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The iconic Coker Arbor along East Cameron Avenue, site of many wedding and graduation photos, has begun undergoing renovations to replace its deteriorating black locust timbers and remove stairs on the west end to make it more accessible to all. In October, the N.C. Botanical Garden, which maintains Coker Arboretum, pulled out the vines from the 300-foot-long structure. The walkway has been closed to demolish the arbor. A new arbor will be constructed between August and November, 2023, to include grading, resurfacing and new retaining walls. New vines will be planted in December.
The Botanical Garden, which is working with UNC Facilities and Planning on the renovations, hired Andropogon Associates, a landscape architecture and ecological design firm based in Philadelphia, to design the future arbor. The team plans to maintain the arbor’s rustic character and the play of light and shadow, with wooden posts spaced farther apart to open up views into the arboretum. The stone gathering circle to the side of the arbor will remain, and the new arbor and walkway will connect to it. The original arbor was donated in 1911 and built of black locust logs supporting Carolina jessamine and American, Japanese and Chinese wisteria vines. The arbor was reconstructed in 1974 and again in 1998, thanks to a gift from the class of 1997.
Updates can be found on the Coker Arbor Renovation webpage: ncbg.unc.edu/support/arbor