Nestled in just west of Chapel Hill is the small town of Carrboro, N.C. With a population of 18,611, Carrboro offers some of the best in small-town living. The town was established in 1882 when the University of North Carolina wanted to establish a rail service for its students. Transportation and business helped the town grow and it was named Carrboro in 1914 after Julian Carr brought a mill to the town. Today, the original business district still stands as the center of commerce in Carrboro. Extensive bike lanes and paths make travel around town easy for both the driver and the rider.
Part of Carrboro’s charm is in its local farmers’ market. The Carrboro Farmers’ market has garnered the town national attention as one of the oldest farmer-owned-and-operated markets in the country. Take a stroll through the market and you’ll find locally grown produce, locally raised meat and locally produced dairy. If the outdoor market isn’t your style, check out the Weaver Street market store to find locally grown and produced products.
Arts and Entertainment also take on the local vibe in Carrboro. The ArtsCenter provides a space for arts exhibitions, education opportunities and performances. For those wanting to hear local bands and bigger name acts, before they become mainstream, Cat’s Cradle is the venue for you. The Cradle is often ranked in local and national lists as a great place for live music. Carrboro even provides a good laugh at the DSI Comedy Theater, one of the top nationally recognized companies producing improv and sketch comedy. Many other events, including dances, craft fairs and festivals are held at the Century Center in the heart of Town. Be sure to check out the annual music, comedy and movie festivals.
Chapel Hill/ Carrboro Schools
Carrboro is served by the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools system (CHCCS). The system is one of two public systems in Orange County, NC, and has benefitted tremendously from its proximity to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and world-renown Research Triangle Park.
Serving more than 11,000 students, the district runs three high schools, four middle schools and ten elementary schools. CHCCS also operates a school for young patients at UNC Hospitals and an alternative high school program.
The district boasts North Carolina’s highest district wide SAT score at 1,185 or 1,757 if the writing component is included. The state average is 1,004 and nationally students earn an average 1,017. These high scores were earned with 96 percent of the district’s eligible students taking the test. Advanced Placement courses are offered and utilized by more than 1,200 high school students in the district. Those courses have helped two of the district’s high schools earn spots in Newsweek Magazine’s list of top high schools. Students educated in the district continue on to two- or four-year institutions at a rate of 92 percent. The district also has North Carolina’s lowest dropout rate at 1.12 percent.
Educators in the district play a major role in the success of students. Roughly 200 teachers in the district hold the prestigious certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS). Within the district, 42 percent of teachers hold master’s or doctorate degrees, and many choose to stay in the district. The turnover rate for teachers in the district is 8.5 percent compared with the state average of 17 percent.
Small businesses are the backbone of the economy in Carrboro. As a town, emphasis on promoting local businesses and keeping money in the local economy is a priority. Carrboro prides itself on one-of-a-kind businesses such as Open Eye Café or Carrburritos and Neal’s in addition to other small-businesses that make the town run. Local entrepreneurs can thrive in Carrboro where people are encouraged to spend locally because more of that money is reinvested locally or donated to local charities.
Carrboro also benefits from the growth in the Research Triangle. Because of its proximity to Chapel Hill, one of the three points of the triangle, Carrboro is a short commute away from research and development jobs and a growing healthcare sector. In 2000, the per capita income for Carrboro was $22,303 and the median household income was $35,273.
In addition to the major metropolitan newspapers in the area, Carrboro is served by the Carrboro Citizen. The Citizen is a weekly paper published on Thursdays. The town also has a community radio station, WCOM-FM 103.5. The station airs community programming as well as Spanish language programs to serve the areas growing Hispanic population.