Looking southeast from Aniger Avenue and South Alston, 1926.
(From "Durham: Center of Industry and Education")
Likely my favorite church building in Durham, the Asbury Temple United Methodist church was built around 1925 on the southeast corner of Angier Avenue and Alston Avenue. Simple neoclassical wings extending at right angles toward Angier and Alston frame an entrance that the Architectural Inventory terms "baroque" - almost a byzantine appearing dome (which makes me think of a Turkish mosque) sitting above a curved entrance facade supported by large columns framing 3 doorways. Wow.
The congregation organized in the 1880s as the Commonwealth Methodist Episcopal Church, likely after the Commonwealth Cotton Manufacturing Company - the factory building was located ~2 blocks away. However, the Commonwealth Cotton Company was on the wane by the early 20th century, and the congregation changed their name to Branson Methodist Church in 1904. The church was named in honor of WH Branson who had been director of both the Durham Cotton Manufacturing Company (located further east at Driver St.) and the Pearl Cotton Mills (located at Trinity and Duke.)
The congregation of this church diminished considerably with the waning of East Durham as a thriving community later in the 20th century. It, at some point, became the Asbury Temple United Methodist Church. It currently has an active congregation engaged with the commuity around it.
Looking southeast from Angier Avenue and South Alston, 2007.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
One of my favorite recently-solved mysteries involves the location of the Southern Conservatory of Music once it left the southwest corner of Duke St. and West Main St. in 1924.
I knew the SCM had moved to "Alston Avenue" - but I could not figure out where. This picture from the 1920s shows their 'new' building on Alston.
(Courtesy Durham County Library)
and another from 1924
I could not find the location of this building for the life of me. I searched old Sanborn maps, old aerial photographs, old city directories (which merely would say "Alston Ave." or "Alston Avenue Rd." as the address) and even the catalogs and yearbooks of the SCM from the 1920s. All this provided me were some candid shots of young women on the porch, and a proud assertion that the school was "situated on 18 acres."
One problem was that the SCM had a very short lifespan on Alston Ave. - ~1924 to 1928. This made it especially difficult to tap certain sources of information.
I asked Jim Wise for help - who suggested that I speak with Audrey Evans, former librarian. Audrey responded immediately that she knew where this was. And furthermore - the building was still there!
It turned out that my failure was one of geographic imagination. I had continued to search Alston Avenue on the east side of town, presuming that the SCM wouldn't be located terribly far from downtown. In actuality, it was located way out of town - near Riddle Road.
I simply couldn't understand how I could have missed this building, having driven that way many times before. So I drove out with my camera and slowly drove the section of Alston just north of Riddle Rd. And there it was, past a parting in the trees.
I can't describe how amazing this was - since I had presumed for such a long time that the building had been torn down, it was as if it had been resurrected, and I had the chance to see one of the long-lost buildings that I chronically catalog.
The building evidently became a Salvation Army building, and later a "home for unwed mothers" during the 1960s. Since the 1980s, it seems to have been some sort of Shriner's temple (ZAFA temple?) with a lot of not-very-friendly signs at the entry gate. (Actually a Prince Hall Masonic Lodge; see comments below.) This was as far as I wandered onto the property; I understood when I looked for it how I had missed it for so many years. You need to look directly past the gate when you pass to see it - set back from the road as it is.
(You can find the location on the Big Map O' Derm to your left - now completely up-to-date.)
Monday, October 29, 2007
A little field trip today out to western Durham County, near 15-501.
Clifton and Leah Garrett built their home and farm on 60 acres of family (Garrett) land in 1934. The bungalow was built by Mack Sims of Carrboro, and has several variations on the simple bungalow style: a wrap-around porch onto the south side of the house, and a front-facing gable ell off the north part of the facade.
The Clifton and Leah Garrett farm was one of dozens of farmsteads in the rural area between Durham and Chapel Hill during the early 20th century, many accessed along Pickett, Garrett, Mt. Moriah, and Old Chapel Hill Rds.
The boulevard to Chapel Hill was completed in the 1950s just to the south of this farm.
Aerial view of Chapel Hill Blvd., Garrett Rd., and Mt. Moriah Rd., 1955. The Clifton and Leah Garrett farm is outlined in orange. Notice the number of farms (cleared land.)
Growth along the 15-501 corridor and urban sprawl from both Chapel Hill and Raleigh have fundamentally changed the character of this area. Although the bottomlands of New Hope Creek just to the east remain undeveloped (and will likely remain so) land all around this farm has exploded in apartments and big boxy monuments to consumption.
Similar aerial, 2007.
