Murals that originally decorated the dining room of Marion Wooten Peebles ' 24 now adorn the walls of the Peebles Dining Room at The Carolina Club.
large table from Hill's office in half, making
two consoles to fit a hallway. The coffee
table for The Carolina Club reception
area turned up in his own attic. He even
found a few pieces at tag sales, including
a brass umbrella stand by the elevator.
Another conversation piece among the
Alumni Center regulars is the wallpaper
in The Carolina Club. The hand-painted
parchment, designed by Charles Gracie,
also can be found in the White House.
Several of the resources acquired through
the campaign required restoration before
they could settle into the center. Walnut
paneling that now lines a wall of the Royall
Room, a meeting and conference room,
was salvaged from the former executive
offices ofR.]. Reynolds in Winston-
Salem. A painting found in Hill's country
estate and one found in a dormitory base-
ment were unrecognizable until their
restoration by John Short, an expert in
art restoration who had been Hill's private
conservator for 20 years.
Short also was responsible for moving
and restoring the murals in the Marion
W. Peebles Jr. private dining room. The
portraits ofa pristine Carolina campus
that now line The Carolina Club's most
popular dining room are accustomed to a
much smaller audience. For 46 years these
scenic paintings resided in the Peebles
family dining room in Lawrenceville, Va.
In 1947 Marion Wooten Peebles ' 24
commissioned an artist, whose name has
been lost to history, to paint a mural of
UNC scenes for his dining room. The
murals depict South Building, the Old
W ell and Old East, Playmakers Theater,
Wilson Library, the Bell Tower, the
Carolina Inn, Kappa Alpha fraterniry
house, the Morehead Building and the
School of M edicine.
In 1987, when Peebles' son, Marion
Wooten "Dyke" PeeblesJr. ' 51, was plan-
ning to move, he worried the paintings
would be lost to the home's new owners.
Strayhorn and Dibbert visited Peebles
and convinced him the murals would be
an ideal addition to a private dining room
in the Alumni Center. Peebles donated
$250,000 and the murals to the Alunmi
Center Campaign to fund the Marion
W. Peebles Jr. Dining Room.
Though the background of the Peebles
room is unique, many pieces in the center
share its stOLY of history preserv"ed. Sconces
found in the basement of the Carolina
Inn were refurbished. A 15th-century
breakfront found in the Law School library
stacks was repaired and refurbished for
the center. The KoUlY Library's entrance
and shelves are paneled with heart of pine
from the OLiginal construction of Old
West dormitory in 1821-22-more than
20 years before the GAA was founded.
It is that sense of history, perhaps, that
has endeared alumni to the George Watts
Hill Alumni Center. The pieces of the
puzzle are in place at last. As Doris Betts
said: "We have a real sense of being at
The George Watts Hill Alumni Center is
ope/1 year-round and welcomes all Carolina
ahmmi and friends to visit. Tours can be
scheduled by calling ( 9 19) 962-1208. I
CAROLYN EDY is agraduate student studyil1g
joltmalism at UNC.
BEHIND HIS GAZE
A bronze-cast bust of George Watts Hill ' 22 sits within the Alumni Center's
breezeway, It was sculpted by David A. Dowdy Jr. ' 54, a self-taught artist. "It's
never too late to learn," Dowdy said. "You learn by doing, and that's the way
To help young artists receive the training he did not, Dowdy created a perma-
nent scholarship fund at Carolina in 1994. The David A. Dowdy Jr. Award Fund
helps finance a graduate student's education in figurative sculpture.
Dowdy used photographs of Hill to sculpt the bust for Central Carolina Bank,
where Hill was chairman for 43 years; the bank donated the bust to the Alumni
Center. "I get more comments out of [the bust of Hill], I believe, than any other
single piece I have done," Dowdy said.
- Carolyn Edy
CARaLINA ALUMNI REVlEW