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The historic Cleveland-Holloway neighborhood sits immediately east of downtown Durham, along Holloway Street and northwards.  Holloway and Cleveland Streets, which border the neighborhood, were originally listed on the National Register in 1985. Their grand houses were protected from one of Durham’s first local historic districts as well.  In 2009, the connecting neighborhood was listed on the National Register, coinciding with a flourishing revitalization and lots of renovations.  The neighbors are very proud of the diverse neighborhood, which ranges from grand Victorian homes to tiny 1930s duplexes.  They are currently pursuing expansion of the local historic district boundaries to encompass the entire National district.

The Holloway Street area developed as a response to Durham’s burgeoning population at the turn of the century. Cleveland and Holloway Streets’ historic houses were constructed in the 1880s and 1890s for some of the town’s most successful industrialists, financiers, merchants, and professionals. In 1901, Durham expanded the town boundaries to the east to include the neighborhood.  The newly incorporated land was developed with privately-owned housing and investment properties to house the city’s growing middle class.

The district is one of only a few remaining Durham neighborhoods  constructed to house a mix of workers, laborers, middle-class merchants and businessmen. Some of Durham’s earliest residents were Jews, brought to the area by J. B. Duke to roll cigarettes. When they were replaced by cigarette rolling machines in the mid-1880s, many left the area. However, some chose to remain in Durham to pursue commercial ventures and by the turn of the century, the Jewish population had migrated north from land on South Mangum Street, near the tobacco factories, to the interior of the Cleveland-Holloway neighborhood, closer to downtown.  The Greek population also thrived in the expansion area in the early twentieth century. Drawn to Durham by the possibility of work in the tobacco factories, Greeks settled in the northern part of the area along Mallard Avenue, and beyond. As tobacco production became more automated the Greeks, like the Jews before them, moved toward more commercial interests, operating cafes, confectioneries, fruit stands, and shoe shine parlors in the nearby downtown.

Occupations listed for early residents of the district include both laborer and managerial positions in tobacco and rail industries, including tobacco workers, mill hands, flagmen, and clerks on one end of the spectrum, and managers, bookkeepers, foremen, and superintendents at the other end. The laborers tended to live in smaller houses, such as the triple-A houses on N. Elizabeth and Primitive Streets, while more prominent figures in the railroad industry owned larger houses along Oakwood and Carlton Avenues. It is important to note, however, that the houses of laborers and managers were interspersed throughout the neighborhood.

Some of the expansion area’s more prominent residents were public servants for the city departments in downtown Durham. Eugene G. Belvin built the large, two-story house at 309 Mallard Avenue. A jailor and deputy sheriff he built the home in 1912, Belvin later became the sheriff of Durham County and lived in the house through the 1940s. Other public servants included W. L. Roach, a city engineer who lived at 505 Carlton Avenue, and W. L. Seabock, a police detective and resident of 503 Mallard Avenue.


Cleveland-Holloway Links