And this farm persists, essentially unchanged.
A closer view of the Garrett Rd., 15-501 intersection.
But not for long.
Trammel Crow Residential, which developed the Alexan Farms subdivision visible just to the north of this farmland, plans to build 308 apartments on the site of this farm. "Alexan Garrett Farms" would preserve 26 acres west of Mud Creek (wooded area adjacent to New Hope Creek) and an existing farm pond. The intersection of Garrett Rd. and 15-501 (and the adjacent section of Garrett Rd.) would be expanded to add more capacity for the extra traffic generated.
The developer would allow someone to cart off the historic house for free (at the cart-er's expense.) If that didn't happen in 6 months, the house would be demolished.
This plan was passed by our Planning Commission, 13-0. Because this requires a re-zoning, it will go before the City Council in November.
While development of this farmstead makes me sad, it seems somewhat inevitable in some form or another. I don't know when this was last a working farm, but it has been awhile. While I wish the Garrett family (who still own the property) had chosen to donate the land to the Triangle Land Conservancy, they didn't. The market value is likely far too high for any non-developer to afford it. I'd love to see someone keep this as a rural gateway to the New Hope Creek wilderness area/trail. But, again, that would have required the Garrett family accepted something less than what the market will bear.
I think it's a mistake for the developer to get rid of the house - not just from a preservation perspective. Clearly, I think an old farmstead like this is best preserved on site, and an offer to let someone take it isn't much of an offer. I'm surprised that the Planning Commission didn't do more to insist that the house - listed on our County Historic Inventory - was preserved.
But preserving the house on site and integrating it with the development makes good business sense. While it might require reconfiguration of the site plan, there is market value to imbuing an otherwise bland, repetitive development - particularly one with "Farms" in the name - with an actual farmhouse. It's been done before - even in Durham, with Bonnie Brae on North Roxboro. (Although it was moved away from the road.)
There is too little evidence left in southwest Durham of the life that once predominated the hills on either side of New Hope Creek. I hope somehow, some of this last little bit can be preserved.
Clifton and Leah Garrett Farm, from Garrett Rd. looking northwest, 2007.
Friday, October 26, 2007
Dominion MInistries, which had intended to build a lockdown facility for youth with behavioral disturbance at Dillard near Holloway (on land given to them by the city and land they owned) has made a decision to pull out of the Cleveland-Holloway neighborhood and build a facility elsewhere, according to Jim Wise in the N&O's Bull's Eye blog. The group still plans to build a facility, perhaps outside of Durham County. Hopefully, if they decide to keep looking in Durham County, the County government/Durham Center will require community engagement as part of any site selection process.
Coupled with news that Scott Harmon/ Susanna Dancy are the high-bidder (unchallenged in the upset) for the 218 Dillard land, this is the brightest outlook the Cleveland-Holloway neighborhood has faced in many years.
Speaking of the land transfers, the Roxboro St. parcels did receive a new round of upset bids during the second 10-day period. The high bidder was one Barbara Jackson, who bid $106,000. I don't know who this is. The city will meet at their next work session to approve the bids. Presumably, the Dillard St. parcel will then be purchased by Scott Harmon / Susanna Dancy, and the Roxboro parcels will enter another 10-day upset period.
From it's style, it appears that 504 Holloway was built earlier than many of the other homes on Holloway St. I've written before about the 'first wave' of houses on the east side of town, mostly built during the 1880s. While many of these were replaced with larger Victorians, some persisted into the 1960s. Several elements lead me to think this about 504 Holloway, including theexterior, paired chimneys on both ends, a general lack of gingerbread or other elaborate carpentry, and the squared porch posts built with a cap and base rather than turned posts. The gothic gable-front window is an interesting touch.
504 Holloway and the rest of the south side of the 500 block of Holloway St., looking east-southeast, ? 1960s (date unknown.)
This house, along with several others in the area, were owned by the extended Umstead family - by the 1960s a "Miss Nell Umstead".
The house was torn down by the 1970s and replaced by an apartment complex.
Looking east-southeast, 2007.
The triangle of land (218 N Dillard) that has been the one of the subjects of the recent land transfer controversy is in the foreground (which it appears Scott Harmon has the unchallenged high-bid for after a 10 day upset period.) Just beyond a small street called Peachtree Lane are the apartments.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
510 Holloway, likely 1960s.
The R. Pearcy Reade house was built around 1900 by Mr. and Mrs. William B. McGary, who purchased the land from Julian Carr. Originally the house, like the others around it, was Victorian / Queen Anne in style.
