flyer-bearing hawkers, dazed high schoolers going on tours, the occasional good boy going for a walk and, of course, the entire host of resident preachers. For all this (and more!), the Pit is always hopping and always iconic.

Coker Arboretum

Full disclaimer: I pronounced it aboreum for my entire first year, and not a single person had the decency to correct me. Nonetheless, this is a beautiful place to go for walks and enjoy a lovely balance between free nature and carefully maintained space. Convenient just for north campus, but absolutely worth the walk if you’ve never let yourself get lost among its paths.

Forest Theater

If you’ve never made it over to the Forest Theater, then I highly recommend the spot. There are always performances going on—an amazing rendition of Macbeth last weekend for instance—and the ambiance of sloping stone walls and open amphitheater sky seems to set you in a place out of time. 10/10 would recommend as a run destination.

Gimghoul Castle

Lesser known and even farther away, this little corner of UNC history holds some interesting secrets. Apparently, the Order of Gimghoul started in 1889 and centered around the mysterious disappearance of a UNC student some fifty years earlier. It is a closed membership group whose secrets are classified with 50-year statute rules. Its headquarters, Gimghoul Castle (or Hippol if we’re being proper about it), stands roughly half a mile from the center of campus and anyone not in the society has strictly barred entrance. All the same, it’s really cool to take a few friends and go find it in the woods—especially during Halloween season—and see the crenelated walls and old towers shifting through the trees as you make your way down the driveway.

The Spider

Last but not least and, of course, absolutely terrifying, is that damn spider statue. I love her. I fear her. I want to know why she is dedicated to the artist’s mother of all things. But mostly, I love her, and that is all I have to say.