Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Trinity Park/ Markham property

I'm still recovering from doing that Nancy Warren post so this one will be pretty brief. I wanted first to say thanks to everyone who emailed and commented about the Watts st. cemetery. I've heard from a few family historians who really have a vast knowledge of the Warren and Shambley families which is exciting to see. They've pretty much convinced me that there were two cousins both with the middle name of Kinchen and last name Shambley and both born within a year of each other and that Jesse was the other Kinchen from the one most proximate to Nancy on that 1860 census. I also wanted to mention one other detail that I've heard from a few sources over the last week - according to a cemetery survey done in the early 1980's and the original archaeological survey done last year there used to be a pair of very large trees straddling the entrance to the cemetery. One reason Nancy's body was missed is that it was partially buried under a part of one of the trees. Obviously those trees were torn down in the building over the past year and with them the last markers of its original use.

I promised to post the 1911 property map of the Markham estate which became much of the northern half of today's Trinity Park. I have it as a google earth overlay so you can see it fit pretty nicely on the grid of today's streets as well as below.


Notice the earlier proposed street name for Gregson - "Hated" st. The story goes that this naming choice came about because of the mutual dislike evident between Watts and Brodie Duke. Hence reading the street names Watts hated Duke and vice versa. Though in this map today's Watts st. is rendered as Hospital st. after the original Watts hospital due south near Main st. This planned subdivision map is also a reminder of how misleading property maps can be. If you look at the Sanborn fire insurance maps from the post below you can see that many of these lots were not built on or even subdivided for decades thus rendering this map totally unfamiliar to anyone standing on the corner of Urban and Watts in 1915.

(From Digital Durham- 2008 street name additions my own)

It is interesting to note the area right near the cemetery and the boundary between Durham and the former city of West Durham. You can plainly see on the 1911 property map where the property line veers east away from Guess rd./First st./Buchanan on a diagonal which was the city boundary as it was the former property line dividing Markham's land from the Durham land trust and improvement company. Over at Digital Durham there is an 1890 map of the area just to the west of the Markham land (mapped above) where you can see the planned course of two separate streets running north away from Trinity College's campus - First st. to the west and Guess to the east along the property line. That diagonal split never happened in practice and we are left with a only slightly crooked Buchanan today.

1 comment:

John said...

Another great post!

Here's a 1920 street map of the area that also shows the City Limit cutting across at a diagonal... http://www.owdna.org/1920map.htm

You can see how Green Street takes a jog at Watts St -- right at the City line (Green was called "B Street" in West Durham).

Note how Markham Ave (A Street) didn't go through to Broad St (7th St). It's broken up at Clarendon (6th St). The Trinity Park Prep School was located here. Bivins Hall (named after the school's first headmaster) is the last remaining building... http://www.durhamcountylibrary.org/schelp/js091.php

Several Italian stonecutters who helped build Duke Chapel and Duke Hospital lived nearby on Sixth St... http://www.owdna.org/stonecutters.htm

To avoid City taxes, Erwin Mills objected to annexation until the 1920s. And, since City water wasn't provided, the mill village had outhouses until 1925.

Because other parts of Durham already shared some of the street names, many of these street names were changed after West Durham was annexed into the City.

~John Schelp