In 1909, R. Pearcy Reade purchased the house from the McGarys. In the late 1920s, he completely remodeled the house in a Colonial Revival style, building a new 'shell', as it were, around the original. The original walnut trim was retained in the house, although the mantels were replaced with Federalist style mantelpieces. Mr. Reade served as Durham County Attorney for 50 years, and lived in this house from 1909 until his death in 1960.
510 Holloway, 1964
This house remained in good repair, and was renovated by Denise Barnes after she purchased the house in the mid 1980s. She lived in the house for ~ 15 years. The current homeowner has done work to refurbish the house again, and it remains, interior and exterior, one of the finer owner-occupied pieces of architecture in the Cleveland-Holloway district.
Looking south, 2007
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
For you fellow Google Earth geeks out there, Google has, quite recently, updated the imagery for Durham. The Google Maps imagery is still several years old, but the Google Earth imagery appears to be from ~summer 2007.
For an interesting before-and-after of our demolition activity in Durham, take a look at the Google Maps imagery of Angier Avenue (between Driver and Alston) versus the new imagery on Google Earth.
at 2:11 PM
Looking southwest, 1964.
The house at 514 Holloway St. was likely built in the 1890s, perhaps by the Ferrell family. The original lot extended farther to the south (because Liberty St. was not extended east of Dillard St. until the late 1920s) and functioned as pasture and farmland.
Paul Noell purchased the house, according to the historic inventory, sometime in the 1890s after moving to Durham from Mount Tirzah in Person County. Mr. Noell worked in the tobacco warehousing business, first with EJ Parrish (whose house was nearby at the corner of Main and Dillard and later with the American Tobacco Company.
During the 1970s, this house became a halfway house, but during the 1990s, it was purchased by the owners of the Blooming Garden Inn across the street, who restored the house and utilize the structure for extended-stay guests.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
524 Holloway, 1964.
Henry Wilkerson was an administrator at the Golden Belt Hosiery Mill. He had this house constructed, likely around the time the Hosiery Mill began operations nearby, in 1901.
He and his wife lived here until they died. Mrs. Wilkerson's sister, Fanny Dossett, was the next owner of the house, and she also lived in this house until she died, soon after the above picture was taken.
The house was subsequently turned into apartments, and began a slow decline.
524 Holloway, 1970s.
At some point, the most distinctive feature of the house - the elaborate, continuous porch brackets and turned posts that followed the polygonal front porch - was lost.
The current owner is a landscaper, and has created an impressive backyard and, most recently, constructed a grand brick front entryway to the property. He is in the process of restoring the house.
524 Holloway, 2007.
Monday, October 22, 2007
The house at 528 Holloway was another of the turn-of-the-century Victorians along the Holloway St. ridgeline.
Looking north at the intersection of Elizabeth and Holloway. 528 Holloway is on the southwest corner. ~1950s.
During the 1960s, Elizabeth St. was straightened, widened and connected with Fayetteville St. to the south. 528 Holloway was demolished (along with 601 Holloway) to accomplish this noble objective.
The intersection ~2004.
The site of 528 Holloway, 2007.
Friday, October 19, 2007
The house at 602 Holloway was constructed in the late 19th century by James Ferrell (also associated with the two houses profiled yesterday, 606 and 610 Holloway. After moving to Liberty St. in the early 1900s, Ferrell gave this house to his daughter's family - Lydie and Marvin Moore. According to the historic inventory, Marvin Moore was secretary-treasurer of the Southern Land and Lumber Co. The Moores expanded the house towards the rear as their family grew (to 11 children.)
At some point, this house was stripped of its original detail, likely sometime between the 1920s and 1940s.
In the 1960s, it became a rooming house.
Looking south, 1964
During the late 1960s, the house was moved several feet to the east when Elizabeth St. was widened.
Really, only the roofline reflects the original character of the house at this point. Vinyl, and those terrible plastic tack-on shutters don't help. The proximity to Elizabeth St. is harsh on this house. It is owned by Housing for New Hope, which uses this house as transitional housing for up to 16 recently homeless men. (The organization calls this house "Phoenix House")
Looking southeast, 2007.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
606 Holloway, 1964.
610 Holloway, 1964.
606 and 610 Holloway St. were both connected with the Ferrell family; 610 Holloway was the older of the two houses, likely built around 1870 or 1880. It was originally located at 520 Holloway but was moved to 610 by James Ferrell so that he could build the Moore-Umstead house at that location. Ferrell also built the house at 606 Holloway for his adopted son around the turn of the century.
