MENA F. AND HENRY B. WEBB HOUSE

428.jpg

MENA F. AND HENRY B. WEBB HOUSE

428
,
Durham
NC
Built in
1950
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 

One-story hip roof Ranch house with flanking lower-roofed wings, German siding, 6-over-6 sash windows, and a front multi-pane fixed window. The right bay may have originally been a garage. Henry B. Webb, city editor of The Durham Herald, was the owner-occupant in 1950. 

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428
,
Durham
NC
Built in
1950
Architectural style: 
Construction type: 
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
Type: 
Use: 

 

428.jpg

From the National Register nomination form of 2005, completed by M. Ruth Little

One-story hip roof Ranch house with flanking lower-roofed wings, German siding, 6-over-6 sash windows, and a front multi-pane fixed window. The corner engaged porch has decorative metal posts and shelters a door with sidelights. The left wing may have been a porch, and is now enclosed with glass doors as a sunporch. The right bay may have originally been a garage. Henry B. Webb, city editor of The Durham Herald, was the owner-occupant in 1950. [1950 CD]

 

The following information comes from the City Directories and general web searching:

Year Occupant(s) Occupation(s) Other information
1950 Wilhelmina "Mena" F. Webb Henry B. "Mack" Webb author editor Mena was the author of a novel, a biography of Julian S. Carr, newspaper columns about local history, and memoirs of her life growing up and living as an adult in Durham.  She died May 23, 2012.  Mack was a longtime editor for both the Durham Morning Herald and the Durham Sun, and died October 3, 1986. 
1989 S. Wackman   teacher   Wackman taught at Durham High School.
1992 (unknown)        
1993 John "Jay" Zenner, III   communications consultant    
1997 Lynn R. Stubbs David L. Stubbs engineer    
2002 Rachel D. Cruickshank Andrew R. Cruickshank   architect Andrew designs "stadiums, arenas, and practice venues for almost every type of NCAA sports program."
2010 Emma Schaufele Charles Steadman "Stead" Willis, III   dentist Stead is a third-generation dentist.

 

This passage comes from Mena Webb's memoir, Out of My Mind, and is written about two of her neighbors on Carolina Circle:

Notes While Ill with the Flu

   I am sandwiched between do-nothings.  My neighbor to the front, a retired businessman, seems to prefer above all else sitting on his porch and keeping a weather eye on the comings and goings of his fellow Circle dwellers.  He sits there a good part of the day, watching cars go by if nothing else is happening.  The only time he reads is when the afternoon paper comes, but even then the sound of a motor, or a voice, or a slam of a door, will make him look up.  Mostly he just sits, getting up occasionally to go to the railing and look down at the flower bed beneath, or to walk in the yard and gaze at his green grass, or to stroll over to his car that sits in the driveway and stare at its polished surface.  Anyone who comes outdoors and does not immediately get into his own car and drive off is fair game, a potential conversation with a little "visit" for this fellow, who likes nothing better than describing his latest gadget, the type of grass seed he planted, the brand of fertilizer he uses, etc., etc.

   To the back, across the alley that divides the Circle and provides a driveway for garbage trucks and delivery vans, the son of a neighbor and the neighbor's cook, who has raised this boy from babyhood, sit in silent companionship most any afternoon.  The boy is tall, thin, long-haired, and stripped to the waist.  The cook wears a white uniform and a white head rag, old-timey Aunt Jemima kind.  She is big boned and yellow, with strange pale blue eyes, the only blue-eyed Negro I ever knew.  Occasionally the boy drives his car around and washes it, stopping now and then to smoke a cigarette or drink a can of beer.  I know that he is a worry to his father, who is strictly establishment and despises long hair.  The father will be glad when his son goes back to college, even though he will still worry about possible trouble, drugs, whiskey, women, etc., etc.

   Anyway, these two males, separated by a circle of land, one old and one young, seem to have perfected the art of just sitting.  I wonder what they think about.  Maybe I could learn from them.  It might soothe my spirit to make a career out of doing nothing.  Perhaps if I sat on my own porch and stared out through the trees and watched the passing parade and let my hands lie peacefully in my lap some great truth would dawn on me.  I might learn the secret of life itself.  Who knows, I might solve all my own problems by simply sitting, letting go.

   Lying on the bed, drifting in and out of sleep, I feel like part of a pale, tasteless sandwich, the bland filling between two slabs of gray bread, for I am doing nothing, too, although not of my own volition.  But in the isolation of my Illness there is a vague comfort in knowing that, to the front of me in the back of me, two other bodies sit in a kind of catatonic trance while life ebbs and flows around us, cars whiz up and down the hill, mail is delivered, garbage collected, laundry picked up (Mondays) and brought back (Wednesdays), packages arrive from downtown stores and are left on doorsteps, dogs trot to purposefully from tree to tree, lifting their legs, visitors arrive and depart, grass grows, has to be cut, dries up for lack of rain, dies, has to be planted again.  Yes, there’s a kind of solace in knowing that I am not doing nothing by myself. 

 

As Mena lived at 428 Carolina Circle for nearly forty years, it is difficult to ascertain of whom she was speaking, perhaps for the better.

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