Let's Rename This Town

Mark Chilton's picture

I have been thinking more and more lately about how inappropriate the name 'Carrboro' is for a town that is so focused on alternatives to the single occupant motor vehicle.  I mean, I realize the town is named after Julian Shakespeare Carr, rather than the ubiquitous vehicle of the 20th century, but still . . . having our town's name begin with that object that we are working so hard against just makes no sense to me.

Also, it is important to remember who old Jule Carr was.  Mr. Carr was an officer in the Confederate Army, and later he was a captain of industry.  He owned many, many businesses including several mills in Durham.  And for most of his life he lived in Durham.  He even called his mill in our downtown "Durham Hosiery Mills."  In fact, we might just note that although he was a supporter of UNC, Jule Carr was also closely related to the Duke family.  In sum, Mr. Carr was not actually all that much of a Carrboro kind of guy.

So if I may, I would like to offer up a proposed new name for our town - one which will more properly reflect our town's environmental ethic:  Bikeboro.  We would have to get the legislature to pass a bill amending our town charter, but I think they might go along.  What do you guys think?

Tags: 

Total votes: 0

25 Comments

Our Town

We could re-name it either simply- HOME -nice ring and that's what I call it already

or The Really Really Free Town 

Jacquie Gist 

gercohen's picture

no local bill needed

The Town can change its name without legislation. In fact, you can do it.http://www.ncleg.net/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/BySection/Chapter_160A/GS_160A-101.html160A‑101.  Optional forms.Any city may change its name or alter its form of government by adopting any one or combination of the options prescribed by this section:(1)       Name of the corporation:The name of the corporation may be changed to any name not deceptively similar to that of another city in this State.(2)       Style of the corporation:The city may be styled a city, town, or village.http://www.ncleg.net/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/BySection/Chapter_160A/GS_160A-102.html§ 160A‑102.  Amendment by ordinance.By following the procedure set out in this section, the council may amend the city charter by ordinance to implement any of the optional forms set out in G.S. 160A‑101. The council shall first adopt a resolution of intent to consider an ordinance amending the charter. The resolution of intent shall describe the proposed charter amendments briefly but completely and with reference to the pertinent provisions of G.S. 160A‑101, but it need not contain the precise text  of the charter amendments necessary to implement the proposed changes. At the same time that a resolution of intent is adopted, the council shall also call a public hearing on the proposed charter amendments, the date of the hearing to be not more than 45 days after adoption of the resolution. A notice of the hearing shall be published at least once not less than 10 days prior to the date fixed for the public hearing, and shall contain a summary of the proposed amendments. Following the public hearing, but not earlier than the next regular meeting of the council and not later than 60 days from the date of the hearing, the council may adopt an ordinance amending the charter to implement the amendments proposed in the resolution of intent.The council may, but shall not be required to unless a referendum petition is received pursuant to G.S. 160A‑103, make any ordinance adopted pursuant to this section effective only if approved by a vote of the people, and may by resolution adopted at the same time call a special election for the purpose of submitting the ordinance to a vote. The date fixed for the special election shall be not more than 90 days after adoption of the ordinance.Within 10 days after an ordinance is adopted under this section, the council shall publish a notice stating that an ordinance amending the charter has been adopted and summarizing its contents and effect. If the ordinance is made effective subject to a vote of the people, the council shall publish a notice of the election in accordance with G.S. 163‑287, and need not publish a separate notice of adoption of the ordinance.The council may not commence proceedings under this section between the time of the filing of a valid initiative petition pursuant to G.S. 160A‑104 and the date of any election called pursuant to such petition. http://www.ncleg.net/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/BySection/Chapter_160A/GS_160A-104.html§ 160A‑104.  Initiative petitions for charter amendments.The people may initiate a referendum on proposed charter amendments. An initiative petition shall bear the signatures and resident addresses of a number of qualified voters of the city equal to at least ten percent (10%) of the whole number of voters who are registered to vote in city elections according to the most recent figures certified by the State Board of Elections or 5,000, whichever is less. The petition shall set forth the proposed amendments by describing them briefly but completely and with reference to the pertinent provisions of G.S. 160A‑101, but it need not contain the precise text of the charter amendments necessary to implement the proposed changes. The petition may not propose changes in the alternative, or more than one integrated set of charter amendments. Upon receipt of a valid initiative petition, the council shall call a special election on the question of adopting the charter amendments proposed therein, and shall give public notice thereof in accordance with G.S. 163‑287. The date of the special election shall be fixed at not more than 120 nor fewer than 60 days after receipt of the petition. If a majority of the votes cast in the special election shall be in favor of the proposed changes, the council shall adopt an ordinance amending the charter to put them into effect. Such an ordinance shall not be subject to a referendum petition. No initiative petition may be filed (i) between the time the council initiates proceedings under G.S. 160A‑102 by publishing a notice of hearing on proposed charter amendments and the time proceeding under that section have been carried to a conclusion either through adoption or rejection of a proposed ordinance or lapse of time, nor (ii) within one year and six months following the effective date of an ordinance amending the city charter pursuant to this Article, nor (iii) within one year and six months following the date of any election on charter amendments that were defeated by the voters.The restrictions imposed by this section on filing initiative petitions shall apply only to petitions concerning the same subject matter. For example, pendency of council action on amendments concerning the method of electing the council shall not preclude an initiative petition on adoption of the council‑manager form of government.Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the submission of more than one proposition for charter amendments on the same ballot so long as no proposition offers a different plan under the same option as another proposition on the same ballot. ========Greenlevel in Alamance County changed its name to Green Level in the 1990s under this provision.  Fuquay annexed Varina around 1953 and used the provision to change its name to "Fuquay-Varina" 

