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Pave Paradise, 1968, Part Two

A Thousand Words
By Jock Lauterer

Last summer we featured a variation of this photo I shot in 1968, describing the scene as “old Rosemary Street … a quiet residential backstreet filled with rambling boarding houses, neat private residences – and this spacious flower and vegetable garden at 141 E. Rosemary St. I do not remember the gardener’s name, but her gracious nature and towering hollyhocks are unforgettable.” Well, Citizen reader Kathy Seaton thinks she has the answer. In an email, Kathy says: “I was very happy to see the photo of the magical garden on Rosemary Street. We moved here in 1968, and I regularly walked past that house and enjoyed seeing the procession of flowers and the lovely lady who lived there and tended them. Later I worked for the Southeast regional office of The Nature Conservancy on the second floor of the old Book Corner building, (the North Carolina Nature Conservancy was in the house in the garden), and being next to that garden was one of the pleasures of working there – until it started slowly being destroyed. I still remember how horrified we all were when they bulldozed the beautiful tree next to our building. I saved hollyhock seeds from the few remaining ones that continued to bloom next to the high-rise parking deck, but sadly those hollyhocks have died out. I was finally prompted to write by reading a story in today’s N&O about a book being published from archived [Daily] Tar Heel photos of civil rights protests. The article mentioned the excellent Chapel Hill Police Chief William Blake. My understanding was that the gardener was Mr. Blake’s mother. … Do you know if that could possibly be true?” So how about it, readers — could it be that the gardener’s son was the Gandhi-reading gentle giant, Chief William Blake? Gentle I say because while covering the Civil Rights struggle of the ’60s, we never once saw a law enforcement officer with a drawn weapon.

Do you have an important old photo that you value? Email your photo to jock@email.unc.edu and include the story behind the picture. Because every picture tells a story. And its worth? A thousand words.
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