Collection Number: 40105

Collection Title: Office of the Director of Utilities of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records, 1926-1994

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the Duplication Policy section for more information.


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Size 3.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 2400 items)
Abstract The university's utilities system began in the 1890s with the construction of a water plant. At that time, the town of Chapel Hill lacked resources to provide complete utilities service to its residents and to the university. Consequently, the university became the developer and eventually the supplier of all utilities to the town. This arrangement continued until 1976-1977, when the university sold its public utilities. After the sale, the university's Utilities Division remained responsible for the maintenance and distribution of utilities on campus. The position of Superintendent of Utilities was created in the 1920s to oversee the operation of the utilities; the title changed to Director of Utilities in 1965. Records include files of the Superintendent, later Director, of Utilities relating to the operation of the university's electric, telephone, and water and sewer utilities. Files consist largely of reports on the status and operation of the utilities. Also included are materials relating to the Regional Solid Waste Task Force, which investigated refuse disposal and recycling in the 1980s.
Creator University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Office of the Director of Utilities.
Language English.
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Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Office of the Director of Utilities of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records #40105, University Archives, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Provenance
Periodic transfer from the offices that create these records.
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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The university's system of utilities developed not from any grand design, but from the specific needs of the faculty and students at a time when the town of Chapel Hill could not provide adequate utilities. The first utility was a water plant, built between 1892 and 1894, to pump and filter the water from the university's two wells. Electricity followed in 1895 after the Visiting Committee of the Board of Trustees expressed concern for the safety of the students in unlit dormitories. A committee headed by Professor Joshua Walker Gore, head of the Department of Physics, planned and built an electric power plant, which was operating by the opening of the fall 1895 term. The university added a telephone system in 1925, when the privately owned Chapel Hill Telephone Company announced that its switchboard was irreparably broken and that it had no funds to replace it. To keep the university in touch with the outside world, Business Manager Charles T. Woollen arranged for the university to purchase the company and had an exchange building constructed with a new switchboard.

The university thus became the sole operator of electric, light, and water and sewer utilities in Chapel Hill. Rather than compete with the university, the town granted it a franchise for electric and water lines in 1908. In 1932 University Lake was established as the water source for both the university and the town of Chapel Hill, and in 1938 the university obtained the power and water franchise for the town of Carrboro as well. By 1970, however, many residents of the community had begun to question whether the university ought to be in the utilities business at all. Governor Bob Scott appointed the University of North Carolina Utilities Study Commission in November 1971. The following year the Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina System accepted the commission's recommendation to sell the university's utilities. The electric utility was sold to Duke Power in December 1976, the telephone to Southern Bell in January 1977, and the water and sewer to the Orange Water and Sewer Authority (OWASA) in March 1977.

The position of Superintendent of Utilities was created in the 1920s. The first superintendent was probably J. S. Bennett, who in 1926 held the title of Superintendent of University Consolidated Service Plants, Electric and Water Division. By 1937 H. E. Thompson had the title Superintendent of Utilities, which he held until 1946. He was followed by Grey Culbreth, whose title was changed to Director of Utilities in 1965 and who remained in charge of the university's utilities until their sale.

After the sale, the university's Utilities Division remained responsible for the maintenance of the utilities infrastructure on campus as well as the distribution of campus utilities. This included the operation of the University Power Plant, subsequently known as the cogeneration facility. Robert S. Peake succeeded Grey Culbreth as Director of Utilities. The Utilities Division later became administratively part of the university's Physical Plant. Eventually the telephone utility became a separate department, Telecommunications Operations; and the electric and water utilities became Utilities Operations.

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Records include the files of the University of North Carolina's Superintendent of Utilities, later Director of Utilities, relating to the operation of the university's electric, telephone, and water and sewer utilities. Files consist largely of reports on the status and operation of the utilities. Also included are materials relating to the Regional Solid Waste Task Force, which investigated refuse disposal and recycling in the 1980s.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Office of the Director of Utilities of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records.

Arrangement: Alphabetical by filename, individual files arranged chronologically.

Box 1

Operations Reports, Electric and Water Utilities, 1930; 1942-1947 #40105, Series: "Office of the Director of Utilities of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records." Box 1

Electric Utility: Cameron Avenue Duct Bank Project, 1988-1992 #40105, Series: "Office of the Director of Utilities of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records." Box 1

Electric Utility: Load Study: Coal Fired vs. Steam Generated, 1938-1939 #40105, Series: "Office of the Director of Utilities of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records." Box 1

Electric Utility: Organization Chart and Equipment Inventory, 1969 #40105, Series: "Office of the Director of Utilities of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records." Box 1

Electric Utility: Power System Reports to Federal Power Commission: Power System Statements (Annual), 1943-1975 #40105, Series: "Office of the Director of Utilities of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records." Box 1

(Reports give number of customers, kilowatts generated, power sold to and purchased from other utilities, and excess power generated. Files also include related correspondence and supporting materials.)

Electric Utility: Power System Reports to Federal Power Commission: Annual Reports, 1938; 1940-1964 #40105, Series: "Office of the Director of Utilities of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records." Box 1

Box 2

Electric Utility: Sale of, Plans for, Consultants' Reports, 1971 #40105, Series: "Office of the Director of Utilities of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records." Box 2

Electric Utility: South Campus Duct Bank Project, 1991-1994 #40105, Series: "Office of the Director of Utilities of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records." Box 2

Electric Utility: Status of, Campus Electrical Costs, Equipment Lists, and Improvements Planned, 1926-1960 #40105, Series: "Office of the Director of Utilities of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records." Box 2

Regional Solid Waste Task Force, 1982-1991 #40105, Series: "Office of the Director of Utilities of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records." Box 2

Telephone Utility, 1959-1965 #40105, Series: "Office of the Director of Utilities of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records." Box 2

Water and Sewer Utility: History of, undated; 1950 #40105, Series: "Office of the Director of Utilities of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records." Box 2

Water and Sewer Utility: Fluoridation, 1951; 1954; 1962; 1964 #40105, Series: "Office of the Director of Utilities of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records." Box 2

Water and Sewer Utility: Sale of, Consultant's Report on Financing Improvements, 1971 #40105, Series: "Office of the Director of Utilities of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records." Box 2

Water and Sewer Utility: University Lake: Plans of, 1948; 1962 #40105, Series: "Office of the Director of Utilities of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records." Box 2

Water and Sewer Utility: University Lake: Recreational Use of: General, 1967 #40105, Series: "Office of the Director of Utilities of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records." Box 2

Water and Sewer Utility: University Lake: Recreational Use of: Fishing Regulations, 1935-1952; 1967-1970 #40105, Series: "Office of the Director of Utilities of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records." Box 2

Water and Sewer Utility: Water Analyses, 1935-1936; 1946 #40105, Series: "Office of the Director of Utilities of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records." Box 2

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