Links to Durham’s local historic resources, other local preservation groups, historic neighborhood associations, historic sites, and related organizations.
Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau
Downtown Historic Preservation Plan (PDF)
Durham Historic Resources map (PDF)
Durham County Historic Architecture Inventory (PDFs): Table of Contents, Lake Michie Quadrant, Rougemont Quadrant, Northwest Quadrant, Northeast Quadrant (mislabeled), Southwest Quadrant, Southeast Quadrant, Appendix
Historic Districts and Overlays in Unified Development Ordinance (click “Browse” and see Article 4, Section 4.10)
Open Durham blog
Digital Durham Archive @ Duke University Library
Durham Bibliography @ Duke University Library
Durham County Library’s North Carolina Collection
How to Research Your Historic House
Neighborhood Associations for Historic Neighborhoods
Duke Park Neighborhood
Durham Central Park
Burch Avenue Neighborhood
Duke Park Neighborhood
Uplift East Durham
Forest Hills Neighborhood
Golden Belt Neighborhood
Old North Durham Neighborhood
Old West Durham Neighborhood
Trinity Park Neighborhood
Watts Hospital-Hillandale Neighborhood
Durham’s Historic Places
Save Rougemont Depot
American Tobacco Historic District
Durham Bed & Breakfast Inns
Whether you are renovating your own historic home – or rehabilitating an historic building for a commercial purpose – a variety of Federal and state tax credit are available to support preservation efforts. Since 1976, these incentives have spurred over $1 billion of investment in historic properties in the state of North Carolina.
There are four types of historic designation available in Durham.
National Register of Historic Places
Type of Property
individual (National Historic Landmark) and multiple (NR Historic District)
50 years old (some exceptions);
integrity of historic character;
significance in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering, and culture
Process for Designation
– Study List application to SHPO (if not already listed)
– NR nomination to SHPO
– approved by National Register Advisory Committee
Tax Credits (qualified rehab costs):
Non-Income Producing: 30% NC tax credit
Income Producing: 20% Federal tax credit + 20% NC tax credit
State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), National Park Service (NPS)
Local Historic District
Type of Property
An area of special significance in terms of its history, prehistory, architecture, and/or culture that possesses integrity of design, setting, materials, feeling, and association
Process for Designation
– application to DCCPO
The historic Watts Hospital-Hillandale neighborhood is centered on tree-shaded West Club Boulevard, anchored by the Durham Water Works on the west, and the former Watts Hospital, now the NC School of Science and Math, on the east.
In 1910, Watts Hospital moved to a 25-acre tract at the intersection of Broad Street and West Club Blvd. George W. Watts, who had donated $50,000 for the establishment of a general hospital in 1895, donated another $500,000 a new hospital designed by Boston architect Bertand E. Taylor in the Spanish Mission style. In 1926, Durham architects Atwood and Nash designed the hospital’s Valinda Beale Watts Pavilion.
Doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals who wanted to live near their workplace built homes here.
Tuscaloosa-Lakewood is a historic neighborhood comprised of approximately 550 homes built in three phases and roughly bounded by Chapel Hill Road, Lakewood Avenue, James Street, and Durham Chapel Hill Blvd.
A portion of the neighborhood has been designated as the Lakewood National Register Historic District, so recognized because it contains a very high proportion of original homes with their historic integrity intact. The district was developed over the first decades of the 20th century. The earliest houses are modest Queen Annes with tri-gable, gable-and-wing and pyramidal roofs. The second phase of development included bungalows and Craftsman-style homes. The final phase, built during the 1930s, was mainly period cottages and Minimal Traditional homes.
Lakewood Historic District National Register Nomination (PDF)
Tuscaloosa-Lakewood Neighborhood Protection Overlay
The Trinity Park and Trinity Heights neighborhoods (recorded collectively as the Trinity Historic District) were platted at the turn of the century and experienced rapid growth and expansion in the first three decades of the twentieth century. Unlike other historic neighborhoods in Durham, which were closely tied to the tobacco industry, the Trinity Historic District, adjacent to Trinity College, provided homes for a growing number of middle class residents, many of them professors or staff at the college.
The neighborhood was overwhelmingly residential with only a handful of churches, schools, and three small commercial buildings. While the churches and schools were scattered throughout the neighborhood, commercial buildings tended to be located at the perimeter. The (former) Watts Grocery Store, at 1202
West Durham was settled as early as the 1850s when the area was known as Pin Hook. By the 1880s, prosperous businessmen were already moving their homes out of downtown and into the country. West Durham began its transformation to a mill village in 1893 when Benjamin Duke and William Erwin opened a cotton mill on Ninth Street, an early southern manufactory of denim. The mill company employed over 1000 workers by the turn of the century, and build 440 houses covering more than fifteen blocks surrounding the mill.
These small but comfortable mill houses contrast with the elegant Queen Anne style mansions that the textile company owners built in the neighborhood. The Neoclassical Revival style E. K. Powe Elementary School was built in 1928, and wings were added in 1949 and 1961. Several handsome churches also grace the neighborhood.
When merchants moved to Ninth Street, the commercial heart of West Durham, they created a business district that still thrives today, and is home to restaurants, bookstores, and boutiques. The historic Neoclassical Revival bank built on Ninth Street in 1922 is now a popular bagel store.
William Erwin was a pioneer in employee relations. He built a park for his workers as early as 1895 and Erwin Auditorium in 1922. The building, now demolished, included game rooms, a library, and even a swimming pool. Although these landmarks are gone, the old Erwin Mill buildings have been adapted into offices and housing, and new buildings, including a gas station and office buildings, have been designed to fit into the ambiance of this thriving neighborhood.
West Durham was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.
Old West Durham Links
North Durham began to develop after the street car line expanded north from downtown in 1901. What had been remote farmland soon developed into a comfortable residential neighborhood that incorporated some of the old farmhouses among the new homes. Many businessmen and professionals built large homes on Mangum Street, which soon became known as Mansion Row. Home styles include Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, and Craftsman in an eclectic mix. After World War I, development moved west, this time with more modestly sized bungalows and cottages.
The neighborhood went through a transition in the late twentieth century, and many of the older houses were divided into apartments and rental properties. Today, historic Old North Durham is seeing a revival as many young