Monday, August 18, 2008


I just want to say thanks to all those who've sent me email and made comments, I really appreciate the encouragement and it's great to see how many people have a real interest in Durham history. Unfortunately I don't have Gary's super-human blogging ability over at Endangered Durham so I'm aiming at putting up just one new post or related group of posts every week. I figured I'd continue by putting up the other survey maps for the subdivisions of Hester's property to the north and east of Hester Heights. I should say that both the Old West Durham Neighborhood Association website (link to the right) and the Watts-Hillandale historic inventory have great background on this area and do a much better job at conveying a feel for the neighborhoods involved than I can do here.

To the immediate east of Hester heights off Alabama/Clarkson/Adams ave. is the Englewood subdivision also laid out in 1912. Unlike Hester Heights, this tract of land was owned by J.S. Hill and his Durham Land and Trust Company which developed much of the Club area. This area seems to have developed much faster than Hester Heights and had a number of houses already built by the early 1920s (See historic inventory p. 8 for details).

1937 Sanborn Fire insurance map (click image for full size)

1 comment:

John said...

Another great post. Consider how all these communities would have been different had the Hope Valley Highway had gone right through here.

Durham's first Comprehensive Plan (1927) proposed a major north-south highway starting with "New Hope Valley Road" in southern Durham. 100 feet wide, the thoroughfare would go up Hope Valley Rd, cross the golf course, plow through Tuscaloosa-Lakewood (past Nation and Wa Wa), up Anderson Street, across Duke's campus (past the Nasher Museum today), up 15th Street, Rosehill Ave, through Oval Park, along Oakland, Albany and north out of town along Guess Road (NC-157).

Also, check out the double lines that traverse the far left side of the 1937 Sanborn map. Those represent the path of the 100-year old water main that still carries a huge volume of water from the treatment plant on Hillandale Rd to the old Erwin Mills and downtown.

OWDNA has asked the City to replace the old pipes since they're starting to bust on a regular basis. When they crack, sending water shooting into the air, City crews have shown up looking mighty anxious -- because the old valves are stuck in the open position.

For years, the City has decided to let the old pipes rest untouched in their "clay-soil enclosures" (since touching them would just lead to bigger cracks and problems).

Everything was set to replace the old water mains this year. But the drought prompted officials to take the money to connect Durham to Cary's water system.

An important measure. But officials know that they have a big problem that needs to be fixed before the water main caves in -- and the valves can't be shut off.

So, old pipes and highways... lots of connections between history and today. :)