I realize this is a joke, but....

...I think you are being somewhat unfair to old Jule. He was very generous with his money, especially to families of veterans and was an early backer of women's suffrage. Yes, he served in the Confederate Army (as a private, not as an officer), but how many able-bodied men of his age didn't? You can't separate a man from his times, in my opinion and he was a man of his times, with all the good and the bad that entailed.   

Mark Chilton's picture

Old Jule

Well, I was clearly joking (particularly when i cast aspersions on his connection to Duke University) but I can't really agree about whether we can judge people who lived in earlier times.  Of course we can and we should. 

Carr was a generous man who did some great things, but he also . . . well, here's an excerpt of an oral history interview with the nephew of Julian S. Carr's family:

WALTER WEARE: What about the issue of voting, though, or getting the franchise for blacks?

CONRAD ODELL PEARSON: I imagine he would have been opposed to that. He called himself "General" [Julian] S. Carr. I don't think he was ever a general in the Army in the Civil War; I think he was a self-styled… Another fellow did an article on that, and he said that Julian S. Carr beat some Negro woman in the streets of Chapel Hill.

WALTER WEARE: Yes, I've read that. He might have been quoting something I found. I quote that in the book on the Mutual.

CONRAD ODELL PEARSON: I forget this fellow's name. He came to me, and he gave me a copy of his book. He was interested in slavery, and Carr's name came up some way, and he told me that Carr allegedly whipped a Negro woman in the streets of Chapel Hill.

WALTER WEARE: Carr gave a speech when they erected the Confederate Memorial on the lawn of the University at Chapel Hill, in which he said that that's what this memorial meant, that it was dedicated to those Confederate soldiers who, despite the loss, their loyalty to an idea of white supremacy, along with the Ku Klux Klan, made it possible that there would not be black domination. And then he went on to tell this story about how he whipped this black woman because she had insulted a southern lady; he meant a white lady. Now whether he did or not, or whether he was just, you know …

CONRAD ODELL PEARSON: Anyway, that's rumor.

WALTER WEARE: … giving the speech to… This was in 1913 he gave the speech.

Of course, I don't know all the facts of the matter, and I suppose the above information could be corroborated or rebutted by more research.  But I think it would be a mistake to simply ignore anything bad he may have done simply because he lived a long time ago.

