Virtual Tour – Hayti


Group portrait ca. 1900. (North Carolina Collection)

This virtual tour utilizes Sanborn maps to visualize the evolution of the historic Hayti community.


Preservation Durham has partnered with UNC-CH Professor of American Studies Robert C. Allen and a class of his undergraduate students to develop a “proof of concept” online map which shows the location of structures destroyed by Urban Renewal. Before the Freeway was built across the middle of Durham, Hayti was a vibrant African American neighborhood located between Downtown and NC Central University.

Reconstructing Hayti overlays a series of scanned early 20th century maps from the Sanborn Fire Insurance Company, allowing visitors to see the change in landscape over a hundred years. Using a slider bar, a visitor to the website can adjust the transparency of the Sanborn Map overlay, creating the ghostly experience of buildings disappearing and reappearing.

The online map was a pilot project using the Main Street, Carolina framework, a digital history toolkit that Allen conceptualized and which has enabled cultural heritage organizations to share their stories on the Internet in a dynamic and captivating way with minimal technical requirements or expertise.

Read the Durham Herald-Sun’s article on this project

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