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Carolina Story: Virtual Museum of University History

Coker Arboretum Wisteria Arbor and Gathering Circle

The Coker Arboretum was first laid out in 1903 by biology professor William Chambers Coker. In 1998, as a gift from the class of 1997, the wisteria arbor was renovated, and a stone gathering circle was added to commemorate the five undergraduates who died in the Phi Gamma Delta fire of May 12, 1996, and three other classmates who died before graduation. Pittsboro stonemason Dave Swan, Chapel Hill landscape architect David Swanson, former UNC-CH facilities planning and design assistant director Teresa Crossland, and Raleigh landscape architect Tom Hunter collaborated on the design. Curator Andrea Presler created the landscaping, with help from gardner Dan Stern and University work-study students.