Around that time, both houses became associated with members of the Pollard family, who were partners in Pollard Bros. hardware, located at 120 West Main St. John Pollard initially lived at 606 Holloway, but his son Harvey, vice-president and general manager of the Waverly Ice Cream Co. lived here after 1925. Ambrose Pollard and, later, James Pollard (who went on to run another hardware store, Taylor and Phipps.)
The houses survived into the 1980s, but suffered from significant neglect.
606 Holloway, looking south, 1970s
(State Historic Preservation Office)
610 Holloway, looking south, 1970s
(State Historic Preservation Office)
They were torn down sometime between the early 80s and the late 1990s. What appear to be four townhouses were built on these lots.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
One of the oldest houses, if not the oldest house remaining in central Durham is the house at 717 Holloway. The house was built sometime before 1865 as a farmstead for Calvin O'Briant and his family. According to the Architectural Inventory, O'Briant moved to the area from Person County around 1860 and owned a tract of land extending north to Geer St.
Above, a section of Lewis Blount's map of Durham as it appeared in ~1867 (drawn from memory by Mr. Blount in 1923)
(Courtesy Durham County Library)
In addition to his farm, Mr. O'Briant owned and operated a brickyard nearby at the bottom of the hill to the east (along Holloway) - presumably near Alston Avenue.
The house remained in th O'Briant family util 1965.
O'Briant House, 1970s.
The house has, sadly, fallen into further disrepair and appears to be boarded up. It would be tragic if one remnant from the earliest days of Durham still in existence ended up torn down.
Looking northeast, 2007
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
The unusual and unique houses at 701 and 702 Holloway, just to the east of the Durham Belt Line railroad tracks, were undoubtedly built by the same builder around the turn of the century. With intricate sawnwork (covered by vinyl siding now,) mansard roofs (including a mansard gable on 702 Holloway) and pedimented windows, these houses survive largely intact. James Burns, a grocer, was the first occupant of 702 Holloway, and probably the person who had the house(s) built.
701 Holloway next to the old Holloway St. bridge, looking north, 1950s
701 Holloway while the Holloway St. bridge is being replaced (with train passing through) looking northeast, 1950s
702 Holloway, 1970s
701 Holloway, 2007
702 Holloway, 2007
Monday, October 15, 2007
My break from daily posting allowed me some time to begin to pull together something I've wanted to do for some time (and a lot of people have asked me for) - some form of geographic access to the content of Endangered Durham.
While far from perfect, it is:
ED's Big Map O' Derm
This is a work-in-progress, as links to content have to be done one-by-one. As a result, the map currently has ~200 links (out of ED's ~400 posts.) It will remain linked in the sidebar - if I can figure out how to stick a little map graphic in Blogger's template, it'll have one.
The broader idea here is to generate a system - which several of us in the community are referring to as "Open Durham" - that is something of a Google Earth meets a Wiki with both current and historical information about Durham. This would, ideally, be community-driven. I love the idea of people uploading pictures and historical information about their own house, or compiling community stories by fine-grained geography. (I.e., while a book of "stories of Edgemont" would be compelling, I'd love to tag references to specific buildings, blocks etc., so that when you click on that location, you get the history of that building, park, stream, etc. told through the eyes of many different people.)
There is no shortage of ideas out there on what this would look like. What is needed is the labor and drive to do it. So if you have some good geek credentials, and want to take the ball and run with figuring out a robust system for linking mySQL databases, a GIS server of some sort, and various Web 2.0 content into a coherent framework, email me!
In the meantime, I hope this little baby step - a Google map - is useful and fun.
Friday, October 12, 2007
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Here's what I've been playing with over the past two days - idea courtesy of Nicomachus - let me know what you think of this as an additional way to access information on Endangered Durham. I've probably created ~120 points - so there would be a lot more to create. Some are a work in progress, so if you don't see a picture and a hyperlink, I'm working on it.
(Note: for me the points don't always load properly on the map. If all you see is a blank map, refresh the page.)
at 5:15 PM
Sunday, October 07, 2007
GK is taking a break from Endangered Durham this week to catch up on a plentitude of things. ED will return next week. In the meantime, feel free to check out the ~400 or so existing posts. I continue to spend a lot of time updating old posts with new pictures as I get them.
A few of the new pics:
A higher resolution picture of the 5 points drug company, and a new 1940s view of the same spot
Pictures of the demolition of the Geer Building
Two new pictures of the YWCA on West Chapel Hill St.
A new picture of the original Immaculate Conception on West Chapel Hill St.
A new picture of the original Second Baptist/Temple Baptist
A new picture of the 200 block of East Chapel Hill St.
