Watts Hospital-Hillandale

Published by info@preservationdurham.org on

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. Many of these early historic houses have the regular, boxy form and restrained decoration suggestive of the Colonial Revival style, with details such as wrap-around porches with box posts.

The extension of Durham’s trolley system to the intersection of W. Club Blvd. and Broad St. spurred growth in the neighborhood. This new streetcar suburb’s popular amenities included the lake at the Durham Water Works, built in 1917, Hillandale Country Club’s 18-hole golf course, opened in 1923, and Oval Park.

Contractors built dozens of bungalows throughout the neighborhood in the 1920s and 1930s on W. Club Blvd and intersecting streets. No architect-designed houses have been identified in the neighborhood, but many homes exhibit a popular stylishness and detailing typical of plans published in builders’ guides and magazines such as Better Homes & Gardens.

After World War II, West Club Blvd. became a major vehicular thoroughfare. Watts Hospital closed in 1976 and was converted into the NC School of Science and Math. Despite the changes, however, many of the people who moved here in the 1920s and 1930s stayed in the area, making it one of Durham’s most stable historic neighborhoods. A National Historic District since 1998, Watts Hospital-Hillandale is still popular with a new generation of Durham families. It was named a National Historic District in 2001.

Watts Hospital-Hillandale Links