Battle Park is the wooded area on the east side of campus extending from the Forest Theatre and encompassing the Order of the Gimghoul's Hippol Castle. The park is named for former university president Kemp Plummer Battle, who was fond of walking in the woods and who forged many of the trails that are still used today. Battle named many of the notable trees and overlooks in the park. Names like Trysting Poplar and Flirtation Knoll hint at the use of the park by students for romantic encounters.
The park has passed through several owners over the years. Part of the initial acquisition of land by the university in the 1790s, much of the park land was sold in the 1870s to pay off debts incurred during and after the Civil War. It was purchased by alumnus Paul Cameron and later passed into the hands of faculty member Horace Williams, who explored the idea of building a housing development on the property. The land was eventually purchased by the Order of Gimghoul, who used part of it as the site of their castle. The order deeded several large tracts of land back to the university on the condition that it be used as a park. In 1971 the park, along with the adjacent residential areas in the Chapel Hill Historic District, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Since 2004 Battle Park has been under the management of the North Carolina Botanical Garden.
Date Established: 1740
Date Range: 1740 – Present