Poetry, art and music. That is what the vibrant community of the town of Carrboro is all about.
With nicknames such as “Paris of the Piedmont”, “Seattle of the South”, “Faraway Carrboro” and “The Invisible Kingdom of America”, Carrboro has a personality all its own.
Carrboro was not meant to be a town to begin with. In 1882, Carrboro began as a railroad depot. A deserted area roughly a mile away from Chapel Hill was chosen so no one would be disturbed by the sound of the train.
Carrboro has substantial ties to Chapel Hill and for many years did not even have a name. It was known as the “town of the West,” as in the town west of Chapel Hill. It has changed names several times to West End and then Venable, after a president of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
In 1898, a man named Tom Lloyd built a cotton mill. In 1913, Venable became the largest hardwood cross-tie market in the world. In 1914, Carrboro finally got its name after Julian Can, who bought the mill and donated electricity and streets to the town.
With over 16,700 people, Carrboro has two main roads: Main Street and Weaver Street. If you visit Carrboro, be prepared to share the road with bikes.
The town offers many events to go to during the year. Each fall there is the Carrboro Music Festival with over 150 bands in one day. In the spring, there is the Poetry Festival and in November there is the Film Festival.
Hot places to visit in the town are the ArtsCenter and the Cat’s Cradle, a world-famous music venue. The ArtsCenter opened in 1974 with great shopping for the arts.
Next door is the Cat’s Cradle, which is where Carrboro’s name, “Seattle of the South,” came from. The band Ben Folds Five started its career here.
Also, a hot place in town is the Weaver Street Market, the community-owned grocery store, which opened in 1988. Located in front of the old Can Mill, the community gathers on the lawn for live music on Thursday nights and Sunday morning brunch. This is the heart of Carrboro. The Can Mill still stands and has been refurbished to offer shopping in what is now known as the Can Mill Mall. There are many shops and galleries to browse through.
There are many communities in Carrboro to choose from. Many mill homes are being redone. Bolin Forest is within walking distance to downtown Carrboro and backs to Bolin Creek. Ten miles of hiking and biking trails wind through the community.
Sunset Creek is within walking distance to elementary and middle schools in Carrboro and is only five minutes to Chapel Hill. Other communities include Brookfield, Bel Arbor and Cedars.