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Get to Know Durham*---You Live Here Now*

                     2009-10 Edition

Did you know that the Civil War ended in Durham, weeks after Appomattox?   That Durhamwas once one of the fastest-growing and most prosperous cities in the South, a world center of the tobacco and cotton textile industries?  That Durhamwas the home of "Black Wall Street" and a renowned African-American blues tradition?  That Durham's neighborhoods are a virtual museum of residential architectural styles from 1850 to the present? That Madonna lived on East Campus and took dance lessons here? That the university's first basketball game took place on East Campus and the father of Duke basketball lived across the street?Duke Homestead    How can you go to Duke without knowing about The Dukes?  In 1865, Washington Duke, discharged from the Confederate Navy, returned to his modest farm (off Guess Road in North Durham) with 50 cents in his pocket.  In the next ten years the Duke family packaged and sold tobacco and were on their way to making the fortune that eventually built DukeUniversity.  The Homesteadoffers an excellent historical film, free guided tours of the farm, and a fascinating museum on the history of tobacco, with great material on how markets were expanded through innovative advertising.  Open Tu-Sat 9-5. Last outside tour 3:15 pm. www.dukehomestead.nchistoricsites.org           

Special events:

September 12: Harvest Festival and Mock Tobacco Auction     10 am-4 pmDecember 4 and 11: Christmas by Candlelight    7-9 pm

Bennett Place State Historic Site In this modest farmhouse less than two miles from Duke's campus, Union general Sherman and Confederate general Johnston signed an agreement on April 26, 1865 under which 89,000 Confederate troops, still in the field after Lee's surrender at Appomattox Courthouse, agreed to end hostilities.  Historic house and Civil War museum open Tu-Sat. 9-5.  Costumed military encampment and reenactment held each April. www.ah.dcr.state.nc.us/sections/hs/bennett/bennett.htm

Stagville   Located a few miles Northeast of campus, Stagville was between the late 1700s and 1860 one of the largest plantations in the South.  At its height, it covered 30,000 acres and housed 900 slaves.  The main house and an amazing slave-built wooden barn have been restored by the State of North Carolina.  There is a fascinating group of slave houses as well.  Thousands of Durhamites, black and white, trace their ancestors to Stagville. Open Tu-Sat 9-5. Last tour 3 pm.www.stagville.org

December: Christmas in the Big House; Christmas in the QuartersThe EnoRiver EnoRiverState Park has 2300 acres of natural areas, trails, and a river for canoeing, fishing, and wading.   http://www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/enri/main.phpAn adjoining Durham city park, West Point on the Eno, is just off Duke Street, about three miles north of I-85, and offers a restored water-powered grist mill, a historic house, and a museum of old photography.  Park open daily; buildings Sa, Su 1-5.  Great place for a Sunday picnic.  The Eno River Association http://www.enoriver.org/  works hard to protect the river, and its website offers information about sponsored hikes, canoe trips, even a book club. Its Eno River Festival, held each July 4th weekend, is the best attended public event in Durham.

Free Walking Tours of Durham---Sponsored by Historic Preservation Society of Durham   http://www.preservationdurham.org/events/weekly_walking.htmlAll tours depart at 10 am from Durham Farmer's Market on Morris Street, near downtown, one block north of the Durham Arts Council.  They last 1 ½-2 hours.

Durham's Tobacco Heritage Tour--Second Sat. of monthDurham's Civil Rights History-Third Sat. of monthDowntown Architecture and Landscape-Fourth Sat. of month  Additional tours during Centerfest (downtown Durhamfestival) Sept. 19-20.  Many civic and environmental organizations have tables at Centerfest.   *Ninth Street and adjoining area--*Once the business district for the thousands who worked in the Erwin Cotton Mill, Ninth Street is the major commercial area for Duke students.  Bookstores, restaurants, bars and other local businesses occupy historic buildings. For information on Ninth Street, its history and plans for is future preservation and development, see http://www.owdna.org/siteindex.htm#info

African-American Heritage---The Hayti Heritage Center  www.hayti.org/   is located in historic St. Joseph's Church, once part of the flourishing Hayti community, destroyed by the Durham Freeway in the 1960s.  The Center has exhibits and an interesting film about Hayti in the 1940s.  Sponsors Durham Blues Festival, Sept. 11-12.Walking tour around Duke's East Campus: 60-minute self-guided tour takes you around Duke's old campus and includes brief forays into historic neighborhoods. Where did Richard Nixon live as a Duke Law student? Where did Elvis go to lose weight? Why is Ninth Street called Ninth Street?  18-stop tour begins anytime at Broad and Perry streets (across from Whole Foods Market). Tour created by John Schelp, Old West Durham Neighborhood Assn. On-line tour guide at www.owdna.org/tour.htm

Great Indian Trading Path   A great foot highway, linking Virginia to Georgia, passed near Durham(villageofOccaneechi).   The Trading Path Assn. is trying to remap and preserve it.  Hikes and guided Civil and Revolutionary War tours.  www.tradingpath.org/Photo Archive at Durham Library* *1500 photos of old Durhamon line and searchable  http://www.dclibrary.net/prod1/ncc/photoarch/

Endangered DurhamBlog  An amazing blog, added to almost every week, showing photos of Durhamsites and neighborhoods in years past, and their current condition.  A must for anyone interested in how the urban fabric grows (and is torn apart).  http://endangereddurham.blogspot.com/\\

Downtown Durham Finally coming back after being hard hit by suburbanization in the 1960s and 1970s, Downtown is seeing rapid major office and residential growth and a surge of openings of new clubs and restaurants.  Historic features include the restored Carolina Theater (both movies and live performances), Brightleaf Square (1906 tobacco warehouse converted to shops and restaurants) and the American Tobacco complex (huge old factory housing nearly 2000 office workers, with restaurants, and J.B. Duke's private railroad car, "Doris".)  Adjacent to the American Tobacco complex is the Durham Bull's baseball park and the entrance to the American Tobacco Trail, a major rails-to-trails project. Maps and other information can be obtained from http://www.durham-nc.com/

Many of these places and events are great activities for out of town guests.  Do call or check websites before you make specific plans, as schedules may change.

*Hiking Opportunities, some including guided walks and trail building days:*American Tobacco Trail  http://www.triangletrails.org/ATT.HTM

Mountains to Sea Trail  http://www.ncmst.org/       MST Blog:  http://blogs.newsobserver.com/multi/nc-mountains-to-sea-trail

Eno River State Park  http://www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/enri/main.php

Sierra Club, NC Chapter  http://nc.sierraclub.org/outings.html   Sign up for list serve of local "Headwaters Group"

TriangleLand Conservancy -several locations, Johnston Mill Preserve especially recommended http://www.triangleland.org/lands/places_to_visit.shtml\\

Prepared by Bob Healy, Prof. Emeritus of Environmental Policy   healy@duke.edu 

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