UNCG Campus Weekly

Campus Weekly is published each Wednesday when classes are in session. In the summer, it is published biweekly.

Charlie Chaplin site narrowed down

Mystery solved? To a degree.

This summer, UNCG’s Campus Weekly took a look at a little-remembered visit by the one of the 20th century’s most important film artists: Charlie Chaplin. In a five part series, CW described the visit to our campus, explored the campus context during WWI, and learned more about Chaplin from two professors.

But one thing was not known with any precision: where the small stand was erected on which Chaplin spoke and entertained at least 5,000 people in 1918.

The parade, in which he’d been the top attraction, came to an end at the hockey field – which we know is the flat area on which and around which Petty Building now stands. He spoke at “Curry Court,” news reports said. But what exactly was “Curry Court”? Did he perhaps speak to the crowd on the hill behind the old Curry Building (which burned down in 1926). Or was Curry Court the area below the incline – in other words, was it the flat field? The field is still evident today, with inclines on three sides for easy viewing by spectators. The CW editor found no one who’d heard the term “Curry Court.” It appeared on no maps in Archives, apparently.

Kathelene Smith (University Libraries) emailed the CW editor recently with great news. The first line of her email: “I think I have solved the mystery of ‘Curry Court’….”

She’d happened upon a map in a 1916 May Day program that labeled that athletic field as “Curry Court.”

Chaplin did speak on that field which is bordered by three inclines. That’s clear.

Unless a photograph emerges – or film of the event turns up (a news report said film was shot that day) – that may be as close as we’ll know as to the exact spot on the UNCG campus where Chaplin spoke. But that may be good enough.

Read an overview of Charlie Chaplin’s visit to UNCG.

By Mike Harris