East Durham grew up around the old Durham Cotton Manufacturing Company, founded by Julian S. Carr. Today, giant, leafy trees act as a canopy over the historic streets where trolleys once ran between rows of pyramidal cottages, cozy bungalows, and gable-and-wing houses – homes which are historically and architecturally distinct from the mill villages to the south and west. The Durham Land and Security Company, formed in 1886 by banker Eugene Morehead, attorney W.W. Fuller, Robert I. Rogers, owner of the Durham Marble and Brownstone Works, and Dr. John L. Watkins, a leaf tobacco dealer, platted and sold the majority of the lots in the district. The Kirkland Brothers developed the area from Liberty Street to Holloway Street in the late 1930s.
Carr Methodist Church and the East Durham Baptist Church got their start in connection with the nearby mill. Other local historic landmarks are the Fidelity Bank Building on South Driver Street, the 1920s-era showplace home built by Dr. George Ross at 2111 E Main Street, Seagroves Grocery, and the Y. E. Smith School.
Preservation Durham’s survey of East Durham was instrumental in having this neighborhood be added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2004. We photographed over 1600 properties during the survey, which was supported by the City of Durham and the Marion Stedman Covington Foundation. We then compiled the survey’s findings into the East Durham Pattern Book, which includes floor plans and dozens of photos of architectural details of the many early 20th century house styles that are preserved in East Durham.
Preservation Durham has ongoing programs that educate homeowners about the history of the neighborhood and help to facilitate renovation projects. Historic Districts make property owners eligible for state Historic Tax Credits of up to 30% for all acceptable renovation projects that exceed $25,000. Preservation Durham plans to join forces with banks, corporations, and government agencies to develop a multifaceted approach to revitalizing East Durham.
East Durham Links