James Coley's picture

Mark, You Have Seen the Light!

I whole-heartedly support the mayor's proposal that the name of Carrboro be changed. I can not tell you how many times, as I have grimaced at the driver of an automobile while they dared to cross my path as I walked across Weaver Street, I have thought that it is just plain wrong for the letters "C-A-R" to appear in the name of this town I love so dearly. I can take heart, however, in the fact that one abbreviation for our fair State, although not one in such frequent use these days, is "No. Car."James Coley

Coolsville

How about renaming Carrboro, Coolsville.   It kind of fits the self image.  Then citizens of Coolsville would be called Coolsians or Coolites.  And doen't the "Mayor of Coolsville" sound much better than the "Mayor of Carrboro"? Henry Winkler could be invited to the "change of name" ceremony and made a honorary citizen. Tourist would want to come and see Coolsville and businesses might want to relocate to Coolsville just to have the address. It just boggles the imagination.

Catherine DeVine's picture

"It's Only Paint"

Eight or nine years ago after an unsuccessful search for details about the town's incorporation and ultimate re-naming, I wrote a short story to fill in the gaps.  When Mr. Carr's new assistant tells him her dear old boss Thomas Lloyd had always wanted Venable to be named after him, Julian answers, "It's only paint."  That's what I named the story. 

I've got a good alternative

I've got a good alternative for the name Carrboro.  Here it is: Chapel Hill.  I mean, is there any reason they are two towns instead of one, other than some obscure historical one? And saying Carrboro is focused on alternatives to the single occupant motor vehicle is roughly akin to saying that Beverly Hills, CA is focused on alternatives to poverty.  After all, there aren't many poor people in Beverly Hills, so alternatives to poverty are flourishing there, right?  (Okay, I'm basing that on a stereotype of most people in Beverly Hills being wealthy, which may not be true, but you get the point.)  

James Coley's picture

People's Republic of Bikeboro!

Carrboro and Chapel Hill have distinct personalities and identities, and it would be a huge mistake to merge them. The small scale of Carrboro community and politics is a great thing, and it certainly ought to be preserved.I don't buy the Beverly Hills analogy. There are too many cars in Carrboro, just as there are too many cars all over the world. So it is not just that there are not many cars there, as there are not many (or any) poor people in Beverly Hills. It takes an effort to support transit, biking and walkability in Carrboro and other places, and part of what is go great about the People's Republic of Bikeboro is that some efforts are made. James Coley

My point about Beverly Hill

My point about Beverly Hill was that just because you don't see poor people in Beverly Hills doesn't mean Beverly Hills is doing something to lessen the number of poor people in the world.  And just because you don't see as many cars in Carrboro as in some other places doesn't mean Carrboro is doing something to lessen the number of cars in the world. Thousands of people that drive to and from UNC for work every day live in Cary and Durham and Pittsboro and all over the place so I don't see how keeping Carrboro small helps keep cars off the road.  If those people lived in Carrboro or Chapel Hill they could bus or bike or maybe even walk to work.  Instead they drive, oftentimes one person per car, from several miles away.  People worry about how far food is shipped in but they don't seem to think about people being shipped.   Ultimately though I'm not sure how much all this stuff matters.  It's so hard to say.  On the whole the picture is so big that it's not easily analyzed and it's easy to be deceived into thinking answers are clear even when they're not.

James Coley's picture

Got the Point.

I got the point of your original post on this, but I do not agree that Carrboro is not doing things to lessen the number of cars. It supports Chapel Hill Transit, encourages pedestrian access, and located the Century Center downtown, among other things. The Town of Carrboro can not be expected to do much to reduce driving from Cary, Durham and Pittsboro; but it does some good things in Carrboro. Many of us are concerned about how people are shipped, and it matters. James Coley

Only Carrboro in America

Given that Carrboro is the only such named town in the country, for uniqueness alone it should stand.  Regardless this is great fodder for the next mayoral election:  Ego-driven mayor consolidating power and wants town's name changed to Chiltonville!  :)