This website is no longer maintained - all content and updates have moved to Open Durham. I welcome your additional corrections, comments, and stories - please navigate to Open Durham and leave your comments on the corresponding post there.
Thursday, May 03, 2012
Tuesday, May 01, 2012
I've left this website up for reference purposes, but it is no longer actively maintained, and I'm not approving new comments on this site. I don't want to close comments permanently, but right now I am individually copying new comments over from this site to Open Durham - I love to get new comments (usually) and information - it would be a huge help if you could make those comments on the same post on the Open Durham site instead of on Endangered Durham.
at 9:37 AM
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Friday, December 09, 2011
Monday, December 05, 2011
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Above - the mapped points in Hayti, a screen shot from Open Durham.
Four years ago, as I began pestering Lynn Richardson at the Durham County Library to find out what old photos I might find of Durham, beyond what was available online on the Durham County LIbrary website, she showed me the old urban renewal appraisal records that she had in an cabinet. Large, top bound, legal size binders were filled to capacity - multiple sheets of paper noting the property, valuation, address - and a ~3" x 3" black and white photo stapled to the page.
I asked her if I could scan these photos, and for months thereafter, I spent night after night, weekend after weekend, scanning hundreds of photos - carefully undoing old staples (when 3 or photos were stapled on top of one another) with my old medical hemostats.
After ~a year, I gave all of my digital copies to the library, and I used a subset of those photos on Endangered Durham to post about certain specific areas - along Fayetteville Street, east of downtown along Liberty and Holloway street, in the core of downtown, where buildings like the Lincoln Cafe and most of Morgan Street were demolished, and in the old West End - along Jackson, Carr, Warren, and Willard Street.
I didn't use most of the photos. In the meantime, UNC got interested in expanding its digital collection. They published all of the scans I did, as well as scans they did of the appraisal records themselves (which I didn't do in the interest of time.) The photos and records have been available for the last ~year here: http://www.digitalnc.org/
With Open Durham providing the tools I envisioned for cataloging this kind of history, I've finally been able to begin to create the kind of records I'd hoped for in digitizing these photos. All of them are now available on Open Durham, with some basic information, and all of them are mapped (tagged with longitude and latitude) so they can be plotted on the map. I've taken individual Sanborn Maps and geolocated the position of each and every house with Google Earth, and copy and pasted those coordinates into Open Durham.
The volume in Hayti, in particular, is staggering, and you can finally see how all of the properties relate, geographically to one another, to the still-extant areas to the south, and to downtown. You can see how the properties relate to Rolling Hills, or the 'new' Fayetteville St.
Some of the old myths about Hayti's demolition fade to the actuality. You can see the diversity of properties - the nice houses along Pickett Street, the shotguns along Enterprise - a number of houses and streets were in terrible shape, and were probably no big loss. Quite a number were wonderful, cool structures, and the notion that they were "blighted" or "functionally obsolete" is/was a joke - and clearly motivated by agendas beyond the structures.
Another myth that becomes clearly, visually debunked is the idea that the Durham Freeway destroyed Hayti. In fact, most of the properties destroyed by the Durham Freeway, as you can see above, are not included, as they were not taken as part of the urban renewal program. The mapped points give you a sense of just how large an area of Hayti would have survived if the Durham Freeway had been built, but no urban renewal had occurred.
As I can raise money to add layers to the maps, you'll be able to see them with old aerials, Sanborn maps, redlining maps, etc., and more questions will be raised, more answers will become clear. I hope that folks start to use the "People" feature of Open Durham to add people to properties - certainly the increasingly digitized city directories mean that someone who was motivated could do so.
And the cool thing about Open Durham is that it isn't just about Hayti. Or the West End, or downtown, or farmhouses in North Durham. Or movie-theater drive-ins, etc. It's about all of these, and how they interconnect in Durham. So mapping Hayti isn't another little project in a silo, isolated from the rest of the history of Durham.
You won't hear about it from any of the major organizations that should care that something like this is done. But this is a big first for Durham.
Many, many thanks to Keith Bowden, who generously donated a ton of his time to helping me create entries for a bunch of these photos.
I hope you find the work enlightening and helpful -
at 8:03 AM