Sunday, January 29, 2012

Changes in the Gimghoul Road neighborhood

I started this post with the intention of publishing it for last week's Blooming Friday theme of "Metamorphasis", but obviously I am late. I have been visiting the Gimghoul Road neighborhood over the last 30 years and it's my favorite place in Chapel Hill.

Like all neighborhoods, the Gimghoul Road neighborhood is changing and evolving. Gimghoul Road is home to the garden of twin sisters Bernice Wade and Barbara Stiles, which itself has undergone a lot of changes in the 57 years that Bernice Wade has lived there. A children's book has been written about the garden, but I wish there was a book for grown-ups documenting the changes in the property, with photographs and interviews with the sisters.

Originally the Gimghoul Road neighborhood housed many faculty members from UNC. Now it looks as though many of the houses have changed hands and work is being done on several of the houses which had started to look a little run-down.

The plaque on this freshly landscaped and manicured yard reads: "The last residence of Frank Porter Graham, February 16, 1972" (the date of his death). Graham was a graduate, professor, and 19-year President of UNC.

This new house was built where St. Thomas More Church used to stand.

Some of the houses maintain their patina and compactness of use

while others have been extensively but tastefully renovated and expanded. This house was always in beautiful shape but must be twice as big as it was originally. The expansion was almost seamlessly executed though

starting with the breezeway-type room and 2nd storey addition and extending to the right.

Over the years more azaleas have been added too. :)

All of the lawns in this neighborhood are like green velvet.

Chapel Hill is famous for its stone walls, both mortar and dry stacked

and along with house remodeling there has been a lot of new stonework, brickwork and landscaping.

In addition to the house expansions and other construction, there has been in a change in the yards of this neighborhood. Inspired by the twin sisters, more people in the neighborhood now have gardens than they did several years ago.

Who wouldn't be inspired by this?

Front border in the garden of Bernice Wade and Barbara Stiles

back garden

to be continued...


  1. Great inspiration for the neighborhood. Love azaleas in the spring, a sea of various colors, just beautiful.
    The stone walls and steps are great, seem so perfect for the setting.

  2. What a great neighborhood. I love that first little compact home that you showed. I could live there. The landscaping and azaleas are beautiful all around.

    Thanks for sharing.


  3. Sweetbay,
    The home where the church used to be is a bit over the top. The rest were lovely. I did not know about Frank Porter Graham, Meg used to teach at the school named after him.

  4. Thank you for the tour, the neighborhood does look lovely. I like the formality of the houses set against lush lawns and gorgeous plants (azaleas never get as impressive here!).

  5. Dejlige billeder fra en smuk have.
    Tak for rundvisningen.

  6. What a wonderful neighborhood. The homes and gardens are beautiful. Thanks for the tour.I love the spring blooms.

  7. Absolutely gorgeous homes and properties. So nice to see that they are inspired by the garden and want to expand on that. Love the sweeping front lawns too. Very inviting. No wonder you love it there! :)

  8. Love the look of these homes ~ so very different from houses in my neck of the woods. Oh... and it looks so 'summery' there. We're not having a cold winter but it's still winter. :((

  9. Kate I should have specified that those pictures are from spring. No snow here but it's still winter here too! :)

  10. Dear Sweetbay, Seeing these gardens after the wild and lush beauty of yours makes these Chapel Hill landscapes seem rather dry . . . to boring by comparison. There is some beautiful stonework there though. It is nice to see green right now. ;>)

  11. When my husband and I were students at Carolina, we spent many hours walking in the Gimghoul neighborhood -I have always loved it.

  12. Nice part of the world. I'm always taken with how well azaleas do in your neck of the woods.

  13. I'm drooling over these gorgeous homes and gardens! I’ve awarded you the Versatile Blogger Award: Yay!!

  14. Such beautiful homes and gardens. The rhododendrons along the pathway in that last shot are just lovely.

  15. What a beautiful neighbourhood. The houses seem to sit so well in their landscape. It all seems so seemless. I also like rhe fact that all the houses are different. Do you need planning permission to extend?

  16. Janet I believe this neighborhood does have historical status and so permission would be needed to add to a house.

  17. Thanks for sharing this neighborhood. I will have to visit Catie in the spring and take a walking tour! Carla


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