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Carolina Story: Virtual Museum of University History

Morgan and Bolin Creeks

Morgan Creek begins at Pickard's Mountain, to the northwest of Chapel Hill. The creek runs seventeen miles, flowing south into University Lake, then east past Carrboro and Chapel Hill, eventually flowing into Jordan Lake. The creek's water once powered grist mills, including Kings Mill and Pickard Mill. In times of drought, the creek has provided the university with water for irrigating sports fields, and many enjoy the Morgan Creek Trail, which opened in 2011. The creek is a Chapel Hill landmark and is mentioned in the song "Copperline" by Chapel Hill native James Taylor.

Bolin Creek runs north of campus and gets its name from Benjamin Bolin, who owned a section of the land around the creek in the 18th century. Like Morgan Creek, its water also provided power for several mills, including the Castleberry-Taylor Mill, the Yeargin Mill, the Waitt-Brockwell Mill, and the Morgan-Jones Sawmill. In 1903, professor William C. Coker diverted water from what was then a swampy area of campus and into Bolin Creek as he developed Coker Arboretum.