Orange Slices- September 10
Press Releases
Written by Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau   
Tuesday, September 10, 2019 03:39 PM

Hillsborough is Thoroughly an American Town

It is, in fact, older than America herself. History is in every brick in every building lining Churton Street, and in the beautiful antebellum homes on Margaret, King and Tryon.

It’s also American – purely so – the way it refuses to linger in the past. Hillsborough is a town that can be seen as one straddling time itself: a memory of what was, the promise for what can be.

More than anything else, it’s a community of people who believe in freedom, equality and justice. In the last few weeks we have watched as hate groups lumbered from the shadows and, cloaked, tried to revive a past we hoped, naively, to have gone the way of all those things we thought we had become better than. But the people of Hillsborough did not passively watch. They came together and marched. For each hooded man or woman on one side of the street, there were twenty on the other.



There is No Room for Hate Here

Hate is strong; it will, apparently, never die, and trying to kill it only creates more of it. So the march was peaceful but its message was clear. All that’s left to us is to say what Hillsborough said that day, and everyone in every town should say the same: there is no room for hate here. And not here, not here, and not here.

Hillsborough is the old and the new South, all within a few square blocks. It has become the center of culture, entertainment, and education envisioned by Paul Cameron and William Graham a hundred and fifty years ago.

It is unique. Hillsborough has lately been attracting some of the finest minds in the country who have come here to make it their home. Some of the best chefs in the state who have opened restaurants to feed them


The Downtown Historic District

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places — features more than 100 homes, churches, schools, and other structures from the late 18th and 19th centuries. Among those buildings open to the public is the Visitors Center, which served as Gen. Joseph E. Johnston's headquarters when he surrendered the largest of the Confederate armies to Gen. William T. Sherman, leading to the Civil War's end.

And so beautiful. Located in the historic district of Hillsborough, North Carolina, the area of St. Mary’s Street is known for wooded pockets of historic homes, beautiful gardens and breathtaking churches, much of it listed on the National Historic Register. In St. Mary’s you’ll find a strong connection between community and North Carolina’s history. 


Ayr Mount

The centerpiece of St. Mary’s is Ayr Mount, a Federal-era plantation house built in 1815 in Hillsborough, North Carolina by William Kirkland. Kirkland named the house in honor of his birthplace, Ayr, Scotland. At the time of its construction at the end of the War of 1812, Ayr Mount was considered one of the finest residential structures in Piedmont North Carolina. 

The windows of St. Matthew's, a nearby Episcopalian church, represent one hundred years of stained-glass history. The current grounds of St. Matthew’s are the product of seven successive deeds of land from Thomas Ruffin, Sr., and his Cameron family descendants. In 1854, Thomas Ruffin gave the parish the parcel of land on which the church was already built and provided a cemetery for burials.

West Hillsborough originated as a mill village that served the Bellevue Manufacturing Company and the Eno Cotton Mill. Historically, these manufacturing plants were great contributors to the town’s economy. West Hillsborough housed the mill workers, and contained a vibrant cohesive community, disrupted with the decline of textile industry in the latter half of the twentieth century.