New pictures of Harvey's Cafeteria
The former Blayloc as both Hall-Wynne and (later) The Durham Bowling Alley
The Demolition of Belk-Leggett
A better old picture of "Ringside"
A movie of people eating at The Palms
A 1981 picture of the Durham Hosiery Mills No. 1, prior to renovation
A long sought-after picture of the interior of Union Station
A movie of kids roller-skating in front of the First Baptist Church during the 1930s
That's just a smattering of the pictures I've been adding over the past weeks/months (with more to come.)
at 4:57 PM
Friday, October 05, 2007
Update 10/5 3:00 pm: more information has come in. Per one source, the city council evidently changed the motion at last night's meeting. It's still unclear what the effect of this is. However, according to Mike Woodard:
"We accepted the two highest bids, which triggers the 10-day upset process. According to Wanda Page, the ads should be placed in the Herald tomorrow or Monday, which will set the 10-day clock ticking. We instructed Patrick to bring back the original bids or any upset bids as a priority item, which will allow us to take a vote at whatever meeting we are conducting (Thursday work session or Monday Council meeting). According to the ordinance, the Council must approve the final bid."
So it seems the process is still on track for now. Another source says that the motion is somehow related to the city wanting to have congress with whoever the winning bidder is prior to awarding the property.
Still trying to get confirmation on information that the assumed-to-be-perfunctory (at least by bidders, neighbors, and me) step of approving the initial bids on the Cleveland-Holloway properties so that the properties could enter the upset bid period (when higher bids would have, undoubtedly, been received) was derailed last night at the council work session with a vote to not accept the initial round of bids. What this would mean - particularly in light of Mike Woodard's tacked on amendment to give the properties to the non-profits if "no qualifying bids were received" - is unknown.
I can't think of a legitimate reason for doing this. Scott Harmon, the high bidder in the initial round, had met early and often with neighbors to discuss thoughts and plans for the property and receive the neighbors' input. He is a committed advocate for downtown and near neighborhoods. Bids too low? It's a first round - no one is going to show their whole hand on the first round of bidding.
Hopefully more info as it comes in... there are going to be some very angry voters in Cleveland-Holloway (and hopefully elsewhere) if the neighborhood's opportunity to work with a developer who cares about BOTH the neighborhood and the needs of the broader community is derailed.
Looking northeast, 1966
(Courtesy Durham County Library)
This large structure was built in the 1930s by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) as a factory to produce work clothes; it was commonly known in the community as "The Overall Factory." By the 1940s, the building had become "Herndon's Warehouse" - seemingly a giant flea market kind of place.
Looking west from the railroad tracks on Liberty, 1966.
This building survived into the 1980s; I don't know when it was torn down.
A couple of years ago, Housing for New Hope built these face-away-from-the-street-and-towards-a-parking-lot housing units here to house people who are formerly homeless. The complex does have an interesting sculpture in the yard, which is the only thing that positively distinguishes these buildings - they are otherwise more representative of something out of Cary rather than a strategic and historic location between the Cleveland-Holloway historic district and the historic Golden Belt / Durham Hosiery mills.
Looking north from Liberty and North Elizabeth, 2007.
Thursday, October 04, 2007
Looking north from Gilbert St., 1970s.
Yet another one of my favorite buildings in Durham, the Durham stables were built around 1925 by the City of Durham for the teams of horses utilized in the construction of streets. The building is 150 ft long by 40 feet wide, and the base is constructed out of stone. Each window at the lower level originally belonged to a horse stall.
By the 1940s, horses were no longer being used for street construction, and this building became the city dog pound. Later it was used by the city as storage for trucks. In 1961, it was purchased by the Farmers Exchange (down the street.) It may have been used as an animal shelter sometime in the 1980s.
The building currently houses studio/construction space for a metalworking artist.
Looking northwest from Alston Ave. and GIlbert St., 2006.
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
The intersections of (moving south to north/bottom to top) Holloway and Elizabeth, Carlton and Elizabeth, plus Gilbert and Elizabeth) 1950s.
As I mentioned previously, the entire 300 block (east side) of Elizabeth St. was demolished to widen Elizabeth to 4 lanes for 1 block north of Holloway. Very useful.
While this produced the standard dead zone of vacant land for decades, something beautiful was eventually done with this land - it became the Seeds garden and the DIG garden.
The gate to the Seeds garden, looking south from Gilbert, 2007.
Looking southeast towards Gilbert and Elizabeth, 2007.
The DIG garden - looking north from Gilbert and Elizabeth.
It's great to see these non-profits creating opportunities, amenities, and beauty for the residents of the neighborhood - particularly out of an unfortunate and unnecessary blight on the neighborhood.