Last night I had the opportunity to address the County Commissioners regarding their 2015-16 budget. The commissioners’ chambers were full, with impressive turnout in support of increased funding for Durham Public Schools and in opposition to increased funding requests from the Durham County Prison Administration.
In light of the above, my plea for Preservation Durham’s importance seemed almost inappropriate. Who was I to ask for funding for our advocacy programs when DPS can’t pay a living wage to its support staff? When the prison administration is confining inmates to their cells for 22 hours per day?
And then I had to remind myself that, at its core, much of our advocacy work addresses some of the same systematic issues and injustices, but
2308 W. Club Boulevard Given
365-Day Demolition Delay
On Tuesday, May 4th, Durham’s Historic Preservation Commission confirmed a 365-day delay for the demolition of the house at 2308 W. Club Boulevard, in the Watts Hillandale Historic District. This is the maximum delay the commission can issue for a demolition project under current state law.
Thanks to all of the passionate community members who showed up to speak in solidarity against the demolition of this house.
This proposed demolition definitely hit a nerve for Durham residents – over 18,000 people saw our Facebook post last week, which generated many pointed comments from residents concerned about the future character and integrity of our historic neighborhoods.
We will continue to work with the owners on other options for the property during this 365
On Tuesday, May 5, at 8:30 a.m., the Durham Historic Preservation Commission will consider the request to demolish the historic Williams-Muse house at 2308 W. Club Blvd. in the Watts-Hillandale historic district. The owners, who purchased the 1453sf house in August of last year for $385,000, plan to build a much larger new house on the lot.
Both the Watts-Hillandale Neighborhood Association and Preservation Durham oppose the demolition. Under current statute all the Historic Preservation Commission can do is postpone demolition of the structure for 365 days, while we try to press the owners to accept
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.
The 12th Annual Old Durham Home Tour was another success for Preservation Durham as hundreds of PD members and friends came out to enjoy a lovely day in the Watts Hospital Hillandale neighborhood. Read more about Watts Hospital-Hillandale on our Historic Neighborhoods pages! Advance ticket buyers were able to exchange their tickets for a tour guidebook and map at the tour headquarters at the corner of Broad Street and Club Boulevard. Tourgoers enjoyed the tour at their own pace, exploring the neighborhood that grew up in the early 20th century around Watts Hospital, now the North Carolina School of Science and Math. There was plenty of parking on the campus of the NCSSM so tourgoers could leave their cars to wander on