The Old Well is the visual symbol of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. For many years the Old Well served as the sole water supply for Old East and Old West dormitories.
In 1897, the well was given its present decorative form at the direction of President Erwin A. Alderman, who described his beautification project as largely derived from the Temple of Love in the Garden of Versailles.
In 1954 the well was given added beauty with brick walks, plantings, and benches. Students can bring good luck with a drink from the Old Well on the first day of classes.