Official visitor information site for Durham, NC

Historic Durham Neighborhoods

Historic Durham Neighborhoods

Durham encompasses a rich array of historic neighborhoods that help trace the city’s growth and character; many are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and most are characterized by diligently renovated and restored older homes, many dating to the early part of the past century.

Take the Watts Hospital-Hillandale neighborhood. It grew up around  the former Watts Hospital, built in 1910 at Broad Street and West Club Boulevard. Extension of the trolley system to the area, and the opening of a lake and 18-hole golf course adjoining the nearby Durham Water Works, also spurred growth.

Today, the neighborhood retains many spacious homes as well as dozens of bungalows built as the neighborhood grew in the 1920s and ‘30s.

Here’s a are some other historic neighborhoods:

  • East Durham grew up around the Durham Cotton Manufacturing Co. and retains, according to the Preservation Durham website, “many of the pyramidal cottages, cozy bungalows and gab le-and-wing houses” of that era.
  • Fayetteville Street, which developed in the decades before World War II with the homes of many of Durham’s successful African-American professionals and businessmen and faculty from North Carolina Central University. The recently restored James E. Shepard House is a neighborhood landmark.
  • Morehead Hill, where some of Durham’s first fine homes went up. While few mansions of Durham’s early prosperous businessmen remain, two outstanding examples are in Morehead Hill – John Sprunt Hill’s Spanish Colonial Revival on South Duke Street and the chateau-style Greystone, both built in 1910.
  • Old West Durham, spawned by the Erwin Mills textile complex retains dozens of modest mill houses and elegant mansions built by owners and top executives. Ninth Street, the neighborhood’s historic retail core, is now a beloved strip of boutiques, bookstores and restaurants.
  • Forest Hills, the first upscale neighborhood to begin luring affluent homeowners outward from downtown in the 1920s.  Noted architects designed many of its Colonial, Tudor and English Cottage-style homes.
  • Hope Valley, an early planned development centered on an 18-hole golf course. Mansion-sized homes are interspersed with more modest houses, a diversity that characterizes many of Durham’s historic neighborhoods.

More info:

>> Durham Housing Resources
>> Durham Relocation FAQs

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