Timeline: Events that shaped the Triangle and the Indy | News Feature | Indy Week
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Timeline: Events that shaped the Triangle and the Indy 

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  • The North Carolina Independent launches April 15
  • N.C. State University wins the NCAA men's basketball championship
  • N.C. Museum of Art opens its present facility in Raleigh
  • Haw River is dammed in Chatham County to create Jordan Lake. The resulting reservoir provides drinking water for 100,000 people


  • U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms defeats Democratic Gov. Jim Hunt, in what was the most expensive Senate race in U.S. history
  • N.C. unemployment rate rises to 7.3%
  • First execution in N.C. since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1977


  • Republican Jim Martin is elected governor
  • Raleigh beltline is completed; I-40 opens between RTP, Durham and Chapel Hill
  • N.C. State Centennial Campus expansion begins


  • Erwin Mills closes in Durham

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  • American Tobacco factory in Durham closes
  • The KKK marches through Hillsborough and Chapel Hill
  • Shearon Harris Nuclear Plant begins operating in Wake County
  • Bull Durham is filmed at the historic Durham Athletic Park


  • Weaver Street Market opens in Carrboro


  • The Raleigh Times publishes its last edition
  • Independent goes from a biweekly to a weekly publication


  • Erwin Square in Durham rises on the skyline
  • NEA chief vetoes grants to four performance artists following a campaign by Jesse Helms to eliminate taxpayer funding for supposedly immoral art
  • After resorting to the infamous "white hands" commercial, Helms beats Democrat Harvey Gantt, an African American and former Charlotte mayor

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  • The Durham Morning Herald and The Durham Sun merge to become The Durham Herald-Sun
  • Broccoli? Yams? No, says the Indy, the real state vegetable is Gov. Jim Martin


  • Duke wins the NCAA men's basketball tournament
  • Durham's county and city school systems merge
  • Whole Foods buys Wellspring
  • Hillsborough gets its first adult bookstore, Adam & Eve
  • Indy exposes how developers' campaign contributions pave the way for new road


  • UNC Tar Heels win the NCAA men's basketball tournament
  • The News & Observer acquires The Chapel Hill News
  • Democrat Jim Hunt is elected governor after having served two terms in the 1970s and '80s
  • Carolina Theatre reopens


  • Money magazine rates the Triangle the best place to live in the country
  • UNC women's basketball team wins national championship. Marion Jones, future disgraced track star, is starting guard on the team


  • The $16 million Durham Bulls Athletic Park opens downtown
  • The News & Observer is sold to McClatchy Newspapers of Sacramento, Calif., for $373 million, ending 101 years of Daniels family ownership
  • Bob Young and Marc Ewing co-found open-source software company Red Hat in Raleigh
  • Wake County conservatives slash taxes and school funding, launching an era of classroom trailers and fights over year-round schools


  • Raleigh conservatives bring the law down on cross-dressing performers at Legends. Over at Memorial Auditorium, the N.C. Theater responds by dumping La Cage Aux Folles from its schedule, replacing it with Annie
  • Jolene Strickland fails to unseat Gov. Jim Hunt. Enthusiasm for Strickland wanes when she's proven to be the Indy's fictional creation
  • The federal Defense Information Agency and AT&T deactivate Chatham County's "Big Hole" south of Fearrington Village. The underground communications bunker had been a source of speculation for more than 30 years


  • The Village Companies (now Vilcom) sells local talk radio station WCHL 1360 AM to the Raleigh-based Curtis Media Group
  • Raleigh author Charles Frazier wins National Book Award for Cold Mountain
  • Raleigh and NCSU decide against a downtown location for the new sports arena, and put it on an I-40 exit ramp instead. Walkable? Only to the nearby gas station
  • Spectator sold to Creative Loafing Inc., a Tampa-based company


  • Democrat John Edwards beats incumbent Republican Lauch Faircloth to become senator
  • Schizophrenic Wendell Williamson sues his psychiatrist three years after a Franklin Street shooting spree


  • Mike Nelson elected mayor of Carrboro, the youngest mayor in the town's history
  • Groundbreaking on the controversial Meadowmont development


  • Capitol Broadcasting Company purchases WRAZ-TV, which becomes Fox50
  • The last cigarette is produced at the Liggett factory in Durham
  • Coker Towers development in Raleigh is defeated, setting stage for Charles Meeker to be elected mayor


  • Duke's Blue Devils win the NCAA men's basketball tournament
  • Democrats nominate Erskine Bowles for the U.S. Senate race; he's thumped by prodigal Republican Liddy Dole


  • Cary's population exceeds 100,000
  • The Streets at Southpoint opens in Durham
  • Blue Cross/Blue Shield announces it may become a for-profit company
  • Indy buys the Spectator from Creative Loafing Inc.
  • Republican-turned-Democrat Bunkey Morgan unseats progressive incumbent Chatham County Commissioner Gary Phillips. Morgan's election and subsequent growth-friendly majority floods Chatham with residential development, including the 1,600-acre, 2,400-home Brier Chapel project, approved in 2005


  • Sen. John Edwards announces his campaign for U.S. president
  • Michael Peterson is convicted for the December 2001 murder of his wife, Kathleen Peterson

click to enlarge Starlite Drive-In
  • Starlite Drive-In

  • Jim Heavner's Vilcom buys WCHL 1360 AM back from Curtis Media Group, relocates it to Chapel Hill
  • The renovated American Tobacco Historic District opens in downtown Durham
  • Fire destroys Durham's Starlite Drive-In


  • Paxton Media acquires The Herald-Sun in Durham and lays off dozens of staffers
  • Gov. Easley signs laws establishing the N.C. Education Lottery
  • Duke's Nasher Museum of Art opens
  • CIAA basketball tournament abandons Raleigh for Charlotte, stripping the Triangle of its signature event for historically black colleges


  • The Duke lacrosse scandal breaks when dancer Crystal Gail Mangum accuses three team members of raping her at a party. In April 2007, a judge declares the players "innocent"
  • Raleigh Wide Open draws 70,000 visitors for the reopening of a portion of Fayetteville Street
  • Samuel Flippen is the last state inmate to be executed before the de facto death penalty moratorium goes into effect


  • UNC Chancellor James Moeser announces he will leave in 2008
  • Construction begins at Durham Performing Arts Center
  • Raleigh's population hits 370,000, cracking the list of Top 50 cities


  • Greenfire Development announces further plans to renovate downtown Durham with retail and housing
  • Raleigh Convention Center set to open in August
  • UNC Student Body President Eve Carson murdered
  • 1983-2008


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